The Many Shades were drawn against Gosport Strollers in the Walking Football Union National Competition Regional heats and as we were the only two teams that entered, it was essentially the regional final.
Expectations were running high particularly with local media personality David Hall being handed the role of caretaker manager prior to the game as Matt the Miss had become Matt the Missing, again.
During the previous Thursday’s training session, Shaun put the squad for this match through its paces with a series of testing training games enabling us to fine tune our tactics ready for the big day.
But wait! Stewart received a shock email the evening before the event from the Strollers’ manager who withdrew his team from the match and awarded us the tie. As you can imagine, the conspiracy theorists have gone into overdrive. Some say that just the appointment of Dave was enough to scare them off whereas others are convinced they had a spy at the training session and realised there was little point in turning up.
Anyhow, never letting a paid-for pitch go to waste, the Many Shades turned up at the allotted time at Horndean college for an impromptu training session.
The victorious Many Shades sporting their smart new kit.
L-R : Jeff, John, CJ, Richard, Ian, Pete, Stewart
The Gosport Strollers
So we find ourselves in the next round of the WFU National Competition and wait to see where this adventure takes us next.
But the story of the afternoon doesn’t end there. Halfway through the training session, a group of Horndean’s finest youth footballers arrived on the scene and asked if they could possibly use the other half of the pitch.
One of the Many Shades – I’m not sure who – saw an opportunity and challenged the youngsters to a match. As we’d paid for the pitch, it was obviously to be played to our rules.
They accepted and, having arrived a few minutes earlier for a Sunday afternoon kickabout, found themselves being given a lesson in Walking Football by the Many Shades. I think we won 6-3.
Seriously, if any of them should by any chance stray on to this page, many thanks to you all from the Many Shades. It was great fun. Keep practising playing the ball to feet and we’ll see you at South Downs on Thursday mornings in 35 years time!
Below is a group photo.