FA People’s Cup 2017

Yes. It’s that time of the year again. With the excitement level set at 11 and dreams of  Wembley glory in the air, the Many Shades took the field at ROKO Portsmouth for the first round of the FA People’s Cup.

Unhelpfully, the FA had scheduled the first round on a Saturday afternoon when there was a full league (and of course, non-league) programme. This precluded a few of the Many Shades’ stars from last year’s campaign who had pressing duties at Westleigh Park for the visit of Merstham. Nevertheless, the Many Shades were still able to put out a strong team managed by local celebrity, David Hall.


Back : Steve Hall, Barry Ingram, Dave Rowbrey (gk), Rich Bishop, Pete Dolamore
Front : Colin Jeffery, James Mcilwaine, Stewart Russell (c)

Our heroes were drawn in a very strong group along with Eastleigh, Emsworth, Portsmouth ITC and Hampshire Walking Football (some sort of county side) and, similar to last year got off to a slow start losing 2-0 to HWF then 3-1 to Eastleigh. A 0-0 draw with our old friends from Portsmouth left us needing a victory against Emsworth and other results going our way to progress.

The earlier match between Emsworth and HWF had been abandoned following on-field disagreements (let’s call it) and rumours circulated that both teams had been thrown out of the competition. This was not the case and a still strong, despite one or two suspensions, Emsworth side ran out 2-0 winners.

So, unlike last year, there was to be no late call-back from the changing room and our cold but not disheartened Many Shades wound their way home.

One small consolation: those left back at the ranch cheered on the first team to a 3-0 victory over Merstham.





Many Shades v. Hendon Part II

Following last November’s challenge match at Hendon, where the home team ground out a victory, the return match was held this weekend prior to the first team fixture.

The venue was Horndean college on a very unseasonably warm lunchtime which may have contributed to the Many Shades having a large squad of twelve players. The match would consist of four 10-minute quarters and it was decided to split the squad into two teams of six who would play alternate quarters. So, the Blues were Colin Jeffery in goal, Ian Warren, Pete Dolamore, Jeff Pickering, Barry Ingram & Colin Baker and the (very bright) Yellows were Dave Rowbrey in goal, Stew Russell, John Morgan, James Mcilwaine, Andy Wilson & John Hicks.

The Blues started and battled hard in a very tight first quarter which ended goalless. Gold stars go to CJ, Pete and Ian who were solid at the back and limited Hendon to a few long range efforts.

1/4 time : Many Shades 0-0 Hendon

The Yellows took to the field for the second quarter hoping to break the deadlock. With John ploughing a lone furrow up front and holding the ball up well, James and Andy had a couple of chances but were unable to beat Hendon’s in-form keeper and it was Hendon who snatched a goal just before the break.

Half time : Many Shades 0-1 Hendon


The Yellows lined up in the classic 2-2-1 formation


The Blues offering direction from the sidelines


Andy powers in a shot which drifts just wide of the upright

Unfortunately, the third quarter followed a similar pattern to the second with the Blues probably having the better of the possession but with Hendon grabbing a second goal midway through the quarter.

3/4 time : Many Shades 0-2 Hendon

So it was that the Yellows came out for the final quarter facing a 2-goal deficit. The one hope was that Hendon, with their limited resources, were starting to tire slightly.

The Yellows pressed from the start with John (still sporting his hat despite the tropical temperatures) going close on two occasions.


John finds himself clear but the Hendon keeper covers the angles well

Then, a long range shot from James deceived the substitute keeper and found the top corner to reduce the deficit.

With Hendon understandably flagging, the Yellows went for it and pushed Stewart up front for the final five minutes.


Stewart finds some space at the back post

The additional attacker paid off and a through ball from James found Andy free who slotted home the equaliser.


Stewart, James and Andy celebrate the equaliser


CJ and Pete look on nervously

With the momentum now with the Many Shades and with seconds remaining, James, in one of the rare moments when he wasn’t blown up for running, beat a couple of defenders in the box and fired home the winner.

Full time : Many Shades 3-2 Hendon

So there you have it. A 3-2 win for the Many Shades which coincidentally was the same score at Westleigh Park in the afternoon.

A big thanks to the Hendon over-50s for making the long trip down and our best wishes to you and your first team for the rest of the season.

An evening at the Havant Borough Sports Awards

It was a bit like the Oscars, only much more important. It was also a bit like BBC Sports Review of the Year as well, only much more important. It was, of course, Havant Borough Sports Association’s 37th Annual Awards night, and the Many Shades had been nominated for no less than three awards. On 2nd February 2017 four nervous players attended to represent the club and collect any prizes that came our way.

We had been nominated in the categories “Team of the Year”, “Veteran Sportsman of the Year”, and “Coach of the Year”. Although plenty of people knew about these nominations, we had tried to keep them secret from both Rich Bonsey and Shaun Gale so that if they won it would be a genuinely pleasant surprise, and if they lost they would never know!

The first half of the ceremony was to present the awards to the Runners-up in all of the categories. The first category we were up for was Team of the Year, and sure enough, the Many Shades were summoned to collect this award. There was no mention of Rich or Shaun in the runners-up categories for Veteran, or for Coach, so we hoped there was still a chance for them.


As the main awards began to be announced, the quality of achievement of the winners in so many categories was very high, with serious international attainment on their CVs, and it began to look ominous. Then we got to Veteran Sportsman of the Year, and Rich Bonsey’s name flashed up on the screen! Stew Russell went up to collect Rich’s award as he hadn’t been well enough to attend in person, and Stew said a few words on Rich’s behalf.


Then came “Coach of the Year”, and no mention of Shaun at all! His loyal players looked at each other and accepted that perhaps tonight wasn’t to be his night. Shaun of course couldn’t have attended anyway as Thursdays are first team training nights.

Then the last two awards of the night came along – the Service to Sport Award, and the overall Sports Person of the Year Award. Totally out of the blue, Shaun Gale’s name was announced for the Service to Sport Award, well deserved in light of all of his efforts for Hawks in the Community, but especially so for his dedication and commitment to the Many Shades of Grey.

After that we just waited to see which of the many excellent sports men and women from the Borough would be declared overall Sports Person of the Year, and we really were stunned and delighted that it was Shaun Gale who got the nod! Verily thou art the “Special One”!


Nominated for three Awards, we came away with four, that really is something of a result! :thumbup:


Pete, John the Hat, Stewart and Jeff stand guard over Rich and Shaun’s silverware.

Both Rich and Shaun were able to be presented with their awards at the home league game against Billericay on the following Saturday.



Many Shades Winter Festival 2017

The following report has been shamelessly pinched from the Hawks Walking Football forum. See here
Sadly, due to the inclement weather, there are no photographic records of the event so I’ve broken up the report a bit with a few old photos of some of the goalscorers. Enjoy.

It was a wild, wet, and miserable Sunday morning on January 29th, totally befitting our Many Shades 50+ Winter Festival “as advertised”, with the emphasis on “Winter”. In spite of the dreadful morning, things seemed to be looking up by noon, and the 1.00pm kick-off time approached with a (relatively) mild breeze and just a hint of a spit in the air.
Undeterred by the weather forecast, half a dozen teams gathered at Park Community School, coming from as far afield as Bristol, Emsworth, and Portsmouth. It was a good reunion with our old friends from Bristol City, not seen since our great adventure in Brittany last October. Mountbatten WFT, Pompey ITC, and Emsworth & Hayling completed our guests, with two Many Shades teams playing – the Many Shades of Yellow and the Many Shades of Blue.
Naturally enough, the day started with the Blues and Yellows facing off in an opener designed to negate our usual poor start, and confidently predicted to end 0-0. Sadly for the Blues, it was the Yellows who dashed out of the traps and sprinted into a dominant position, being 3-1 up at half-time (great goal from Rich Bishop to briefly equalise for the Blues), and ending as 4-1 runaway winners.
The Blues, unbowed, then met the reliably competitive and skilful Bristol City, who took an early lead through an excellent Keith Gwilym finish. Fighting back, the Blues equalised through Mick Sidwell, and midway through the second half Rich Bishop sealed the win with an amazingly precise finish from an incredibly tight angle.

Rich Bishop                                                   Mick Sidwell

Now on something approaching a roll, the Blues met Pompey ITC, and a tight match was decided by an excellently worked move that created acres of space for Derek Pope to calmly move into and beat the keeper for a 1-0 lead. The roll that had been approaching disappeared soon enough though, as next up were Emsworth & Hayling, who were coming off the back of a 4-0 win over the Yellows. The Many Shades of Blue put up a strong performance against a very good side, and it took a defensive mix-up to let them through for the only goal of the match and a 0-1 defeat.
Sadly a now-depleted Blues squad was beginning to tire quite noticeably, in particular Rich Bishop and Stew Russell, who had played every minute. A somewhat younger Mountbatten side took full advantage of the Blues’ reduced fitness and concentration to run out 4-1 winners. Derek Pope can take some comfort from a brilliant breakaway goal, nutmegging a defender on his way through to a crunching finishing shot past the helpless keeper.
The Many Shades of Blue squad was Colin Jeffery in goal, John Hicks, Richard Bishop, Martyn Bishop, Stew Russell, Derek Pope, Mick Sidwell, and John Morgan, and were managed by Dave Richards doing a passable Steve McLaren impression. You’d have thought that with two Bishops and a Pope in the team that God would have been on their side, but apparently not.


Derek Pope

Meanwhile, the Yellows (remember them?) beat Pompey ITC 2-0, lost 0-4 to Emsworth & Hayling, lost 0-1 to Mountbatten, and beat Bristol City 1-0. Their squad was Dave Rowbrey in goal, Bobby De Ste Croix, James McIlwaine, Joe Mair, Rob Kelly, Barry Carter, Pete Dolamore, Barry Ingram, and Barrie Gray. Their goals were scored by James McIlwaine (3), Bobby De Ste Croix (3), and Joe Mair.

James McIlwaine                     Bobby De Ste Croix                             Joe Mair

After the games were played we retired to the Westleigh to find that Suzette Gray had prepared a stunning buffet for us, including home-made cakes good enough to make Mary Berry eat her heart out! Not a soggy bottom in sight, which made a pleasant change after playing through the misery of the pouring rain!
Inevitably, if you keep score, then someone will always win, and on our return to West Leigh Park the final placings were worked out from the referees’ soggy scoresheets. Perhaps the surprise result was that Pompey’s team most unexpectedly lost every game, and finished last in the mini-league. Bristol City’s only win was against that hapless Pompey side, so they had travelled a long way in dreadful weather for little reward. The two Many Shades sides finished third and fourth, the Yellows coming out on top in that particular clash.

The two men between the sticks, Dave Rowbrey & Colin Jeffery, had a busy afternoon

At the top of the league it was very close, with only goal difference separating Emsworth & Hayling from Mountbatten. The winners of our prestigious plastic cup (£2.50 for 8 from Asda) were Mountbatten WFT, who whose goal difference of +10 beat E&H’s +8 tally.
Following the presentation, and several top-up visits to the buffet tables, a raffle was held to help raise funds for the Many Shades of Grey’s training kit fund. Our debt to an unnamed sponsor stood at £750 before this Festival, so we are trying to reduce this as quickly as possible. James McIlwaine and Suzette Gray worked the crowd wonderfully and raised an amazing £94 towards paying off that debt! Needless to say there wouldn’t have been a raffle without the generous donations of prizes from players and guests, including a bottle of single malt and a bottle of champagne!

Alternative Facts – the Many Shades’ Winter Festival

Rob Kelly, spokesperson for the Many Shades of Yellow, writes: “here’s how I remember events on Sunday……

After beating H&W Blues (Ed: that’s the Many Shades of Blue, Rob, get it right) comfortably 4-1, the next game was against Pompey ITC. Superb goalkeeping from Dave Rowbrey and goals from Joe Mair and Scotty James McIlwaine (I think – need to be confirmed) saw the Yellows to a 2-0 victory.
Next up were Emsworth, who were fielding a strong side. Early in the game Rob Kelly took a rocket shot in the ‘nether regions’ and took no further part in that game. The Yellows struggled to contain Emsworth, who ran out 4-0 winners.
Mountbatten were next, and the Yellows committed defensive suicide by passing the ball across the goal… straight into the path of their centre forward who dispatched a hard shot low into the corner of the net. Yellows piled on the pressure, but couldn’t score the equalising goal so lost 1-0.
The final game paired the Yellows with Bristol City. After a very tight first half, the Yellows pushed up in the second half and a delightful chipped goal by Bobby De Ste Croix secured a 1- 0 win for the Yellows.”

Thanks to Rob’s report, by a process of elimination, we can work out that the goals against the Many Shades of Blue were scored by James McIlwaine and Bobby De Ste Croix with two each.