Sunday 8th May 2016
By Patrice Mongelard
Youth prevails but Vets football wins
This is a game we look forward to, but without expectation, and one which we associate with our end of season awards even though our season is usually not over by then. More often than not the ground is baked hard and the sun is out – as it turned out today. It is a family occasion in a broad and real sense, but as in all families there are some underlying tensions. Our ambitions were limited partly because of absences but we wanted to be able to hold our heads high at the end. Whilst we could not award ourselves the three points, there were some fantastic prizes on offer in our end of season awards.
This was our 35th game of the season – and fittingly thirty-five is conventionally agreed as the cut-off point when Veterans football kicks in. Some of the players on show today were a long way past this watershed, others closer. We lost the game but in the end football won, and so did Farnborough Old Boys Guild.
Senior Vets starting XI:
Dave Green, Patrice Mongelard, Colin Brazier, Roger French;
Rob Lipscomb, Ian Shoebridge, Sinisa Gracanin, Stephane Anelli;
Des Lindsay, Simon Thomas.
Substitutes: Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous, Obi Ugwumba.
Supporters: Paul Bell, Andy and Jo Faulks, Isabelle and Thomas French, Michelle and Hannah Kleanthous, Pam Shoebridge, Vicky Tanner, Obi Ugwumba Jr (also linesman).
Young Vets starting XI
Richard Tapsfield, Neil Pearce, Andy Cobham, Matty Wright;
Jon Redman, Dean Murphy, Dean Wyatt, Pete Harvey;
Matt Ellis, Barry Grainger.
Substitute: Simon Davies
Supporters: Isabel Saines, Scarlett Saines, Milly Cobham, Harrison Wright, Jim St John, Fran Wright, Kirsty Redman plus Jon's 3 boys, Mrs Barry Grainger, Eden Grainger.
Referee Mick Gearing got us going in glorious sunshine – on a hot day which necessitated several water breaks (suspected by Young Vet Barry Grainger to be a time wasting tactic on our part) – the old need more hydration I thought, as Barry will find out one day. Mick Gearing told me later that the sun can be a hindrance and affect a referee’s vision. This was news to me as I had witnessed ocular issues with many referees even in very overcast conditions but I could see what he meant.
Not much happened in the first twenty-five minutes. Young Vets had more possession, attacking intent and more incursions in our box but without creating the sort of chances that strikers regret missing and which spectators remember. In the early part of the first half it is fair to say that only one team looked like scoring but they were made to wait. As the minutes ticked away we could see that we were not being outclassed. On twenty-five minutes we were forced into a change when Des Lindsay’s suspect groin gave way again and after valiantly hobbling in front of his personal fan club (I saw him buying a round for them with my own eyes later) he was replaced slightly ahead of schedule by Waine Hetherington. We immediately carried more of an attacking threat, which was amplified when George Kleanthous came on along with Obi Ugwumba on the half hour as Stephane Anelli and Simon Thomas went off to cool off.
In a cruel twist of fate just as we were beginning to make the other Gary in goal today, Gary Rosslee, work, in the Young Vets goal, we were undone by a swift break. We lost the ball in midfield after some fancy footwork which did not come off – the ball was recycled quickly to the wing for Young Vet Jon Redman to scooter into our box. He evaded Gary Fentiman and from a tight angle finished well, high into an empty net. I cannot say it was against the run of play but it came at a time when our hopes of scoring ourselves were rising. The last ten minutes of the half were indisputably ours – Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous and in particular Rob Lipscomb (twice) came very close. Gary Rosslee in the Young Vets goal had been shaken out of his composure and even Barry Grainger wondered if a betting syndicate had got to that Gary to throw the game. We had our best spell of the game and the Young Vets had to draw on all their assets to preserve their advantage. They were momentarily disrupted when Matt Wright had to go off after a collision with “a small motorcar” as Matt put it, in the muscular shape of Obi Ugwumba. I hope Fireman Matt can go to work tomorrow – he does an important job.
We were not despondent at half time – a makeshift back four missing several familiar faces was doing OK, and our forwards could cause problems with a bit of luck. Luck deserted us though when the wind doubled in strength for the second half. We had trouble penetrating the Young Vets box and they attacked swiftly down both wings and began to force corners. No Young Vets v Senior Vets game is complete without a French moment. It came after a shoulder charge by Matt Ellis reminded Roger French that Matt had had a piece of pizza last Tuesday that would have been Roger’s. But things did not get too spicy and I think they made up. Matt had the last laugh though when he hit a stupendous half volley from forty-five yards which combined all the necessary factors – no Senior Vet nearby to cramp his style, wind assistance, sun in the keeper’s eyes, perfect technical execution, power and direction and we were 2-0 down. By then we had moved the deckchairs on the Titanic as Stephane Anelli and Simon Thomas were back on for the last half hour replacing Ian Shoebridge and Roger French. Rob Lipscomb dropped to left back from midfield despite his deeply held feeling that this had greatly emasculated our attacking force.
The Young Vets went on to get a third from top predator Barry Grainger that the neutrals say should have been ruled offside, much to Gary Fentiman’s annoyance, who crowned the episode with water bottle throwing antics and a bit of a sulk. A fourth Young Vets goal was ruled out for offside. At the other end we repeated the pattern of the first period with good half-chances created by George Kleanthous, Waine Hetherington and Simon Thomas in particular. But it was not to be. The better team won – even if the score could have been a tad fairer.
The clubhouse was full of Farnborough family members, including many young children, and many spilled out into the sunshine. Pam and Ian Shoebridge had a conveyor belt of sausages and bread rolls on the go. They had samosas too but nobody told me and I just managed to clamp my jaw on the last one – tragedy averted. Good thing that Buffet Apotheosis Nick Waller was absent though we all had a reminder of his Buffetness later. Paul Bell tucked into the sausages with relish and had the nerve to say to me whilst I was munching away that “nothing had changed.” I have no idea what he meant – it’s the Geordie accent.
Even though he was troubled by various things Co-Manager Roger French did his usual star turn presenting an array of end-of-season awards. We would have preferred these awards to be better attended, but as they say it is the thought that counts. At the same time they reflect a view of the world which is fair, inclusive and unselfish and how the Senior Vets operation is run by the Management Team of French, O’Flynn and Mongelard – and that is unlikely to change. So players who want to trouble Roger with disputations about our selection and substitutions policy might be wise to use the summer break to showcase their talents to other teams, who will give them ninety minutes every time, because we can’t and we won’t.
Senior Vet and Club Photographer Colin Brazier was on hand to record the intimate event. Watch out for photos in the newsletter including that of a bottle of wine personally recommended by Roger French for half of the Shoebridge & Martin Catering Solutions firm. Roger’s speeches have lost their Castroesque dimensions but are nevertheless entertaining. So if you are not happy with our football today you can enjoy the speech as annexed to this report. Daisy Thomas was adamant that mum Amanda changed into a t-shirt with daddy’s face on it.
I swear Des Lindsay’s eyes were moist as he watched the Dot Cotton Award being picked up. There was added poignancy for him as his injury now meant that his season was over, and to his eternal chagrin, he would not have the opportunity to show his team mates that even though he used to get paid for playing football (like his brother Mark at Crystal Palace who have an appointment at Wembley shortly, to be attended by Eagles fan Vicky Tanner with an £85 ticket, who manned the bar today); he is now not above paying the local launderette for a kit wash.
Man of the match: Colin Brazier on fire in the midday sun, and going home with a sporty little number in red (no, not a tractor).
ANNEX: FOBG Senior Vets 2015-16 End of Season Awards as narrated (briefly) by Roger French
The Golden Boot
With three more games to go before we finish our long and tortuous season it is too close to call the winner of this season's Golden Boot at this stage as there are three players within two goals of each other and others that are breathing down their necks. Therefore this year our main trophies will be deferred to the Club EOS presentation in June.
Goal of the Season
As with the Golden Boot there are three more games to go and still time for a worldie to be scored so this trophy will also be deferred until the Club EOS presentation.
Managers Player of the Season
This is given to the player that we consider has contributed most to the team both on and off the pitch. As with the main team awards, the winner will be revealed at the Club End of Season presentation, in June.
Our esteemed former manager and long term referee continues to provide his services free of charge for which we are extremely grateful particularly in light of some of the challenges he has had to face over the course of the 38 games played. This season he has taken charge of 20 plus fixtures with more than a third of those games being played at neutral venues such as Beckenham Cricket Club, Darrick Wood 3G on a Friday evening and Glebe FC in Chislehurst. In recognition and thanks for the excellent service provided we would like to present this fine bottle of Courvoisier VSOP to Mick Gearing.
We are indeed fortunate to be able to provide post match hospitality for all our home games and details are regularly featured in our match reports as written by the Buffet Muppet. This season there have been fewer home games at Farrow Fields until recent weeks but our regular catering team have continued to provide a much appreciated service and as such we would like to present a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream and a Green & Black chocolate minibar collection to Pam Shoebridge, and some bottles of quality red wine to Jane Martin.
Dot Cotton award
This season the Dot Cotton Award has, with one notable (deslinquent) exception, been hotly contested with the majority of the regular players having completed 2 kit washes over the last 9 months. However, one player with commendable support managed 3 washes for the season and in the process not only treated both our home and away kits with the reverence they deserve but also scored highly on Facebook. This season’s winners of the Dot Cotton award are Simon Thomas and Amanda Sim who get this wonderful reminder of a neatly packaged kit, an iconic t-shirt, and a bottle of Bold 2 in 1 Lotus Flower & Lily liquid.
Supporters of the Season award
This season we have once again had a number of regular young supporters travelling far and wide not necessarily watching the action but enjoying the opportunity to get covered in mud. Between them they have covered virtually all of our games this season and so Isabelle, Thomas, Hannah and Michael Jnr are awarded Supporters of the Season trophies and footballs for those important kick-abouts in the back garden or the front room.
In addition special thanks go to Michael Jnr who has run the line for the majority of our games over the course of the season and has had the pleasure of seeing a few thunderbolts from dad Michael bulge the nets and no doubt he gets to hear about it again in the car and at home, every day.....
Waldorf’s Buffetsaurus award
Post match food is definitely a key component of Vets football particularly when a Buffet Muppet such as Patrice (Waldorf) Mongelard is part of the management team and the main match reporter. One player gets a mention in match reports whether he is there or not and notwithstanding that he eats like a bird - (no not a gannet - that's Pat's job). As these references have become too numerous to list and in recognition of services to catering we would like Nick Waller to have his very own version of Waldorf’s Buffetsaurus.
That’s almost it for another season apart from the 3 remaining games we have and the Club EOS Presentation in June so all that remains is to thank the ever elusive Lord Lucan AKA Toby Harlow for arranging the majority of our 38 fixtures for the season and hope that he continues to do so.
Man of the match: Colin Brazier