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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019

    Dannoís Review of the 2018/2019 Football Season

    Dannoís Review of the 2018/2019 Football Season

    Hi. Iím Danno. I was known around here a few years ago whilst writing about the wrestling. I donít do that anymore. Truth be told, I donít even watch wrestling anymore. Iíve far more important things to deal with. Football.

    Donít get me wrong. Iím not talking about the elite game of the Premier League, Iím not interested in International football and Iím yet to dip my toe into non-league. No, Iím fully invested in junior football. Here is my story.

    Nathan and his under 11ís

    Nathan, my eldest child, was a late starter at football in comparison to his friends. His first season was at under 9 level. Many of the team had played for over 3 years by then. But, despite my misgivings about junior football, I relented. My misgivings were misplaced. Nathan excelled in his first two years, picking up the outstanding player award in his league. Heís the new Gerrard. He can tackle, he can pass, he can shoot and can head a ball better than any child Iíve ever seen. He genuinely could be the Wyn Davies of junior football. He played so well, he was called into the gateway system for Newcastle. Unfortunately his team didnít share the same desire as he did last season, meaning we were left with a choice.

    Should we look for a higher level team?

    We went to trials. Without naming them, Nathan trialed at the most famous boys club in the north east. He got in! They had a place for him, playing first team football in the top division. Bunch of idiots clearly had some kind of death wish wanting him to play for them.

    One condition. Defence!

    Nathan is tall for his age. Despite being lean, he is strong. He can tackle, win the ball, then complete a pass. He can head, as Iíve mentioned earlier, better than anyone Iíve seen. He canít run for shit, a trait heís inherited from his father. They wanted him to play in defence! We talked. We seemed to have the same conversation every night. Nathanís mind was made up. He was staying where he was, several divisions below the league he had just got into, to carry on playing in midfield. Iím a supportive parent, so agreed with his decision, yet swallowed a lump of regret and dread in equal measures. Regret, as this was a great opportunity for him, but equally dread as i had found myself coaching.

    I played football to a decent standard. Donít get me wrong, nowhere near the top, but Iíve dragged my hungover arse through enough training sessions to be able to put on a session without having to think. Nathanís coach, desperate for help, sent pleading eyes my way. I agreed, on the condition that I remain firmly as a ďparent helping outĒ as opposed to a coach. Trust me, as Iíve found out to my detriment later on in this recounting, that the politics and organisation of junior football can be compared to the current state of our own countryís political situation.

    Anyway, back to the review.

    The under 11ís would see a massive change to their game this season. They moved from 7 a-side to 9, losing the 4 quarters of 12 minutes and replacing them with two halves of 25. However, the biggest shock came with the introduction of the dreaded offside rule! However, I had done my homework. I had spoken with various coaches who had taken kids through this stage and the advice was fairly unanimous.

    ďPlay FIFAĒ

    Simple I hear you say. 2 years ago I would have agreed with you. Unfortunately, a game with an appalling spelling mistake would see itís launch around this time.


    As a football coach, there I said it, Fortnite has been the biggest obstacle to overcome this season. You see, a year ago, issuing children with homework like ďgo beat your Dad on FIFAĒ would have been greeted with cheers and fist pumps. Now, they only want to murder each other using sniper rifles and shotguns in some multicoloured hell hole. Itís horrible. The kids meet up for training, talk about who they killed on Fortnite, talk about how late they stayed up playing Fortnite. They talk about what clothes they are wearing on Fortnite. They even talk about which ďYouTuberĒ they have been WATCHING PLAYING FORTNITE!

    Needless to say, the offside rule may have been neglected a little bit. That said, the under 11ís started like a house on fire, winning their first 3 games. Not only that, Alan, the bespectacled centre forward with natural talent and pace to burn, decided Nathan wasnít having it all his own way. Alan scored 10 goals in the first 3 games, winning MotM in 2 (Nathan won 1 after providing 3 assists and scoring a bullet header).

    Top of the league going into September, things were looking rosy.

    We drew the next game against a team that had only just been promoted. Winning 3-1 at half time, parents were dreaming of open top bus tours and champagne celebrations into the night. Unfortunately so were our 10 year olds. Letting the lead slip to a 3-3 draw didnít sound any warning bells.

    Neither did the cup defeat to the team 2 divisions lower.

    10 games without a win, going right through December. Nathan, having decided that Alan had thrown down the gauntlet with his razor sharp start to the season, won 9 out of 10 MotM awards. But they mean very little when losing. It was time to get serious. A bollocking was in order. We gathered the players at the start of the next training session.

    ďRight. You need to decide what you want to do. If you arenít bothered about losing anymore. If you arenít bothered about improving and getting better. If you no longer care, then fine, but please just let me know. Iím taking a lot of my free time putting on these sessions. If you want, I can set up the goals, throw a ball in the air, and you can kick the shit out of each other for an hour. Itís entirely up to youĒ.

    The team talk did itís trick. Easily the best training session since the late summer. Confidence was high for the following game.

    Lost 8-1.

    I genuinely wish I could say things improved, but they didnít. We remained rooted to the foot of the table throughout. It was the same story every match. We start well, concede after 10 minutes, then collapse. Even the MotM award became predictable. The kids stopped asking as Nathan walked away with the trophy every week.


    The MotM trophy is awarded by opposition coaches. Any accusation of nepotism are unfounded.

    The decision had been made. Nathan was going to leave. I told the coach, who said that he totally understood and was amazed this didnít happen sooner. In truth, it could have. Nathan was offered a place at a club 4 divisions higher in March, but chose to remain loyal. I was proud of that. However, now that he had decided enough was enough, I reached out to that coach.

    Word got around.

    Nathan received over 6 offers from clubs that had a full squad. They were willing to sacrifice a current member of their team to incorporate Nathan. People think the professional game is cut throat. These are adults willing to tell a ten year old kid that he is now off the team because someone better has come along. Itís a cruel game.

    He has chosen well. He is going to a club, only a few divisions higher, but he hasnít jumped into anyoneís spot. Theyíre a local club, but they also have a talismanic coach currently working with the Under 10 girls.

    Have I mentioned Iím coaching the under 10 girls?

    Next week.

  2. #2
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Enjoyed this, good read. Please keep us informed!

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  3. #3
    Do I shit in the woods? BEAR's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Lols - I might do the same now I'm playing over 35's - It's certainly a different exprience

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2018
    At least you're playing, Bear - I got turned down by my local team. Apparently at 32 I no longer 'have the legs' to play DM.

    Glad to see you back here, Danno, and hope your lad does well. My eldest lass has just started going to football training one evening a week, which she's loving.

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