2008 CHAOS CUP
This was the anniversary of our first trip to London way back in 1988. The original trip was to play against a CHAOS XI and a Leyton Orientear side in a four way elevens competition also involving Keith McAllister's QP Amateurs side.
After winning our two games against our English opponents we defeated the QP Amateurs on penalties (Martin Harvey was good enough to save one and I managed to score one) to win the coveted Anglo/Scottish Trophy.
Twenty years on and we were heading to London to take part in the CHAOS Cup (sixes) with a playing squad of four !
Crossers, Cuckoo and Psycho were my fellow players although, as I was carrying a mystery illness, I wasn't expected to play much, and didn't.
Also along for the weekend were Alan Main (who despite injury tried unsuccessfully to play a couple of times), Donna (Mrs Psycho) and Denise who was going to an Ali G Tribute Concert on the Saturday night.
We were drawn in a group with Orient B, Celtic and TFC Dynamo which meant that the three Scottish representatives would all be playing one another.
Obviously we were short of players so Woody pulled on the hoops for the entire time whilst we were also helped out by Adam, Joel, Neil, Matt, Sean (not that he was much help) of the O's and Ant/Dec of Shrewsbury.
Our first game was against Orient B and we were quickly two down due to a lack of ability.
Already it was looking to be a very long tournament but we got ourselves back into the game when Cuckoo (playing out to allow Crossers to go in goals) volleyed home a superb goal. It was as fine a goal as I have ever seen but it’s difficult to do it justice so if you meet Cuckoo please ask him about it as he'll only be too happy to describe it.
As we pushed forward to get an equaliser the O's hit us on the break and, with Crossers up the park (like he does when playing in goals on a Sunday), I was left in charge of the goal so naturally we lost a third goal and the game.
Our next opponents were TFC Dynamo, our good friends from Glasgow, and this game never hit the heights that the large crowd expected and we lost out by a mere five goals.
The last group game was against a Stevie King inspired Celtic side and, after a humdinger of a game with chances at both ends, the game ended goalless which meant we finished bottom on goal difference.
Of course, our cause hadn't been helped by the fact that the pitches were as far from the pavilion (and the Copper Mill pub) as was humanly possible so we couldn't nip away for a wee refreshment between games. Luckily we had a carry out but it just wasn't the same.
Anyway, we progressed to the Plate where Bristol Rovers stood in our way. This was undoubtedly the game of the tournament as both teams put on a tremendous spectacle, not of football but of laughing and joking their way through fourteen minutes of standing about on a bit of grass in Walthamstow.
Obviously, Rovers were the better side and managed three goals whilst referee Sean did give us a chance to get a goal back by awarding a penalty in the last minute when Woody was brutally thrown to the ground in the area.
Remembering back twenty years to Beckton where it all began, I decided that I should again take a pressure kick and slotted it away majestically as Gary in the Rovers goal somehow managed to miss the ball which was shot straight at him.
Understandably we found ourselves in the Wooden Spoon play off and we played one of the Orient sides.
In a very open game, and with Denise playing in goals (and Sean trying to batter the ball off her from the start, unsuccessfully I might add), the teams served up a four goal thriller.
Ant (or Dec) from Shrewsbury and Cuckoo got our goals to take the game to penalties (the game ended with both teams desperately trying to keep the ball in the corner to run down the clock) but we couldn't match the home sides brilliance at spot kicks although Denise did score at the second attempt.
So, the Wooden Spoon was won for the second time in three years, a fine achievement.
By the time the football finished Ian "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick had turned up to watch and he accompanied us to the Copper Mill where we at last managed a pint.
The Birkbeck was the usual location for the night time presentations and Crossers gratefully received the Spoon on our behalf.
The other winners were:- CHAOS Cup - West Ham (beat Birmingham on pens); Plate - Torquay (beat Cardiff); Quiz - Oxford; and the Dale Jacobs Player of the Tournament - Shrewsbury's number ten.
The party in the Birkbeck then started up and we were treated to a karaoke with Crossers, Cuckoo and myself being persuaded to sing on a couple of occasions.
It was an enjoyable night and our old friends from Torquay and Bristol Rovers kept us company so we could only enjoy ourselves in their company.
Another good CHAOS tournament and hopefully more of the squad will make the trip next year so the auld yins can enjoy watching instead of playing.
Leyton Orient B 1-3 (McGowan)
TFC Dynamo 0-5
Bristol Rovers 1-3 (Campbell (p))
Wooden Spoon Play Off
Leyton Orient 2-2 (Thomas (Ant or Dec), McGowan)
lost on pens