Philosophical descent into civil war

South Indies 3 PFFC 1

Joe, 19 November 2000


English football accommodates few fairy tales these days. The last truly mythic story ­ the rise of Blackburn Rovers ­ descended into farce, the snarling on-field punch-up between cultured left back Graeme Le Saux and pugnacious midfielder David Batty being the starkest image of the club’s decline.

If the story of Philosophy Football has not quite attained fairy-tale status, nor its owners the financial largesse of Jack Walker, we have at least acquired culture, pugnacity and on-field punch-ups.

So it was that at 1-0 up against South Indies, thanks to a glorious 30 yard thump from Ian and controlled midfield scheming from Keir, Filippo misjudged the bounce of the ball, didn’t make the ensuing header and conceded an innocuous throw-in. Cue a verbal thumping from Terry, indignation from Filippo, a bit of shoving, fetching of hand-bags and a tiff that lasted into half time. As a member of the full-back union, I blame the left-winger.

Rattled by fighting in the ranks, we lost our shape and only a series of last-ditch interventions by Paul preserved the lead.

Nonetheless, Rob was never really threatened until the ref, who to looks of blank incomprehension had earlier declared football a “man’s game”, awarded the home side a penalty, presumably because we weren’t tackling hard enough. Terrible decision. 1-1.

Come the second half, South Indies’ experience on Astroturf began to show through. Our passes were always just too heavy and Geoff’s tactical switches failed to prevent some persistent pressure.

We held out till 15 minutes from the end when a gap opened at the back, the ref failed to spot a handball and we were behind.

Simon nearly bundled home an equaliser and Richard went on some mazy runs which never quite concluded with a decisive shot on goal (he hit the bar with a flashing header in the first half too ­ my man of the match) but the gaps became wider and South Indies secured the win with a late third.

No disgrace, but we failed to come to terms with the conditions and can have few complaints about the result.

Champ: Ian … for celebrating his goal the old-fashioned way.

Chump: Me … for not giving my name as Kierkegaard when booked.

Thump: Terry and Filippo … it shows we care.