Allez les Rouges!
Allez les Rouges!
The Blanquette and snooker;
Finally arriving in Caylus, having been completely befuddled by the French sliproad system;
Sitting in the sun in the village square consuming beautifully chilled Kronies and beautifully heated croque-monsieur when we arrived;
The wonderful hospitality shown us by Graeme and all the villagers;
Joe and Claire holidaying so near that they were able to play in every match;
Playing in sweltering heat;
Being two men short and seeing our opposition substitute their entire team at half-time;
The enthusiastic drink-driving of the locals;
The hilarious rural nightclub;
Playing a match in the dark while the floodlights progressively flickered out;
Missing England’s 5-1 thrashing of Germany for this privilege;
Local journo ‘Eagle Chief’ reporting on our progress;
Goober managing to leave an unlocked car at the ground overnight;
The Gaffer being more concerned next morning with reading Eagle Chief’s piece in the local rag than finding said car;
The women maintaining an unbeaten overseas record;
The – errm – ‘cuisine’, especially what can only be described as tête de canard à la claw gélatineuse avec lungs sautées;
Rob the Cat playing up front;
Winning the Tournoi against the odds;
Doing manic Two-Tone style dancing round the pitch after winning;
Owen chanting “Who put the ball in the Frenchies’ net?” at Cornish Al;
Chairman Tisdale meeting us at Stanstead with an enormous ‘England welcomes the Parisot Lions’ banner.
All in all, never bettered!
Where were you when England beat Germany 5-1?
Germany 1 England 5 (Munich)
AFC Caylus 0 Philosophy Football 0 (Caylus)
Philosophy Football FC kicked off the second match of their French tour at exactly the moment that England started out on their epic World Cup qualifying match in Munich.
Saved from the predicament that faced the Likely Lads twenty five years ago, the philosophers, unable to see even the match highlights, were kept fully informed of events by their Italian defender Filippo Ricci, who sent text messages of the key moments in Munich from his home in Maida Vale, London, to the Gaffer's phone on the touchline in Caylus.
Moving swiftly across the boundaries of time and space, though still some way from the hyper-reality identified by Baudrillard, the following is a reconstruction of the key moments from both matches and will serve as a reminder in the future of where we were on that historic night. As the lights went out for German football, in Caylus the same phenomenon brought a new philosophical reckoning.
Min 6: “Jancker 1-0, defence slept” / Floodlights flicker on and off in Caylus, but no snoring in Philosophy’s defence as skipper Kayley marshals troops to thwart first attack by home side. Already early signs of greater philosophical endeavour than the night before as the visitors get to grips with dodgy pitch. Young Hyde looking nippy down the left flank.
Min 13: “Michael Owen, who else? 1-1” / Crunching tackle in the twilight zone. Owen Mather, who else?
First half injury time: “Long range, Gerrard, 2-1 England” / End of shortened first half due to floodlight failure, Cornish Al, in on goal hits inside of post. It was to be the Thinkers’ best chance all night.
Min 48: “First international double for Owen. England 3-1” / Another floodlight goes as Gaffer comes on at left back and relies on Owen for double vision.
Min 66: “What about a third by Owen? England 4 Germany 1. In Munich” / What about a sight of Owen? Squinting Gaffer trying to take throw in. In total darkness.
Min 74: “Can U believe it? Scholes to Heskey 5-1” / Can you see it? Ian attempts ambitious overhead kick. Apparently. Gets injured in the process. Gaffer appeals against the light. Rob the Cat asks for carrots.
Ref blows whistle. England celebrates. Street parties in Maida Vale. / Whistle goes in Caylus. Sound of Chairman's rattle the cue for a double celebration.
At the post-match press conference the Gaffer is in an upbeat mood and promises to emulate, in the home of Diderot and Voltaire, the 'New Enlightenment' of English football instigated by Sven Goran Eriksson. “Sven is one of us”, says Andrews. As for the following day’s Tournoi, the Gaffer dismissed injury fears over Ian’s back strain, Cornish Al’s suspected broken hand and Owen's bruised knee. “This is philosophical football,” he said, “and we are getting wiser with every game.”
Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as you wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think
It's good to be wise when you're young
'Cos you can only be young but the once
Enjoy yourself and have lots of fun
So glad and live life longer than you've ever done
Get wisdom, knowledge and understanding
These three, were given free by the maker
Go to school, learn the rules, don't be no faker
It's not wise for you to be a foot stool
Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think...
So goes the Specials’ song that firmly became the Philosophers’ theme tune in Parisot. One Hugh’s tapes was discovered by Jez and Owen on a long car journey, and was eventually played on the PA when we ran out to play matches at the Tournoi. Once again, we were touring several players short, but once again, enjoy ourselves we most certainly did. And we were certainly no one’s foot stool in France.
We met our esteemed chairman and chairmanette at Carcasonne airport, and were escorted south to Chateau Tisdale, where an incredible feast had been prepared. But the pièces de resistance were the copious quantities of Blanquette de Limoux available and the semi-derelict barn complete with full-size slate snooker table. We all played, with varying success; Ian cleaned up on the betting. Al would have lifted the trophy had there been one.
In the morning, the chairman announced that the Parisot we were destined for was not, as we had been led to believe, the one 45 minutes from his house, but another one 4 hours away. Thankfully, he had spent much time on the phone with Graeme Hyde, our host, and had been able to negotiate new accommodation for us. We set off fuzzy but early.
Our Parisot is in an area of south-central France virtually untouched by architectural progress over the past few centuries – beautiful medieval villages set in the foothills of the Massif Central. Our accommodation was a sizeable chunk of a holiday chalet complex on one of these hills in the neighbouring village of Caylus. The other residents of the complex were soon to rue this day.
One of the most important features of this tour was the inclusion of the fledgling PFFC women’s team, with five representatives: Steph (gaffer), Bev, Roo, Susie and Rose, who were joined by Claire ‘Hacker’ Boyle and, after a little prompting, by Deborah ‘Stomper’ Tisdale. Their triumphs on a corner of a foreign field were wildly celebrated and epitomised the PFFC spirit and ethos. They also got a great reception from the locals during their matches; I even heard one teen referring admiringly to ‘les oiseaux’!
Graeme was a top man and organised everything fabulously well. We talked with him then about returning, and hope one day to be a part of an international tournoi in the same location.
Those Parisot Lions
Amongst a stupendous team effort, Cornish Al was the star, producing three memorable goals including his best-ever for PFFC. The men’s team finished as champions of le Tournoi, and our women’s team made a sensational debut by drawing both their games. The impetus and cohesiveness gained during the tour was translated into domestic success, but what made the trip such a pleasure was the greeting we received, from Hugh and Deborah in Serres and from Graeme Hyde and the local villagers in Parisot.
Friday 31 August
Entente Sportive Parisot Puylagarde 4 Philosophy Football FC 1
Saturday 1 September
Caylus WFC 0 Philosophy Football WFC 0;
Caylus 0 Philosophy Football FC 0
Sunday 2 September
Le Tournoi d’Été
Verfeil 2 Philosophy Football FC 3
Entente Sportive Parisot Puylagarde 1 Philosophy Football FC 1
Najac 0 Philosophy Football FC 2
Entente Sportive Parisot Puylagarde WFC 2 Philosophy Football WFC 2