‘Stefanos passes the ball to Alex who can’t really control it and now it’s Burpham at the attack and there’s the shot from no.6 from the centre of the pitch and Woking’s defence can’t clear the ball and the goalie missed the ball completely and it’s 2-1 for Burpham. Stefanos rushes to comfort his friend Luke at the goal and they both start flossing and laughing. […] It’s the final whistle and you can see all 14 players hip-hip-hooraying each other and rushing to their parents, their clothes soaking with mud and a big smile on their faces’
Obviously not a Premier League match commentary. But something far more important, pure and genuine. It’s the Surrey Primary League and an extract of what was a game of my son’s club Woking Town FC, a couple of weeks ago. Every Saturday I take him for 90 mins of training and then on Sundays we have either a home or an away game (duh!). I say ‘we’ because I feel like I’m participating too, cheering and shouting from the sidelines. Stefanos loves football and we thought this activity would improve his team skills, keep him active and exercised, and boost his confidence even more (not that he needed that to be honest with you). He will never grow to become a professional footballer (trust me on that) but he enjoys it so much, it’s exhilarating to see the smile on his face after every training session and after every game. Not just his. All the kids at the club are like him. Football is meant to be like that. Pure, innocent and honest. Revealing your traits as an individual, learning you to sacrifice for the greater good, for the team and last and most importantly of all, when all the mud is dripping from your kit and your feet hurt from stretching and running and kicking, to be left with this feeling of joy and sweet tiredness which you could easily ignore for another hour of football with your friends.
I can’t wait as a dad to go to the practise every Saturday and every Sunday to watch the game and cheer for the team. It’s the best football I’ve ever seen in my life. And tell you what, you haven’t seen anything sweeter in football than 8-year-olds rushing to the ref and ask him to tie their shoe laces (see featured image). Come on Woking!
PS: Tomorrow the Surrey FA has declared that it’s silent weekend. So we are not supposed to shout and cheer from the sidelines. Where’s that tape to keep my mouth shut?