Parklife amateur football column

It is a curious thing. Friends, colleagues and acquaintances get together and decide to form a football team.

The bin-it-to-win-it approach works best in parks football
The bin-it-to-win-it approach works best in parks football

They find a league, who 
tell them who to contact to obtain a ground – a pitch to play on.

On most occasions this means contacting the local council, who on the 
whole, despite finances being cut to the bone, do a fabulous job in providing great facilities.

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Those facilities are used to their full potential.

Most weekends four games are played on those pitches, resulting in significant wear, and hiring a pitch from the local council is not 
cheap.

The cost varies across the county, some pitches have to be booked weekly, running up to £90 or £100 per 
game.

Pitch hire for a season can come in at around the £650 mark.

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It’s a huge outlay but one that is necessary if a team is formed.

After all, you can’t play without a pitch.

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At the risk of annoying doggy-folk, it is surely a source of constant irritation that people walk their dogs on these pitches.

On Saturday, waiting for kick-off, and with the teams preparing themselves, kicking a ball at the goalkeeper, stretching, etc, a lady simply walked her dog into one goalmouth, where it proceeded to “perform” it business.

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Players remonstrated with her in vain, and became quite incensed when she simply strode off, leaving the “deposit” halfway between the penalty spot and the edge of the goal area.

The home captain immediately sprang into action.

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Grabbing a piece of cardboard, he gingerly removed the offending item, and then proceeded to follow the lady to her car, leaving the cardboard on her roof.

She was not impressed, especially when the captain informed her that if she could let him know if she ever bought a new carpet, he would bring HIS dog round and follow suit. Point made.

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Sunday saw another game played without goal nets, and the visiting team in an Under-12s cup tie visibly threw in the towel.

Losing 12-0 with 20 minutes to go, an offside decision was given in their favour.

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But this decision was not correct. It had been given because no one noticed the two centre-halves, sitting on their backsides on the 
edge of the penalty area, having a natter about something. Whatever they were discussing, it was clearly not how to shore up their defence.

They had clearly given up.

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Everyone thinks that a game should go its distance, and of course it should.

But a team of 12-year olds, who had travelled 30 miles for a cup match, 12-0 down with 20 minutes to go?

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It was hard to be unsympathetic.

A word from their 
manager followed, and 
full-time was blown. Quite right too.