So its been some time since the world was rocked by the announcement of my retirement from football. The date etched in local football folklore was 2nd June 2018 and here is my blog covering my not so illustrious career My Footy Career
So just over a year after and a surprise message from one of the Sudley Infant school dads (Ian) to see if I was interested in an international call up for Sundley Infants. Hmmmmm Next up the news that it would be against Booker Avenue dads. Now the Sudley vs Booker rivalry goes right back to when I played footy for Sudley Juniors in the 80’s and it was the derby fixture. I remember scoring 5 at home against them and a couple away. In weird twist of fate number one the goalie that day would go on to become one of my best mates via Calderstones school. At the tender age of 45 years and 9 months I could not resist one last go and accepted the late cap in my career. Just like my sunday league career which was built around me falling in from 051/Cream/Garlands and going out to play I treated this new fixture with the same routine and arrive at match day after 5 hardcore days at The Glastonbury Festival. So after a nice 10 hour day in work it was a walk up to Heron Eccles which was the scene of one of my three career red cards and all set for the match.
Weird twist of fate number two was that my comeback would be on July 4th which was also the 55th birthday of my footballing hero Jan Molby. In fact he is such my hero that my waist size now does the best to imitate his and I planned on covering about 10 metres squared spraying balls around like the passmaster Molby was (is) So I met a few of our team for a brief warm up and the gaffer game us out instructions. Ian who was the gaffer was a kid I knocked around with at Sudley Infants back in the day and our mums worked together at Mossley Hill Hospital. I lost touch with him in juniors when his family moved over the water but many years later bumped into him on the sudley infants playground as our children attended the school. One of the other players Darren was part of a little gang we had was also playing and I had not seen him since I played against him in the late 90’s. So weird twist of fate number three was that these three lads who grew up in Aigburth Vale in the late 70’s early 80’s would drift apart and nearly 40 years later reunite on the pitch.
Just a brief warm up and we were off and I slotted into my centre half position. We were playing on one of these new 3G pitches which I have played five a side on but not a full game. I wasn’t very impressed with the pitch and found it hard to get my long passes away. Well I am blaming the pitch and not my age, weight or Glastonbury hangover. The match started off tightly before an error lead to a Booker Avenue goal. We battled on but by 40 mins were 3-0 down with me letting in a goal which I wasn’t happy with being a part time goalie. We then struck to give some late hope. We missed a sitter and can only think what might have happened at 3-2 but the hour was up and Booker most probably deserved their 3-1 victory. Fitness wise I was fine being an athlete but the achilles was aching a bit. I had the post match handshakes and swerved the post match pint as I was due in today at 7am for another 10 hours in work. I was on best behaviour and didnt boot anybody despite Paddy Power only going 6/4 on me to get a red card the cheeky bastards.
So I walked home and treated that as my warm down and then had a nice shower and then sat down to potter bout on my iMac. I went to get up and then I was struck. Now over the last 18 months I have ran numerous 10k’s, half marathons and even two full marathons but all of a sudden I was walking like my nan before she had her replacement hip operation and my achilles was playing up big time and it dawned on me why I had spewed footy. No great loss as I have nothing planned running wise but a reminder that if it involves twists and turns its most probably not best for me unless that is busting some moves to The Chemical Brothers at Glastonbury.
So the agents of the football world have stood down as its a definite no from me unless a lucrative offer comes in from a Chinese club and after the reviews of last night performance the local chinese chippy wont even be in for me !!
Thanks to the two lads who organised the game and the other dads who turned up for both teams. I leave you with a picture of me in my footballing heyday. The days we beat Booker Avenue with ease. I am the giant on the back row and Darren who played tonight is front left. Ian had left by this point.
Booker Avenue 3 ( Dan Pennington 2 Jamie McKenna)
Sudley 1 (Chris Rylands)
Venue : Herron Eccles
Referee : None
Attendance : About 7 and loads of kids
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