Under 14s Falcons – The Season in Words

The Heaton Tapestry
The Heaton Hawks Falcons Under Fourteens League Campaign of 2014-15

Introduction
What follows is a one hundred percent accurate account of the Heaton Hawks Falcons under Fourteens 2014-15 Pinpoint Junior League Division Five season. When I say, “one hundred percent accurate”; that statement itself is not one hundred percent accurate. Firstly, it should be pointed out that no cartoon dogs died in the making of these reports and no local entrepreneur bearing a similar name to the one used in these reports has been imprisoned and humiliated in a South African prison. Following on from that, I would like to thank BBC Look North for one report during the autumn about an emerging e-cigarette refill company that helped spark some of my more surreal reports.

Everything else you can trust completely. There is a saying that “truth is often stranger than fiction.” I have found that to be particularly so when you have licence to make things up as you go along: Something I would like to thank the club for in giving me such a free hand to do.

Let’s not spoil the plot by announcing the season’s outcome in this introduction. There was much to celebrate though. Some might call it schadenfreude but few outside a small new town in south eastern Northumberland would feel anything short of ecstatic joy on seeing one particular group of malicious thugs get their just reward of relegation on goal difference from Division Five. I am delighted to report that our whole team grew – literally – during the season. Bruised and battered by some rather physical battles on occasions; all in the best of spirit of course; the Falcons emerged stronger than ever: So a big thanks to one and all that made this possible.

Now please read on…

PART ONE – The Sleeping Blind Giraffes

Prologue – A Lesson from History
Now pay attention: there might be a revision test afterwards. History is such a fine subject to learn: just ask eminent historians like Professor Sir Christopher Kamara and Sir Clive Tyldesley. It’s not simply about reciting and remembering key dates, names of leaders, wars or, if you just get your history from the History Channel, not just about how naughty Adolf Hitler was. You learn as much about what happens today from events and human behaviour of the past. So let’s start with the history of the Heaton Hawks Football club before we set off on the Falcons 2014-15 odysseys.

——————————————————————

In the year 1065 William the Conqueror, or “William the B*****d” as he was also known, flicked through a pile of holiday brochures in search of the perfect summer break. One particular package offer caught his eye: The Dawson and Sanderson brochure offered a boozy lads weekend tour of: “Some of Britain’s finest watering holes. Visit the quaint and authentically rustic charms of Newcastle upon Tyne where the local ales are lovingly handcrafted by the most highly trained and dedicated artisans from the region, using only the highest quality locally produced ingredients.

Savour the warm welcomes of the famed “Ye Olde Scrogge Inne,” the unique atmosphere of “Jackson’s Bar”, “The Raby” and “The Lord Clyde”. Enjoy the low prices of their fine ales: much cheaper than that London. There you can watch live Sky Premier League football action on their widescreen HD TVs for free!”

Unfamiliar with HD TV the King had to be advised by one of his senior advisers that these weren’t wide screen high definition transvestites. Once explained, the concept of television made perfect sense and, as far as he was concerned, sealed the deal as far as this holiday was concerned.

It sounded wonderful to the King. Cheap beer, football banter and a warm welcome: What could be better? He should have read the fine print. When they set off in 1066 with Ryan Ferries they found that they would have to use their own horses and carry their own supplies. The ferry would drop them off at Dover (or Newcastle Ferry terminal as it was described in the brochure) and they’d have to make their own way from there.

Whatever warm welcome awaited the great King up in Newcastle he found himself surrounded by hostility down south and the folks in that London were particularly unwelcoming. “I paid good money to have a fun holiday and this is all I get. I’ll show them!”

He summoned many more “mates” who travelled by ferry, bringing with them a large assortment of weapons; for self-defence of course; along with all the essentials needed to survive the harsh journey north. To fight their way so far north would take huge supplies of essential lubrication, which came in the shape of ten thousand “cairns” of “Brew de Speciale”.

Progress was steady but slow. Matters took a surprising turn deep in the south at Hastings where the King of England, no less was captured by some of William’s “mates”. The King’s distinctly antagonistic attitude, similar to that of the bloke on the “Ronseal” adverts, “it does exactly what it says on the effin’ tin”, led him, unexpectedly, to being introduced as the first guest on the popular new game show; “The Golden Shot”. As the “special guest” he had to stand in front of a wall balancing a chest of gold and silver on his head whilst the contestant fired a crossbow at its lock to release the money and win the star prize. Unfortunately for poor King Harold, the contestant, one of William’s brave knights, was well tanked up with Kronenbourg and accidentally shot him in the eye.

That was the end for the poor English King, leaving William to take up the role: “some holiday this is turning out to be!” He wasn’t to be denied however: now the way was clear for an easy journey north. As William, or “Bill” as he liked to be known, and his entourage trotted down Welbeck Road he shouted to the leading knight “Get me un pint de Brew de Speciale”. The party was about to begin.

Much rejoicing followed and William, or “Bill”, now King of all England decided that this was no mere holiday destination but a home from home. He set up a regional headquarters in leafy Heaton and began to make big plans for the future. He knew that he would have to make his main headquarters in the south so that he could keep them “radgie lurcals” under control.

The North East, though, was to be his place of leisure and pleasure. He appointed two of his bravest, law enforcing knights as governors of the region; “Sir L’Homme de Cidre” and “Sir Bat le Gadgie” Under their secure stewardship, he could visit the north east, safe in the knowledge that he could relax and indulge his greatest passions.

His greatest passion was football and it was in Heaton that he founded his first English based football team; “Heaton Faucon Club de Football”. He set about raising the funds for his club de football with a bag packing exercise for shoppers at the local ASDA. All went well until the knights horses were given a parking fine, having been tethered in the yard outside the shop for over four hours. Still enough money was raised to make a start.

Soon Bill was raising the family coat of arms above the club ground. He was soon to see his club prosper, quickly expanding to cater for many teams of different ages.

The last of the teams to be formed proved a particular labour of love for the great King. He instructed Sir Brian de Liverpool to assemble the Heaton Hawks Falcons from some of his bravest “Knights de Normandie”: young and fearless their names were to echo down the ages: Sirs Ervin Dubois, Alexandre, Callum, Lee, Patrice, Antoine, Thomas, Jacques, Umer, Pierre, Michel et Mathieu. King Bill instructed his weavers at Bayeux to construct a tapestry celebrating their exploits in the local “North East Localiser le Football Junior League”.

A fine idea only blighted slightly by the results: heavy defeats against Marseille, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, St. Etienne, Auxerre, Bedlington and Lyon took their toll. At the end of the season they’d managed only a single solitary point, an away draw at AE Phoenix. King Bill reluctantly agreed to let his weavers simply depict his holiday exploits instead and, after much thought and prevarication agreed that his brave knights play their second season without wearing their suits of armour. This proved a master stroke as the Falcons soared higher and higher to the dizzy heights of Division Cinque, causing some “fairns” to suffer bouts of “vortigan”.

The brave Sir Knights exploits became legend: stories were written and passed down the generations. Songs were penned and performed by travelling minstrels whilst the greatest and most eminent historians of the time would chronicle their great achievements to be remembered for eternity.

Their spirit has been passed down the ages with their direct descendants, almost a thousand years on, continuing the heroic exploits. The 2014/15 season saw the sad departure of two team stalwarts but also the addition of others with long historical associations to the club.

Armed with new kit paid for by a big fundraising effort at the local Asda, the reinvigorated team threw themselves into the intense pre-season preparation. This involved going away on package holidays and staring at “FIFA14” and “Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies” on the computer screens, stored in their airless, cheesy odour filled, unkempt bedrooms for the entire summer. Resting their weary muscles, they determined to be primed and ready for the battles that lay ahead. How many fire breathing dragons could they slay in their epic odysseys?

In the very year, 2014; Brian dreamed that his young knights might finally climb above the glass ceiling to experience the heady delights of Division Fowah to fulfil the dreams of the long dead King.

This is how the Falcons’ story unfolded…

Sun Setting on the Empire
Cramlington United 3 – 3 Heaton Hawks Falcons
Cramlington: 3rd September 2014

First league game of the season: whose bright idea was it to go for an early mid-week evening kick off? Some of us work late and don’t have a car. I must apologise, therefore, because what follows may be show slightly less scrupulous attention to accurate detail than is normally the case. If the events recorded at Cramlington seem a little far-fetched you can rest assured that the reports of all the remaining games in the season are one hundred percent accurate.

There is an old saying that Britain’s wars are won on the playing fields of Eton: as if one school has a monopoly on wisdom! Let’s not forget that there are schools too in Cramlington. Who in their right mind would bet against those involved in playground fights at Cramlington High School not charging victorious in battles across the British Empire. Without these academically gifted warriors there would be no British Empire.

In recent years, however, with schools more concerned with academic results alone, the warrior spirit on the sports fields has been left to wither and die. Almost everywhere, that is, except Cramlington. It is, therefore, tragic that the Empire is long gone. Gone are the Viceroys of India with their warm lilt of a Northumbrian burr; no more the putting down of Mau Mau rebellions with “lurcal” Pitbull terriahz; gone the raising of the Magpies flag above the parliaments of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa and all those other nations fortunate to be blessed by colonial rule direct from Cramlington High School.

What good could this seething mass of warrior spirit be put to now that the sun had set on the Empire? There’s always the Pinpoint Junior Football League.

On this mellow, sunlit September evening they greeted their great friends from Heaton for yet another jolly, spiffing game of footy. Cramlington sensed that this time they’d finally get the better of their friendly rivals. The previous season saw the Falcons win the away fixture four-three and draw the home one three-three: very close games then. The odds favoured a bit of payback.

To the surprise of many, the rusty old Falcons started brightly and what followed was another fiercely but fairly contested match. At one point the Falcons actually managed to build a three-one lead through goals from George, Alex and Tony. Cramlington were not to be denied though, fighting back to equalise and secure yet another three-three draw.

There were notable performances across the Falcons team though they faded in the second half. An away draw still appeared to represent a good opening result for the season. After the game the two sides shuck hands on a fine contest with honours even. They parted as firm friends, for ever thinking of their games as close and evenly contested with plenty of jolly old British fair play.

As the Falcons drove off into the early autumn sunset, few were aware of the dark and sinister forces lying in wait for their buddies back at Cramlington. The home of quintessential British fair play was unknowingly fixed firmly in the stare of alien forces with malice aforethought. Come February, all was to be revealed at the return fixture

Why Leonardo da Vinci never flew with Ryanair?
Newcastle Westgate 6 – 1 Heaton Hawks Falcons
Westgate Sport Centre: 7th September 2014

Played 1 Drawn 1 Points 1 Position – er somewhere near the middle I guess

Of course the answer’s bleedin’ obvious: aeroplanes hadn’t been invented during Leonardo’s life time. And yet it could have all been so different. The great man’s almost fanatical love of football brought him tantalisingly close to discovering the secrets of aerodynamic or streamlined flight: death spirited him away moments after his eureka moment.

For all his life, Leonardo was a passionate Hednesford Town fan. He never missed a match, home or away travelling from his home in the Florence region, across the continent, over the Alps and the North Sea on his own prototype floatable Space Hopper. It wasn’t just weekends, he even caught the midweek evening kick offs. A truer football there never was.

The great renaissance polymath achieved many things and there are sketches of his for a flying machine. Some engineers today even suggest that these sketches are sufficient to create a flying machine though not one that could rise very high or fly very far. These problems weighed heavily on his mind as he hopped his way across Europe for Hednesford Town FA Vase first round cup match at home against Sutton United on 1st May 1519. His team were hot favourites to win being, in those days, two divisions above Sutton and in much the better form.

What Leonardo saw on the chilly afternoon in Hednesford shook him to the core. His beloved team inexplicably capitulated to a six one defeat against weaker opposition. True, Sutton were desperate for a good cup run but surely Hednesford ought to be too good for them. Their manager, Lord Allardyce of Bolton rested a few first team regulars but even allowing for that this was a peculiarly anaemic display.

Then, as the final whistle blew, the truth finally dawned on the ailing Leonardo: The last thing Hednesford needed was a long distracting cup run when they were contenders to win the league title. Their aim, so Lord Allardyce said, was to streamline their season to improve their chances. This was Leonardo’s eureka moment: to make an effective flying machine he would need to produce a more streamlined machine that could cut through the air with little resistance.

The now frail old man quickly jumped onto his Space Hopper and hopped back to his home town in Vinci where, the following day, he started to prepare sketches for his new and improved flying machine. Tragically, the trauma of a home defeat and an exhausting journey proved too much for Leonardo as he collapsed and died having made the preliminary sketch of a Hawk. That very sketch is now the emblem of Heaton Hawks Football Club.

On Sunday 7th September, in honour of that great discovery, Heaton Hawks Falcons took to the field at the Westgate Sport Centre with the singular aim to streamline their season into a focussed dart towards promotion. Faced with opposition from a division above them, this was an opportunity to merely try out a few tactical ideas and formations without letting any cup run provide a distraction. Their squad was weakened by the absence of Peter and Umer with Paddy out injured. Lee took the place of Abbas in goal for quite a new look Falcon team that welcomed Matthew, Thomas and Ellis into their 2014/15 squad.

For a team not interested in cup runs the start wasn’t what one would expect as the Falcons piled on the early pressure though creating little with Michael charging forward but getting little support as his forward team mates couldn’t keep up with him.

This bright start proved to be an aberration as Westgate created a chance and scored. Two more quickly followed with little resistance, reminiscent on an England cricket team middle order batting collapse. Although Michael had a scuffed effort deflected onto the post, more chances came at the other end as the Falcons midfield and defence were easily overrun. By half time the score was five nil and the game was up.

As the game was up the Falcons could relax and play some decent football in the second half without fear of a draining cup run to follow. Brian made some eye catching formation changes that were broadly the equivalent of a cricket team reversing their batting order: defenders were moved into forward positions and the first half attack moved into defence. To the surprise of many it proved highly effective as the Falcons more than held their own in the second half. Thomas, moved up front, was fouled by the keeper and converted the resulting penalty. Westgate quickly replied with a well worked sixth but that was their last sight of goal for the rest of the game as the outstanding keeper, Lee, kept them at bay with this former attackers turned defenders proving particularly effective in defence. Michael was as effective at the back as he was as a forward and he was very ably supported by George and Ervin.

The Falcons created the better chances late on but the game finished six-one to Westgate: job done then. All in all a strange game where, despite the result there were some notable performances: Lee, diminutive in height but great in stature as a keeper deservedly won the Man of the Match accolade. Thomas’s speed and composure up front was a revelation ably supported by Ellis and Tony. It was hard to pick out anyone who’d had a bad game but Brian’s got a headache choosing a formation for next time.

Elsewhere in Newcastle, to celebrate Leonardo and the Falcons great contribution to flight and aerodynamics a huge fun run was held, hosted by Anton Dek, the well-known Austrian performance artist, complete with a fly pass by the Red Arrows: Just a normal day for the Heaton Hawks Falcons.

There’s one other reason Leonard wouldn’t fly with Ryanair: they’re ****!

A Herd of Blind Giraffes
Heaton Hawks Falcons 2 – 7 Bedlington Juniors Real
Manor Ground: 10th September 2014
Played 2 Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 1 Points 1: Position – nearer the bottom

It’s just as well that Leonardo never got to test his theories about flight and streamlining. Despite streamlining their season that year, Hednesford Town only managed to finish fifth from bottom of the league: so much for concentrating on the league. You could say the same for the Falcons after a promising away draw in their first fixture. The Bedlington game then was less a case of Icarus falling from the heavens than him flying straight into a lamp post.

On a glorious mid-September evening under the warm orange glow of the slowly setting sun both sides entered the field of play. Rumour had been spread around that Bedlington weren’t any good but the league table suggested otherwise. Had anyone told Bedlington about the Falcons? The team that was streamlining their season so they could dart towards promotion; a team that promised to live up to Sid Waddell’s famous quote; “There’s only one word for this: magic darts!”

The early exchanges were scrappy though the Falcons had more of the possession. They didn’t look like fashioning any chances though. If this had been a darts match, those sitting yards away from the dartboard might have cowered for fear of being hit: the dartboard would be unblemished. They were soon hit by a sucker punch as Lee, with a rush of blood to the head chased out of his area in the face of little danger, only to be passed by the Bedlington striker who scored well from a tight angle.

From there the first half became a procession: I don’t propose to go through each individual goal because they were all so similar. The main Bedlington striker, time and again, broke through the midfield and last line of defence scoring some and missing others. Watching the understanding between backline and keeper was like watching Trappist monks playing their first game with no knowledge of the rules. Understanding and coordination around the whole team resembled eleven blind giraffes charging around, bumping into each other and going nowhere.

Whatever the team felt collectively seemed to be weighing heaviest on Lee’s shoulders. The first half had been a nightmare for him but he showed that he cared; he deserved respect for that. He’s a talented keeper so let’s give him plenty of support and write that first half off.

So six-nil at half time and we all dreaded the second half. Whatever was said at the break certainly made a big difference. Chances came at both ends before Bedlington added a seventh with a lob that the keeper was powerless to do anything about.

I kept copious notes of the chances throughout the game: what happened after the seventh went in is that nearly all the remaining chances came at the Bedlington end. The Bedlington keeper, like Lee, rushed out once too often and Michael was able to pull one back. Later he added a really well taken second. Thomas, Umer and Alex all went close late on with Alex even hitting the cross bar.

It was all too late of course but a team that looked directionless in the first half were transformed and bossed the second half. Michael had shone up front but Tony deservedly took the Man of the Match award for providing superb and ever reliable cover at the back in the second half.

Let’s now lay the ghost of Jockey Wilson and visually impaired large African wildlife to rest. The second half gave a glimpse of the future: the Falcons could mix it with the mighty Bedlington: Next time maybe.

A Resounding “Yes” from the Falcons
Blyth Deportivo 8 – 0 Heaton Hawks Falcons
Blyth Sports Club: 14th September 2014

Time for another pointless cup competition and a break from league pain: Time to replace one pain for another. In a result that confounded all the polls, which had shown the two sides to be neck and neck: The players of Heaton Hawks Falcons voted unanimously in favour of independence…from each other. The split was amicable: nothing personal but each voted in favour of being allowed to do their own thing without interference from other team members, formations, the coach, the opposition or the ball.

On an unrelated note: the team’s bigger objective; to streamline their season achieved a final and glorious boost, leaving Blyth Deportivo saddled with an unwanted cup run to deal with. So for the Falcons this had been a day of double success. It was time to celebrate by cracking open the bottles of flat and passed their “Best Before” date, “Vimto”.

For the two rivals in the independence campaign this was a rare time of coming together as Alex Salmond and David Cameron watched on; both seemingly delighted with the way things had worked out. Salmond happy that self-determination had won the day and Cameron delighted because of his belief in self initiative and laissez faire economics instead of state interference as represented by leftist leaning football coaches. The two men celebrated with an embrace and kisses. I’m pleased to say, I didn’t see that because there were some rumours spreading about “tongues”: not an image to conjure up over Sunday lunch.

So then; cause for rejoicing? The whole event went a bit flat for the watching families and coaching team. Coach and head of the “Better Together” campaign, Brian MacNelis was, understandably, unavailable for comment after the game.

While the two new political buddies left the ground early to book a place in a nearby Holiday Inn, the head of Deutsche Bank, a keen Falcons fan, watched on and warned that the whole thing could end up in profound depression for everyone. Sadly no one took his dire warnings seriously before kick-off.

The game made an inauspicious start when Blyth admitted that they couldn’t get a Referee for the game so one of their staff took the role. Indeed in the first half, like David Cameron, he showed a liking for a laissez faire approach as one or two handballs and pushes went unpunished on both sides in the first half. After the first half beatings that the Falcons had taken over the previous two games the first ten minutes were reassuringly uneventful with the exception of Deportivo hitting the post.

Then, on twelve minutes, the game took on a familiar feel as the Falcons were caught square and conceded. The linesman later admitted he should have flagged for offside but Deportivo repeated the exercise a minute later with no hint of offside. Shortly after that a third was disallowed for offside.

Thomas came closest to a reply with a shot – come cross being parried away by the substantial Deportivo keeper but with no Falcon following up. Deportivo simply caught the Falcons square again to make it three soon afterwards.

On twenty nine minutes a fourth duly arrived from a corner, which the Falcon defence failed to clear. Shortly afterwards Michael managed to tickle a shot passed the imposing Deportivo keeper only to see it cleared off the line. George repaid that by doing the same to clear the Falcon lines after Lee had been beaten.

So four nil at half time: the best score line the Falcons had achieved in three games. The one bright spot from the previous two games was the more spirited and effective second half performances. You could accuse the Falcons of inconsistency on those occasions but not this time.

In the second half the Falcons didn’t manage a single shot at all despite the industrious work up front by Michael and Tony. So many Falcon offensives were down the flanks with no support at all in the centre. Around the rest of the pitch Deportivo players seemed the hungrier, seemingly always winning the fifty-fifty balls: spirits were sagging as a fine header made it five then a route one goal straight from the keeper’s punt made it six.

The laissez faire Referee finally gave a decision when he awarded a penalty against Peter for handball in the Falcon’s area. There could be no complaints about the decision but the gesture of allowing the burly keeper to take the penalty was, frankly, rather insulting and humiliating. It was no surprise when he made it seven. Tempers frayed shortly afterwards when Michael conceded a soft foul after, shortly before, having his shirt pulled and being the victim of flagrant obstruction. Needless to say that went unpunished and Michael, understandably miffed, must have come close to a booking.

An eighth goal came before the end by which time everyone was pretty well passed caring. So the game had been pretty dispiriting for the team, proving that independence can be profoundly depressing after all. The team appeared to lack the fight and motivation though some players had done reasonably well: Peter was named Man of the Match, Lee made several fine saves and was not responsible for any of the eight conceded. Michael had carried the main threat up front and worked hard for little reward. George had looked solid in defence before injury ended his game and Thomas once again impressed in both attack and defence.

The next training session can’t come soon enough as the Falcons look to pick themselves off the ground: Time to revoke independence, sort out formations, get motivated and start fighting back

The Morning after the Night Before
Heaton Hawks Falcons 2 – 5 Blyth Betis
Heaton Manor Ground: 21st September 2014

The votes are counted and, after the furore, the Falcons have admitted, much to the relief of their long suffering coach, that they’re better together. So huge sighs of relief in Heaton with the hope of better things to come.

Things were different just up the road where a broken Alex Salmond emerged dishevelled and sore from the Holiday Inn after a night he’d prefer to forget; “Better together” a term he didn’t want to dwell on. He was followed, sometime after, by David Cameron, smartly adjusting his tie and looking very smug having just relived some of his happiest dormitory games from Eton: Job done. Ugh! Now let’s talk football.

The Falcons had their first training session of the season on Wednesday night. A team, taunted for playing like eleven blind giraffes earlier in the season worked their socks off to build some real understanding. They were transformed from the visually challenged tall African mammals to the cogs of the most perfect of Swiss watches: slick passing, telepathic understanding and deadly finishing. If ever there was a miracle then this was it.

Sunday arrived and another unnecessary cup distraction against Blyth Betis. The Falcons were looking to continue their record of never having beaten a Blyth team in their history so, with the aim to streamline their season, they rather smartly decided to leave the slick passing, telepathic understanding and deadly finishing back on the training ground.

A promising start, in terms of possession and territorial advantage bore no fruit as chances were quickly snuffed out by a quick defence and an annoyingly capable keeper. The Falcons, yet again, looked lethargic in midfield and defence where confusion often reined. Goals after fifteen and twenty minutes for Betis came as no surprise. There was communication; players did talk to each other, just not in the same language. Two very soft goals came despite the Falcons having a fair share of possession but there could be few complaints.

Jack did give the Falcons hope just before half time by pulling one back and Tony went close. The second half continued the change in momentum as the Falcons pressed forward with Michael and Callum going close before Thomas equalised eight minutes into the half. They continued to press and more chances came but these either went wide or were saved by the excellent Betis keeper.

Against the run of play a Falcon defensive error, from a player who it would be wrong for me to mention because it is bad form to criticise your own offspring, led to a soft third goal for Betis. Even though the Falcons created more chances and continued to press forward, they were crushed when a thumping drive by the Betis forward cannoned into the goal off the post. To cap things off the same striker superbly controlled a looping cross and fired home a brilliant fifth. You can’t argue with finishing like that. There was no way back from that.

We could only reflect on an improved performance and rue the start we’d given Betis, not to mention their excellent finishing and keeper. For the Falcons Tony was Man of the Match again, once again showing strength, speed and awareness in midfield. All round the team had not performed badly but the sluggishness and lack of understanding in midfield and defence was frustrating in the first half: once again too many Falcons were missing out on the fifty-fifty balls.

So, looking on the bright side, a cup distraction has gone and the team are improving: Leonardo’s dream can come true.

Be Glad
Bedlington Juniors Real 3 v 2 Heaton Hawks Falcons
Bedlington Sunday, 28th September 2014
Played 3; Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 2 Points 1: second bottom

As a young child, one Josep “Pep” Ignacio Barry Arbuthnot Guardiola i Sala played with his friends in the backstreets of Barcelona. Together they played football all day long – even during school term time. Football was Pep’s greatest passion though he still found time to study and ponder the greater issues of the day.

As a student he flourished until he finally found a way to marry his passions for football and philosophy when he invented the concept of “tica-taca”. The concept extolled the virtues of team work, intricate networks built upon simple short lines of communication. For football he developed this concept to produce one of the most sophisticated patterns of passing and movement ever known. The eminent footballing academic, Professor Wayne Rooney, no less, was asked for his opinion about “tica-taca” but his answer (when translated into English) that he “preferred the orange ones” only caused confusion.

In time Pep was signed up by Barcelona where he got to practice his ideas first as a junior, then a first teamer, an international and then as a manager. In management he produced a team that stood head and shoulders above all others, crushing the greatest sides of the day in Spain and Europe.

Then the first doubts: Bayern Munich won the Champions League. Pep moved there to manage them the following year, driving them to Bundesliga triumph. The problem was that they were overrun by Real Madrid in the Champions League who tore down their flanks leaving Bayern looking pedestrian and hapless.

Pep knew that something was missing from his total football philosophy. How was it that simple, direct pace and power could overwhelm the artistry and sophistication of his team? The manager of Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti, being the generous type, took pity on poor Pep and offered to share with him the secrets of his success. He presented him with a book, in the original Latin, called “Lorem Ipsum: Perfectio in Praxi” If Pep’s concept was called “tica-taca” then this concept, translated into English, could be boiled down to “Hoof it up to the Big Lad” or “Be Glad” as Pep pronounced it.

These were the only words, inscribed in Latin, within the elaborately handwritten single manuscript, “Ungula puera usque ad magnum”, in a weighty gold embossed cover, crafted ornately by monks in their remote abbey high above the clouds on the peaks of the Pyrenees. Legend had it that this very phrase was the first commandment (of eleven) handed to Moses by God himself. Unfortunately, Moses, being very much more a rugger chap, chose not to write it down.
The Abbot of the Monastery, Brother Antonio Del Pulis, vowed to take these teachings into the wider world, putting them into practice at Stoke City and Crystal Palace before becoming the Director of the Glyndebourne Opera Company. His teachings have since been taken up by his fellow Brothers Warnock and Allardyce as well as Bedlington Juniors Real.

Pep was intrigued. He’d heard how Pulis had performed near miracles with bargain basement squads at both clubs whilst he had had the cream of Europe to choose from. Pep vowed to find out more and see this unique footballing vision in action.

Word got to him that there were prime examples to be found in the North East Pinpoint Recruitment Junior League. One team had been on the receiving end of several beatings resulting from this direct approach. The admittedly very vincible Heaton Hawks Falcons had taken a particularly painful beating at home by Bedlington Real who had mercilessly taken the “Be Glad” approach.

Sunday 28th September saw the return fixture so Pep was keen to take a closer look. He travelled up to Bedlington; determined to keep a low profile: he thought it important not to draw attention to his self, disguising in an expensive suit and sporting designer stubble. “Surely I’ll blend in there. I’ll be Mr Anonymous”, he thought to himself as he drove up north in his 1.6 litre Citroen Berlingo: described in “Auto car” as “useful, well priced and not half bad to drive”, a car that offers excellent economy and forty eight miles per gallon if driven at a regular fifty six miles per hour.

A pleasant overnight drive saw Pep arrive early for the game even though the scheduled kick off was an early one. The bleary eyed sacrificial lambs, or Falcons, also managed to make it to the ground on time. For the Falcons, celebrity visits to their matches were nothing new; the previous week saw Louis van Gaal and his entire Manchester United defence attend their Sunday morning fixture in an effort to learn from their defensive tactics. These were quickly and effectively put into practice that very afternoon at Leicester.

For the two teams, the Sunday morning was glorious, sunbathed in the last nostalgic glow of a warm summer. What followed that was not quite so poetic though it turned out to be a real crowd pleaser. The Falcons had come prepared for the route one “be glad” Bedlington game and snaffled out the first threats before a fumbled corner gifted Bedlington the lead. What followed was a succession of route one chances at the other end with Thomas, Callum A and George going close.

In truth it was end to end stuff with even more route one chances going begging at the Falcons end. It was the Falcons, though, who scored next, after 32 minutes, as Tony equalised, again route one, showing great control and composure. This lead lasted scarce a minute as Bedlington delivered a free kick into the box whilst Falcons passively looked on. Lee was helpless to prevent a second and a Bedlington half time lead.

With the second half barely settling into a rhythm Thomas delivered a superb cross in for Callum A to equalise. Again chances followed at both ends before Lee fluffed a clearance that led to a third. The majority of chances were now falling to Bedlington but Lee made some excellent saves and Bedlington were guilty of some glaring misses.

With time running down the Falcons increased the pressure with Thomas, Michael and Ervin going close. For all the industry, there were to be no more goals and Bedlington took the points. They’d had the majority of the chances but had really ridden their luck late on. A strong call for a penalty against the Bedlington keeper was turned down despite the linesman flagging and the Bedlington coach groaning. He appeared to bring Michael down without any intention of collecting the ball.

This might have appeared a controversial decision though it was hardly the most outrageous judgement that week: a judge in Montana found his defendant brother “not guilty” of murdering his wife and two children after he’d gunned them down. In his summing up the judge said; “The evidence was inadmissible because the defendant was clearly moving away from goal and had no control of the ball”. He also awarded damages to the defendant against the manufacturers because of the gun’s faulty mechanics.

So lets’ count ourselves lucky to be living in good old fair minded and law abiding England. The result was a tough one to take for the Falcons with many having had an outstanding game. Most notable were Thomas, Tony and Callum T. Tony was awarded the Man of the Match though Callum’s return to form was most welcome to see. Perhaps most eye-catching was the Falcons new found ability to successfully spring the offside trap. The match’s drama had been too much for some parents with one’s constant excited bellowing recalling the Nuremberg Rallies of 1930s Germany. Football isn’t always good for the blood pressure!

For Pep how had this fact finding mission gone? Surely he’d learned something: Lots of route one end to end football, some slapstick and controversy along the way. For most it had been a treat to watch: The tired Bayern coach was not so appreciative; his own ideas of total football were too ingrained to change this much. Not all the “Be Glads” had shone in the game with one Bedlington behemoth being more of a liability to his team.

It had been a long journey for Pep in his Citroen Berlingo, all the way from Munich. As he left the ground he pondered what he had learned from the experience and muttered, in Spanish, rather unfairly, “Eso fue un monton de mierda!” “Pero al menos el arbitro estuvo bien”.

PART TWO: Transfiguration
The league story so far: Won 0; Drawn 1; Lost 2. Where did that draw come from? Our first point of the season was an exciting 3-3 draw at Cramlington. I missed that one – a shame because the rest was torture but at least it kept us off the bottom of the league. Thanks to a tactically planned lack of committed participation, cup commitments were being well pruned with the season becoming increasingly aerodynamic.

“What causes me pain makes me stronger”: A trip to Bedlington had given a glimpse of what was to come: the blind giraffes could see at last. Now they felt confident enough to dispense with their white sticks, the mice had nipped the cat, snails cast off their shells. The pale, drawn faces that stared for endless hours at computer screens had colour back in their cheeks. Not a game had been won but the way ahead was clear: thanks to Moses’s First commandment; “Ungula puera usque ad magnum”, they had a formula for winning…sometime, somewhere, maybe.

As the season reached October the Falcons were at last free of the summer blues even if the sun kept shining.

Bye Bye Davy Crockett
Whitley Bay Barca 1 v 3 Heaton Hawks Falcons
Whitley Bay Sunday, 5th October 2014
Played 4, Won 1; Drawn 1; Lost 2: Position – third from bottom

Following his controversial judgement; acquitting his brother for murdering his own family; Judge Strobe Leiting Junior the Third was quickly summoned to the Supreme Court where he was barred from taking legal office until he’d undergone a thorough retraining. The first part of his rehabilitation, on the recommendation of the Supreme Court judges, was to visit England to see how justice was meted out “more fairly”.

The Court statement went as follows: “…your recent judgements have lacked the required legal impartiality that is a basic requisite of your profession. Firstly we recommend that you visit England to see how justice is meted out fairly in all walks of life. By doing this you will come to truly understand the ethos of your profession. We recommend England because their approach to justice, both legal and “natural”, encapsulates their fair minded and thoroughly decent way of doing things. In so many ways they’re much nicer than us Americans – particularly you ya cheatin’ b******! For the very essence of perfect justice, high minded ethics and being jolly decent all round chaps, we can think of nowhere better for you to begin your rehabilitation than to watch some football in the North East; which is in North Western Europe. There you will watch and learn at one of their Pin Point Junior league matches.”

Strobe Leiting Junior the Third’s plea that everyone was related in his county and someone had to be innocent sometime cut no ice with the legal panel.

And so it was that Strobe Leiting Junior the Third chose the Whitley Bay Barca home game against the Falcons. The Falcons had rejoiced at the fair minded justice the previous week at Bedlington so were in good heart. The ex-judge chose this because, being from an in bred, landlocked, gun toting state of the American mid-west; a trip to the English seaside seemed very exotic and exciting. And so it proved.

The Falcons, shorn of Umer, Matthew and Lee were going to be short of substitutes and even shorter of goalkeepers. Callum T, a keeper for a team on Saturdays, replaced Lee in goal but clearly this was going to deny the Falcons of a key midfielder. As soon as the game started this lack of cover was apparent as Barca overran the Falcons in midfield creating a series of great chances in the first five minutes. But for Callum’s amazing shot stopping the score could have been four within the first ten minutes.

More of the same followed but one brief foray up field saw a chance come the way of the Falcons, which Thomas took with great composure, scoring from an acute angle. This astonishing score against the run of play didn’t dampen Barca spirits as they conjured chance after chance only to find Callum counter with save after save and brave Falcon defenders throwing themselves in the way of other chances. By the end of the half Barca had had thirteen shots at goal to the Falcons one but it was the Falcons who led.

The astounded ex-judge shouted that it reminded him of the Alamo siege, Davy Crockett and the brave Texans fending off the Mexican army. That had been a plucky moment in American history but if this game was to emulate that then all the Falcons would end up plucky but dead by the end. Such analogies aren’t that useful.

The second half broke the analogy further because now the Falcons had the wind behind them and Barca had the sun in their eyes and the pitch slope against them. Even so, after such first half dominance we all expected more of the same. How wrong we were; The Falcons created the first chances then Thomas superbly beat the keeper and defence, following a defence splitting pass from Ervin, with a perfectly weighted shot to make it two nil.

More chances came but the Barca keeper and defence held on. As the half progressed the game became end to end with Barca having more shots saved by Callum and chances snuffed out by strong defending, particularly by Michael, who had to keep a tight rein on the Barca number nine who was suffering from a “fashionable” haircut. I say “fashionable” but no one else had gone for a hairstyle that had obviously been tested in a wind tunnel for its aerodynamic potential. It was very effective because he was the quickest player on the field. Quick as he was though, Michael, Jack and the rest of the defence blocked his path.

It looked like, for all their possession and chances, Barca were never going to score. Their heads were beginning to drop as the best chances were coming at their end with Tony going close twice and the keeper being very busy: Perhaps too busy because he was reduced to tripping Thomas in the penalty area. The excellent referee – and I mean that – pointed to the spot. Strobe Leiting Junior the Third was gobsmacked; “Back home in Montana we’d award the goalkeeper damages for that!”

Thomas stepped up and emphatically completed his hat-trick. The game was up for Barca. One switch in formation seemed to cause a lapse in concentration right at the very end as Barca did pull one back; but it was too late. The Falcons had had the better of the second half with twelve attempts on goal compared to Barca’s nine. Overall though, Barca had far more chances and had been denied by the extraordinary Man of the Match performance from Callum T and his indomitable defence. On any other day Thomas would have walked away with the Man of the Match award but this was no ordinary day.

For the team as a whole this had been a remarkable performance. Everyone had played their part in helping the Falcons finely get their first win of the season.

This remarkable rear guard action from the Falcons had the ex-judge singing lyrical at the end, inspired by the Siege of the Alamo he began singing; “Davy Davy Crockett; King of the Wild Frontier.” OK, he’d had a few by then and had begun flapping desperately to connect reality with his own wayward disparate thought processes. For the record Davy Crockett died but no Falcons were hurt in the making of this fixture.

Aaaand Remarkable!
Heaton Hawks Falcons 3 – 3 Blyth Betis
12th October 2014 – Heaton Manor Ground
Played 5; Won 1; Drawn 2; Lost 2: Position third from bottom

After the seeing the Falcons record their first win of the season, plus the generous irrigation of strong horizontal lubricants, ex-judge Strobe Leiting Junior the Third went back to Montana full of new ideas and the faint hope of getting his old job back. If only life were that simple. On his return to Montana he found that his new found views of legal ethics, justice and even gun ownership control didn’t go down very well. He was hauled in front of the County Court where he was sentenced to spend the rest of his days in a secure psychiatric unit by his uncle, Judge Lorne Mower Senior.

Back in the Newcastle Upon Tyne, North Western Europe, there was much excitement as the North East’s top crime fighting super hero, Bat Gadgie (the real one, not some Del Boy or Fathers for Justice version), sprang into action at half seven on the Sunday morning. He was assisted by fifty armed Northumbria police officers, their dog squad and three police helicopters, confronting and arresting a dazed and confused ninety three year old pensioner. The poor man, who for legal reasons we’ll simply call “Alf”, and who was wearing clothes that, like his memories, clung steadfastly to the past – albeit a more immediate past that exuded a certain aroma.

This poor fellow had forgotten to put his dentures in before heading to the shop, making the supposed crime committed all the more implausible. This arrest took place at a Walkergate newsagent where the old man was accused of taking a “Curly Wurly” without paying. The total lack of evidence found by the intrepid Bat Gadgie and entire Northumbria Police Force was merely interpreted as proof that he was a master of deception.

It was quarter to eight in the morning: For Bat Gadgie it was job done. Another successful case to celebrate so he headed off to the North East’s own version of Carnaby Street; Byker’s famed Shields Rurd, for a few “beeahz n’ tairbs”, keeping his crime fighters outfit on so as not to reveal his true identity before “gannin’ to the burg” and changing into his referee’s kit for the game up the “rurd” (to protect his true identity, we cannot say which one – though he certainly wasn’t the Ref for the Falcons, in case you’re wondering).

Well if you’re going to commit a crime, even inadvertently, first thing on a Sunday morning then this is what you can expect. The life-long Falcon fan’s dream of heading off to the Manor Ground to see if they could extend their one game winning streak was cruelly taken from him as he was dragged off to a cell. It’s tough but thanks to such bravery and vigilance we can all sleep easily in our beds at night without the assistance of sleeping pills and half a bottle of whiskey. Er… hmm; well they work for me.

You can’t put a good man down – or a master criminal come to that: The old fellow asked if he could borrow a small transistor radio so he could follow live commentary of the Falcon’s game. With commentary from the late David Coleman on Radio Five Dead he was set up for the morning. Picking up the opening lines of the broadcast helps to set the scene nicely:

“Aaaand you join us live from…er… here at the Heaton Manor Ground. An extraordinary ground designed and completed in January 1783 by Capability Brown: aaand what a remarkable achievement that was. The Heaton Hawks Falcons, remarkably, have never beaten a team from Blyth. They are on an extraordinary one match winning streak whilst Blyth Betis have drawn seven of their last twenty five away games: remarkable!”

To paraphrase the former BBC sports commentating colossus, this was a “remarkably” early time for a kick off. The players’ bodies had turned up on time but their brains hadn’t got past midnight from the previous evening. Not to worry, the Falcons way was always, sportingly, to give their opponents a thirty minute start: All were blissfully unaware of the crime dramas that morning but hoping their opponents weren’t going to steal the match…again.

For the match we were presented with a beautiful clear autumn morning with fog on the Tyne and dew glistening on Capability Brown’s late masterpiece. The Falcons were only missing Alex and Matthew. David Coleman’s commentary went on; “Aaand the Falcons have made a few changes we think that’s Costel Pantilimon returning in goal…” Yes that’s right, the confused old master had mixed the Sunderland reserve keeper with Lee but his mistakes at the microphone are all part of the act.

Betis included their fearsome striker, Andre Schurrle who had scored two superb goals late on in the previous encounter. As for the game: well I mentioned the thirty minute start and, as ever, the Falcons were in generous mood. The early pressure came from Betis but Thomas had a cross go just wide.

Meanwhile, back at the station excitement was mounting as the police officers huddled around “Alf’s” cell to hear the match commentary. The office sergeant kept the police helicopters up to date with any developments.

“Dew on the grass sparkles like hope and then is gone.” Not soon enough because the greasy ball and wet surface caused the first goal as a Betis corner ball slid off an anonymous shin into the bottom corner: another soft goal. Betis then really began to apply the pressure with a series of corners and free kicks. A shot from outside the box in the fifteenth minute led to a second: Lee appeared to save but lost control as the ball ricocheted into the net off the post.

It was an unlucky goal but the Betis pressure had earned the luck. They continued to pile on the pressure with a more corners leading to a desperate line clearance by Paddy but from that point the Falcons finally woke up and began to exert some pressure with a few crosses, some route one “Be Glad” stuff, a free kick, a tame shot from Ellis being easily saved and a good penalty shout turned down: They’d stopped the rot but failed to pull a goal back so the half time score was two nil to Betis.

The Falcons were a team transformed at the beginning of the second half with George forcing an early save and the team forcing early corners. They bossed the early exchanges before the hammer blow: Betis made it three with a header from a corner, totally against the run of play.

The Betis goals was not the only a calamity for the Falcons; word had reached the three police helicopters where the news so upset the pilots that they hurtled out of control, collided into each other and crashed on the Coast Road near the Silverlink Shopping Park turn off: You may not have heard anything in the local media about the catastrophe; it never happened. That’s what they want you to think.

That ought to have been the end of it for the Falcons but spirits remained surprisingly high as the Falcons continued to force the pace with Michael pulling one back with another route one “Be Glad” strike that the keeper couldn’t stop. This one glimmer of hope caused a riot of celebration at the police station as officer cheered and hugged as “Alf” punched the air.

The Betis keeper was now very busy and doing a great job for his team with a series of good saves and interceptions. Things were very quiet at the Falcon’s end of the pitch though Lee did have to make one save before Tony scored a superb second with a direct run cutting through the Betis defence. There were less than ten minutes left so you can imagine the excitement down at the police station where an ambulance crew had to be called to revive poor old “Alf” and the stout, angina suffering, sergeant.

Could we dare to hope for more? Betis brought Andre Schurrle back on and started to exert some pressure late on only for Thomas to combine brilliantly with Tony, timing his pass to perfection. Tony converted the chance with hardly any time left on the clock. The restrained, well-mannered Falcon parents could take no more and celebrated wildly. There was scarce time for any more action before the final whistle blew for a three-three draw.

Both sides had played their part in an enthralling game. For the Falcons Michael was outstanding in defence, covering the whole pitch and capping his performance with a goal. Tony had scored two excellent goals and Callum T continued his good form in midfield. There were fine performances all over the pitch: just a shame then that the Falcons keep giving teams a start.

Elsewhere, with ambulance and fire crews at full stretch following the “other” incident on the Coast Road the scheduled NHS strike the following day couldn’t hope to cause anywhere near as much chaos as this plucky Falcon fight back. With emergency services at full stretch the whole of Tyneside descended into anarchy and mob rule as even the polite streets and neighbourhoods of leafy Jesmond turned feral.

Where’s Bat Gadgie when you need him? Awarding a penalty up at Paddy Freeman’s I’m told then off back to Jacksons Bar on Shields Rurd. But the main thing was that the Falcons had earned a point and “Alf” was released from his prison cell on account of being “dead canny”.

“Aaaand all in all, what a remarkable er… thing that was.”

Rewriting the History Books
Heaton Hawks Falcons 5 – 0 AE Phoenix
19th October 2014 – Heaton Manor Ground
Played 6; Won 2; Drawn2; Lost 2: position lower mid table

It’s funny how you never hear historians talking about “rewriting the history books”: only football commentators and pundits. We can surmise, therefore, that beyond football, nothing of any historical importance has ever happened. It’s not surprising then that eminent historian, Professor Simon Schama, has given up presenting history programmes to take up a role as a match day summariser for Sky Sports. He was able to use this “rewriting …” phrase during his summing up of the Brighton v Middlesbrough game just yesterday when the visitors recorded their first win there since the last time. Just to prove that theory; the Falcons also rewrote history on this day, Sunday 19th October 2014. Mark that day well; so pay attention in class you might get tested on it during your school history lessons. What was so historical? We’ll leave the answer ‘til later but remember to write it down just in case.

Last week saw Tyneside slide into chaos but eventually order was restored following the Falcons heroic fight back. The anarchy and terror that beset the whole of Newcastle and North Tyneside both during and following the match was finally quelled when Bat Gadgie was thrown out of Jacksons Bar after a not insignificant number of “beeahz n’that”. Though suffering from a modest sensory impairment, the intrepid crime fighter was not one to let the everyday obstacles of life stand in the way of crime fighting.

He tumbled into the “Gadgmobile” – a pimped up City Rover – and set off for Jesmond, a place he was barely familiar with, following reports on the “Gadgie Furn” of rioting just off Osborne Road, at the famous Cheese Shop. There crazed doctors, architects, merchant bankers, theatre critics, art lecturers and interior designers were kicking up a stink by smashing the shop windows as they desperately fought to grab some of the latest consignment of Cornish Yarg.

The mere sight of a crime fighting super hero collapsing out of his “Gadgmobile” dressed in a heavily stained costume, “smurkin’ a rurl up” and carrying a half empty can of Special Brew was enough to scare the rioting crowd, who ran away shrieking, “My word! A drunken chap”, “I say!”, “Well I’ll be damned!” and “This sad, pathetic fellow encapsulates for modern times the “Chaplinesque” little tramp figure: All in all quite ghastly and frightfully derivative.”

He followed up this success with many more until the Toon was calm and orderly. Come the next Sunday he was out refereeing but, yet again, the Falcons were not to benefit from his expertise because his services were much in demand in Belgrade for a hastily arranged friendly between “bestest friends” Serbia and Albania.

Things went so well there that the crime fighting super hero decided to stay for a while, siting the climate and the hard drinking, hot headed locals being his type of people. He could be heard telling his new found friends, “doon the lurcal”, such nuggets of wisdom as “How! Them Mackems come awah here tekkin wah jurbz n’that. They should build a geet big wahll t’ keep them oot a Sorbiah.” His intended holiday came to an abrupt halt, however, on his spotting a Red Star Belgrade fan wearing a replica club red and white striped shirt. What happened next was a case of mistaken identity but led to Bat Gadgie being frogmarched to the airport. So fear not: Tyneside law and order is back safe in his hands.

Elsewhere there was fear and alarm when news broke that the recently rehabilitated judge of international stature, Strobe Leiting Junior the Third passed sentence at the Oscar Pistorius trial. He shocked the legal world with his stiff sentencing, ordering Pistorius to “carry oot three wahz of con,,er commn.. er what ever leyk sorvice” for his crimes. “It’d have been five wahz but you’re a deed canny lahd.” His short stay in the North East had obviously made a big impact on him. As part of his con.. er commn..er whatever leyk sorvice, Pistorius was sent to the Manor Ground with the task of ensuring parents and children uphold the “Respect” Code of Conduct. He duly arrived, causing quite a stir in the car park, in his roaring Lamborghini.

Keen to uphold law and order, he came armed with a “water pistol”, which he demonstrated as he fired at a nearby tree, causing a squirrel to fall to its death. “Er… I didn’t know it worked without water. It was an accident. Honest.” He said with convincing remorse, contrition and an ocean of tears before pointing the gun at parents and warning them not to make a peep for the next two hours.

Another home fixture and this time the novelty of playing a side actually below them in the League. AE Phoenix had taken a few beatings already this season but they came to the Manor Ground with a “remarkable” unbeaten record against the Falcons, thanks in no small part to their small but distinctly fearsome Amazonian striker. So the Falcons had the record of never having beaten any side from either Blyth or Ashington. Many Falcon players bore mental scars going back years following their Phoenix encounters. Could today be the beginning of their rehabilitation?

The omens were good: firstly; the Amazonian striker had moved onto to Newcastle City Ladies after, “the girl scored sixty girls last season”, according to one Phoenix “fairn”. The sun was shining brightly but squally rain spat in a fierce wind throughout. A rainbow cast a comforting embrace over the Manor Ground. This was going to be a special; “historic” day. This fierce South Westerly meant that “Ungula puera usque ad magnum” or “hoof it up to the be glad” was only ever going to work for half a game.

The game kicked off with the Falcons having the wind, largely, behind them. For both sides it was very difficult to control the ball. The early exchanges were scrappy with little pattern emerging. Still; given the Falcon’s habit of giving teams a two or three goal start, this amounted to a considerable improvement.

Most of the parents were pretty quiet in the first half but despite the presence of the affable and laid back gun toting athlete, other “fairns” from distant lands came to give vocal support to the Falcons. Most vocal of all, and having Latin as a way of getting around the Respect Code, a group of monks from the Pyrenean abbey chanted “Ungula puera usque ad magnum”, and, less generously to the opposition; “Vos errant ‘iens impetro in calce capitus tui, miserere mei”: Singing with the most haunting Gregorian chant harmonies. Luckily this crude chant was blown away by the strong wind. It was well over Mr Pistorius’ head and before you comment; yes he was wearing his blades. Still, it sounded foreign and the famed charity worker was getting twitchy; squirrels scuttled for cover just in case.

Nerves elsewhere were eased as Tony with the first “be glad” effort opened the scoring and was followed within a minute by another “be glad”, route one goal for Thomas. With the wind largely behind them the Falcons relaxed and began to dominate proceedings. George scored a fine individual third goal before Michael added a fourth from a great pass by Callum T.

One skied shot by Matthew drew an exasperated response from one parent, who quickly fell silent as the famed charity worker raised his water pistol and pointed it in his general direction.

Chances came at the other end but Lee was alert to everything. The Falcons had stored up a four goal lead by half time: a useful cushion to defend with the wind against them in the second half. It turned out that this big lead seemed to deflate Phoenix who, for all the meteorological advantage could not break down the Falcons defence even though that defending looked desperate at times.

Twenty minutes into the half Michael added another “be glad” route one goal to extend the Falcons lead. From that point although Phoenix had most of the possession they lacked the control or composure to really threaten the Falcons goal. The whistle blew on another miserable day for them with the score on five. Tony, yet again, was named Man of the Match but there were some notable performances from Michael, George, Callum T and Thomas with Alex solid in defence and Lee putting in a composed performance in goal.

It had been a happy day for all, except AE phoenix of course: For the players; no tears or acrimony. For the parents – no one was killed. The monks went merrily down the road chanting more liturgical football songs; Oscar Pistorius completed his sentence without killing anyone else, though the club pavilion cleared rapidly when he had to nip to the loo. Bat Gadgie, back on Tyneside to maintain law and order was allowed back in the bars of Shields Rurd following the “Toon’s” forst win of the season. All was well with the world.

This had been a thoroughly satisfying game for the history making Falcons: their first ever win against AE Phoenix: their first win against any team from South East Northumberland (excluding Cramlington, of course); their first home win against any team from South East Northumberland (excluding Cramlington, of course). So when you turn the sheet over of your GSCE History paper and question one turns out to be “What was the historical significance of the Heaton Hawks Falcons football fixture in October 2014”. You’ll know the answer.

And finally for those of a squirrel racist persuasion; rejoice! It was a grey one.

The Death of Scooby Doo
Heaton Hawks Falcons 0 – 7 Blyth Rangers Valencia
26th October 2014 – Heaton Manor Ground

Another pointless cup game: how many cup competitions are there?

You can tell that it’s autumn: Goths descend on Whitby and the TV scheduling is revamped for possibly the peak viewing time of the year. It’s a time for launching fancy period dramas, comedies, Saturday night competitions, football and, of course History documentaries. This year is proving no exception: if Professor Simon Schama’s debut as a match summariser for Sky Sports was a great success the BBC was keen to cash in by drafting Professor David “Bonkers” Starkey as a Match of the Day commentator: that’s why you don’t see him being invited to be the token ranter on “Question Time” these days.

This was quite a coup for the BBC because the volatile professor had already attracted a great deal of interest from some Latin American football channels: his excitability perfectly suited. Indeed he almost landed a plumb job with an Argentinian sports channel but failed the audition after shouting at one defensive error that “Henry VIII wouldn’t have stood for that nonsense.”

This influx of historians on football shows pushed out some regular pundits who had to find work elsewhere. So, out of the kindness of your hearts, try to tune in and get the ratings up for the new history programme; “The Making of Ancient China” presented by Professor Sir Chris Kamara and also look out for “The Rulers of the Russian Empire 1200 to 1917” presented by Sir Clive Tyldesley. If you can’t get to see them the books of the series will be out by Christmas: a perfect present for the kids. You’ll learn such fascinating historical gems as Emperor Qin of China being the first to introduce the flat back four and Tsar Alexander Nevsky’s defeat of the Teutonic knights being down to the innovative use of wing backs at the “Battle of the Ice”. The combative midfield tussles from that battle later inspired the life works of both Chelsea’s Ron “Chopper” Harris and Leeds’ Norman Hunter et al culminating in the heroic violence of the 1970 FA Cup Final.

Once again, Bat Gadgie wasn’t available to referee the game and there’s little prospect of him featuring any time soon. ITV, in an attempt to freshen up a tired franchise decided to update “Downton Abbey” with something a bit grittier and more contemporary. Bat Gadgie’s exploits caught the producer’s eye for the new costume drama; “Last Days of the Radge” (not to be confused with an Indian restaurant in Gosforth) set in 1940s India with the famed super hero cast as benevolent spirited colonial master “Veycoont Gadgie of Byker”: a part tailor made for him. So we’ll not be seeing him at the Manor Ground for a while.

Come this Sunday there was no sign of the “Veycoont” at the Manor Ground, indeed the match referee was young and female: a hormonal challenge then to the adolescent boys in both teams. The blustery conditions of the previous week were replaced by blustery conditions this time with the wind blowing from the same quarter. Almost everything the same: apart from the opposition, the clocks going back and it now being the “horror season”.

Last week, of course, the Falcons rewrote the history books: all of them. This week: well it is half term; a time when super markets bombard parents with tatty Halloween merchandise. Our players are at that age where such festivities or horrors are of no interest: when they’re small kids they’d dress up, do Trick or Treat and have little parties. When they grow up, the chances are they’ll dress up, have a party and get smashed. Still, it’s the time of year for horror stories; werewolves, monsters, ghosts, vampires and cup matches against better opposition.

In this case the opposition was Blyth Rangers Valencia: a team the Falcons battled with last season to no avail and a team now a division above, albeit making a shaky start. So there was a glimmer of hope: but previous encounters with teams in higher divisions would have had Dracula covering his eyes. Anyway; not to worry: Halloween is just a merchandising fest: no real monsters; no real ghosts; no real horrors. We don’t believe in any of that rubbish do we? If there were to be no horrors though, the omens weren’t great when the “Mystery Machine” van appeared in the car park but the hip young “with it” folks getting out of it were told that their talking dog would have to stay in the van.

The Falcons were missing three key players, Umer, Thomas and the tireless Michael so no one was under any illusions. Still the game kicked off same as usual; plenty of sparring between the two sides with no real pattern to the game. Half chances at both ends but no clear cut opportunities. The Falcons, for a change, were matching there supposedly superior opposition. All was well with the world until, after fifteen minutes, from the nearby woods the howl of a werewolf echoed across the ground. This clearly put the Falcons defence off their stride as they allowed Valencia a clear shot on target, which Lee bravely parried but was put away by a Valencia player following up.

Five minutes later a swarm of bats flew across the Falcons penalty area, causing panic and confusion leading to a second goal. Three minutes later a demonic spine chilling laugh bellowed from under the ground as if the pitch was the scene of the buried undead. Clearly, this was most off putting for the Falcons defence, even though they didn’t believe in any of that kind of nonsense. It still led to a third anyway.

A couple of minutes later a genuinely fine defence splitting pass led to a fourth. Half time came and the game was pretty well up. Those few minutes saw the Falcons go from being a competitive side to the living dead as if the life blood had been sucked from them by the notorious Count. Where pass and move had once been it was “hoof it up…er not even to the be glad; just hoof it anywhere.” All shape and purpose had drained away.

With commentary broadcast on live radio the Falcons weren’t getting much sympathy from the excitable commentator whose half time summary went along the lines of; “Henry VIII never believed any of that nonsense. If any of his defenders were scared he’d have chopped their heads off. Or, worse still, he’d have forced them to sit down and rewrite the history books themselves.”

The hip young folks, who’d first appeared on our screens in a late 1960s cartoon series, hadn’t aged a day since then and looked sceptical about what they’d seen. “Hmm” said Freddie (not the one out of “Rainbow”),” this whole mystery is starting to make sense”. Back in the van, Scooby didn’t care as he chomped his way through some of the finest famed “lurcal” north eastern cuisine: recipes brought to the region by the Viking invaders in the ninth century AD. That’s right: a donner kebab with chips, a “drizzle” of curry sauce and batter scratchings. “That’s the last time I eat any of those boring Scooby Snacks”.

The dispirited Falcons, or “undead” if you’re feeling mean spirited, took to the field for the second half but against expectations started brightly. I say “started”: that “started” lasted less than a minute until an innocuous Valencia shot trickled through a crowded Falcon defence, passed the unsighted keeper.

Let’s not dwell on the details of the second half except to say the Falcons only conceded three in the second half and Jack even went close to scoring when his shot was cleared from the line. The whistle blew for the finish and the Falcons slowly walked away with vacant, distant expressions back to their awaiting coffins for a nice rest til the next time.

There was of course reason for cheer: another cup distraction had been successfully erased and the Falcons had made the opposition fans and players very happy.

What of the “mystery?” The Mystery Machine sped off for Transylvania straight after the game to catch a betting syndicate red handed led by “Vlaird the Impaler” – “How! just cahl wuz Drackliah furks”. The fiendish vampire had set up speakers around the Manor Ground to deliberately spook the Falcons and the swarm of bats was an illusion created by the sophisticated use of projectors. He’d bet a tenner on a seven – nil away win for Valencia: “How! I stood to win fifty quid ya b*******! And Ahd’ve gotten away with it but for yee meddling whatever leyks!” yelled the unrepentant Count as he was led away, handcuffed by a couple of Northumbria police officers, Scooby, the team and; taking a break from filming; crime fighting super hero, “Veycoont Gadgie”.

If any kids believe in any of this rubbish look away now: Tragically; the seemingly ageless Scooby, became victim of his addiction to northern cuisine and had to be put down within a few weeks of the game. Football summariser; Professor Simon Schama was lost for words.

Happy Danes
KYPC Munich 0 – 3 Heaton Hawks Falcons
2nd November 2014 – Amberley Playing Fields Killingworth
Played 7; Won 3; Drawn 2; Lost 2: Position mid table

It’s alright: it’s safe, you can come out now. Coont Dracklia is safely behind bars, following his arrest for a betting scam and running a “tairb” rakie..er rat..er.raktir..rateckeer..er rackety..er whatever leyk business: Halloween has passed. Still the “Coont” shed few tears. “Soon as ahz oot ahl be gannin into business wi’ mey mate George Renard, sellin’ e-tairbs. Ah tell ya: they’re the fyowcher man.”

Poor old Bat Gadgie had shot himself in the foot, as it were, with the Coont’s racketeering finished where was he going to get his supply of cheap tairbs? With Judge Strobe Leiting Junior the Third sentencing the Coont to three months in jail and six months con,,er commn.. er what ever leyk sorvice . The crime fighting super hero was stuck with just his fancy” rurl ups” for a few months yet. Not that a successful TV actor has any time for smurkin’.

The Coont didn’t have much to feel smug about either. George Renard already had bigger plans following his spell in prison. E-tairbs were just the start but he soon turned his attention to bigger fish. His much publicised success as a football league club inspired him to venture back again into football. Careful research had led him to conclude that Heaton Hawks was the club with which to re-launch his footballing dreams.

A trip to the Manor Ground to watch the Falcons the previous weekend was cover for a widespread reconnaissance of the surrounding area. Chatting to Scooby Doo in the car park he laid out his vision: What follows is an English translation of those words; I realise it can get tiring reading too much local dialect;

“I tell you, this club is a sleeping giant. I’ve got plans for them. First I’ll buy out the club, waive its debts then build a super club. I’ll buy up the land at Sainsbury’s, knock that down and then build a hundred thousand seater stadium. Then there’s the DSS Longbenton: I’ll buy that out, knock it down and build a state of the art training centre facility. That’ll save money because we won’t have to pay any fees to the schools the club uses for training.

I’ll have them winning the Champions League within six years: that’s a promise. Honest! I can pay for all this. I’ve got the readies in the boot of the car. I’ll buy in the best players: I know Messi’s agent and Ronaldo’s a big fan of the Falcons too. I tell you, it’s the fyowcher man.” The soon to be “the late” Scooby Doo took no notice and continued chomping on his donner kebab.

The top northern entrepreneur went on to talk about his plans for a North East version of the Apprentice but eventually realised that talking to a cartoon dog in a car park didn’t constitute being part of a viable long term business strategy. He vowed to continue his thorough research by watching a few of the club’s matches just to get an idea of how much he would need to invest in the teams. His first stop: the Amberley Playing Fields at Killingworth.

It turned out to be another rewriting the history books episode for match summariser, Professor Simon Schama with this fixture being the first league fixture ever between these two sides. The two sides had played a series of friendlies in the pre-season where the Falcons had come off second best generally. With Munich above the Falcons in the league and the team coach, Brian, admitting the day before, that he didn’t fancy the Falcon’s chances, there was cause for much pre match gloom. This needs to be put into perspective however; recent research at Warwick University revealed that the British, Americans, and even more so the French are genetically more liable to grumpiness and depression whereas the Danes had the largest “happiness gene” in the World.

These extraordinary findings were almost immediately put to the test as Professor Andrew Oswald from the aforementioned university, brought a group of Danish “guinea pigs” to test the theory at the Amberley Playing Fields. Having heard how dismal the Falcons had been the previous week, he wanted to test whether these Danish “guinea pigs” would still remain happy whilst watching the Falcons playing football. He expected another dismal performance surmising that if his Danes remained happy then it would prove his theory once and for all.

So what happened? Firstly, Munich provided one of the largest playing surfaces ever seen, outstretching even Wembley and St James’ Park. The eastern side of the pitch was in another time zone to the west flank. That left plenty of space for the players to “express” themselves. From the starting whistle it was the Falcons who were quickest to “express” themselves with some slick passing and movement. They created a series of chances which were either saved or went wide without any reply from Munich. Half way through the first half they finally scored with Tony converting a direct approach.

What followed were a series of yet more chances going begging before Munich created a single chance. Their strong centre forward was more than matched by Michael and Alex so they only managed one shot at goal in the half and that went wide.

For all their dominance the Falcons only held a one goal lead. Falcon parents were anxious but the Danish “guinea pigs” looked very contented with their lot. Professor Oswald’s theory was looking as solid as the Falcon defence. Meanwhile, George Renard had wandered off to look at the rest of the Killingworth facilities: such tempting wide open spaces. New business ventures were already stirring in his commercially creative imagination. Ok; I mean he had to nip off to use the loo.

He missed the start of the second half and an early opportunity for Thomas that was saved. Now Munich began to gain more possession and forced a great save from Lee. The best chances were still falling to the Falcons but the Munich keeper pulled off a string of fine saves. Nevertheless the game was becoming more even and, with less than ten minutes to go Lee was forced to pull off another fine save followed by Michael making an extraordinary headed clearance off the line. That clearance was probably worth two goals by itself and sealed Munich’s fate as the Falcons created a string of further chances capped by Thomas scoring a vital second with five minutes to go.

Parents cheered as much in relief whilst the Danish “guinea pigs” continued to look contented as if there’d never been anything to worry about. More fun was to follow. First Michael went close then Ervin made a rare foray into the area unmarked. With so much time and space he shot and raised his arms to celebrate his first goal of the season only to then see the ball hit the post with Michael following up the rebound and hitting the post again. The celebrations (not the box won in the raffle) really started soon afterwards as Matthew added a third.

The final whistle blew shortly afterwards to seal a three nil away win and easily the best Falcons performance of the season. Throughout there hadn’t been a single weak link in the team with Michael’s immense performance at the back deservedly receiving the Man of the Match accolade. Lee had had a quiet game but made vital saves and commanded his area well; Tony again impressed with an intelligent performance despite being sick the previous day. Umer linked up well with Tony up front as did Thomas. I could mention the rest of the team individually but the team as a whole were outstanding with excellent passing and movement, commitment and tenacity. If we’d finished our chances better it could have been a cricket score.

Match summariser, Professor Simon Schama had some more history book rewriting with this first Falcons league win against a team from Killingworth.

George Renard was more impressed with the surroundings and saw a great new business opportunity; “I tell you, this club is a sleeping giant. I’ve got plans for them. First I’ll buy out the club, waive its debts then build a super club. I’ll buy up the land at the shopping complex, knock that down and then build a hundred twenty thousand seater stadium….I’ll have them winning the Champions League within six years. I tell you, it’s the fyowcher man.” He explained to the KYPC Munich coach, who totally ignored him.

Meanwhile Professor Oswald looked less happy than a Dane. “Yes they look happy but the Falcons were supposed to depress them not impress them. Next time I think I’ll use people rather than guinea pigs because they know more about football.” He wandered off chuntering to himself, carrying his cage of guinea pigs. It was back to the lab to test e-tairbs on guinea pigs, “it’s the fyowcher man.”

Uncle Geordie Couldn’t Give a French Connection UK
Morpeth SC Galaxy 2 – 2 Heaton Hawks Falcons
9th November 2014 – Swinney Fields, Morpeth
Played 8; Won 3; Drawn 3; Lost 2: Position mid table

Rebuffs from Heaton Hawks and KYPC Munich were never going to deter the visionary and persistent commercial genius, George Renard. The following Sunday morning he was off bright and early to Morpeth to meet the owner of Morpeth SC Galaxy.

“I tell you, this club is a sleeping giant. I’ve got plans for it. There’s nowhere worth developing round this ******* jungle so I’ll move the club to Milton Keynes and build a hundred and fifty thousand seat stadium with state of the art training facilities. I’ll call the team MK George Renard Galaxy. I tell you, it’s the fyowcher man.”

The sceptical Morpeth owner asked; “If you’ve got so much money in the boot of your car why don’t you buy a big club like Sunderland or Newcastle?”

“You must think I’m styowpid man! Think of all the money that’s been wasted on that useless bunch of *****”

Now some have suggested that the famed commercial visionary was and continues to be a less than wholly legitimate entrepreneur. His new regional version of “The Apprentice” had to be scrapped after the first episode following a flood of complaints about the first task for the budding wannabes: “Your task is to steal the largest value of gold watches and jewellery in Newcastle by six o’clock tomorrow morning.”

Where’s Bat Gadgie when you need him? “Treading the boards darlings.” “How! Divvent yeez cahl wuz a puff man!”

Thankfully Morpeth had its own crime fighting super hero ready to step into his place. Tramping the mean streets of the Morpeth ghetto twenty-four seven, “Cider Man” could sniff out a crook and a bottle of Diamond White (or any other cheap industrial strength cider) from five miles away.

The Morpeth owner was wavering. “OK, I’ll think about it but it still sounds like a crazy idea. Give me some time to mull the idea over but if you’ve really got the money…”

“Trust me; Ah’m lurded man. All you have to do is sign this contract here with my twenty four carat gurld pen.”

“How! Not so fast ya b******. Ah nah your cash is fake man”. The local crime fighter shouted while pulling up his pants from behind the large shrub where he’d…er…been releasing a temporary discomfort back into the wild. “Open the boot man!”

George had been rumbled. He very reluctantly opened the boot but got his defence in quickly; “I know these twenty pound notes all look different but they’re a special edition, individually hand made by craftsmen at the Royal Mint. They’re worth a thousand times the value of the note. Mind I found it hard drawing the Queen’s face with a purple felt tip pen. I never was any good at faces. Er.. I mean the artists at the Royal Mint introduced some challenging, original, innovative and highly individualistic images of our beloved Monarch.”

“You’re nicked.”

“B****r.”

“Oh thank you Cider Man. You’ve saved our club. Is there any way we can repay you. “

“Sixteen bottles of Diamond White’ll dee for noo. Then just keep us topped up in fyowcher.”

Morpeth had been saved again by their one and only crime fighting superhero who headed off into the distance with an “all you can drink” voucher at Bargain Booze.

Poor old George didn’t even bother stopping to watch the match; he’d been thwarted again. He didn’t even hang around in the hope of selling “e-tairbs” to Professor Oswald’s guinea pigs. What was the point when the ground regulations clearly forbade guinea pigs from “smurkin’”. Professor Oswald traipsed back to his car ruing, again, his inability to tempt any Danes into volunteering to watch a Falcons match: Clearly, judging by the evidence, it was ok though for some parents to “smurk”.

There were fewer parents supporting the team than usual with George and Callum away, Matthew injured and Jack sick. It was left to a squad of just eleven to cope with a heavy, grassy pitch in admittedly idyllic rural surroundings. The massive expanse of Killingworth was replaced by a small pitch in cramped surroundings. Everything pointed to a long and hard afternoon for the Falcons.

Lest we forget; it was also Remembrance Sunday. Both teams observed a minute’s silence and one parent showed the profoundest respect for the fallen by wandering along the touchline and lighting a “tairb” during the silence whilst contemplating the sheer futility of war and how the events of a hundred years ago have shaped the world we live in today: To quote Bat Gadgie; “It was so terribly, terribly moving; one wept darlings.” “How! Divvent yeez ahl cahl wuz a puff man!”

So, in a spirit of fellowship could I ask you dear reader to either observe your own minute silence at the end of this paragraph or, alternatively, pop outside for a tairb and linger on the powerful words of Wilfred Owen n’that.

[pause]

The fresh faced referee blew the whistle and the teams readied themselves for the game. Morpeth had an immediate advantage in failing light wearing a bright yellow kit: you couldn’t miss them. Once the game started, possession was fairly evenly shared between the two sides but it was the Falcons who quickly created three great chances with the keeper denying Michael, Thomas shooting wide then Michael hitting the bar. Morpeth created few chances whilst for the Falcons, opportunities kept coming. Ervin almost scored a spectacular goal from way outside the area then Alex shooting wide and Thomas having another shot saved.

It was beginning to look like one of those days when Ervin finally scored his first goal of the season. It was well deserved following strong performance in the first half with some beautifully judged passing. Umer then had two great chances; the first struck over and then the second saved, though, those close to the goal, suggest this second effort clearly crossed the line. That oversight by the linesman proved costly: it wasn’t the only costly mistake in the game either.

The Falcons deservedly reached half time with a one-nil lead but the fear was, with no substitutes and a draining pitch that they would struggle to hold onto it. A two or three goal lead would have been a fairer reflection of play and provided the necessary cushion for tiring players: Morpeth had the advantage of having three substitutes to choose from.

The second half started in similar fashion with the Falcons fashioning the best chances though with Morpeth having most of the possession. I’ll not list all the chances but Morpeth were beginning to create a few of their own. The Morpeth keeper was thwarting all of the shots as Falcons tired, ceded more possession and even had to rely on Michael clearing a shot off the line. The parents were getting very nervous and twitchy.

Eventually the pressure told as slack defending led to an equaliser from a throw in. Chances were still being created at the Morpeth end but Brian chose to make a switch between Michael and Tony after Michael made a wild swipe at one chance.

Throughout, some of the challenges had been robust from both sides and one small Morpeth player was causing some irritation to Falcon players with his attitude: shouting, swearing and unleashing a number of wild challenges. Peter conceded a free kick after unintentionally elbowing the feisty little fellow in the face. He was probably tempted to do it deliberately but it was a genuine accident. This proved an unfortunate mistake as the tame looking free kick went straight through Lee’s hands for the softest of goals. Lee was distraught and needed some comforting: not what we want to see from the team captain.

Fortunately Lee pulled himself together to make important late saves, ably supported by his defenders. With just four minutes to go Tony, who’d replaced Michael up front managed a less than well timed strike on target that the Morpeth keeper inexplicably allowed to slip through his grasp. He’d had a fine game until then but it levelled both the keeper errors and the score.

The whistle blew with the Falcons beginning to press again for a winner but a draw was about right by the end and represented a fine effort in trying circumstances for the Falcons. Michael was named Man of the Match for the Falcons and the Morpeth No 2 took the same accolade for a towering performance in defence. The Falcons could all be proud of a valiant effort. Alongside Michael there were fine performances in particular from Tony, Alex and Ervin (not a name this author uses very often on account of reverse parental bias: yes I’m a mean old git. If he puts me in a rotten care home when I grow old it will serve me right).

So what about poor old commercial visionary George Renard? He missed the game and went back to his day job as a children’s entertainer. Running parties under the name “Uncle Geordie” (ironic name for a Sunderland man) with his young side kick “Les” who it would have been cruel to call retarded based on his appearance if it weren’t true. Good old “Uncle Geordie” would happily shout out at a game of “myowzical chairs”, “if you can’t find a chair Uncle Geordie couldn’t give a French Connection UK.” That joke tended to go way over the heads of the dazed and confused seven year olds.

When one of the parents questioned George’s manhood for entertaining small kids rather than having a “proper grown up job” his reply was quite succinct: “How! Divvent yee cahl wuz a puff man!”

Football’s loss is children entertainments gain.
Vortigan
Heaton Hawks Falcons 6 v 3 Whitley Bay Real
23rd November 2014 – Heaton Manor Ground
Played 9; Won 4; Drawn 3; Lost 2: Position Fourth (when all the results were in)

With “Uncle Geordie” resigned to being a kid’s entertainer for the rest of his days and a potential bruising encounter with the Walbottle Bulldogs avoided thanks to the weather; a spirit of peace, tranquillity and inner harmony reined over the Heaton Manor Ground.

There was no need for any “respect enforcer”, which was just as well. We know Bat Gadgie is busy in the theatre darlings: “one lives and breathes this part sweeties. How divvent yee cahl wuz… er… I mean would you be so very kind as to not question one’s gender orientation darlings?”

Meanwhile, Oscar Pistorius is working full time in his prison as a toilet attendant: a job he carries out with great zeal and attention to detail.

Then there’s that other enforcer from Morpeth: Cider Man. His “all you can drink” voucher presented by the Morpeth SC Galaxy chairman had kept him very occupied, resulting in a huge rise in Morpeth’s crime rate. It just so happened today that he was the celebrity guest invited to carry out the ceremonial opening of a new “Bargain Booze” branch in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea on the morning of the match. Accompanied by the town mayor and Kylie Minogue of course, he was watched by an adoring crowd of five hundred or so thirsty shoppers. He declared the shop “urpen” at 11.00am. An hour later he was off to watch the “lurcal” under fourteens a side as part of an investigation into sides fielding unregistered players. Unfortunately a free complimentary sixteen pack of a particularly fine vintage 9% industrial apple free cider from the new “offy” got the better of him just yards from the ground.

Back in Heaton, the Falcons were riding high third in the table. A win would, albeit fleetingly, put them top. To beat Whitley Bay Real wasn’t a thing anyone in the side had experienced so it was going to take something special to take that next step up the table. How special an achievement would a first win against Whitley Bay Real be? Let’s make a comparison:

Just over a week ago saw one of the greatest ever feats of human endeavour. Could a win against Whitley Bay Real match that? This extraordinary achievement was the culmination of sending a probe on a ten year journey to land on a distant comet. An achievement only made possible by the decades of intense research carried out by the Stagecoach bus company, refining the Number 22 bus route between Throckley and Wallsend. Ten years ago the Stagecoach “Philae” probe was finally launched from French Guyana and, like the Number 22, collected and dropped passengers off through Byker, the town centre and Scotswood Road. It arrived, again like the Number 22, about forty five minutes later than its scheduled arrival time with about three more probes overtaking it along the way. That’s what comes from launching on a Friday afternoon with workers finishing early, desperate to get tanked up in town.

The true cause of the delay was the road works by Central Station and the depressing endless stream, on Market Lane, of bariatric mothers with huge bags of junk food shopping. Their bairns sat in balloon clad buggies, stuffing their faces with Unhappy Meals, lured by some crappy free movie merchandise; destined already for a life of obesity, low achievement, alcoholism, resentment and violence. That was a long sentence but it needed saying. They were all safely dropped off on the other side of Jupiter but gave the probe a foul mouthed earful for being late because the Bargain Booze “offy” there had just closed.

So this Sunday’s match offered the potential for another one of humanity’s greatest achievements? No chance. “You must think I’m styowpid man.”

Comet landings accepted, football pundit, Professor Simon Schama, checking his history books, noted that this match offered another rewriting opportunity. And, as the late Sir Billy Shakespeare said of the Middlesbrough scoreless home draw with Bournemouth, “you couldn’t have scripted it”: The Bard got most his best quotes from Clive Tyldesley though there were others: “To be or not to be: That is the whatever leyk” from Sir Christopher Waddle and “A2 Brutus”, Miss Take; class 19C teacher for her favourite year eight pupil at Heckmondwike Middle School.

Whitley Bay Real’s proud unbeaten record against the Falcons was all the more galling given their record against every other team. This year, same as last, they made a poor start to the season. Just as before, faced with the sheer edifice of the Division Five table, they clawed their way back up with their fingertips clinging to every tiny nook and cranny up the cliff face. Come this Sunday, their bleeding fingertips had earned them a place in mid table. Real had crawled their way up without ropes or safety net: no game being easy in Division Five. Recently they’d even managed an eye catching six all draw against top team and all round nice guys, Walbottle: that would have been worth seeing.

Opposition aside, all was well at the Manor Ground: the only downer being the perceptible change in the seasons where the golden glow of autumn was giving way to the depressing soggy burnt umber of winter and a marked drop in temperature. Things didn’t start so well on the far pitch with the seemingly simple task of setting up the goal posts proving bothersome, causing a three minute delay to kick off.

Kick off hardly improved matters as Real took control of possession with quick, slick passing and movement. I’m not one for hyperbole but the omens weren’t good when, near the half way line, Ervin brilliantly blocked a Real through pass, showing remarkable foresight to make the ball rebound behind the Real defensive line to Thomas who ruthlessly converted the chance. Ervin followed this up with the greatest through ball ever, again to Thomas, only for the linesman’s flag to go up. Thomas shook the bar with a rasping shot after eleven minutes but, without girl-line technology, no one could verify if this might have been a second.

For the rest of the half, chances were shared at both ends without any being converted. Brian decided to make a change, swapping the extraordinarily brilliant in all ways, Ervin, for Callum A and swapping Michael and Tony between defence and attack following a few spurned chances.

The Falcons took a one nil lead to the interval, thanks in part to some fine defending with Alex making an outstanding contribution that almost included a goal of his own with a header late in the half.

If the changes had seemed strange at the time then their sense became clear at the beginning of the second half as Tony ran onto a through ball and with his first touch, brilliantly lobbed the keeper to make it two nil. With Real now missing a few great chances the Falcons punished them with Tony completing a hat trick after just ten minutes of the second half beginning. His third came thanks to some very sloppy keeping but who cares?! The game was surely over at four nil. Ten minutes later Jack added a fifth. All was well with the world.

Then it just sort of wasn’t as Lee was late to a ball that Real converted. A minute later, the now rejuvenated Real, looking a totally different side, scored a second. From the touchline this looked a like a fine goal but eyewitnesses in the penalty area suggest that he kicked the ball out of Lee’s hands.

With time running out not quickly enough they scored a third. Again, from where I was standing it looked fine but it was, apparently scored from an offside position. No matter; whatever the legitimacy of these goals they were certainly deserved on the balance of play. The atmosphere was surreal; parents simply waiting for the final whistle were now looking worried and the Referee’s watch seemed to have stopped: well that’s what it felt like.

Nerves were settled moments later when Callum T scored a clever sixth to settle the game. Even then the referee said there were two more minutes left: did he have the power to reverse time? Could he travel through time? Could he be the new Doctor Who? Could he aim his sonic screwdriver at the penalty spot for more late drama?

No: that would be daft. The Falcon’s had finally rewritten the history books again leaving Simon Schama scribbling furiously at the touchline. Callum T was named Man of the Match for another fine performance. Other stand out efforts came from Tony with his fine hat-trick, Thomas for carrying such a threat up front, Alex for some towering defensive work and Ervin for the greatest midfield display ever seen (I’ll not mention his defensive work er… herm): I hope he reads this and bears my unbiased comments in mind when it comes to asking for overpriced Christmas presents. As for Real; their dramatic late improvement should act as a warning for next week’s return fixture.

To the north of here, staggering back to Morpeth from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea following his collapse so close to the “lurcal” football club, Cider Man booked an appointment with his GP. Having read the league table with the Falcons on top for a full millisecond, he collapsed again. Discounting his generous irrigation with horizontal lubricant, the crime fighting super hero said; “Readin’ that league chebble gev wuz vortigan doctah.”

Yes we could all do with a lie down.

A Glistening Display
Whitley Bay Real 1 – 3 Heaton Hawks Falcons
30th November 2014 – Whitley Bay
Played 10; Won 5; Drawn 3; Lost 2: Position – Third

“Vortigan! What on earth is that?” The GP asked Cider Man.

“Whey it’s when yer feel dizzy n’that, mebbeez lookin’ doon from heyts. It meks yuz fahl doon. Ah goddit fre lookin’ at the Falcons place in the chebble man. Have ya seen the chebble?”

“They’re fourth! How does that cause vortig…er… vertigo? Whilst we’re on the subject, I must say that you’re giving off a strong aroma of industrial chemicals. Are you sure that you’re not simply intoxicated by the over consumption of strong embalming fluids?”

“Uh?”

“How much have you had to drink?”

“Whey ah divvent coont the cairns when ahm palatic man!!”

“Yes quite. All you need is a long lie down to sleep off your drink. When has mid cheb…er…table ever caused vort…er…vertigo!? Go away and sleep this one off.”

“Ah canna cos ahv godda gan sort oot this illegible pleeyah back at Newbiggin.”

“It’s Newbiggin Hall you fool! Enjoy your rest. Just to be on the safe side; don’t go looking at the league ch…table for a while.”

So off he went back to the command and control centre of his crime fighting network: his favourite park bench, faced with the daunting prospect of a dry few hours: almost as daunting a prospect as the Falcons chasing a first away win at Whitley Bay Real.

Speaking of comparisons: the one made last week with the Philae probe landing on the comet took a new twist when, after the ten year journey, it suffered a bumpy landing and the battery went flat. When you look at it like that, last week’s first ever home win against the said Real clearly counts as a greater achievement.

This didn’t go unnoticed by the Stagecoach bus company: they immediately dispatched a team of their top scientists and researchers to the Whitley Bay home ground, desperate to learn from their own mistakes by watching the most perfect feat of human skill, initiative, discipline and endeavour. Off they went armed with clipboards, smart phones and pencils in search of the final great learning breakthrough: Setting off in their Stagecoach minibus, to a man, looking like “Les” the Lab Assistant from Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out. Ok, for those young enough to remember; bald, bespectacled, gormless looking and lab coat clad with a fine collection of pens and pencils stuffed in the breast pocket.

With the usual bus delays they were passed by two more minibuses carrying more Les clones. By half time the full collection of gawping clones outnumbered the parents on the touchline. They hadn’t come to cheer or support: merely to study and observe; to learn from this most perfect “Swiss watch” of a team in action. From the lessons learned they could finally build the ultimate comet probe – well that’s what they told the police later anyway.

Elsewhere, back in the “Toon”. The even more famed lurcal crime fighter turned thespian was enjoying a break from filming and decided to visit one of his favourite haunts on Shields Rurd. Months of filming and mixing with the theatrical set had gone to Bat Gadgie’s head: “A pint of your finest real ale my good fellow.”

“Ya what?!”

“What’s the matter are you deaf; you f****** pleb?! Now where is my pint of Ruddles County?!”

The barman at “Jackson’s” didn’t take kindly to his tone and suggested, in language which came with a long lingering herbaceous and earthy taste lingering on the palette with a hint of fruity notes, that it might be a good moment for him to seek his liquid sustenance elsewhere.

The mild mannered crime fighting super hero could take no more: “Now look here you sweaty, stupid little s***! Who are you to question me? I don’t want to hear from you, shut the **** up. Smart-a**** little b******. I’m a crime fighting super hero and an award winning actor— you think that your experiences are anything compared to mine?”

Fortunately for him, his true identity was unknown to the new barman but he thought it best to head off and change back into his crime fighting costume as soon as he got home. he took a taxi to Whitley Bay to referee a youth football match but was thrown out just short of Tesco’s following another bleeped out tirade.

Since the Falcon’s healthy win the previous week, November has sleepwalked with damp, low grim grey immoveable cloud towards its inevitable limp and miserable end: the kind of week when passing planes are heard but not seen. This grey lumpen shroud finally peeled away for the match at Whitley Bay. The ground was bathed in brilliant late autumn sunlight. As if that weren’t bright enough, Tony came to the field of play with a brand new pair of boots that shone brighter still, enhanced by “advanced pro sequined glistenation technology” footwear developed for improved performance and endorsed personally by Cristiano Ronaldo and Louis Spence.

If Tony’s boots weren’t enough to lighten the mood then the sight of Whitley Bay officials struggling to put the goalposts into place correctly helped: it’s not just us then. One official complained, “I can’t get it in”, and then “It’s gone cockeyed but I can get it in at an angle.” Sadly, Kenneth Williams was unavailable for comment.

With the match referee stranded near Tesco’s, the most surprising thing of all was the news that Lee’s dad, Woody, was going to officiate the match. With the remaining parents being of a more diffident nature the atmosphere was, from the outset, like that in Belgrade for Serbia’s next three home games. The atmosphere wasn’t helped by the news that the Falcons only had twelve available players for the game.

That’s not to say that the football was poor; far from it. Whitley Bay had the better of the early chances with Pete clearing off the line in the opening minutes followed by a series of shots going wide. Ervin finally managed a shot on target after fourteen minutes and followed that with an air shot from a prime position in the penalty area.

It was no comment on the game that Woody stopped play to deal with the crap on the pitch after twenty one minutes but “Bonzo” the dog has had a three match touchline ban slapped on him for the incident.

With the pitch now crap free the Falcons began to take control of the game with chances coming their way. Just before half time Thomas broke the deadlock following excellent approach play from Callum T. The Falcons held a half time lead but there was concern that despite “advanced pro sequined glistenation technology” footwear, Tony had to leave the pitch carrying a shoulder injury. With the season he is having, that seemed like a big loss.

Despite this setback, the researchers from Stagecoach had found plenty to write about and film: impressed by the improved organisation and purpose that the Falcons had shown.

The second half saw the Falcons facing up the pitch slope but this didn’t blunt their attacking intent. Callum had a strong shot parried but Thomas slipped just as he appeared to be about to convert the rebound. After six minutes Pete doubled the lead with a fine shot from a great assist by Matthew. Real heads began to drop with the Falcons going on to dominate possession and creating a series of chances.

Just to keep nerves jangling, they failed to convert any of them and, with a little over five minutes remaining they were punished from an “Ungula puera usque ad magnum” moment when the Real number three got behind the defence to score. Real parents suddenly broke the silence and their team finally woke up to set up another frenetic climax.

On the face of it, things weren’t helped by a delay following an injury to the Real keeper. What seemed a hindrance turned to the Falcon’s advantage when the replacement keeper got caught out of position leaving Ellis with infinite time and space to tap in a third goal. That proved to be that.

The Falcons had put in one of their best all round performances of the season though they could still do with adding a bit more width rather than getting crowded in the centre. The whole team played well with Michael being awarded the Man of the Match award. Other notable performances included Alex’s excellent display in central defence and Callum T in midfield – particularly when Tony was off and Pete was struggling: he bought us time. Matthew also provided much need muscle in midfield with both Callum A and Ellis providing excellent link play. Anyone not mentioned can rest assured that they’d played well too. No mention of Ervin here this week because flattery last week didn’t prevent him getting an expensive Christmas present.

A special mention should go to Woody for his refereeing. No one could accuse him of pro Falcons bias; indeed we can but wonder how much Real paid him with their keeper getting away with tripping Tony and one of their defenders tripping Ellis when the ball had gone loose: two clear penalties! Seriously; he did a great job and let the game flow. The two penalty shouts were hardly stone wall either.

The researchers from Stagecoach were feeling well satisfied with their notes and film footage until a local crime fighter made a citizen’s arrest of them: “That’ll teach yee porvorts not to spy on young bairns n’that.” He said as he led them away to the “lurcal” police station. With the sight of another Falcons win he vowed not to look at the chebble lest it brought on his vortig…vertigo again.

Finally; once upon a time Bill Shankly suggested that his own sport was more important than life and death. No it isn’t: Phillip Hughes rest in peace.

Giant Killers
AE Phoenix 1 – 1 Heaton Hawks Falcons
14th December 2014 – The Briar dene, Airshington
Played 11; Won 5; Drawn 4; Lost 2: Position Second (God knows how)

The Stagecoach bus researchers – “Les clones” had been released with just a caution following Cider Man’s citizen’s arrest of the whole party. Though keen to find out more about the Falcons methods a trip to Airshington was always going to be beyond them, it being on an Arriva bus route. No such problems for the crime fighter himself who insisted on walking everywhere rather than taking the bus: not that they’d let him on anyway. His fear of suffering another “vortigan attack” had receded with the Falcons unable to climb above fourth in the table despite their exploits. He felt free again to continue his crime fighting exploits in south eastern Northumberland and carry out impromptu taste inspections at various Bargain Booze outlets.

At least he could relax. The other “lurcal” crime fighting super hero had to keep a low profile and as far away from the North East as possible. This following his “David Melloresque” arrogant tirades a fortnight previously had prevented him from refereeing the Falcons match at Whitely Bay. The adverse publicity sent him into hiding, even turning down an invite onto “The Graham Norton Show” – an artiste he much admired – after being asked to publicise his “Last Days of the Radge” Series one DVD box set.

He vowed to relearn his home dialect and change his ways now that the series was out of the way. A life without the bars on Shields Rurd was unthinkable; how he yearned for a return to the good old days; the witty discourse, the lyrical recital of the most beautiful regional poetry set to music and sung with angelic fervour, the athletic and physical jousting using re-sculpted drinking vessels and the moments of pure silent inner philosophical contemplation whilst smurkin’a tairb ootseyde the door of the bar.

He buried his head in “lurcal” dialect books. Sat in his vast mansion perched on the rolling soft sunlit, chalky hills of the West Sussex Downs; a landscape that had inspired great artists for generations: names such as JMW Turner, Paul Nash, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Shakin’ Stevens; he vowed to build up his alcohol tolerance before daring to venture up north again. Very soon he was able to balance six “urpened cairns” of Special Brew on his “heed” having consumed fifteen “ahlready”: The good times would surely soon be back!

Elsewhere other footballing shocks had kicked the week off but it was the weather’s turn to take centre stage as midweek approached. Britain was hammered by the much publicised weather bomb – originally invented and patented by Barnes Wallis. Alas he never got to see his invention tested on the Germans but then the war had been over for more than thirty years. Rumour has it that UKIP are keen to test it on the continent before the next General Election.

We’re faced with the prospect of weeks of gales and disruption as the bomb keeps bouncing back at us: Hardly the time to set off on a boating trip around the Outer Hebrides. The good news was that the Top Gear team had been sent off to film an alternative Christmas special, following the Argentine fiasco. The task was to see which of the three presenters could first convert their £150,000 Porsche’s into an amphibious craft then pedal it first to Iceland from Stornoway without any assistance, navigation tools, flares, mobile phones or back up crew. Tragically, no one was killed.

What of the football upsets? Firstly, the Falcons had no fixture and secondly, there was the Second round of the FA Cup. Watching the superstars and “Galacticos” of the top European clubs it is all too easy to forget the passion of grass roots football. The Second Round of the Cup offered a chance for the small clubs to grab glamorous third round ties with the big boys. Sadly the dream is over for some: Blyth Spartans, “Shearer!!” famously eliminated Pixie Lott following a controversial refereeing decision: Her long held dream of an away tie against Birmingham City had disappeared quicker than a snowflake falling on a log fire.

Yes giant killing was the order of the day and Sunday 14th December offered another opportunity for shocks on the field of play with the much battered AE Phoenix at home to the in-form Falcons. It’s ironic to suggest that the Falcons are giants when, until this season, they’d never beaten AE Phoenix. Until a fortnight previously they’d never beaten Whitley Bay Real but now they’d completed the double against them.

All this rewriting of history books had caused Professor Simon Schama considerable stress. The Whitley Bay Real game proved the last straw as his writing cramp finally got the better of him: “I’ve had it with you lot! You can get that loud mouthed illegitimate son of a b****, Starkey to do your writing! It’ll make a nice break for him from shouting his head off.” Then it was straight down to his solicitors to file a compensation claim against Heaton Hawks Junior Football Club. So with the barmy substitute professor the Falcons headed off to Airshington to face the struggling AE Phoenix side.

The team cars gathered at the windswept, rain spattered and bleak Briardene: the weather bomb seemed to be bouncing back. Weather accepted, the Falcons were looking forward to boosting their goal difference and climbing the table. The site of a Phoenix team reduced to just nine players left the Falcons thinking that just turning up would be enough. The first few minutes though were scrappy. The Falcons made the early chances and opened the scoring when Ervin almost casually stroked the first into an open goal: surely the first of many. Well it was the first of two but the second came when an adventurous Phoenix saw Lee off his line and lobbed into the net from great distance. Shortly afterwards, the shocked Falcons were rattled again as Phoenix hit the bar.

Let’s get the excuses in for what followed: the pitch was bobbly, it was windy; it was really hard playing against nine men; the referee did us no favours (he didn’t do anything wrong either), the bright yellow Phoenix kit was off putting.

What followed was a precession of poorly executed chances, bunching in mind field, lack of movement, passing and communication. AE Phoenix showed tenacity and defended heroically with their goalkeeper impassable. In truth, with no one keen on passing and no one showing any composure not even the clearest chances looked like being taken anyway.

Increasingly desperate in the second half, the Falcons fashioned more chances but couldn’t find a way through. When the final whistle blew on a one – one draw it was AE Phoenix’s first point of the season, greeted with understandable joy and hysteria from their parents and fans. The match stats showed that the Falcons had twenty six shots at goal whilst AE Phoenix had managed only two but they had thoroughly deserved their draw. The Falcons had been Santa’s early present to them: his collection of elves or “Pixies” had brought light, joy and happiness back to the grim Briardene.

The players left, happy that they’d brought joy into AE Phoenix lives: who cares about the league: Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

PART THREE: “Dee They Nah It’s Christmas Man?” Are the Falcons contenders?
The story so far: Won 5; Drawn 4; Lost er…just two; Second! You believe that? Vortigan indeed! With the last cup competition swept away the season, seemingly now, perfectly aerodynamic, the Falcons were ready to face the ultimate wind tunnel test: the Walbottle Bulldogs, who sat unbeaten at the top of the chebble.

That is, they were ready if they could put the “The Great Airshington Embarrassment of 2014” behind them. This great historical event now ranked with the beginning of World War One 1914; The Fall of the Berlin Wall 1989; the Norman invasion of 1066 – or, let’s not forget, “William the Conqueror’s (“Bill the B*****d”) excellent holiday adventure, care of Dawson and Sanderson”. You see: the Falcons were there at two of Britain’s most iconic historical moments.

“The Great Airshington Embarrassment of 2014” as it became known to most eminent historians (except Professor Starkey, who is still receiving treatment), was the last footballing action that the Falcons were to taste before the Christmas break. Their Christmas puddings were left with the sourest of tastes, and that’s not from the brandy butter.

The Tyne and Wear derby prevented any further fixtures before the festivities, just when the Falcons needed a morale boosting result to wipe away the embarrassment. One look at the New Year fixture list was hardly the thing to fill the brave knights with Christmas cheer. Premiership players and managers crave a winter break but not the keen Falcons: Christmas dinners, presents and TV were just an obstacle standing in the way of their climb up the chebble and promotion.

Were the Falcons true contenders? The three months that followed revealed the truth.

Warren Peace
Heaton Hawks Falcons 1 v 1 Whitley Bay Barca
11th January 2015 – Heaton Manor Ground
Played 12; Won 5; Drawn 5; Lost 2: Position Third

The Pinpoint Junior Football League has proved a trailblazer with its introduction of the winter break to British football: the Premiership and Football League should take note. For the Falcons the break has actually proved essential: it could take many weeks to recover from the embarrassment of their previous fixture. AE Phoenix had actually sent the hapless Falcons soaring to second in the table. That game saw the return of the dreaded blind giraffe formation. Brian vowed that he’d find a safe sanctuary, far away from football pitches for the afflicted giraffe to live out its last days.

The winter break allowed enough time to provide counselling and psychotherapy following the embarrassment of the AE Phoenix. The team of therapists, led by eminent ex TV psychologist Professor Raj Persaud, were certainly going to have their work cut out but the postponement of the prior week’s fixture gave them more valuable time.

Christmas time can be a time of excess when it comes to food and the club had an offer of help to stop the players putting on excess weight: “Doctor” Gillian MacKeith offered to follow the players every bowel movements but; for reasons she couldn’t understand; the club shunned her offer. After all, it’s a well-known fact that Christmas puddings help build muscle and endurance. We didn’t need her help.

Yes, after the AE Phoenix embarrassment, the players had crawled like grey, lumbering caterpillars into their cosy dark little holes, sometimes known as bedrooms, equipped with the latest computer technology and games. Wrapped in the warm embrace of a Christmas break, the lumbering caterpillars could spin themselves into a thick chrysalis ready to emerge as bright, gaudy confident butterflies after the winter break. Yes; that’s right: they would be wearing their yellow tops for the home game against Barca. January’s not a great time of year for butterflies in Heaton.

Refreshed and confident, some players peered out of their cars at the Manor Ground and couldn’t help noticing that it was cold, wet and windy: “Maybe they’ve got enough players. I can just sit this one out in the car.”

Never mind the weather: all but Jack made it to this first fixture of 2015 ready to blow away the excess Christmas cobwebs for good. Even Brian and Peter had returned safely from their winter skiing holiday in South Sudan: all was well with the world.

Some of us parents, however, did mind the weather. In scenes reminiscent of Tolstoy’s “Warren Peace” (named after a character in the novel), we peered out of the club canteen seeing the parents from the first games leaving bedraggled and demoralised like Napoleon’s defeated army retreating back from Moscow, through the harsh Russian winter and, one by one dropping to their doom as they couldn’t summon the strength to trudge any further; trapped knee deep in snow with temperature plunging to minus thirty. Legs failed and the icy arctic wind screamed turning their aristocratic, expensively moisturised faces into blackened frost bitten potatoes and their manes into to the most twisted and grotesque, scarecrow like formations – not that they cared anymore: death couldn’t come soon enough: Their team had won two nil!

Barnes Wallis’s “Weather Bomb” had well and truly bounced back. Come Twelve O Clock it was our turn to stand and face the relentless monster and re-enact the grimmest scenes of the novel whilst our little cherubs got the chance to warm themselves up by running around a bit.

Their opponents this time were the formidable Barca: a team that they’d previously beaten thanks to incredible heroics from Callum T in goal and clinical finishing from Thomas. Could history repeat itself? Who knows; this weather was too cold for any historians to bother standing around. Few parents Falcon parents dared to stand at the touchlines and were outnumbered by keen Barca parents who had no choice but to stay, grin and bear it. It was truly horrid standing there. Did the game take our minds of it?

Early exchanges saw the Falcons start brightly without creating any serious opportunities and it was Barca who appeared the more incisive; except with their final touch: a series of limp shots on target and wild misses. Their approach play was excellent and it was clear why they had been on a decent run since the previous meeting. Lee was also proving as impassable as Callum had been on that occasion.

Barnes Wallis’ – clearly a Falcon’s fan – unleashed his “Weather Bomb” in the nineteenth minute when a corner, wind assisted, swept through the Barca defence, causing confusion, allowing Ellis to place the ball in the back of the net. Hardly a deserved lead: Alex followed up with a good shot on target from distance but still Barca dominated the chances. History did repeat itself with the Falcons holding a half time lead. This time they would be kicking into the wind for the second half, so hardly a cause for complacency.

Surprisingly, the Falcons started the second half brightly again and began to fashion more clear chances but Lee was still busy, working hard to keep Barca at bay. Later in the half the Falcons created two great chances but failed to convert. Moments later Michael conceded a penalty and the scores were equal with just eight minutes left. I would have chronicled more of the second half but for the wind ripping my notes to shreds. Not much happened in those last eight minutes except that time stood still and parents checked their wills and life insurance in case they couldn’t make it to the end. Thankfully no one died and the Falcons had earned a deserved draw against a good side.

Lee deserved his Man of the Match award and there were fine displays around the pitch with Thomas looking particularly sharp up front after the winter break: remember; he didn’t play at AE Phoenix so he had no traumas to recover from. All in all: a reassuring performance against a very good side.

The quack struck off Professor Psychologist: very short of TV gigs these days and grateful for the counselling work over Christmas; proclaimed himself delighted that his work had actually achieved something even if it was by luck rather than judgement. Back in the car park, the other notorious quack doctor could be heard sobbing having been shunned with her offer to sell half price chamber pots at the ground.

Let’s be thankful that the team are back on track and that none of us died of hypothermia at the Manor Ground. It was good game but no it didn’t take our minds of the horrible conditions; time for a big bowl of broth and a glass of whiskey.

Goodbye Mr Crisps
Blyth Rangers Betis 2 v 2 Heaton Hawks Falcons
Blyth Sporting Club – 25th January 2014
Played 13; Won 5; Drawn 6; Lost Two: Position Third

So another trip to Blyth; a place where the Falcons had been subject to more canings than a public school boy from the “overzealous” – yes let’s call it that – head master. Oh that ground conjures up such happy memories: the four goals that secured Blyth Valencia promotion the previous year, the five goal defeat by Valencia and not forgetting this year’s plucky eight nil slaughter at their hands in the cup.

Indeed the prospect of observing another caning at the Sporting Club lured the head master of the local “St Barry’s Public School for Young Gentlemen”, the fearsome Mr Basil Clampdown-Crisp; unaffectionately known as “Mr Crisps”: a man so wedded to his vocation that when there was no prospect of a good caning at the school he’d seek them out elsewhere. He was a firm believer in the “no pain no gain” view of life. Still; not to worry; he was just there to watch a good game of football having left his can, framed, sharpened and varnished – to coin a phrase – on his office wall.

The weather had finally relaxed its icy grip. The still, glistening frozen fields of play had been transformed by the weather Gods back to their original muddy green. As if the Gods had overdosed on a fine Tuscan bean soup or were feeling the effects of too many “cairns” of cheap gassy lager, the wind farted mercilessly across the Blyth Sporting Club: not a day for thick heads – so not a day for me. If some parents were aiming for a “Dry January” the weather wasn’t helping.

Meanwhile the “lurcal” crime fighting super hero would have willingly given Dry January a try if he’d been aware what month it was. With a full year’s worth of drinking vouchers to get through, January was proving just as intense as the rest of the year. January was not just proving to be a time of maintaining essential levels of horizontal lubricants but a time for battling with a new crime wave. Cider Man, or “L’Homme de Cidre” to our French readers, was at the top of his game. Since 1st January he made twenty arrests or “arseds” as he drunkenly pronounced them, in the South Eastern Northumberland area. That would have been a remarkable achievement if he hadn’t just concentrated on arresting his self for being drunk and disorderly.

On a quiet Sunday, with seemingly no prospect of making any “arseds” he decided to watch a bit of football at the Sporting Club. The two teams had met twice already this season at Heaton: two close games with Betis winning the cup match and the league game being drawn. For the Falcons a lack of games since Christmas threatened to leave them rusty. There was worse: Umer now out injured for many weeks and no Matthew. Could it get worse than that? Yes indeed: the whole squad were left reeling at the news of The Saudi King Abdullah’s untimely death. How could they focus on football after news like that?
It seemed from kick off that their minds were, indeed elsewhere as Betis dominated the early exchanges and forcing a save from Lee. Very much against this run of play Michael opened the scoring from a well worked move involving Thomas and Tony. Celebrations were cut short as Betis equalised from a corner on twelve minutes.

The game became quite open with chances at both ends but it was the Falcons who restored their lead thanks to Thomas following up an excellent pass from George and scoring slightly fortuitously with a Gouffran like ricochet on nineteen minutes. He almost scored another shortly afterwards but was denied by a great save from the excellent Betis keeper.

Open as the game was, few clear chances followed up to half time with the most notable moment being Michael crashing into the Betis fullback, leading to both players performing what looked like an ancient traditional synchronised hopping folk dance. Neither player was badly hurt.

At half time Ervin and Ellis were replaced by Callum A and Jack. Ervin had had a quiet first half, having been given the thankless task of marking Betis version of Andre Schurrle: a player who he couldn’t quite match.

The second half saw the Falcons begin to dominate with chances falling to Tony and Thomas. No goals came from this pressure and the Falcons soon paid as Andre Schurrle equalised seven minutes into the half with a fine shot. It’s fair to say he was given plenty of time to tee his shot up though. This goal turned the game as Betis took control and creating a series of chances. Lee kept everything out and had a solid game. Only late on did the Falcons start to make chances of their own: following the equaliser their ability to string more than one pass together disintegrated and their midfield vanished from sight with chances being fashion the “Ungula puera usque ad magnum” way. The ball was often hastily hoofed forward with no targeted recipient: simply hoofed in hope. Composure had gone but, mercifully, Betis didn’t find a killer punch as the game ended as a two-two draw.

Tony was named man of the match but there were notable performances too from Michael, Thomas, George, Alex and Lee.

It hadn’t been a totally satisfying display by the Falcons but, for the first time at the Sporting Club, they’d avoided a caning. So for Mr Clampdown-Crisp the day had ended in disappointment. It soon got worse as the famed; as the French would call him, “L’Homme de Cidre”; having heard of his sadistic exploits at the school made a “cistern arsed” for “vinylating them bairn’s hyowman reyts n’that like”. For some reason, he wasn’t taken very seriously at the police station.

Next week it’s Walbottle: that mean’s it’ll snow. When will I ever get to report on that one?

Don’t Believe the Hype
Walbottle Bulldogs 0 – 1 Heaton Hawks Falcons
1st February 2015 – Walbottle High School
Played 14; Won 6; Drawn 6; Lost 2: Position Third

The unforgiving winter left the Falcons with only two completed fixtures in January: both drawn. The first game of February just happened to be the most anticipated: an away fixture against the fearsome Walbottle Bulldogs, unbeaten until last week and still second in the table. This promised to be a true clash of the “Galacticos” with the Falcons unbeaten in ten league games. The Falcons initial plan for the game was inspired by Rugby Union’s all conquering “All Blacks”.

The “Hakka” is an intimidating warrior dance used for team motivating when performed before the game to intimidate the opposition. What better way could there be then to put the Bulldogs on the back foot than by performing an English version of the dance before the match? This idea had to be dropped, albeit reluctantly, when the coaching team realised that, however frightening the dance might appear, it may prove slightly disadvantageous to play a full match wearing Morris Dancing costumes.

Noted for their very “physical” and combative approach to the game and their understandably over protective parents. It’s a dangerous game: You wouldn’t want your precious little angels getting hurt by some nasty little middle class kids. Some accuse them of playing dirty in lots of ways: those smart arsed middle class kids are notorious for their combination of erudition, withering sarcasm, puns, irony and clever word play. A single sharp one liner could reduce the big brutish centre half to a quivering tearful wreck, requiring years of counselling.

They were right to worry: the Falcons had spent the whole season preparing for this encounter. Brian sent his players in the close season away with stacks of literature to consume and assimilate. Over the Christmas period they prepared meticulously, burying their heads in Oscar Wilde along with many volumes of classic put down lines. There was another plan: when faced with a one on one situation and just a single defender to beat, Michael could let loose a stream of unintelligible lines from James Joyce’s “Ulysses”, leaving the defender dumbstruck. That confusion would create enough time and space for him to score.

With opposition as intimidating as the Bulldogs, Brian wasn’t taking any chances: He had Plans “B” and “C” up his sleeve. Fearful that the feisty opposition’s response to irony, sarcasm and clever word play might actually be quite “robust”, he hoped that the “Ulysses” quotes could help along with some heart melting nineteenth century romantic English and German poetry, which would surely soften the Bulldogs aggressive intent.

Then Plan C: finally breaking their spirit by quoting from the great philosophers. Having been bombarded by all forms of literature, surely a single quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein could leave the Bulldogs waving the white flag; “What’s the point of football? What’s the meaning of life? Why are we here? Oh what’s the point of everything?”

Just to be on the safe side, the Falcons signed Stephen Fry and David Mitchell to bolster the midfield with Umer out injured for many weeks. It was a great plan only thwarted by petty league regulations about over age players: its political correctness gone mad!

Still: you never know. We don’t want any unruly behaviour on or off the pitch. The two great “lurcal” crime fighting super heroes were nowhere to be seen. Bat Gadgie’s rehabilitation into “lurcal” ways and customs appeared to be complete when he attended the Tyne and Wear derby. Approaching the ground, dressed for crime fighting and well tanked up; his afternoon ended suddenly when he was nutted by an irate police horse: it’d seen the likes of him before and wasn’t taking any chances. Come 1st February he was still stuck at home recuperating from his injuries, consuming large quantities of Special Brew “pian killahz”. With Newcastle being outside his usual area of jurisdiction, Cider Man was busy elsewhere too: forced to do carry out community service duties having been convicted for assaulting and manhandling a local public school headmaster.

There was another “Respect” enforcement option: Despite having his three hour com..conm..er comn er whatever leyk sorvice sentence being overturned in favour of a short jail sentence, the club contacted Oscar Pistorius. His previous stint as a Respect Enforcer had been very effective: no one had dared use the toilet that day. Weeks of negotiations with his agent, solicitors and the South African penal authorities with the promise of substantial bribes got nowhere. The famed, affable charity worker and keen marksman himself knocked the idea on the head:

“Walbottle! Now why mun! Thy tirrifoy me mun! I’m bidder off in the prison shah!” The Falcons were going to have to cope by themselves.

Missing too from the ground were any historical scribes: Professor Simon Schama still had an outstanding compensation claim against the club for writer’s cramp whilst Professor Starkey was serving yet another touchline ban, following his outburst at Airshington. It didn’t matter: both sides had tasted victory and defeat against each other in the past so the historians could take the day off anyway.

Both the home and away fixtures had been postponed due to the weather this season and this Sunday didn’t offer much hope. Strong winds, rain, sleet, snow but, amazingly enough, no frost: the game was on. It was the most bitter of days: one to pull the duvet up and have a lie in. No such luck: the players and parents drove to Walbottle early in the morning with some still wrapped in their duvets to keep the cold out. A certain Captain Oates arrived, saying to his friends in the car, “I’m just going outside and may be some…Jesus Christ it’s bloody freezin’ out there! Let’s go home.”

No such option for the rest of us. The hype was over: it was time to face our most fearsome foes. Several Falcons were so hyped up before the game that they could be seen yawning: that’s what comes of lying awake all night worrying about the game! With no reputable law or respect enforcers how would they cope? The weather was hardly friendly either but no matter what the weather threw at the Walbottle pitch it proved resilient and well drained. This was largely as a result of being situated on top of an ancient pre historic burial mound: the rain, snow and footballs just rolled off the sides.

A team shorn of Messrs Fry, Mitchell and Umer took to the field after some much needed warm ups. If the preamble of the match report seems long then what followed was short of great incident. The first signs that the Bulldogs might not be quite so fearsome after all came when one of their players suffered a tiny scratch and cried “referee blood!!” This was followed by some quite physical play which never intimidated any of the Falcons. Chances were few with the Falcons creating one or two openings and the Bulldogs missing one golden opportunity: fearless in a fifty-fifty challenge perhaps but it was clear that self-assurance melted quicker than snow in June when faced with only the keeper to beat.

Half Time came and the nil-nil score line reflected a keenly fought and competitive game between two well matched sides. For the Falcons to win it would take one decisive drive in the second half: “ Remember what I said to you about Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell.” Brian reminded the boys at half time. They listened intently and went back onto the field of play a different side: quite literally following the substitution of Jack and Ellis with Peter and Ervin.

Ervin soon began to make an impact in left midfield with his fine distribution slicing through the formidable Bulldog defence. Neither Peter nor Thomas were able to capitalise on the chances that came their way unfortunately.

The Bulldogs were rattled with some players starting to complain and their parents’ anxious support rising in volume and frequency: one mother, indeed had a voice that evoked the “Knights of Ni” from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. No amount of high pitched support was getting the ball into the Falcons half and it came as no surprise when Callum T tried a shot from well outside the area. This beat the keeper to break the deadlock. It should have been an easy shot to cover from that distance but Callum’s inspired quotation of German expressionist poetry at the crucial moment disorientated the keeper.

The Falcons began to dominate the match, creating a series of chances that were, sadly, fluffed. They were sturdy and resolute in defence with Tony moving back in from the attack to help protect the lead. That might have seemed a negative move but it proved effective as the Bulldogs could find no way through the Falcon defence or Lee in goal.

The final whistle blew with the Falcons recording a more than deserved win: after the second half display it should have been more. Callum T was named Man of the Match with the Bulldogs coach admitting, “Until today I knew nothing about the poetry of Richard Dehmel and if we’re really going to shore up our defence then we’re clearly going to have to familiarise ourselves with Wittgenstein’s work. We’ll keep away from Socrates, even if he was a canny footballer, because he talked a lot of *****. Still you can’t try to run before you can walk so we’ll work on “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” for next week. Thanks for the tips.”

To sum up: this had been a very satisfying win where the whole side showed great discipline, resolution and composure even making their supposed fearsome opponents look immature in comparison. So there you are: No jokes to end with; just a fantastic win. Well done everyone.

Save the Pandas
Heaton Hawks Falcons 3 – 1 KYPC Munich
8th February 2015 – Heaton Manor Ground
Played 15; Won 7; Drawn 6; Lost Two: Position Second

They were far too hasty and it had to turn out badly. After Christmas, as reward for a season unbeaten so far and near certain promotion; the Bulldurgs’ management team arranged for a celebration party at Walbottle Village Hall on the afternoon of 1st February. Two defeats later it didn’t seem such a smart idea.

Looking for the right person to run the party took a turn off the main road too: an advert placed in the Chronicle caught the club secretary’s eye, “Got sommat to celebrate? Have a party! Just cahl “Uncle Geordie” for a party to remember at a price you can afford.”

Maybe it was the prospect of a cheap party in mid-season that caught the eye. Anyway they booked him and his nephew to run the show that very afternoon. Now Uncle Geordie’s parties were aimed more at young children but adding more words to the advert would cost double so such minor details went left unmentioned.

It’s fair to say that the afternoon’s celebrations were tempered before they began after the defeat to the Falcons and the nature of the party didn’t endear it to the team, management or parents either. Having an assistant wasn’t to be much help for the unfortunate Uncle Geordie. His nephew was a stout young fellow in his mid-thirties. At his age, wearing a baseball cap askew in doors was hardly a good sign. It was clear that his understanding of his environment and circumstances was not entirely unabridged.

His judgement was not to be trusted and for poor old Uncle Geordie things really kicked off when he started off a game of “myowzical chairs”. Normally it would be one of the parents that would question his manhood for arranging such events but then several players complained, his reply of; “How! Divvent yeez ahl cahl wuz a …..” I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks, but it brought out the worst in some people. As things turned out the players decided to fill in his blanks and those of his unfortunate nephew.

The village hall was almost raised to the ground in the melee. Uncle Geordie’s equipment, for want of a better description, was completely destroyed with both he and his cap wearing nephew sporting the cutest panda eyes by the finish: “Back to sellin’ e-tairbs.” Not all “George’s” were suffering, as we will see.

Some of the players were still outraged after the event, even if they’d played a part in the premature building makeover. “What an absolute disgrace! One came here expecting something a little more intellectually stimulating. It’s simply not good enough! I’m going home to cram up on my Wigto, er Wigtte.. Witten..er Wittg er what ever leyk er “Very Hungry Caterpillar”. We’ll show them confounded Falcons in fortnight what! What!!”

That threat is still a week away but they sound just a tad miffed about that second defeat of the season.

What of this week’s opponents? The Falcons produced one of their most convincing displays at the away fixture against the same opponents: a three nil win. On that occasion an academic researcher brought his Danish Guinea Pigs to the game to test how their supposed natural contentment could be disturbed by a depressing Falcon’s performance. They left very contented but he was anything but because the Falcons had been impressing rather than depressing that day.

Not to be thwarted so easily he decided to bring his Danish Guinea Pigs to the Heaton Manor Ground in the hope that the Falcons would, this time, be depressing to watch. That, in itself, was a deluded, over optimistic point of view for a side that hadn’t lost in the league in any of their previous eleven games. He was allowed into the ground but the sun was shining and the Falcons had a decent squad ready for the kick off.

Not everyone managed to get that far: “Uncle Geordie” aka George Renard thought it the ideal place to sell his “e – tairbs” but was shown the gate and the “nee smurkin’” sign. “Ahm not here to smurk. Ahm just sellin’ them man!”; “Clear off and don’t come back!” That was that.

Come kick off the Falcons were missing another important player in Thomas. There was a worry that his good finishing could be sorely missed. The first half backed that theory up. The Falcons dominated possession and chances without ever looking like they were going to score. KYPC were playing direct into the sun light so any shots could be difficult for the keeper to see. This was going to be a problem for the Falcons in the second half. As it was, the KYPC keeper had little demanding to do unless watching shots sail wide or well over the bar is a demanding job. At the other end, Lee had little to do but to collect the ball from the odd over hit pass.

If the Danish Guinea Pigs were contented some of the Falcon fans were not: screaming and balling encouragement and frustration in equal measure. The opening words from one of the late and much despised Sir Garfield Glitter’s songs was heard repeatedly: more than in the song itself but when it came to scoring goals there was no leader of the gang to be seen. Just as well maybe.

When it looked like the Falcons could never score, George when on a surging run down the left flank that took him deep into the penalty area and the by line from where he crossed into the centre where Ellis coolly converted in a goalmouth scramble. The Falcons took that lead into half time. The Danish Guinea Pigs looked serene and at peace with the world even if the Professor looked miserable.

With the sun in their eyes it wasn’t going to be so straight forward in the second half. Sure enough KYPC upped their game and began to create chances. The pressure was eased when George, once again, was the provider, this time for Michael who scored a second with a fine finish.

Was it time to relax? Not quite. A defender handled the ball on the edge of the Falcon’s area. Parents balled at the team to mark up but there proved little point when the wall wasn’t wide enough to keep the ball out: Two-One: Time to worry.

Chances were coming at both ends with Michael going extremely close when hitting the post and the keeper collecting the rebound: just. Lee followed that with one of his best saves of the season from a distant free kick. Hit with great power it looked destined to go in the top corner but the diminutive keeper managed to tip the ball onto the bar and the follow up was scrambled to safety and a goal kick.

At the other end, George, who was having his best game of the season, went close and then turned provider yet again by teeing up Tony to thump home the third with only a few minutes left. There was still time for Lee to make another fine save, Jack to go close and then for KYPC to miss an open goal when it could have been easier to score. The game ended with Michael emphatically thumping the ball high in the air into the KYPC half. A convincing three-one win was sealed and another three points. It was a thoroughly deserved win but KYPC had gone close too many times for it to be comfortable. One player, close to the reporter, even admitted to handling the ball three times; once in the area; and it never having being spotted: Just as well.

Professor Oswald’s Danish Guinea Pigs were even more contented than ever whilst the he pondered whether his research was worth the effort. The large grant for the project just about kept him going. One unexpected glimmer of hope for him came when one guinea pig said; “Yes the Falcons won well but they made life difficult for themselves with their profligate finishing.” That was almost pessimistic he thought, disregarding the fact that he’d just been witness to the world’s first talking guinea pig.

For the Falcons George was rightly crowned Man of the Match. Apart from the profligate finishing there were impressive performances across the team, with a special mention for Lee’s excellent display in goal. So there’s plenty of reason for optimism approaching next week’s crucial “top of the table” game against the polymaths from Walbottle.

Fifty Shades of Broon
Heaton Hawks Falcons 2 – 1 Walbottle Bulldogs
15th February 2015 – Heaton Manor Ground
Played 16; Won 8; Drawn 6; Lost 2: Position Second

Early one morning just as the sun had absolutely no intention of rising, I saw two teams arriving at the Heaton Manor Ground: They weren’t the only ones.

With Walbottle being famed as a highly competitive group of players and the two sides close to the top of the league, it seemed appropriate to remind all of the Respect Code – not that there’d been any problems before. The lurcal top crime fighting super hero had finally recovered from his heed injuries. He vowed “to keep away from horses in fyowcher”. Despite his recovery he was never going to stop taking his “pian killahz”. He was ready to ensure that there was “nee trouble”. Well, in truth, although the concussion had gone, being a bit out of practice, and with a clear head, he was far more nervous about the game than usual.

Calming those sensitive nerves involved yet more super concentrated “pian killahz” consumed at a rapid rate over a prolonged period of time. He continued right through Saturday night. Even with his incredible powers of recovery there wasn’t likely to be a Sunday morning: but you never know; he might just make the second half.

One person smarting from the aftermath of the previous encounter was determined to attend and do his best to ruin things for the Bulldogs. With his kids’ entertainment business in tatters, “Uncle Geordie” was out for revenge. He knew that he couldn’t get into the Manor Ground selling e-tairbs but this time he had a “full proof plan”: nothing could possibly go wrong.

Several days of meticulous planning was going into this moment. First he bought a new set of purple felt tip pens and reams of paper sliced into fifty pound note size. Next he worked through the night to draw the Queen’s head and “£50” on the sheets: “They’ll never guess they’re fake!” He thought. His plan was to create a million pounds in fake notes but he slowly realised that he would have to draw twenty thousand fifty pound notes to do it. “Sod that! Let’s make em ten thoosand pund nurts. Nee one’ll nah the difference.”

There was the smaller matter of being recognised by the Bulldogs management and players. No problem: he’d come up with a brilliant disguise. With the shadows of his panda eyes still lingering he used a dark brown fake tan and false black beard held in place by an elastic band. The designer dark glasses added to the effect. As for the costume: who would ever know? A trip to the fancy dress shop had loaned him an Arab oil sheikh outfit: He was ready. The plan was simple: buy out the Bulldogs then shut them down for good. “It can’t fail. It’s the fyowcher man!”

If the plan looked full proof to him it was clear that he’d overlooked one or two minor details that could give others grounds for suspicion. His first oversight was not rubbing any of the fake tan on his hands – but surely no one would notice! Since his last spell in prison, business had not been good so the sight of an Arab oil sheikh arriving at the Manor Ground in a battered W reg. Rover 200 was always likely to catch the eye.

Still confident that his disguise was completely convincing, he went straight to the Bulldogs coach. “How man! Ya divvent nah me leyk but ahm the urnah of Manchestah City n’that; Sheikh Mansur Al err Wodeverleyk. Ah’ve got geet lurds of cash and ah’d leyk to buy your club. Ah’ve got a million punds in me brief case. Just sign here and it’s yours. Ah’m gonna mek the Bulldurgs the Barcelurnah of the north man: Two Hundred Thoosand sea’ah stadium n’that. It’s the fyowcher man.”

“Aye all right: Thanks mate.” The coach said whilst struggling to keep a straight face.

The plan had worked! Overjoyed “Uncle Geordie” ran straight back to his battered Rover 200, conscious that his fake tan was beginning to run. Well, the truth was, it had started jogging from the moment he put it on.

“Victory!” He’d handed over fake money to a person who was not the owner of the club and held a fake nonbinding contract, signed by the aforementioned person. The coach had signed the name “Mr M Mouse”: another tiny detail overlooked.

“Now to get this bleedin’ car gannin.”

As many a car mechanic will tell you, old Rovers’ are very prone to blowing a gasket and this old banger was no exception. His car was going nowhere. “If ah divvent get that briefcase back before he urpens it ah’m turst.”

Thankfully for “Uncle Geordie” the Bulldogs coach was rightly more interested in getting his team ready for the match. For a man who’d supposedly just become a millionaire it seemed remarkably casual of him to just leave it sitting next to the huge bunch of nettles behind the goal. The truth was he thought the whole thing had been a jokey wind up and had actually abandoned the briefcase, though “Uncle Geordie” wasn’t to know.

He decided to sneak back into the ground without being noticed. That was going to be logistically difficult with his car stuck in the car park players arriving and he dressed in his inconspicuous costume. Still, what choice did he have? He waited for the game to start so that everyone’s attention would be concentrated on the pitch. How did he get on: More of that later.

The Falcons arrived with a squad of thirteen players, missing only Jack and Umer. They were fortunate to be wearing their bright yellow away kit on such a grey gloomy, almost unnaturally still morning. The Bulldogs’ kit merged with the gloom, seemingly putting them at a disadvantage. You wouldn’t have thought it from the kick off as the Bulldogs made the early running forcing Lee to make saves in the first few minutes. The Falcons took some time to get going but the rather physical approach by Walbottle seemed to wake them up. In the first half it’s fair to say that the young referee took a pretty laissez faire approach to these challenges so the Falcon’s joined in with rather too much gusto.

Chances now came the Falcons way with Matthew shooting over, Tony striking just wide and Peter hitting the post. The game was quite even with the Bulldogs going close with a great move ending with a strike going just over. Lee was called on to make another great save. From this point the Falcons began to dominate the chances until Matthew scored after half an hour from a free kick taken by Michael. More chances came but a one –nil half time lead was about right.

Meanwhile, tiptoeing behind the club pavilion, “Uncle Geordie” made his way towards the hostile gorse, nettles and shrubbery in a bid to retrieve his briefcase. Crawling behind a tree he snuck into the undergrowth, feeling his way towards where the briefcase was lying: not that he could see it through the nettles, thorns, thistles, gorse and: well, whilst it’s fair to say that the club imposes a strict no go policy towards dogs that provided no restriction on the rest of nature’s flora and fauna leaving their deposits in the undergrowth.

The second half began with the Falcons now beginning to control possession, creating a series of chances with Peter shooting over, Ervin wide after a great individual move, George having his shot saved and many other efforts from Thomas, Ellis and Tony. Half way through the second half Thomas finally doubled the lead. The Bulldogs, inexplicably had swapped goalkeeper, putting their most diminutive player in goal. Thomas had acres of space and scored at the near post. Unabashed, the keeper dared to protest that he’d actually shot through the side netting when all could see that it was a perfectly good goal. The referee wasn’t fooled: two-nil.

Falcon domination continued but there were some unfortunate rushes of blood to the head along the way. Worst of all, Lee rushed out of his area to collect the ball and was rightly booked for shoving over one of the Bulldog strikers. The Falcons’ could hardly complain about their opponent’s physical style when playing like that. Lee did continue to make saves when needed but he had little to do with the Falcons running the game.

The Falcons came agonisingly close to scoring a third when Callum T’s shot struck the bar and rebounded onto or over the line. Where’s an Azerbaijani linesman when you need one? Soon after he went close again but a third just wouldn’t materialise.

Now it would be grossly unfair to say that the Manor Ground is anything but immaculately turned out (it’s immaculate behind the goal but let’s not spoil the plot line), but as things heated up on the pitch “Uncle Geordie” had picked a particularly unfortunate line of direction to reclaim his briefcase with more unpleasant obstacles and aromas than he had anticipated. Still he soldiered on.

On the pitch, with just three minutes left the Bulldogs earned a free kick a distant constellation from the goal but the smart thinking Bulldog decided to shoot high and try to, effectively lob the ball over Lee. Lee just watched as the ball dropped into the top far corner with a look of resignation followed by several philosophical shrugs of the shoulder, like a French Euro Disney employee dressed as Donald Duck, minus his “Gitanes” of course. It’s a shame that no Falcons thought to try the same tactic at the other end when faced by the minute Bulldog keeper.

This sudden and unexpected change of fortunes energised the Knights of Ni, whose pleas of encouragement became yet shriller. They were backed up by what sounded like a group of bulls excited by the sight of a herd of cows moving into the neighbouring field. This time their moral support wasn’t enough to push the Bulldogs onto an equaliser: the Falcons held on for a deserved win that, in all honesty, should have been far more comfortable. Callum T was named Man of the Match but there were other outstanding performance across the team.

Just off the pitch, even in February, there was plenty of life in the undergrowth and the foliage put up a determined fight, shredding the unfortunate sheikh’s robes whilst generously adding forty seven variations on the colour brown and some memorably pungent aromas: an abstract expressionist masterpiece – a newly discovered Jackson Pollock. Then the final whistle blew and he could almost touch his briefcase; “Not quite there!” To his relief he could see the coach and his team heading off without the briefcase. Both teams parted amicably after another good and highly competitive game.

Shredded, stinking, make up smudged across his face, glasses askew, headwear long gone and with the tousled grey hair of a mad professor, “Uncle Geordie” thought “Phew thank God!”, until he peered up to see a dishevelled and caped figure holding a bottle of “Broon”.

“How man! You’re nicked.”

“sh**!”

Peace in Our Time: Went The Day Well?
Heaton Hawks Falcons 7 – 2 Kremlinton United
22nd February 2015 – Heaton Manor Ground
Played 17; Won 9; Drawn 6; Lost 2: Position Second

“In my hand I have a piece of paper;” So said Neville Chamberlain in the comfort of a very small “private” room in Munich, 1938 having just feasted on a spirited Chicken Vindaloo. Those words have echoed down the ages evoking the effete, aristocratic appeasement that paved the way for a second, bloody World War.

“What gans arund comes arund”, as Bat Gadgie mused in a rare philosophical moment following a similar gourmet experience at a “lurcal” Kebab takeaway. Following the triumph of peace and good football at the Falcons – Bulldogs match the previous week, the way seemed clear for a run in of competitive but good spirited games to the season’s end. Bat Gadgie, contented with his “cistern arsed” of “Uncle Geordie” spent the following week in a state of “continuous celebration” (not words he could pronounce after such a long session) that continued into this Sunday. It wasn’t like anyone would need his help at the Manor Ground this week.

Other potential Respect enforcers felt their work was done for the season with Oscar Pistorius happy to spend that bit longer in the prison shower on a Sunday morning and Cider Man just keeping an eye on things further north and closest to his favourite Bargain Booze outlets: All was well with the world. Come Sunday, Bat Gadgie and Cider Man’s drinking itineraries merged as they met up for yet more embalming fluid at the Lochside pub. “How you’re my best mate yee!”

Or was all well with the world? During Jose Mourinho’s post match interview following Chelsea’s home draw against Burnley he recounted a series of numbers as being key to the match: they were the minutes when the main incidents occurred. I’ll paraphrase this for the Cramlington game with the numbers eight, twenty four and twenty five. These numbers do not refer to minutes but all will become clear later.

World War Two happened a long time but, as we see in eastern Ukraine; “What gans arund comes arund”. Russia fights a proxy war with effete European democracies and the USA hesitating on how to deal with the situation. Whilst their attention and gaze is on that part of the world they ignore the even more sinister “gannins on” much closer to “yem”.

Just another day at the Manor Ground you might think but events were being closely followed in Moscow where Vladimir Putin, a keen Cramlington United fan, was monitoring every move: He’d long lost interest in Walbottle. He’d watched the film version of Graham Greene’s “Went the Day Well?” and this provided the seed for a cunning and devious plan. (If you don’t know what I mean then google it).

The two sides were at the ground bright and early, not that it was bright: Again; nothing to arouse suspicions. The Falcons once again were wearing their bright yellow away strip whilst Cramlington wore their maroon and blue tops with what looked like a vicar’s dog collar: looks can be very deceptive. No one noticed lapel badges that had been removed from their kit. They seemed a regular, angelic bunch of lads from Cramlington, more concerned with good school grades than “win at all costs” football.

The referee was another of the more “enlightened liberal”, European democratic leader type: the sort of fellow who likes to let the game flow: I could have said blood but that would have been a cheap shot.

No matter: from the kick off the Falcons went straight on the attack and could have been three nil up in the first three minutes. A combination of a dodgy satnav system and some hesitant finishing meant that the golden chances came to nothing. Chances kept coming but “shots on target” amounted to nothing whilst Lee had to make a save and Michael a clearance at the other end.

Twenty minutes had gone and a series of chances had gone begging to Tony, Peter, Callum T, Ellis and Thomas. It was looking like it might be one of those “Ali-Foreman” days when one team pounds the other only to get knocked out at the end. It was all still quite good natured at this stage with “pounding” only referring to shots at goal.

Frustration clearly got the better of the Falcons who decided to switch off the satnav and go manual. The benefits were seen instantly as Thomas opened the scoring. Cramlington still posed a threat and Lee made another fine save before Alex demonstrated that goals ought to be credited to defenders sometimes as he first tackled a Cramlington player in possession, weaved passed several more before threading a defence splitting pass that reached Callum T, who scored with a fine finish: Two-Nil.

The Falcon’s weren’t, of course, going to make things easy as they quickly conceded a penalty for hand ball: A fair decision. Thankfully, Lee guessed right and saved it. A special word for both keepers here because there could have been a cricket score in the Cramlington goal by this stage. Half time was reached with the score preserved at two-nil.

The Cramlington coach clearly gave his young charges a strong and inspiring motivational team talk at half time. Some might refer to it as a “bo****king”. However you refer to it: it worked. Immediately the Falcons were under pressure with Lee making saves and Alex making a clearance before Cramlington finally scored with a well worked goal. The “Da!!!! Gyet in ya byastyrrds!!! ” echoing from the Kremlin could be heard at the Manor Ground.

Lee soon had to make another save. By now the game was stepping up to a level of feistiness above and beyond the call of duty, with some choice language being heard to involuntarily trip from an angelic Cramlington tongue. Still the Falcons pressed forward with Tony being denied twice before finally hitting the target and Thomas scoring his second of the game to make it Four-One.

Obstructions, shoves, knees in the back and err… somewhere near the centre, elbows in the face, and head butts in the chest: I speak not of the provocations that the Falcons had to face but of the latest dance crazes that are very much in with the young people of today: so I’m told. Dance crazes or not: life was getting, physically and mentally quite difficult for the Falcons but, incredibly they answered these challenges with more goals.

Now the next stage of Putin’s devilish subterfuge was beginning, quite literally, to kick in. The Kremlin’s orders to Putin’s charges..er..favourite team, was to provoke the Falcons into retaliation then use that as an excuse to launch a full scale invasion of Britain to “protect Russian cisterns..er.. citizens.” Not that there were any Russians in the Cramlington team: they spoke English expletives fluently.

The Cramlington tactics seemed to hark back to a golden era of Argentinian football. Few could forget their delightful approach to better opposition in the 1966, 1974 and 1990 World Cups; “If you can’t beat them, kill them.” It was all getting very nasty. I refer here to number eight in particular, aided and abetted by number twenty four. I’ll leave the witnesses to work out what I mean by that.

Still, death threats aside, the Falcons stretched their lead with Matthew scoring the fifth and Callum T the sixth and taking more than his share of knocks it is fair to say.

Cramlington pulled one back before Callum T heroically completed his hat-trick. There was still time for hostilities to blow out of all proportion, again involving the number eight – whatever that means – with another Falcon crumpled on the ground clutching his face. At this point non coaching staff came onto the field of play. Putin was licking his lips; surely a Falcon would retaliate; “we’re going in!” To his disappointment no one retaliated more than suggesting, genuinely politely to the referee, that things were getting out of control.

With the score seven –two the Cramlington coach respectfully bellowed at the top of his voice; “Come on! You’re making this lot look a lot better than they are.” “This lot” being the side which had twenty five shots at goal.

Just at that moment, two drunks from the Lochside happened to be passing the ground. “How, he soonds leyk a canny blurk. Dya think he’d fancy a pint?”

Time was running out. The referee, with probably a great blow of relief more than anything, ended the game but number eight – whatever that means – still launched a premeditated and unprovoked attack on poor old Callum T, who was floored again.

Not many handshakes after that. Tony was named Man of the Match. Some might have given it to Callum T for his persistence and excellent hat-trick but perhaps he was deemed to be the sort who’d fall to the ground too easily when punched in the face. Apart from the dodgy finishing in the first half this was a terrific performance by the Falcons and a great test of character, which they passed with flying colours.

Normally I say well done everyone but this was like a war so no name should be forgotten: Lee made a series of great saves; Michael was tireless and strong in defence and attack as was Tony; Ervin was solid in defence and seemed to be encased in a bubble of calm serenity and composure; Alex was heroic in the face of some of the worst provocation and remained solid in defence and let’s not forget his great assist; Jack stood his ground in defence, giving nothing away; Thomas scored twice and was a constant threat – to his dad’s wallet (£2 per goal apparently); Peter was a threat in attack and very unselfish; Callum A was a calm and steadying influence in midfield as were Matthew and Ellis. Callum T had a day to remember but the main thing is, like the rest of the team, he was still alive and well.

Okay, the Russian threat was another made up plot line but the reality in the second half was far too ugly to describe: the worst I’ve seen at junior football so let’s move on and keep these ludicrous plotlines going if only to numb the pain of our seven two win. It appears that many young players are copying their Premier League idols without the interference of video replays. On rare occasions like this; this means their behaviour is worse: more kicks to the groins, shoves in the back, foul language, theatrical dives (yes there was some of that too)and elbows in the face: not a pretty sight.

Now seems a good point to wish both Whitley Bay Real and Killingworth the very best of luck in their battle to avoid relegation. We wish AE Phoenix all the very best for their next away fixture. Yes we won seven–two but I almost forgot that this result boosts our promotion bid. Thankfully it’s not like this every week.

Cramlington left in a hurry, leaving behind some Russian passports (not really).

Cramlington’s, supposed coach, wasn’t as he had seemed. He was actually a senior officer in the Russian Army, General Bolokov (not their real coach of course). His forthright suggestion near the end of the game had caught the attention of two “lurcal” crime fighting drunks who liked the cut of his jib, as it were. They invited him to come for a few “beeahz” up at the Benton Ale House. All went well, and there was much rejoicing with this Cramlington fellow until it was his round. He fumbled in his wallet and took out a handful of roubles.

Both in unison: “How man! You’re nicked!”

“Der’mo!”

A Thousand Years of Pian
Heaton Hawks Falcons 0 v 1 Morpeth Galaxy
8th March 2015 – Heaton Manor Ground
Played 18; Won 9; Drawn 6; Lost 3: Position: read the epilogue if you want to know.

Nine Hundred and Twenty Eight, to be exact: In the year 1087 William the Conqueror, or “Bill the Ba***rd” as he was also known, finally perished in battle near Caen in France. His accidental conquest of Britain, which started out as a booze cruise, had led the football mad Norman to the lush green fields of Heaton where he founded the Heaton Faucons Club de Football in 1067. His special baby was the Falcons: They were his favourite team of all.

Lying mortally wounded on the battlefield, with his dying words he vowed; “my surl wurnt rest til them effin’ Falcons get pr’mur’ed. My ghurst will wander the lairnd and across the football fields of the Pinpoint Junior league until they reach Division Fowah: It’s the fyowcher man.” In case you’re wondering, that’s what the French language sounded like back then. He spoke these final words with a calm regal dignity before drawing his last breath.

The historical tale that his last words were actually, “Ahl get yooz effin’ mackems for that!” have been proved to be a total myth by eminent Professor of History at Magdalene College Oxford, Sir Christopher Kamara, Companion of Honour.

One of Britain’s most famous monarchs was laid to rest following the grandest state funeral at Walker cemetery. Though the grave stone has long since been stolen for use as a patio paving stone; and a fresh monument placed – shall we say – a little further south; his body remains six foot under in the cold, cold ground of the said cemetery.

To the considerable chagrin of those neighbouring the cemetery and the always welcoming “Ye Olde Scrogge Inn” the famed monarch was as good as his word. His spirit could be seen wandering the streets nearby wearing his suit of armour, bathed in a pale, dusty white light and carrying “cairns” of “Brew de Speciale”. He staggered, seemingly for eternity, carrying his mortal wounds whilst forcefully suggesting directions to bemused passers-by. These usually involved graphically pointing out how they should get off in words containing just one syllable.

More sceptical locals suggested that he wasn’t a ghost but a mere vagrant who slept off his drinking sessions in the nearby flour mill. We can dismiss that theory because there was no flour mill: it must, therefore have been a real ghost!
Now, here in 2015, could his spirit be laid to rest for eternity as the direct descendants of the very first Falcon team and Management set about trying to win the final game of the season in the hope that this would be enough to reach “Division Fowah”.

The Falcons had endured early humiliations and embarrassments but, forgetting those pointless cup competitions, had not tasted league defeat since late September. Fingers were well and truly crossed that the terrible draw at AE Phoenix wasn’t going to deny them promotion.

Whatever the result on the day; knowing the final league positions was still weeks away. The brave, resilient and stoic knights of the Heaton Falcons had survived the worst that the Russians of Kremlinton could hurl at them and were ready for one final heroic push for glory. What stood in their way was the form team of the league, Morpeth Galaxy, still capable of stealing that promotion spot having won six on the trot and only having conceded four goals along the way: a piece of cake then!

Such a momentous occasion was always likely to draw a big crowd: the monks from Andorra with their Latin chants extolling the virtues of the long ball game and a reconciled Professor Schama desperate to witness some real history making. The two great “lurcal” law enforcers turned up until, that is, they were shown the “nee drinks allowed” sign. They still sang merrily in the car park all the same, making sure that there was “nee funny business gannin on” for the last day of the season.

Sadly, nothing was going to drag Oscar Pistorius away from his toilet attendant duties in his Pretoria prison but, just to see that justice was done at the Manor Ground, Judge Strobe Leiting Junior The Third was ready to punish offenders, especially after the horror stories of the previous week. If results weren’t to go the Falcons way he was confident that he could exploit some legal loophole to clinch the deal. Professor Oswald brought along his collection of smiling Danish guinea pigs for one last go. If the Falcons could foul up promotion he wondered if his contented guinea pigs could avoid shedding tears.

Let’s not forget the excited throng of proud parents and then, finally there was the restless spirit of “Bill the Ba***rd” hanging over the ground.

Absolutely no pressure then!

A full squad turned up, minus the injured Umer of course. Were they in the right frame of mind against a team that could still overtake them in the league if they won their last two games? A strong and chilly westerly wind blew from start to finish. Ball control was difficult but it was Morpeth Galaxy who settled first, exchanging good passes and showing plenty of productive movement. Though they settled first the Falcons finally woke up but this only led to one of the most turgid and dull halves of play that you could imagine with both sides cancelling each other out in tedious exchanges of heading ping pong. Defences on both sides looked in complete command and the Falcons, not for the first time this season, seemed very goal shy, as if they were frightened to take a shot.

The atmosphere among both sets of parents was surprisingly subdued given the importance of the fixture. No surprise that we reached half time with a nil-nil score line and parents rushing to the kitchen for a hot drink to fight off the cold.

Back in the car park, with no incidents to deal with and nothing much going on the pitch, the crime fighting super heroes, backed up by generous supplies of horizontal lubricant, were becoming increasingly spontaneous. For all they knew, the Falcons could have been winning five nil. Whatever was happening within the confines of the ground and the touch-lines, the season was over for these two. They’d peaked too soon and were snoring before the second half had started.

Given what had been served up in the first half, who could blame them for dozing off. The second half didn’t show much sign of improvement either, Morpeth now with the wind slightly in their favour, began to control possession and territory, winning a series of corners. Nothing came of them until late on when Lee had to make a spectacular save onto the bar.

With just three minutes left it appeared as if the game was running out of steam for a nil-nil draw that would suit neither side. Morpeth had won another corner but this time the Falcons failed to clear and Morpeth scored: a hammer blow.

The goal shy Falcons seemed to finally wake from their slumber when a ghostly voice from above echoed: “How! Ahl chin yerz ahl if ya divvent win man!” The great King wasn’t going to let his charges let this chance slip. Well there’s only so much that a ghost can do: the Falcons piled on the pressure with Michael offered one clear chance that the keeper blocked. Two free kicks were sent wide of the Morpeth post and that was that: a dismally disappointing end to a fine season.

The armour of the ghostly monarch could be heard clanking as he traipsed back down Coach Lane, heading back to Walker. Judge Strobe Leiting Junior the Third buried his head in league regulations in the vain hope of finding a legal loophole that might still guarantee promotion but heads were down and no one was building their hopes up. Professor Schama, disappointed in his hope of witnessing history snapped his pencil in disgust as he left the ground.

On a happier note, Cider Man’s “vortigan” had been cured by Morpeth Galaxy: except, being an honorary member of that club there was a danger of it flaring up again the following week. Still, Bat Gadgie vowed to “tek care of yer man. It’s nowt a few beeahz can’t kyowah.” He dragged the now sluggish, but still very spontaneous Morpeth super hero down to the Lochside for his continuing medical treatment.

Still happy were Professor Oswald’s guinea pigs though, in truth, there wasn’t much he could prove: it’s not like guinea pigs can follow the nuances of football. The oblivious Professor was happy though, thinking that his charges had been strong enough not to be emotionally affected by the heartache on the pitch. He’d missed another important detail: the town where the guinea pigs were bred was Esbjerg, which just happened to have twinned up with Morpeth: of course the cute little things were happy.

For the Falcons, the players and coaches had given their all for the season but appeared to have fallen just short: their fate no longer in their own hands. Brian asked the players if they wanted to continue for another campaign next season and offered the prospect of reinforcements. With plenty friendlies, more serious training (yes let’s be grown up and take it seriously: it could make all the difference next time) and a yet stronger squad the following season still promises much: whatever the division. The restless spirit of the King could wander in hope: next season we still hope to play in Division Fowah: it’s the fyowcher man!

FIN
I. LOOSE ENDS
So there you have it: another league season come and gone. Spirits were truly drained following the defeat by Morpeth but all was not lost. The following week Whitley Bay Barca defeated Morpeth ensuring that the Falcons finished above them. The only thing standing in the way of their promotion was Barca themselves who still needed five points from their remaining three games: hardly a “gimme” when two of those games were against the champions, Bedlington. Judge Strobe Leiting Junior the Third offered to referee those two fixtures, just to make sure but Bedlington insisted that they could find an even more impartial official for the home fixture.

So how did Barca fare? The first game ended in defeat at Bedlington. Judge Strobe Leiting Junior the Third’s distant cousin was, by all accounts a fine referee. Two games left and two wins needed.

Next up; an easy home game against Blyth Betis Rangers; a team who’s form had collapsed, had nothing to play for and even lost to the Falcons in a friendly the week before. The Barca coach acknowledged at Morpeth that this was going to be three points in the bag. Who would disagree when Barca were in such great form? The result: Whitley Bay Barca 1 – 5 Blyth Betis Rangers. That’s not a typo. There may be some far-fetched tales in this historical chronicle of the Falcons season but this one beats lot: it is official: the Falcons are promoted!

On another very positive note: I am delighted to report that the lovely people at the relegation threatened teams of Whitley Bay Real and KYPC Munich avoided the drop. There was no escape for beleaguered AE Phoenix. It’s fair to say that there was also much cursing in the Kremlin. For the Falcons there was also the pleasure at having spread so much joy in Airshington when generously delivering AE Phoenix their only point of the season. The joy this brought almost outweighed the embarrassment, having not cost promotion.

II. ROLL OF HONOUR
Before we close the book on what should be remembered as a fine season we should list a roll of honour to the squad and some of their most memorable moments. Most were memorable for good reasons but in a season of such small margins there will be some remembered with pain and regret: moments that turned draws into defeats and wins into draws. Let us not forget the days when we won but had no right to and the moments when games were saved and won. Now we’re promoted we can happily forget the “ifs” and “buts”. Fortune smiled when it mattered.

Lee: for most you can write a pithy sentence but Lee was seldom away from the drama. Early in the season he had a few rushes of blood to the head but after a very short while all we noticed was what an effective keeper he was and that he saved many points, being one of the reasons we rode so high in the league. Let’s not forget the remarkable saves, the tips onto the bar and the games turned by his heroics.

He grew as the season progressed. That was in part because of the natural growing process but also in part because his father realised that he was quite diminutive as keepers go and, being ambitious for his son, insisted on putting him on the rack for an hour each evening. For someone of his physical stature he made some incredible saves, showed remarkable courage and led the team with total commitment. As keepers go, Lee was one of the best by the end of the season and a true leader. One quick health and safety note: Please don’t try the rack treatment on your own kids. It doesn’t always work and can cause minor injuries in the more physically delicate.

Paddy: Apart from Lee in goal he was one of the very few never to change position all season: some others swapped positions more than once in a single game. It was a measure of his competence and reliability that no one sought to move him. It’s a measure of his success that no one can remember any howlers but can remember him becoming stronger as the season progressed. Though slight of build his standing up to the Kremlinton bullies was one of the season highlights.

Jack: Come rain, snow, wind, frost and heatwave Jack’s appearance never changed: small and nithered. His hands rarely emerged from beneath the cuffs of his shirt. At least his head was warm as he sported a thick head of curly hair that his dad could only dream of possessing. On the pitch you wouldn’t trust him with a throw in; they seemed to confuse him; but you’d trust him to give everything in defence or attack. He scored vital goals and was brave in defence: As ever he was fearless and one of the most dependable players in the team.

Alex: Like Paddy, Alex wasn’t one of the players who chopped and changed position often. His home was the centre of defence where he had a very strong season. In previous years he’d seemed an uncomplicated defender: one who was brave and who’s first instinct would be to hoof the ball as far away as possible – sometimes in the hope that it might beat the keeper at the far end. That was fine when he didn’t miskick and play an air shot. This year the errors all but disappeared and he was a rock in defence, more athletic, capable too of scoring the odd goal and providing some memorable assists. Given his defensive duties it should be remembered what a skilful ball player he is, capable of weaving passed midfielders and threading killer passes to the forwards.

Michael: This was another immense season for him both in attack and defence. How many yards did he cover this season?! He might have preferred the role of striker but in defence he was everywhere and strong enough to rebuff and physical intimidation from the most radgiefied of strikers. His speed and strength were vital to the team wherever he was positioned. He scored many goals but his clearances off the line, when Lee was beaten did even more to turn matches: I think of Killingworth away when a headed clearance set the course of the game but there were many other examples. Yet again then, he was one of the players of the year.

Matthew: In many ways his contribution in front of the defence complemented the work in central defence carried out by Alex and Michael. Brave and uncompromising in a tackle without being over aggressive he was a vital cog and rock in the midfield as well as being a very useful finisher, weighing in with some important goals. He at least he was brave enough to try shooting when others might have shied away.

Ellis: His position in midfield often made him seem like a double act with Matthew as the two so complemented each other’s roles: Matthew was indomitable whilst Ellis was an energetic terrier giving opposition no space to attack. He was capable, like Matthew, of ghosting into the area at the right moment to score important goals. He was one of the players who made the midfield tick.

Peter: He is as committed as ever and very versatile, able to operate in attack, midfield and defence. He contributed a few vital goals. In previous years he could make the odd rash challenge but showed signs of mellowing in 2014/15, never losing his cool or being intimidated by some of the more aggressive challenges coming his way this season. Once again he’d been a vital member of the team.

George: He played his first season at Heaton for the Kestrels after impressing in trials as a striking, scoring a hundred and three goals one morning in the first half hour. That proved a hard act to follow in a struggling team so he moved to the Falcons in a new defensive role. He bulked up in physique when with the Kestrels, which suited his more defensive roll. He took to this instantly, proving to be a tenacious tackler, strong in possession and still a sharp turn of speed.

In recent games he’s taken on a more expansive role. Against Killingworth he managed to be both defender and creator as he provided three assists that led to all three Falcon goals. That was his finest game of the season and seemed to have been preceded by a domestic dispute. If that’s what it takes to get the best out of him may his then dear parents should wind him up every Sunday morning before the match.

Thomas: Like George, he moved down to the Falcons from the Kestrels and instantly showed his class as a full back but also going forward in the pre-season friendlies. He was to play a vital role as both full back and striker. He was one of the quickest and fittest players throughout the season, injecting more incisive vigour into the team. He was named man of the match as a defender in the final game of the season but few will forget his clinical striking against Whitley Bay Barca where his hat-trick was scored with the few chances we had in that game: a miraculous win in many ways. He didn’t win man of the match that day because someone else was performing miracles too…

Callum T: With Lee away Callum reverted to his Saturday job as a goalkeeper for the away game against Barca. The string of first half saves he made that day broke Barca hearts paving the way for Thomas to seal an incredible win. For the rest of the season he specialised in being an attacking midfielder, making mazy runs and scoring many a fine goal. When he ran at defenders he appeared almost double jointed like a young colt springing its first steps in the first rays of summer sun.

Sometimes he forgot to pass and sometimes – too often in fact – no one made themselves available to pass to. His hat-trick against Kremlinton was a highlight; the elbow in the face after the final whistle, an almost literal backhanded compliment. Another highlight was the away game against Whitley Bay Real when with Peter and Tony off injured he commanded the midfield and didn’t allow the opposition back into the game. It might not have looked spectacular but probably sealed the match for the Falcons.

Callum A: Perhaps not blessed with the greatest pace, Callum, is one of the most skilful an d pugnacious players in midfield. His regular position was in midfield where he played an important role. There was no repeat of the spectacular goal he scored against Walbottle the previous season but it’s only a matter of time until the next one.

Umer: Unfortunately, due to injury, the season ended early for Umer. Like Callum A and Ervin he probably would have liked to spend a bit less time on the subs bench but was an impact player pushing forward. Like Callum T, he seemed almost double jointed in his runs and always seemed to have a particularly good understanding with Tony with some particularly impressive linking passes along the way. He was capable of scoring too so we hope he makes a full recovery very soon.

Ervin: I’m his Dad so apologise in advance if I sound too harsh on him: not that he’ll read it. He was Mister Loyal and Reliable for turning out week in week out despite the prospect of spending most of his time on the touchline. It was a frustrating season for him but his spirits have not been dented. It proved difficult to find an ideal position for him. He enjoyed playing in space on the left indeed he enjoyed the wide open spaces full stop.

There were memorable cameos including a mighty first half at Morpeth where he scored a fine goal and almost another more spectacular; a fine midfield display in the opening game of the season against the saintly angels of Kremlinton and then there was a solid and robust performance against the genteel Bulldogs at Walbottle. When war was raging against Kremlinton he was in a bubble of calm composure. Always a fine dribbler and passer he’d be dynamite if he could last a full game.

Tony: Sometimes known as “twinkle toes”; this had more to do with his fancy new boots rather than the considerable footballing skills he possessed. If Ellis and Matthew were like a double act in midfield then Tony and Michael were strangely interchangeable: when one led the attack the other would martial the defence. Like Michael he was strong, fast and skilful. It was strange how you’d never see the two in the same place at the same time. I know they look very different but it makes you think.

His awareness in attack created more space and opportunities for teammates whilst he proved an able finisher himself. The speed, fitness and strength of Tony, Michael and Thomas certainly made the Falcons are more formidable team this season.

The Management: Let us not forget the hard work that Brian and his coaching team did throughout the season. During training sessions they needed the considerable patience as young minds often wandered. Despite all this, they kept at it when they all had time consuming day jobs and lives to live. They’ve brought the Falcons a long way this season when we remember just how rusty the players were at the beginning.

Parents: Everyone wants the best for their little darlings but there were some foul days when standing on the touchline and giving support was well beyond the call of duty. Sometimes the action on the pitch must have tested their patience to the limit but no one boiled over all season even if they did provide the most passionate and vocal support. To one and all put your feet up and enjoy a nice warm drink or a strong one if you prefer.

III. EPILOGUE – Les’ Story and the Last Session
Two old regulars leant on the door outside sharing a tairb, like a couple of hippies with a joint contemplating the wonders of life, the universe and whatever leyk at Ye Olde Scrogge Inn. Was it the Old Holburn or did a cool spring zephyr suddenly breeze passed them into the bar. It was enough to stop the non-existent conversation. Both gadgies looked at each other and then their tairb and wondered what kind of “rurl up” it was.

“How the beeahz are on me!” shouted a pale diaphanous figure wearing armour that had just entered the bar.

“Now look! Ah’ve telt yee before ya t**t. You’re barred from this..er..bar. Now clear off!” came the landlord’s repost.

“How! Just one more for the rurd man: They’ve finally done it! Now I can rest in peace after one last session.” The ghost had checked the league chebbles then saw Barca’s shock defeat against Betis, shouting; “Ah’ve seen some strange things in mah teym but ah never thowt ah’d see that. It can’t be real: someone’s meckin’ it up. Whatever, ah’m gonna meck the murst of this last session.”

There was no stopping the restless monarch: it was “beeahz ahl rund” and a knighthood for the landlord; “Arise Sir Whateverleyk de le Scrogge”. You may wonder how a ghost can drink beer: If you believe in ghosts you’ve already suspended belief in reality. If you’re wondering how a ghost pays; that’s simple, he just shouted to the “Good Sir Landlord”; “just put it on wah tairb.” The old ghost was a mean old soul in truth, knowing that this was his last ever booze up and he’d never have to settle his account.

Imagine his delight in seeing the direct descendants of his two first and most trusted sheriffs, “L’Homme de Cidre” and “Bat le Gadgie”, who were already celebrating. Ok I mean plastered: they didn’t need an excuse and it was hardly as though they’d be checking the football results. Drinking was their favourite sport anyway: both vowed to drink the other under “the chebble forst.” When L’Homme de Cidre fell he protested: “Thaz no’ the dring: iz me vortigan.”

Whoever got promoted, L’Homme de Cidre had cause to be happy. It was premature, though, for “Bat le Gadgie” to celebrate because he was due to be refereeing a Kremlinton United “friendly” that very afternoon. “Whey ah can curp with Sorbiah n’ Airlblaniah friendlies n’that but them lot up in Kremlinton are a right bunch o’ nu-ahz man. They scare the crap oot o’ me.”

It didn’t stop him drinking: perhaps he sought Dutch courage to go over the top. As luck would have it, he had a perfect reason to drink and celebrate following his Bafta award for best actor as Veycoont Gadgie of Byker in “Last days of the Radge”. He still clutched the award proudly whilst downing his “beeah”.

His acceptance speech had been like no other and will go down in history. Some might contend that it was unwise to celebrate so much before the event but it made for great television if not many offers of follow up roles; “How darlings ya b..b.. baztarz…Ah’ll chin yerz ahl. Ah telt that b.. b.. baztah..Bed.. Bedni..er..Bendydic Cabbagepatch leyk. He didn’t tell me: ah telt him”, and so on. It was all so terribly, terribly moving darlings: we all wept. It was historic.

Not everyone was so full of goodwill on this cool spring day. It was visiting time at the prison where Uncle Geordie had been sent down following his latest scam. He’d been transferred from a British prison to one in Pretoria because of security concerns. I can’t go into the detail because it’s a sensitive matter but suffice to say that he had been making wild promises to convicted terrorists, which involved exacting revenge against Bat Gadgie and Cider Man and others.

Life in the Pretoria prison wasn’t treating him too well. How he dreaded communal wash time when the last vestiges of what microscopic dignity he still clung to were … oh perhaps I should let you finish that sentence. It’s not something you’d wish on your worst enemy: on second thoughts maybe you would. What happened there didn’t enhance his view of humanity.

His nephew and “business partner”, the permanently paunchy and baseball cap clad Les, travelled down on the Mega Bus from Newcastle Station all the way to Pretoria just to meet his entrepreneurial uncle. He wanted to know how he was getting on in his new surroundings, get some business advice and see if there was anything he needed.

You can image what a challenging journey this must have been for even this most phlegmatic of business partners. He travelled well prepared with a couple of sandwiches, a warm can of Fanta, a packet of ready salted and his electric razor (shame he hadn’t charged it up before travelling). He took a spare shirt just in case he would need to change along the way.

The journey was scheduled to take twenty five days, including a couple of ferry crossings. The Mega Bus route was hardly the safest for the passengers and crew, travelling through lawless Libya and through sub Saharan Africa. There were brushes with local warlords along the way but no one came to harm. One particular escape of note happened when the bus was hijacked by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

Fortune did indeed smile on the passengers when the one of the gun men boarded the bus.

“Now look here you chaps. Sorry to be a pain but we’re trying to collect as many hostages as we can and hold them for ransom. We’d really appreciate your help on that one”

The gun man was mentally even further down the food chain than Les. Indeed it was Les who spoke up with what appeared to be an extraordinary level of bravery:

“There are no hostages on the bus. I’ll ask.”

He shouted out; “Is there anyone called “hostage” on the bus?” No one replied.

“There you see. There are no hostages on the bus. My surname is Renard if you’re looking for a Renard. Mebeez we could have a whip roond to see if we can get you some.”

“Oh that’s frightfully kind of you old chap: no need. Sorry to have bothered you. Have a splendid trip all of you. Nice meeting you!”

And with that the gun man left the bus and waved them off to South Africa with a warm smile. It’s not known whether the said gun man was greeted with such smiles from his colleagues.

Off the bus went with a laugh and a wave. There were further adventures to come but the bus made it safe and sound to Pretoria. No passengers or crew were harmed, not even after driving over Victoria Falls as a short cut through Zimbabwe. With the delays in Nigeria this helped catch up the lost time to such a degree that the bus arrived in Pretoria bang on time.

Les had time to freshen up and get a good night’s sleep before heading off to the prison to see his uncle and business partner.

Next morning he found the old chancer in good health but not the best of spirits; “There’s tow many furks have crossed swords with me owah the years. Ah’ve been shut in this b*****d place cos o’ them. A nah you’re a busy laird trying to run the business n’that son, but can you do me one little favour?”

“Aye uncle: anything. Just say and Ah’ll dee me best.”

“Well Ah haird big plairns this last year but thanks to them b*****ds Bat Gadgie and Cider Man Ah’ve got nowt and Ah’m stuck in ‘ere: Ah want me revenge. Can you track ‘em doon and pay them back for what they’ve done.”

“Er.. aye Uncle. Nee bother: Whatever you say.” Came the hesitant reply of someone not clear just what he was being asked to do.

“When you say, “pay them back,” What do you mean?”

“Ah stood to mek millions out of me scairms: A couple o’ million Ah’d say.”

“So you want me to pay them back?”

“Aye lad: Get back there and sort them oot.”

Les said his goodbyes and left the prison. He set off for the station where he caught the Mega Bus back to Newcastle. His mission: to get revenge and “pay them back”, whatever all that meant.

The journey home was less eventful on the Mega Bus. Again it wasn’t straight forward and there were inevitable delays: hauling the bus up and over Victoria Falls was challenging with the forces of gravity and water conspiring against them, but there were no other major scares. In northern Nigeria the bus sped passed a group of gun men and Les was delighted to receive another beaming, smiling wave from the gun man who, unknown to him, was actually his distant cousin (not that distant, if behaviour and temperament were anything to go by).

On arriving back home he went straight to the bank and withdrew two million pounds from Uncle Geordie’s account at the Reynolds Northern and Provincial Bank – no questions asked. So the old chancer wasn’t quite so skint after all. Not before this withdrawal of funds, that is.

Armed with the money and the message to get revenge Les headed off in search of the two crime fighting super heroes. Poor lad: he hadn’t a clue how to find them or what to do but was happy to ask any passers-by where they might be found. Days and weeks passed as he wandered around the town asking anyone and everyone where they might be. Bright he wasn’t but determined and focussed he was. His dedication to the cause was obsessive but not conducive to his physical wellbeing.

He vowed to wander the streets of the town until somebody gave him directions. As the days wore on his appearance certainly declined having not washed, shaved or changed. He slept in the doorways of shops, often being shewed on by passing policemen. No matter where he slept, he clutched the case full of money. The weather was no friend: cold and windy most days and frosty at night. All the seasons visiting in a day could batter him but he was going to do right by his uncle whatever the consequences.

Still he kept going. He certainly had enough money on his person to buy food and drink but, after a couple of days few shop assistants would serve him and few shops would allow him through their doors. The prospects were looking rather bleak for Les. He showed enough initiative though to change his plan and wander east of the town centre, closer to where Uncle Geordie had been apprehended the last time. On Shields Road his luck finally turned as a fellow, who had just emerged from The Raby gave him directions to Ye Olde Scrogge. “Ah saw him there yesterday so he’ll still be necking pints there now man.”

Les, as quickly as he was physically and mentally capable, headed further east into Walker where at last he did espy the “Ye Olde Scrogge Inn”.

Tired, numb with cold, densely marinated in his own odours, wearing a new body scent just for men called “Silent but Deadly”, the indomitable Les, still sporting his now scraggy old baseball cap and clutching the brief case stuffed with cash, opened the door at Ye Olde Scrogge.

By this time there’d been considerable and lengthy rejoicing in the bar. Despite his appearance and aroma, Les didn’t look out of place even when confronting two stained and bedraggled super heroes. I’m not saying that either was dishevelled but neither were “shevelled”. There was the small matter of a beer swilling ghost. What landlord wasn’t going to let Les in when he’d been serving such a menagerie of grotesques?

Les called out; “Has anyone seen Bat Gadgie and Cider Man?”

“How! Iz Bat le Gazh n’ L’Homme de whateverleyk to yee man. What d’ya want?”

“I want revenge.”

“Aye no problem” Said “Sir Whateverleyk de le Scrogge”. “Do you want the one with a twist of cranberry or lemon?”

“Eh?”

“It is this fancy new vodka and red bull drink you’re after isn’t it?”

“Er.. aye.. er.. mebeez. Ah divvent nah. Yeah Ah’ll have that.”

A raucous voice bellowed out from the ghost leaning at the bar; “How! It’s my rund. Urnly puffs drink that stuff man. Get some propah beeah doon ya. Ah’ll get the beehaz in.”

But the generous spirited Les insisted: “Ah was turld to get Revenge. I made a promise so it’s my rund. One other thing: Me uncle turld me to pay yerz back this money.”

Les opened the brief case and somehow managed to share the cash equally between the two crime fighting super heroes. The ghost wasn’t interested because he wasn’t going to need it where he was heading. I say it was shared “equally” but there was no one in a fit state to verify the numbers. Both men, though completely smashed, knew that their financial worries were over. The two could finally club together to buy that distillery they’d always longed for.

With this sharing out of so much financial good will Les quickly made new friends for life who, together with him, crumbled into a collective smiling perfect cadence of stupor: With the triumphant league season now done, the bladdered ghostly king, his spirit finally able to rest, gently faded away from the drunken heap on the floor.

As the drunken King finally evaporated from sight, his voice triumphantly called out one last time. “Division Fowah: it’s the fyowcher man!”

All was well with the world.

Under 13s Girls Cup Final

Heaton Hawks Under 13s Girls are looking for plenty of support in their upcoming Cup Final. The Under 13s Girls will play Cramlington United Under 13s on Saturday 25th April at Pin Point Cowgate Sports Centre (just off Cowgate Roundabout) with a 9.30am kick off.

We wish the girls, the best of luck! Up the Hawks!

Coaches Required

Heaton Hawks JFC are looking for keen and enthusiastic coaches to join our developing club – various age groups available. Ideally coaches will be qualified to at least FA Level 1, but if not, don’t worry, Heaton Hawks JFC will assist in achieving the qualification. All personnel will also be required to undertake a CRB Disclosure.

Any interested personnel should in the first instance contact club secretary, David Allen via e-mail at davidallan3320@gmail.com or on 07818 551 136.

End of Season Presentation

Heaton Hawks are pleased to announce the details for our club end of season presentation. The presentation will be held on Saturday 30th May, once again at the NE6 Suite, Scrogg Road, Walker.

The presentation will be broken down into two sessions, an afternoon session running from 2pm until 6pm for all mini soccer teams and the Under 12s boys. The evening session which will began at 7pm and run through to 11pm will be for all remaining squads, boys and girls.

Entry to the presentations will be £3 per adult with players and siblings entering for free. Upon entry, every adult will receive and professionally produced presentation programme.

We look forward to celebrating a successful season with your all on the 30th May!

Hawks Star in Promotional Video

Players from Heaton Hawks Under 8’s recently took part in a promotional video for Trendsetting Awards and their Trophybands range.

To view the video, navigate to the following link: http://youtu.be/ypnEY-dm6wA

Trendsetting Awards are a local company based in Killingworth, Newcastle who supply trophy and award components. More information about Trendsetting Awards can be found on their website: http://www.trendsettingawards.com/home

Thanks to Sainsbury’s Northumberland Park

Our Under 10’s Hawks team would like to pass on special thanks to the staff and customers of Sainsbury’s Northumberland Park who donated generously at the bag pack which the team held at the store on Monday 29th December 2014.

A massive £521.23 was raised which will go a long way towards the team’s end of season trip to Haggerston Castle Football Tournament, being held over the first weekend in May 2015.

Once again, a MASSIVE thank you to Sainsbury’s Northumberland Park!

Christmas 2014 – Raffle Results

The 2014 Heaton Hawks JFC Christmas Raffle took place this morning at The Manor. Congratulations to all the winners who can be found below:

1st Prize – Free Heaton Hawks membership for 1 member season 2015/2016 (£100 cash alternative for non-members) – 3688 – Chris Narey
2nd Prize – Overnight stay for 2 + Breakfast at New Northumbria Hotel, Jesmond – 1585 – Ludrig Lindgren
3rd Prize – Meal for 4 at Solomon’s Lounge – 3061 – George Kukilo
4th Prize – Meal for for 4 to the value of £50 at Scalinis Jesmond or Gosforth – David Brooks
5th Prize – Pair of Newcastle United match tickets – 3244 – Brian Ormston
6th Prize – Pair of Newcastle United match tickets – 3019 – Simon Lansley
7th Prize – Pair of Newcastle United match tickets – 2999 – Alex Waugh
8th Prize – Sunday lunch for 2 at Runhead Hotel, Ryton – 2711 – Ian Fletcher
9th Prize – Basket of 10 bottles of Wine – 2010 – Lottie Armstrong
10th Prize – Meal for 4 at The Lochside to the value of £25 – 1191 – Evan Smith
11th Prize – Free shisha at Osbornes, Jesmond – 4017 – Ailsa Brady
12th Prize – Handcrafted fruit bowl – 1987 – Andrew Carr
13th Prize – 12 cans of Carlsberg – 1049 – T Murphy
14th Prize – 10 cans of Carling – 3208 – Colin Train
15th Prize – 10 cans of fosters – 4783 – Christine Pickard
16th Prize – 1ltr bottle of Bacardi – 4353 – Sarah Philipson
17th Prize – 1ltr bottle of Teachers Whiskey – 3360 – Kenny Atkin
18th Prize – Bottle of Cassidys Irish Whisky – 727 – Mike Sinclair
19th Prize – Bottle of Bells Whiskey – 1200 – Helen Smith
20th Prize – Belgian chocolates – 2758 – A Yeomans
21st Prize – Half bottle of whiskey – 2759 – Anne Chilvers
22nd Prize – Bottle of Pinot Grigio – 4591 – Steve Boyle
23rd Prize – Bottle of Pinot Grigio – 1566 – Thea M
24th Prize – Tin of Foxes biscuits – 1964 – V Richardson
25th Prize – Quality Street – 14 – Stephenson
26th Prize – Quality Street – 3197 – Jake Toward
27th Prize – £20 Junkyard creative hairdressing & photographic studio voucher – 1917 – Lee
28th Prize – Fresh Turkey voucher – 1774 – Sue Danson

To claim your prize, please contact a member of the Heaton Hawks JFC committee. Heaton Hawks JFC would like to thank everyone who supported the Christmas 2014 raffle.

McDonald joins the 100 club

Ciaran McDonald of the Under 10s Falcons this weekend scored his 100th goal for the club in a win over Forest Hall at The Manor. Ciaran who joined the club through the successful fun club has developed into a top goalscorer.

Alan Toward, manager of the Under 10s Falcons commented, “Ciaran is a pleasure to coach and I am delighted he has scored 100 goals for the club. Long may it continue.”

Well Done to Ciaran on the achievement of scoring 100 goals for Heaton Hawks. Keep up the hard work!

Under 13’s Hawks – New players required

Heaton Hawks Under 13’s Hawks who currently play in division two of the Pin Point Recruitment Junior Football League are looking for additional players to join the current squad. If you are looking for a fresh challenge, then this maybe your opportunity.

For more information, contact Patrick on 07816 470150 or Trevor on 07736742983.

Training – Christmas & New Year

Heaton Hawks JFC would like to make everyone aware of the plans for the Winter training venues over the Christmas and New Year period.

The last week of training for teams at both Benfield Sports Centre and Walker Technology College will be week commencing 8th of December 2014 with training recommencing after the New Year, week commencing 5th January 2015.

Should you need any further information, please contact your Manager or Coach.