Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Campione Y Felinheli !

Last night, Y Felinheli Under 17s went to Holyhead and drew 0-0, a result which made them Champions of the Anglesey League (there is no league in Gwynedd).

It was a result which gave me as much pleasure as any professional game in my long history fo watching football. The distinction between the grassroots game and the professional game is become increasingly blurred for me. And on a night when Liverpool beat Chelsea in front of millions, the small band of travelling supporters at Holyhead felt the same elation as the millions who have latched on to those big teams.

It was a night which justified our decision to form the club 2 years ago. The people who converged on the pitch to celebrate with the lads have all played their part in the success. I looked around me and saw the faces of people who have given up so much time over the years for the benefit of football in the village, and they all deserved to share the celebrations. There can't be that many youth teams that travel 25 miles to play their penultimate game.

This was potentially an explosive encounter. We had beaten Holyhead 6-5 earlier in the season, in a match which left our goalkeeper scarred, and Holyhead walking off the field in protest after having two goals disallowed. There were muttered threats about the return game, but in fact the game was played in decent spirit, greatly helped by the league's decision to supply official linesmen.

It was an emotional evening for Joe, the manager. Having managed the same group of players for 10 years, representing a neighbouring village, this was an achievement which saluted his skill and commitment, and which crowned his time as their coach. Softly spoken and easy going, the team plays in his image, and their extraordinary discipline is a reflection of the respect he holds amongst the team and his peers in local football.

I have watched this side often, and they have given me a lot of pleasure. Their football is fluid, controlled, and seemingly effortless. They have come through in the face of intimidation throughout the season, without once responding in kind. I know it's a cliche, but last night was a victory for football. They proved that you don't need to snarl and growl your way to success.

Some of you may scoff at the eulogies I give for our little team, but others will recognise that our small success means as much to us as any glittering television spectacular. The simple fact is
that we don't need to share our delight with millions of others. The happy faces in the Fic last night weren't celebrating a Liverpool win, they were celebrating a tremendous achievement by Joe and Gwil, their team of players, and the community of football in Y Felinheli.



Jet Set Matt said...

Don't worry real fans wouldn't scoff, only those who watch football in replica shirts sitting around TVs and since when does their opinion matter.

Mei said...

I know exactly how you feel. We beat Llangefni recently, and such was the elation (especially with a last minute try to steal the win) I had a twinge of guilt as it felt better than Wales beating England.

Llongyfs mawr i'r hogia!

Eric the Red said...

Yes Mei, I was at that Llangefni game.
But I was an hour early for kick off, so I drove back home.
It would be a good development if North Walians started announcing kick off times for their sporting events lol.