Hudson Roe is the captain of AFC Bluebirds, a five-a-side team made up
of players from across Westminster. The team are proudly sponsored by
Conservative Home. Follow them on Twitter.
Demon Eyes 4 – 1 Bluebirds
Temperatures exceeded 30 degrees on Saturday. It was in these conditions that a team that had not played 11-a-side football for twelve moths aimed took on their sworn political opponents (and regular 11-a-side team). One member of our number remarked that they had not expected to be playing Demon Eyes in the fires of Hell – it certainly felt like that.
Set out in a 4-1-3-2 formation, Bluebirds were playing an unfamiliar version of the game, in unfamiliar and mind-bogglingly hot conditions. The formation, (according to Wikipedia) called for a “strong and talented defensive centre midfielder”. This was the position that the Bluebirds captain, your correspondent and rapporteur, was playing in. It appears that self-confidence may not have been justified.
Call me sentimental, but the main reason for this choice of formation was that it was used in the 1966 World Cup – I suppose I had just assumed that I was as good as Nobby Stiles, who played in the same position back then – evidently not. The only other similarity with the World Cup winning team appears to be that we both had strikers playing called Geoff.
The Labour-List sponsored opponents took the lead through a mazing run from the left, (apt, you might say) the winger finding his way past three Bluebirds and slotted the ball past a helpless Kevin Evans in goal.
Bluebirds soon drew level in a peculiar and comedic fashion. Intercepting a loose ball, I played a ball through to Geoffrey Taunton-Collins. Geoff then threaded a perfectly weighted through ball to Will McCann who took it around the keeper, slipped and whilst on the floor back back-heeled it towards the goal, the keeper reaching the ball, but his momentum carried him, and the ball, over the goal line into his own net. The teams did not remain level for long however, with Demon Eyes taking the lead again shortly before the end of the first half with an in swinging and vicious corner headed home.
Half time consisted of very little but a scramble for shade and the consumption of frozen orange segments, provided by McCann, with a few clichéd statements from a hot and bothered captain. The Bluebirds, after a brief rest, trudged out for a further forty-five minutes.
Despite many confident counter-attacks towards the Demon Eyes goal, our opponents’ well-honed tactic of take-the-man-if-the-ball-is-beyond-your-reach meant that some of our more promising attacks were cut short. They, however, attacked well (and without being regularly fouled) towards the end of the game, scoring a further two goals to take the game beyond our reach.
We have arranged that we will play this fixture again next year. I also challenged Demon Eyes to play us at 5-a-side football, the version of the game that we usually play. We fully expect that in that game we will win and get some small measure of revenge.
It was only the third 11-a-side game ever played by the Conservative Home sponsored AFC Bluebirds. We played well in baking hot conditions against a vastly more experienced team but it I admit that the best team on the day won – we did make them work for it, despite what the flattering scoreline might say. I just hope that it was not too disappointing for the editor of this site.
As a final note: Mark Ferguson, the editor of Labour List pointed out during the game in a tweet: Who is the #demoneyes no.14? He's very good #notaringer #political derby. After recent events, could he be suggesting that a Labour organisation would bring in candidates from outside, in order to achieve a result that they found more palatable?