AFTER a disappointing defeat against ‘the boys in blue’ (Metropolitan Police) at the weekend, we had no time to dwell on this blip with an away fixture at Canvey Island.
Canvey is notorious for its end-to-end gale force winds and to top it off, Britain was bombarded with the aftermath of a natural element big enough to be given a name of its own – Hurricane Katia.
Natural elements, a disappointing defeat at the weekend, plus a Canvey team in good form posted a tough task for us.
To turn the corner and hit the form that’s expected from the team, as well as the management and fans, we needed a good performance and three points.
Also, a change in pre-match music was much needed after the song of choice by players whom I shall not name (Craig Nurse and Russell Short) – The Big Bad Wolf by Duck Sauce – had become a bad omen after being played before Saturday’s loss.
I would recommend everyone to never, ever listen to this song.
A superb first-half team performance brought a free-kick being lined up by myself and Devil (Daniel Cunningham).
My words to him were: “This is mine.”
To my relief, he did not listen because he scored one of the goals of the season.
A second half attacking the slope and the sea breeze saw us under the cosh for most of the half, but some brilliant defending, resilient midfield play and great attacking desire to run the channels brought a well-deserved three points in a complete contrast of halves — the change of song being a key factor!
Elsewhere in the world, a fixture that caught my eye this week was the match between Napoli and Manchester City.
Five years ago, I was lucky enough to be chosen for the English Colleges Under-19s season in which we played a number of friendly games against Premier League, Championship and international teams, but also travelled on two tours – the first to Rome and the second to Naples.
Shortly before our trip, Napoli Football Club were declared bankrupt after a decline over time since the glory years of the Maradona era.
They were bailed out by a film director by the name of Aurelio de Laurentiis, a man whose ethics differ dramatically from the owners of the modern-day Premier League.
Napoli earned successive promotions in 2005 and 2006, along with gaining the rights to their original name – a name they were not allowed to use after being declared bankrupt – Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli.
After a successive first season back in Serie A and a further indifferent couple of seasons, they are now playing against the richest club in the world in the elite Champions League.
I think this club shows just what the fatal rewards of success can bring, but also with resilience, a good healthy structure throughout the club and a wage bill that boasts as low as eighth in Serie A, is possible to rebuild and gives hope to clubs around the world to emulate what this historic club has achieved.