The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is over and the subject on everyone’s lips is Euro 2012. England have managed to successfully cast themselves as underdogs for this tournament, largely due to the general public and our wonderful press finally acknowledging that we’re not very good. Hopefully this will alleviate some of the pressure from our players, allowing us to play with some freedom. It probably wont. We managed to bore the French into giving us a point and if we can continue down a similar route for the rest of the tournament, we may surprise a few people. Based on what we’ve seen thus far, it would appear the Chelsea Champions League way, is England’s only way.
The guys could do a lot worse than to take a leaf from the Eligo book of tournament football. It contains whole chapters on flair, skill, passion and grit (as well as how to pull off major shocks). So of course, when Eligo were provided with a last minute invite to the Jobsite, Euro 2012-themed, 5-a-side tournament, to be held at Fratton Park, we immediately felt ready. Each member of the Eligo team began dreaming of glory; of toppling huge businesses like Jobsite; of scoring winning goals to rapturous applause (there were about 6 people in the stands on the day, but they brought the house down); and of lifting the trophy. We came close, really close.
Eligo have been training for tournaments like this every Monday night for the last 10 years. Anyone who joins the business is immediately invited to come and join in our weekly 7-a-side match on a 3G pitch down in Wandsworth. Emphasis is placed on skill, on passing, on scoring great goals and of course, on winning.
Jobsite hold this competition annually although this was the first time Eligo Recruitment were given the chance to play. As the smallest agency in the tournament Eligo were outsiders from the start, an unknown entity who surely couldn’t pose a threat to the likes of Jobsite and Matchtech, could they? We were even drawn as England for the championship, hardly a team others were going to fear…
Like something out of a Rocky film, Eligo came flying out their corner in the first game only to be floored with a huge uppercut. We were beaten 1-0 despite probably creating the best chances of the game. This defeat proved to be the wake-up call Eligo needed, each and every member of the team raised their game monumentally for the rest of the day.
In all honesty the rest of the tournament went by in a blur, brilliant goals were scored, gritty victories were wrung out, the football flowed and all of a sudden we found ourselves in the knock-out stages. Another victory in the 1/4 finals and Eligo were dancing their way to an improbable appearance in the final. All that stood between us and a chance of winning the tournament was a little business, named Jobsite. It was a the perfect tale of David vs Goliath. Jobsite, with their huge workforce had literally 100′s of people to chose from when selecting their team. They couldn’t lose…
Normal time finished and the score was tied at 1-1, a closely fought battle that could only be decided on penalties. Eligo held their nerve and blasted their way into the final, claiming a huge scalp in the process. Jobsite were beaten, their dreams shattered as Eligo marched forth for one last assault.
The final itself proved to be a step too far. Legs were aching and the Eligo bandwagon simply ran out of steam. Faced with another corporate giant in Matchtech we simply ran out of answers and despite putting in another strong performance, Eligo were eventually beaten 2-1. After the final whistle, as we dragged our weary limbs back to the Portsmouth home dressing room, disappointment slowly transformed into immense pride. We’d arrived at Fratton Park as massive underdogs and had fought all the way to the final. And best of all we’d achieved this through playing a mixture of great football and a never-say-die attitude. The ELIGO WAY. Let’s hope England can do the same in their remaining games this Summer. After all, everyone loves an underdog…
The awards ceremony took place at in the players lounge and Jobsite kindly put on drinks and food for the exhausted teams and supporters. It had been a great day and as the drinks flowed, stories became more and more enthusiastically regaled. It spoke volumes that the biggest cheer of the day came as Eligo accepted their bottle of champagne for 2nd place, we may not have won the competition, but we’d won over the doubters. Eligo Recruitment had become the people’s champions and as the roars finally died down it was clear that something special had taken place at Fratton Park that day. Eligo can’t wait to have a crack at next year’s tournament.
The Eligo squad:
Goalkeeper: Rollie – The origins of Rollie’s name remains shrouded in mystery, some say its due to his ability to roll his way in front of virtually any shot that comes his way, others suggest its down to his parents having a weird sense of humour. Regardless, Rollie was a penalty shoot-out hero and saved more shots in the tournament than Portsmouth’s keeper managed all season.
Jeremy Wyatt: A complete and utter workhorse who gives everything for the team, think Scott Parker without the stupid hair and a lucrative contract for Spurs. A versatile and committed player who will compete for everything…the epitome of the Eligo way. Jeremy LOVES buying football boots and having shots from distance, something he manages with a success-rate of around 1 in 9.
James Pearce-Thomas: Player of the tournament. Solid and dependable in defence with a vicious shot matched only by his temper. Was like a fury-filled brick wall at the back throughout the competition…a brick wall that will kick you back before killing your family. Loves a slide tackle, and to shout at people.
John Doherty: Turned back the years and performed like a man half his age. An excellent player who still has the skill to embarrass others (and occasionally himself) and is almost impossible to go round. Listen carefully during a match and you’ll hear John cry ‘MESSI!’ at least once, he’ll have either just nut-megged someone or will have hit the deck trying.
Andrew Molloy: Tap-ins, one-on-ones, clinical finishes, shinned flukes and scuffs that trickle past the keeper, it doesn’t matter how they go in, all goals are celebrated with World Cup-winning delight. It’s safe to say there’s nobody on this planet who loves scoring goals as much as Molly. Lucky for him this happens pretty regularly. Runs like a man about to explode (literally, you should see how red his face goes during a game).
John Guest: Another versatile player…when I say versatile I mean John is a brilliant centre back who dreams (every night of his life) of being a centre forward. Guesty is a man who believes in practise making perfect and when it comes to shooting, he REALLY practises…a lot. There are very few people who can hit a side-foot shot into the bottom corner with quite so much power and accuracy…it’s when he puts his laces through it that balls get lost.
Drew: He may be carrying a few more pounds than the average striker (think Le Tissier with blonde hair) but Drew’s touch and clinical finishing means defenders dare not let him out of their sight. Don’t expect much return from a through ball with Drew (in fact avoid it at all costs), but play it into his feet and you’ll see chances created. If all else fails Drew will simply talk the opposition into submission.
Dan Layton: Is writing this so is probably not best placed to comment. Let’s just say he loves a football.
Dan Layton – Chief Eligo Blogger