Wednesday 18 March 2020

Things That Amateur Footballers Experience

Amateur football is the lifeblood of the game. Whilst the professionals play for the glory, the money and the rest of trappings that follow, we have to pay subs just to be booted around a waterlogged pitch.

Nevertheless, despite amateur football seeming like a futile activity for many of us, it actually helps to incubate our love of the game; growing teamwork, friendships and sometimes, just sometimes, memories of fleeting great play that puts us on a par with the professionals for a spilt-second.

So no matter if you’re a seasoned veteran of the Saturday/Sunday (or whatever day) League football, or you’re new to the game; a wide-eyed youth with plenty of years ahead, here are some things that you will (probably) have or will experience:
  1. Many teams will have a BIG LAD who takes all of the free-kicks, corners and penalties. Nobody else. Just the BIG LAD. (And woe betide anyone who gets in his way).
  2. There will be someone who thinks they are the lovechild of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Trying outrageous kicks, tricks and flicks until they’re scythed down by the aforementioned BIG LAD.
  3. There will always be some granddad playing who thinks he’s rolling back the years by playing with youngsters, but just looks weird in a tight-fitting shirt.
  4. The granddad will still be better at football than you.
  5. Many of the players will be playing under a name that isn’t their own.
  6. ‘Medical/Physio facilities’ will consist of a bucket of water and if you’re lucky, a bottle of supermarket own-brand deep heat.
  7. People drinking cans and having cigs at the side of the pitch. (As do the players at half-time).
  8. Dogs will run onto the pitch.
  9. The pitch will always be waterlogged in parts, no matter the time of year.
  10. Not all players on the team will have matching shirts.
  11. If you’re lucky enough to get a matching shirt, it will be caked in mud from previous games.
  12. Two footed tackles not only happen, but are actively encouraged.
  13. The referee will rarely break into a sprint.
  14. Great goalkeepers are rare.
  15. The goalkeeper will often change with an outfield player.
  16. The goalkeeper will often go up for a corner/take a free-kick/penalty, regardless if their team is losing by a single goal or ten.
  17. Managers fall into two camps: they will either think they are Pep Guardiola and will constantly bark out incomprehensible instructions or not be bothered and instead, will be indulging in the aforementioned cans and cigs.
  18. The Pep wannabes and those who aren’t bothered will be connected by their formation of choice: 4-4-2.
  19. A warm-up will consist of booting the ball as hard as you can towards the goal.
  20. You look forward to an away game – especially if it’s at ‘your ground’ (as you won’t have to put up the nets).
  21. When you do have to put up the nets, the lack of a stepladder will mean jumping on someone’s shoulders to get the top of the net in place.
  22. The referee will swear, swig and smoke just as much as the players do.
Those were my top things you will have (probably) experienced in amateur football. Got any of your own? Leave them in the comments below or Tweet @pints_pies.


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