Captain Sam + J.R.’s Spring Chickens XI versus Rosie + Richie’s Evergreen Wonders
Preamble: When news broke that no less than four of the Saints’ biggest stars were leaving the club this summer there was plenty of wild speculation in all four corners of Saigon’s finest tavern for beer and sports, GAME ON (free beer every time I mention Game On, right Damo?). Had the right honourable Chairman Peadon decided enough was enough with all the egos, the thrashed hotel rooms and temper tantrums? Was it true that vice-captain and self-appointed tactician-extraordinaire John Redmond’s mum found out what he’s been up to in the Orient and summoned him back to the motherland? Did our upstanding captain-and-makeshift-manager Sam Morley suddenly realise this wasn’t all a very long and fantastic lifelike dream and realise he was six years late for a job interview back in the UK? Surely our record-goals-scorer David “You do the math!” Rosenberg doesn’t really think the referees in Costa Rica will be any better than Vietnam? And is Richard “My Left Foot” Langley finally ready to fulfil his destiny and star in a small-hall-in-Christchurch-only stage adaptation of Footloose?
Perhaps, we will never know the whole truth but (for a few hours anyway) we’ll give the lads the benefit of the doubt that this isn’t an absolutely terrible decision that they’ll regret for the rest of their lives and wish them all the best as they embark on the next chapter in their (amateur footballing) careers.
As readers of this special programme will already know today’s exhibition match pits Sam and J.R.’s Spring Chickens against Rosie and Langer’s Evergreen Wonders before we all head to GAME ON (second mention) for light refreshments and the usual session of morale-shattering abuse in the lads’ final kangaroo court. So will the team of wily, wise and wonderful elders ultimately flounder against their younger opponents? Or will Sam and J.R.’s spring chickens once again show that youth is wasted on the young? Either way in six hours’ time when we are all four sheets to the wind in GAME ON (third) it won’t matter when we all sing, “OH WHEN THE SAINTS…” as one.
So before the game starts, let’s ridicule introduce our four departing comrades!
Oh, and if I didn’t mention we’re going to GAME ON (fourth) later, as a reminder we’re going to GAME ON (fifth) later.
David “Rosie” Rosenberg: Shakira? She knows the hips don’t lie. Rosie? This fully-grown mathematical whizz kid knows the stats don’t lie. In six years of top flight amateur football in Vietnam, our former club captain, playmaker and goal scorer supreme completed approximately 15 passes for the Saints. His biggest fans (that’ll be his mum and J.R.) will always point to the goal scoring charts and say our Rosie, he doesn’t need to pass—or at least they would point to the goal scoring charts if we had any. Unfortunately, we’re not sure how many goals he bagged for the Saints, but we have a sneaky suspicion he’s been recording them in a jotter which he stuffs under his mattress along with wads of smelly dong and Panini stickers. Suffice to say, he is definitely one of the club’s all-time record goal scorers and his eye for the audacious also means Rosie’s scored some of the club’s most spectacular goals ever. Ever since he made his debut for King David Juniors as a seven-year old his mum has apparently wanted to protect Rosie from hard-tackling defenders but anyone who has played alongside Rosie knows that he has never been afraid to put himself about on the pitch. His passion for the Saints has never been questioned (at least it wasn’t until he quit the committee and told us he was moving to Costa Rica—I think somebody told him there’s a Bury FC Supporters Club there) and off the pitch he has been a major driver in ensuring the Saints are the most fun and socially active club (read: heaviest drinking team) in downtown Saigon and he has always made a great effort to welcome new drinkers players to the club. Most importantly, he also leaves Vietnam with one record intact: he is still the fastest man ever seen running a backward dash (on a beach in Vung Tau anyway).
What you didn’t know about Rosie: He was once coached by his Dad who apparently takes credit for moulding Rosie into the player he is today—guess they got stuck on the “How to Shoot” and “How To Dribble the Ball” chapters. Also, when aged 20, Rosie went to study coaching something called “soccer-ball” in the US (FINE).
Career lowlight: Picture Rosie, aged 11, baggy shorts, shirt down to his knees, embroiled in a classic “tricky away tie” somewhere across the English border in a strange and terrible place called northern Wales; he’s playing a team his club has never beaten and now he’s stepping up to the penalty spot in the VERY last minute—if he scores, they win, and if he… oh dear, what’s Welsh for “MASSIVE BACKDATED FINE”?
Some helpful advice on the rest of your life: “Start working on the Latin dance moves Rosie,” says Roel Borremans. “You have only got one move and it isn't very good.” His old mate Adam Smith gets to the point: “Pass, Rosie.” The club wishes him the very best with his new club the San Jose Rocketeers which doubles as a math club. No, you go figure out the odds on that!
Richard “Richie” Langley: The squad’s original Alabama Dreamboat, Richard Langley will leave one magnificent pair of underpants and also a large black corset—fine!—to be filled at the end of this season (perhaps it’s just something he might have got away with while playing with his previous team, the mighty “Sheen Old Grammarians” of old London town). For starters this prime cut of Grade A Kiwi manliness scored the greatest own goal ever, ever, ever with the Saints (from 12 meters out with the outside of the boot he curled an absolute peach into the top corner – fine!). It may never be bettered although Chairman Peadon did try this season. He was also voted the Saint’s MVP on the dance floor home and away in consecutive seasons. Richie’s natural ability to kick the ball with his left foot inevitably saw him pigeon-holed as a left-sided player for much of his career in Vietnam but while playing for the Saints he has done a shift in pretty much every position. It must be said that no matter where he played on the park, he always managed to berate the referee for penalizing his superior manliness with the same shrieking-authority (weirdly the ref never changed his mind). It is also possible he would have booked him much more if the refs weren’t blinded by his dreamy good looks. On that note, it should also be noted by footballing historians, that Richard Langley bounced back from the greatest crisis of his career this season—the controversial signing of Swedish stud muffin Roger Folkhage in mid-2013 which most certainly rocked the boat. The Saints didn’t know where to look. Who was the fairest of them all? In an attention-grabbing fit of desperation Richie grew a beard (a magnificent beard that J.R. could only dream of cultivating it must be said) and minced around wearing denim shorts (fine) on match days. Richie’s crisis plus Roger’s effortless sense of style and million-dollar smiles seemed to be giving the Swede the edge but Richie dug deep and returned to the peak of his handsomeness. When Folkhage was quietly transferred to Hanoi, it felt like Langer’s greatest victory. He leaves as he arrived: one handsome bastard of a man.
Career lowlight: That own goal.
Career highlight: That own goal.
Best kangaroo court fine: Maybe the one for that own goal?
Some helpful advice on the rest of your life: “Bring back the beard,” suggests Mark Harbison, who also liked the denim shorts and believes, “Richie blazed a trail for the Saints most handsome players like Roger… and myself.”
John “J.R.” Redmond: A leader of manly men, a lover of beautiful women, a philosopher, a poet, a man of letters, a rousing speech maker, a formidable tactician, a midfield talisman with telepathic vision, and if requested, a centre back of Herculean strength, yes, when John Redmond daydreams at work that’s the man he dares to believe that we think he is – but mostly we shall probably remember him as the oldest looking 24-year old who’s ever graced the lush playing fields of Ho Chi Minh City (and that’s when he’s clean shaven). Serious note: JR’s commitment to the glories of amateur sport is unparalleled. While in Vietnam he’s represented two Gaelic clubs, the Viet Celts and Saigon Gaels, one Aussie Rules outfit (the Swans) while also playing for (in no particular order) the Hotshots, Olympique, Singapore Pirates, The Bespectacled Korean Accountants XI, and several other teams, all against the Saints – in fact, the best goal he ever scored in Vietnam was against the Saints and no, he didn’t do the “no celebration-celebration”, he whooped, he fist-pumped, he grinned from ear-to-ear and just about resisted the temptation to take his top off. Hailing from Cookstown in County Tyrone it turns out J.R. was known locally for (no surprises here) playing sport, dressing up as a woman and picking on younger students on the bus. He will also leave a large hole in the Saigon social scene, not just for the Saints, but for the whole city, and the kangaroo court may never be the same again.
Saigon lowlight: Rosie announcing he was moving to Costa Rica and J.R. wasn’t allowed to come. “He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song,” said J.R. wistfully. “I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong….”
Saigon highlight: Pretty much every brunch at the InterCon where according to Mark Harbison, J.R. assumed the position of Mischief Maker-in-Chief and excelled at imposing tactics to ensure there were always enough Mojitos (four per person) on the table.
Some helpful advice on the rest-of-your-life: “Shave the beard,” says Delphine, the future wife of the future mayor of a small but well-functioning town in Belgium. “Give up,” suggests Smithy. “There is no KC or Smiley's equivalent in Cookstown so fill your boots while you’re still there and get rid of that beard,” weighs in Harby.
The Upstanding Captain Samuel Morley: Sam hails from Disleyland in Lancashire where all the rides were free. Historians will note that as a boy he excelled at avoiding sports and academic pursuits—instead he chose to sit in a blue van belonging to a man known as Roy and smoke “exotic cheroots”. According to his brother, his fame to claim is that he once punched John Critchelow, the local hard case, in the face for winding up his girlfriend—this from a man who once admitted while on tour with the Saints in Cambodia that he used to play a game called “Gay Chicken” at university (FINE). He will, of course, be remembered for many wonderful achievements while with the Saints: for example, his stunning debut (he played in nets) against Hiep Phu; scoring one of the greatest Saints’ goals ever this season against the Hotshots; taking on the role of player-manager-cum-captain after Ol’ Gaffer Greer cracked under the pressure of top-flight football and fled the country; squatting in strange places; watering the plants in his hotel room while on tour (clarification—there were no plants in the room), demanding everyone keep a cool head then pushing the ref over after a contentious decision and getting a straight red. When discussing his plans for the future, Sam has promised to continue travelling the world eating pies and reviewing them on everyone’s favourite website: Trusted Pie Review (yeah, bookmark that puppy Saints).
Career lowlight: Ending up as makeshift gaffer in what football historians already refer to as “the Season of Perpetual Crisis.”
Career highlight: The group pile-up after scoring that sweet, sweet, stoppage time screamer from 35-yards out against the Hotshots (after a massive brawl) is right up there as one of the greatest Saints goals ever.
What he’ll be remembered for most: 9 out of 10 Saints said “running like a penguin.”
Some helpful advice on the rest of your life: “Keep watch in case smoke comes out of your modem,” says Stu Clark.
We’d like to say a hearty congrats to the upstanding Captain Samuel Morley and Steve Shaw of Nottinghamshire, who both signed up for events in the recent Spring Run in Ho Chi Minh City last weekend.
Sam came home in just over 47 minutes to finish 16th in the 10km run from of a field of 100+ runners. With a time of 1 hr 19 mins, Steve finished 33rd from a field of nearly 100 runners in the 21km run. None too shabby boys!
Certainly, streets ahead of Ben Peadon and Ian Pavitt, both of whom also signed up for the 10km run but failed to show at the starting line.
Mr. Pavitt took to Twitter to defend himself from accusations of “laziness” claiming he’d been kidnapped on Saturday night and woke up somewhere near the Cambodian border. Mr. Peadon’s personal assistant claims the chairman overdid it on the Weetabix and pulled out of the race before leaving his apartment due to a stomach cramp.
Needless to say, they’re both going to be fined by the club for tarnishing our reputation.
As soon as a fat, demented, mud-caked, naked baby with a bizarre 1st century Chinese kung fu warrior haircut started circling the team in the stands before kick-off at Phuoc Long A yesterday, the Saints were understandably petrified – what did this strange and terrible omen mean?
It turns out they had nothing to fear – even without a goalkeeper and a depleted squad, the Saints got 2014 off to a flying start by trouncing a technically decent but defensively hapless team wearing a very naff, faded Bayern Munich kit in a friendly match that offered up a lot of positives for whoever is in charge of the Saints for the second half of the season -- crisis? That crisis!
Here’s Five Positives…
1) Captain Sam Morley and Steve Shaw’s Centre back pairing is looking rock solid. These two can be a combination in the mould of the Jaap Stam (um, guess that’s Steve) and Ronny Johnsen/ Gary Pallister (take your pick Sam!) at the height of Man Utd’s defensive meanness. Both players aren’t afraid to take the odd run up the pitch with Captain Sam showing a preference for 35-yard stoppage time wonder goals over one-on-ones, which -- like yesterday -- are just “too easy” especially when the goalie is scampering away from the centre of the goal for no apparent reason.
2) After returning from a long lay-off, Sean Delaney’s two cracking goals from outside the box prove he’s not just about flying into players with the studs up and doing his level best to get sent off. The tackles continue to be agricultural but his passing and shooting could be the key to the Saints proving they have the “bounce-back-ability” factor in 2014. The Awesomely Bearded Silver Fox also showed why he’s the ideal companion to Delaney – JR bagged a goal from inside the six-yard box after making a 50-yard run to get there (and that’s after coaching the Saigon Gaels’ ladies and training with the Vietnam Swans in D7). Aware that Delaney’s goals were going to his head, JR also sensibly thwarted Delaney’s chance for a hat-trick by walking across the goal and stopping a goal-bound shot while chatting to the opposition like he was going for a stroll in the park.
3) The Saints’ latest signing Charlie bagged a hat-trick—a dream debut for the lad who was also full of running all day long and if it weren’t for a few dubious offside decisions he might have got more. The Saints look like they’ll have plenty of firepower up front with Ruben “Livin’ la Vida Loca” hopefully fit and available for the rest of the season and young Sam also pushing to start. The Webmaster, criticised for just scoring in friendlies has vowed to score only in the league this year--by refusing to poke one home from two inches out yesterday and letting Charlie claim his hat-trick, and not bothering to score (completely intentional) that, my friends, is half the job done.
4) Forced into going back to basics by virtue of a lack of numbers and options, Captain Sam Morley went for simplicity with his team selection yesterday. The Saints’ sexy-on-paper but ineffectual in action (thus far) 4-2-3-1 formation has failed to get the team results and although the opposition was piss poor yesterday, the more traditional 4-4-2 might be the best way to get the Saints firing again in the league. Food for thought for whoever makes the call when the Saints play Gemadept next Sunday.
5) Morale boosting post-match beers at Game On: After an intense will-they-won’t-they courtship with secret meetings, come-and-get-me-emails and fluttering eyelashes over the summer, the Saints have finally inked a deal with Damien Cupitt and offically moved to Game On at 115 Ho Tung Mau in District 1 and it’s a pleasure to be sinking beers in the city’s finest Sports bar after every match surrounded by a dozen screens of sport. They even had Chairman Peadon‘s beloved Leeds on the big screen – and while I’m on that topic, how good are Sheffield Wednesday!? They collectively channelled their inner Carlton Palmers to produce the sort of CHAMPAGNE FOOTBALL that the Saints aspire to! WUNDERBAR!
Watch your emails for details of next weekend’s fixture and get down to training if you want to be in that squad.
Over and out!
Pavitt- Glenn Quagmire
Rosie- Kyle Broflofski
Kyle is a third- then fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his fictional hometown of South Park, Colorado. Kyle is distinctive as one of the few Jewish children on the show, and because of this, he often feels like an outsider amongst the core group of characters. His portrayal in this role is often dealt with satirically, and has elicited both praise and criticism from Jewish viewers.
Brownie- Woody Woodpecker
Spends his day singing loudly and pecking holes in trees. He infuriates the other woodland creatures - when he isn't baffling them with his bizarre behavior. Woody overhears a squirrel and a group of birds gossiping about him. Even though he just sang a song proclaiming his craziness, he denies their whispered accusations that he's nuts.
Alex Crane-Top Cat (or simply T.C.)
The yellow furred, greedy, somewhat lazy and clever main protagonist. He wears a primrose hat and a vest. He often rips off and/ or tricks his gang and Officer Dibble. He does respect the effort the gang does for him, but he often takes credit for it. That said, he is loyal to the gang and will help one of them if they need it.
Sean And Tom- Pinky and Brain
Chuck- Wile e. Coyote
Looney Tunes’ Wile E. Coyote, for example, is an ostensibly malicious being, and yet, somehow, the audience feels compassion for him. In spite of his vicious nature, Wile E. Coyote’s ineptitude and frequent failures earn him the sympathy of his viewers.
Erdem- Yogi Bear
The plot of most of Yogi's cartoons centered on his antics in the fictional Jellystone Park, a takeoff on the famous Yellowstone National Park. Yogi, accompanied by his constant companion Boo-Boo Bear, would often try to steal picnic ("pick-a-nic") baskets from campers in the park, much to the displeasure of Park Ranger Smith. His girlfriend, Cindy Bear, sometimes appeared and usually disapproved of Yogi's antics.
Jamie Roy- Tazmanian Devil
As the youngest of the Looney Tunes characters, the Tasmanian Devil, or 'Taz' as he has come to be known, is generally portrayed as a ferocious albeit dim-witted omnivore with a notoriously short temper and little patience. He will eat anything and everything, with an appetite that seems to know no bounds. He is best known for his speech consisting mostly of grunts, growls and rasps, and his ability to spin like a vortex and bite through just about anything.
Aron- Fat Albert
Fat Albert is based on Cosby's childhood friend Albert Robertson. The main character in the series, he is the heart and soul (and often the conscience) of the Junkyard Gang. Though depicted as being obese, he is shown to enjoy sports, often playing in different games with the rest of the gang.
Because of his shrewdness, is usually entrusted with the most important affairs of the village. He is aided in his adventures by his rather fat and unintelligent friend, Obelix, who, because he fell into the druid's cauldron of the potion as a baby, has permanent superhuman strength.
He-Man was characterized as possessing superhuman strength. The extent of his strength was unknown, but on one occasion he was able to hoist Castle Grayskull and throw it through a dimensional doorway. He-Man also demonstrated his strength by lifting mountains and icebergs, and hurling them towards a desired target.
Vicente- Puss in Boots
The cat in the fairy tale of the same name (in French, “Le Maître Chat ou le chat botté”), as retold by Charles Perrault in Contes de ma mère l’oye (1697; Tales of Mother Goose). The brash Puss in Boots tricks an ogre into transforming himself into a mouse, which Puss promptly gobbles up, so that Puss’s master can appropriate the ogre’s wealth and win the hand and heart of a beautiful princess.