The original intention was to put this Stockport Tournament to bed and not report on it but certain facts have come to light that make that decision seem wrong.
Manchester Corinthians were painted as the villains in this so called ‘Social Tournament’, when in fact we were the victims. After seeing us demolish the first three opponents with eight goals for and just the one against in the eight minute games, we had obviously outstayed our welcome.
Comments were heard that we were thugs and animals, when in fact one of the other teams had intimidation on their menu. The other side outside this incestuous circle of Stockport area teams, Vintage Celtic, were also victims. One of the comments heard was “we just need to get rid of these now”, after the Corinthians had offered to withdraw.
Vintage Celtic players were threatened by some of the local ‘friendly’ participants, making this so called ‘Social Tournament’ anything but. The fiasco started with a last minute change of rules regarding areas where opponents couldn’t be dispossessed of the ball, a crazy concept from the start.
It would be interesting to see how these so called walking football teams fared in a proper tournament with qualified referees but obviously they haven’t the balls to compete in such.
Playing 6-a-side on small caged pitches was a recipe for disaster and proved to be so. Although the female referee officiating in our games was generally excellent, the one on the other pitch was described as a joke, talking to a colleague and not watching the action during games. Any tournament without qualified referees is going to be a disaster, as it’s been proved on many occasions.
There can be no such thing as friendly matches or tournaments. All players have an inbuilt competitiveness and want to win, no matter what the occasion. The massive difference in this tournament and the recent Fleetwood Tournament we competed in just shows how far some organisers and competitors need to upgrade their mindset.
We will put this Stockport Tournament down to experience and certainly wouldn’t enter another tournament described as social or friendly. I did intend to offer an apology to the organisers but in light of certain facts outlined here, that isn’t going to happen.