6th May 2006

Sassco.co.uk 2 TWR 4.

Twice in the lead, same old story.

Sassco 11-a-side versus TWR Trade FramesLets look at the positives first.

Greenwell and Wardle are now back as regulars, although we'll have to be careful as the morning games might spring up an injury. Also, the game plan was to get the ball down as quick as possible and to play it short. We did. We were probably marginally better than TWR in the first half and deserved our goal (from Hembrough). The team was carefully planned out. Hembrough with Wilkinson in attack, although Tommy was asked to drop deeper when we didn't have the ball. Wide players were Gourlay and Ed, while Greenwell played central behind the front two. Wardle was in front of the back four - which comprised of Young P, Pearson, Emu and Dixon.

To cut a long story short, we went 1-0 up before succumbing to an equaliser. Tommy missed two glorious chances - the second of which resulted in a lost football (say no more). Second half, I changed to 4-5-1 due to the mass amount of lost leads we'd had. Positive at the start as Greenwell broke clear and scored. Yet again, it went belly up. Despite having five men in midfield, we still didn't close down like we should have. Staples claimed it was players playing in the wrong positions, but Greenwell, Wardle, Wilkinson, Gourlay and Cook in a five man midfield aren't out of position. It's simple lack of hard work. We have to be tight on our men and stop them passing.

At the back, I was afraid of the old "rely on offside" technique. There's enough pace at the back to remain goal side and cope with any long ball. Emu had a few clangers where he was turned a few times.

So. Back to the positives. We are now starting to play the ball more which is a relief. There were only one or two long balls which when executed, went tits up - so we know now not to do them. Roll on next season. Despite it being FA Cup day, we had a good turn out with more than enough players. I'm sure we'll be strong in the lower division for next season.

Shipwrights Field, Sunderland
Premier Division
Sassco.co.uk 2 Scott Hembrough, Wayne Greenwell
TWR Trade Frames 4
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Pearson A, Pearson, Muers, Dixon, Gourlay, Cook, Wardle, Greenwell*, Wilkinson, Hembrough

*
Player
Apps
Goals
2
Mark Muers
29
10
3
Michael Pearson
29
0
4
Chris Dixon
28
3
5
David Staples
28
5
6
David Gourlay
25
4
-
Davinder Sangha
23
0
1
David Watson
22
0
7
Jason Amour
19
0
-
Scott Hembrough
18
22
8
Tommy Wilkinson
16
5
-
Scott Johnstone
13
5
-
Steve Stubbs
12
0
-
Dean Robinson
11
1
-
Anthony Pearson
10
0
9
Wayne Greenwell
10
2
-
David "Bunta" Murton
9
4
10
Jon Wardle
9
2
-
Neil Middlemiss
9
15
11
Danny Hodgson
8
0
12
Ed Cook
8
0
-
Gav Kershaw
8
0
-
Tommy Bell
8
7
-
Jeff Clark
7
0
-
Mark Sammut
7
0
-
Steven Herkes
7
2
13
Tim Gillespie
7
0
-
Jimmy Donkin
6
2
-
Chris Haldane
5
3
-
John Oliver
4
0
-
Mark Cresswell
4
0
-
Gavin Rackstraw
3
1
-
William Harper
3
0
-
Darren Dowell
2
0
-
Gary Tyzack
2
2
-
Kallum Griffiths
2
0
-
Michael Ross
2
0
-
Steve McDonagh
2
0
-
Anthony Richardson
1
1
-
Craig Charlton
1
0
-
Gareth Brazier
1
0
-
Keith Mouat
1
0
-
Peter Daykin
1
0
-
Ryan McNaught
1
1
-
Steve Priestly
1
0
* denotes next seasons shirt number

6th May 2006

Latest News.

Hetton Crown match report is below this news.

New shirt and final League game and thanks to Scott Hembrough.

New team shirt
Delighted to say the new shirt is nearly ready. The attached pic shows the first design sample. There are going to be minor changes, but nothing too drastic so the shirt is going to be almost identical to the one in the picture.

New Sassco balls
We've also produced some new match balls with the City of Sunderland and Milltech logo on them for all our home games as well as for the 6-a-side League. The balls are produced up to FIFA Approved standards and are durable enough for the turf and the grass.

Our last game

The final game v TWR is going to be a 1pm kick off. Reason being that the FA Cup Final is on the same day. We tried to get the FA to shift their game, but no joy. So it's a 1pm kick off at the Shipwrights field against TWR. We should be there for around 12:15pm to get the nets up. I'll announce the squad on the message board as normal.


Scotty Hembrough

Also, rumours have been flying about here and there, but unfortunately for us, Scotty Hembrough will be leaving the team at the end of the season to pastures new - possibly a high flying team in the top division or the Northern League. We know he's good enough for both and thank him for sticking it out with us. Scotty H was amongst the original set of new superstars such as Beam, Bunta, Bell, Minnie and Sammut - all who left when we started struggling. But good on him, he stayed with us and more importantly, played exceptionally well as a regular. He's definitely our Player-of-the-Season. The prize was going to be a team shirt, but now we'll have to find something different.

6th May 2006

Hetton Crown 3 Sassco.co.uk 0.

Depleted line up, comfortably trounced.

Very difficult to take any positives from a 3-0 trouncing. We were stunningly depleted. No Deano, Pearson, Staples, Hembrough, Herkes, Hodgson to name a few. Also Wardle and co. had a semi final on in the morning. Lucky for us, Dave G managed to press gang Ed Cook into turning up. Dixon was back from injury and Wilkinson had come back from his SAS camping session (SAS meaning Saturday and Sunday).

Anyway, brief report. Wilko was delayed by the problems on the A19 so we didn't have time for a team talk. Started reasonably well, but conceded early. Held on well. Muers and Dixon were up front but lacked the cutting edge having spent most of the season in defence. They both did okay when dropping deep as our ball play wasn't too bad, but the shots on goal ratio was appalling. We didn't really have the full complement of players who are good at keeping the ball, but we kept it down and passed it simple. Good sign was players bollocking other players for needless long balls and flicks which didn't get us anywhere.

Hetton moved up a gear in the second half and scored two quick goals. We were 3-0 down and there was no real way back. Up front we had pot shots at goal and none really troubled the 'keeper. The best chance was probably Muers first half, limp wrist kick and Tommy's second half sky high effort when through on goal.

As mentioned earlier, we really struggled with a team. I was ill so didn't really want to take part (but had to), while Herkes decided to text me two hours before kick off to say he's busy. I understand people are busy, etc. But some people seem to be more busy than others which means they will have to be classed as non-regulars. God knows how many texts I sent out to get a full team, but then again, all teams have that problem at this time of year with so many games and competitions going on.

Never mind. We were generally positive after the game and pointed out the obvious mistakes. They can be surely rectified, but the last game of the season v TWR Trade Frames isn't really the one where you'd expect a huge up lift. For next season we'll have to put in some ground rules and select a first team squad of around 15 who are rock solid regulars. The rest will be signed on as non-regulars and will be called on from time to time. Priority is to get a regular striker and also a strong midfielder.

Also, a team coach is needed. The three names are Ed Cook, Billy Harper and Corby. They are ideal motivators and have the necessary skill and experience to form a good way of playing. We shall see. All three would struggle with commitment as they have other teams they look after.

Hetton Lyons Ground, Hetton
Premier Division
Hetton Crown 3
Sassco.co.uk 0

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Amour, Sangha, Gillespie, Cook*, Wilkinson, Dixon, Muers, Gourlay, Wilkinson

29th April 2006

Redhouse FC 6 Sassco.co.uk 2.

2-0 ahead, but nothing lasts forever.

Our biggest game since the opening day. We were facing off against Redhouse FC in what actually was a meaningless game. We're definitely relegated, while Redhouse had seemingly shot themselves in the foot after gaining the lead in the table then losing it, surprisingly in two games. However, for this one, they were back to full strength (as expected). I was concerned with our lack of numbers, but a stroke of luck made both Greenwell and Wardle available. They didn't have a game in the morning, so the likes of Stubba, Jeff and Donkin would also be available just in case. However, Wardle and Greenwell were straight in as Tommy Wilko and Danny H were missing. Gourlay and Pearson were also missing until around two hours before kick off. So lucky for Redhouse, I put my footy boots back into the Aldi carrier bag and prepared to spend an interesting evening on the sideline, watching one of our most important games in terms of how we performed. As with all Sassco games, it tended to end in tears.

For the team it was 4-3-3 again, with the return of all the key players, Hembrough, Muers, Gillespie, etc. I placed Wardle in front of the defence and Greenwell as the third attacker and it seemed to work. Wardle forced an own goal through and soon Hembrough broke the offside trap to make it 2-0. Yet the game was still up for grabs. Butler was quiet, but slowly getting into the game and soon we conceded a soft penalty. Muers was climbing over Hunt and Butler put the penalty away with ease.

With his poor first half performance which led to both Sassco goals, it's not surprising that some of the Redhouse FC lads seem to think Gash has his loyalties elsewhere as this previously unseen photo shows him in the Sassco attireSecond half saw us start to panic. We'd never been good enough to hold a lead. For some reason we can't seem to get our foot on the ball. Difficult to work out a plan for this in the future, but at 4-2 down - yes 4-2, we started to actually keep the ball and pass it. We'd conceded an early goal in the second half and then two quick ones in succession. We were out of it. I sent Herkes on late in the game to terrorise Gash, but he looked intimidated by Gash's hairstyle. Nevertheless, he did okayish. One thing about Herkes is that he can't half trap any ball pinged at him at any speed or height. The goals conceded were predictable. One was when Jase claimed the ball was out while the others were essentially ourselves not giving Butler any respect. My team talk at half time was simply that the rest of them were shite and Butler is the one. We should have doubled up on him. But most of our lads being a bit dim said that he wasn't playing well. I'm afraid he played a bit too well in the second though. I wouldn't go the whole hog and say Redhouse are a one man team, but Butler is definitely the edge which puts them above the likes of Dolphin, Grange, Castletown, etc. The Redhouse team talk dwelled on the fact that Keith Braziers arse was twitching just in case Sangha's Sassco celebrated their first League win over him.

However, back to our problems. In the future, I'm going to have to stress the importance of keeping the ball on the ground when up against it. Corby touched upon it during our defeat v Castletown, but I wasn't convinced. We did well in this matter this time. Obviously we'd lost the game then, but it was clear when we were punting balls in the air - they were winning them easily. Playing quick one or two touch passing was our game and that has to be stressed in our last two games. The skill players are there so it shouldn't be a problem. It will have to be possession football when in the lead instead of hit and see it come straight back.

A few positives for this game. Firstly, Muers was back but looked rusty. Wardle and Greenwell did really well, in what is probably their last game for us this season, and won almost everything in the air. Deano played well and cleared his lines, but struggled to keep goal side of Butler on occasions. Scotty H was superb in attack, with most of his spectacular efforts being near misses. Overall it was okay. Far better than Wednesday, but hugely disappointing that we didn't keep the lead. Yet we've done that in the past so no surprises there

Downhill Sports Complex, Sunderland
Premier Division
Redhouse FC 6
Sassco.co.uk 2
Scott Hembrough, Jon Wardle
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Amour, Muers, Robinson, Pearson, Greenwell, Staples, Gillespie (Herkes), Wardle*, Gourlay, Hembrough

26th April 2006

The Dolphin 5 Sassco.co.uk 0.

Terrible performance, but half expected on a Wednesday.

Midweek games do my head in. Players aren't available and the ones who are have to spend time rushing around. From our encounter on Saturday, only Watty, Jase and Pearson were there. The remaining team was bolstered by Wilko, Herkes, Jeff Clark, Stubba, Jimmy Donkin, Deano, Wardle and Gourlay.

It was a poor performance. For some reason, the back four decided to play the offside rule which led to the first Dolphin goal. It was added to four times in the first half in a truly diabolical performance. Attitude in comparison to Saturday was dire. No closing down, no tight man-to-man and no discipline. It seems that most were only there for the kick-about. Only Deano came out of it with any credit.

Second half was more measured. They did score off a corner late on, but we had quite a few good opportunities. They were clearly relaxing and messing around, but it was a shame we didn't take advantage. Herkes came close with some one on ones, while Deano on right wing (from right back) put in some good crosses.

Roll on Saturday and thank God, as this is our last Wednesday game. We've got Redhouse FC, our dear rivals (not in League positions though). They seem to be shooting themselves in the foot having gained a lead at the top of the division and now squandered it. Hopefully the full squad will be there and attitude will be top notch. I'm sure we want to put one over our opponents. Yet, that's thinking ahead. The only positive thing out of this game is that the second half was quite enjoyable. Also, the relief that this wouldn't be classed as our proper line up had the likes of Staples, Hembrough, Dixon, Muers and Danny H been available.

We'll see. Thanks anyway to the lads which did turn up, including Steve Mac and Anth Pearson on the sidelines. Also it's been a while since Fatty, Stubba, Jeff and Jimmy played together for Sassco and it showed as the arguments flared up within a few minutes of kick off.

Silksworth Sports Complex, Sunderland
Premier Division
The Dolphin 5
Sassco.co.uk 0

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Amour, Donkin, Stubbs, Robinson*, Gourlay, Wilkinson, Pearson (Sangha), Clark, Herkes, Wardle

22nd April 2006

Castletown Snooker 5 Sassco.co.uk 2.

Gutted and pissed off with the Dirty Drop Outs.

2-0 up. What more could I ask for. We'd lost Griffiths, Murton, Muers and Gourlay and also Wilkinson on the day, but mustered a team together and actually performed to our best abilities. It was 4-3-3 again and this time, instead of Griffiths in attack, we had Corby. It was great to see "Old Man Corby" back in the fold. Ironically against his previous team mates, Duffy, The Mouats and Barry Cook. People unaware of Sassco wouldn't know that the majority of key players in some of the teams have donned the Sassco jersey in the past. Both Corby and Duffy were present in our first ever win back in 2002. Paul Mouat has played on and off in the Saturday mornings, while Keith Mouat was a regular. But to the team on the day, instead of Murton it was Pearson behind the front two and Gillespie in front of the back four. Out was Muers and in was Hodgson. Watty's mate played on the right hand side of midfield while Young P played right back. Jase was left back. Stapes on the left and Scotty H up front.

From the off, we seemed to be okay. Hembrough opened the scoring as they simply couldn't handle his pace. He also hit the crossbar. But then problems occurred. Hodgson suffered a bad tackle so I had to come on. We shuffled it to Jase as centre half. Still, we went 2-0 up. It was all to play for. Corby also hit the bar and Anth Mouat in goal for them made a cracking save. We really should have been 4-0 up. Yet we cleared off the line twice and seconds before half time, they scored to make it 2-1.

No matter. We were fully confident for the second half and held it at 2-1 for a long time. Hembrough hit the crossbar on this occasion and things were looking up. Yet, Digga had to go off injured. We were down to 10 men, without both centre halves. Pearson filled in, but from then on we struggled. Our weak players came to the fore as we lost the ball too often. We tried in vain and lost 5-3. Score was a bit harsh, but I'm genuinely pissed off. Players such as Wilkinson and Griffiths dropping me in it on the day. Gourlay constantly missing, our other lads missing as well for one reason or another. If Murton, Muers and Gourlay were here today, I'm sure we'd pull out all the stops and get it right. What pisses me off is that there's so much potential in the team. We seem to be getting it right. Attitude is 100% if ability isn't. But if I can't get the full-strength side out week in week out like other teams do, there's not a great deal we can do. Some players aren't good enough and myself; I shouldn't be playing. The fact that I am fifth or sixth highest appearance is shocking.

Come on boys. Those who are reading have to get their act together and start getting to games. If they don't want to play. Simply say so and I can make changes.

I need to know who is available for our Wednesday night encounter at Silksworth. Leave a message on the message board.

Shipwrights Field, Sunderland
Premier Division
Castletown Snooker 5
Sassco.co.uk 2
Anthony Richardson, Scott Hembrough
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Hodgson (Sangha), Amour, Dixon*, Pearson A, Richardson, Pearson M, Gillespie, Staples, Hembrough

15th April 2006

Sassco.co.uk 1 Hendon Grange 2.

Surprisingly strong performance, but no points out of it.

An unexpected strong performance from Sassco didn't leave us with the result we wanted. Hendon Grange were the opponents and while they'd come off the back of a Cup Final defeat the night before, we'd had a reasonable game against Aquatics last week. This time, we lost Jase, Pearson, Herkes, Deano and Danny. Rackstraw was due to make a return, but bailed out in good notice the day before. So, I had to play. Also, Watty, who was busy releasing all the shits out of his arse, put them up me when he said he wouldn't be able to play. I tried Gav Kershaw, but he wasn't there, so Watty took all the weight off his mind and turned up looking leaner and healthier, if not a bit paler. I suppose the conditions didn't help. They couldn't have been more contrasting than our game against Aquatics. It was searing heat with a sun baked, hard ground to play on. At the end of the game, we were collectively struggling (both sides) with the hard ground conditions. Makes a change from the quagmire though.

For the team line up itself, the system was altered slightly. I elected to go for 4-3-3. The reasoning was varied. Firstly, the last game against these saw them having an extra man in midfield all the time. The extra man tended to come from the back, so I decided to put an extra front man up there to track any runs. Also, Tommy was the sole central midfielder due to his height to win the ball. Dave G was left back and was given the go ahead to push forward when we had the ball. Bunta was the third attacker, generally playing behind the front two.

It actually worked. The first half saw Staples a bit outnumbered, but we went man-to-man and solved the problem. We did have quite a few opportunities. The forward men wanted a clear shot on numerous occasions and didn't take their chances. At the back we were holding up quite well until Dunston decided to turn his man with the ball. This was after Watty made a superb save and half the team were screaming for Dunston to lash it. I know you're reading this Emu, so let me ask you this...if Scott H was the one you were up against, would you try and turn him? No.

Anyhow, we suffered a one goal deficit, but performance was okay. We gained our just rewards when Staples broke free to cross for Hembrough to nod the ball into the back of the net.

Yet, in typical Sassco fashion, we blundered. Moments after this, their team had the opportunity to score again, but Watty saved. However, a one-two played between a triangle of their players wasn't dealt with and Watty got lobbed to make it 2-1. We didn't really threaten after that.

Nevertheless, we're obviously looking at pre-season and if this is the type of performance we can put up against a good team, I'm quite happy with it. It's TWR on Wednesday and there's loads of drop outs due to it being an evening game. I'm sure I'll cobble a team together, but it's a shame we can't put the same team out against the Champions.

Shipwrights Field, Sunderland
Premier Division
Sassco.co.uk 1 Scott Hembrough
Hendon Grange 2

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Sangha, Dixon, Muers, Gourlay, Wilkinson, Gillespie, Staples, Murton*, Hembrough, Griffiths

8th April 2006

Aquatic Sports 1 Sassco.co.uk 1.

Dixon scores to put us ahead in blizzard conditions.

Sassco 11-a-side v AquaticsWhen Digga lashed in the opener midway in the first half, things were looking up.

A bleak opening few minutes saw us camped in our own half, giving corners away as if they were free. Aquatics (who'd beat us 6-2 earlier in the season) looked as if they'd be giving us another walloped.

Yet we weathered the storm. Ironic words considering the hailstorm which eventually abandoned the match. We were struggling to put together a team. Gourlay, Tyzack and Pearson were missing, while Gillespie failed to show, citing the same excuse as he did on Wednesday. Nevertheless, we managed (with Bunta's help) to get eleven players ready, which also included myself and put on a good show. The terrible conditions put pay to a half decent performance which saw Aquatics gain a deserved equaliser near the end of the first half. So we came away with a point - only our second since the opening day.

Marley Potts, Sunderland
Premier Division
Aquatics Sports 1
Sassco.co.uk 1
Chris Dixon
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Amour, Sangha, Dixon, Muers, Wilkinson, Griffiths, Hodgson, Murton, Dixon*, Hembrough.

29th March 2006

Foremost Electrical 4 Sassco.co.uk 1.

Pathetic, limp wrist performance. Only Bunta came out of it with credit.

Butterman in actionMidweek games aren't really helpful. I remember with Sassco in the Tyne & Wear League, we had a radically different side on the evenings. This was no difference. Panic set in early, though. The list of unavailable's read; Tyzack, Murton, Hembrough, Cook, Muers, Staples, Gourlay, Gillespie - all good, first team regulars.

So being resourceful like I am, I managed to get Fatty and Donkin to come in. Murton also changed his plans and became available. Lucky for me, Pearson also called in to say that he was okay (albeit with a bad back). Deano also came back after throwing a typical Sassco wobbler (it happens to all Sassco players). So from about nine players, we had a full complement. Despite being not full-strength, I was actually confident based on the side we had. But from there it went tits up.

Defensively we struggled. We couldn't keep hold of the ball. Up front, Bunta was brilliant, but he was rapidly getting frustrated with players around him. There wasn't any closing down and none of the basics such as following your man when he plays a one-two. For a stretch at the end of the first half and the start of the second, we played some good stuff. We got tight on and closed down and caused the opponents to make mistakes. We didn't take advantage of them, but the fact is that they were playing across the back and after around three passes, they panicked. We simply didn't keep this up. Closing down is the easiest thing to do in football, but we're simply either thick or bone-idle (or both). I didn't have a great deal of time to do a team talk neither to explain things clearer. Also I need to speak to players one-on-one to explain what I'm looking for. We went 1-0 down when Critter wasn't tackled running through the middle of the defence. They dominated the proceedings, but didn't add to their tally in the first half. We came close, mainly from Bunta. Herkes, partnering him, wasted too many opportunities.

Well, to cut a long story short, they scored a second after we showed a bit more spirit. We looked down, but eventually, Bunta scored from a brilliant cross from Jimmy "Crouch" Donkin. It was fully deserved from Bunta as he was caught offside when he was on several times in the game.

Disappointing considering that we'd just secured a new sponsor, but half expected when I rattle off the list of genuinely good players we didn't have. Next game v TWR at home on Saturday.

Thompson Park, Sunderland
Downhill Trophy
Foremost Electrical 4
Sassco.co.uk 1
David Murton
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Amour, Donkin, Wilkinson, Pearson, Hodgson, Dixon, Murton*, Robinson, Wardle, Herkes.

22nd March 2006

News.

Milltech announced as our new sponsor.

Delighted to announce that Dave Watson has secured sponsorship for the 11-a-side team from Milltech. This means we will be producing a new home shirt (red colour) and will be secure to continue for the next season, 2006-2007 and most likely for 2007-2008.

Milltech are an independent company who have been helping young people achieve nationally recognised qualifications and employment for over twenty years. Over those years they have developed strong links with companies both large and small throughout the Tyne and Wear area. Many ex-Milltech learners are managers or supervisors within these organisations and take an active role in training new apprentices.

Milltech provides high quality work placements where young people gain practical experience within their chosen industry. Milltech have some of the most up to date equipment and teaching aids available. They have always looked to combine new developments with a pioneering approach to learning and look to maintain an innovative outlook, an approach that has led to the company receiving national awards. Click on to the logo to see more information about their services.

The funds will enable us to compete in next season's WCFL competition and will also fund a new home shirt which is to be in red as shown below. Comments are welcome as the shirt hasn't been put into production as of yet.



15th March 2006

News.

Still need a sponsor.

We still need a sponsor. The League is going to come to a close quite soon, so we need something in place before then. Be aware that if we don't get a sponsor then we definitely won't be re-entering.

Also if we do re-enter, then I want to make changes in terms of responsibilities. We need someone to take care of nets and corner flags, someone to bring the water and medical supplies and I'll remember the kit. Also we need a rota for people going to the meetings. Remember that anyone going to the meetings gets two games free (£4).

18th February 2006

Hendon Grange 5 Sassco.co.uk 3.

A good performance, but another lead not held on to.

A few disappointing aspects about our first game against Hendon Grange. Firstly, Tommy Wilko dropped us in it saying he's babysitting. Simply not acceptable. Don't care what the excuse is. Players have ample time to say they are not available. Also Deano threw a bit of a strange wobbler asking to be excused and then saying he didn't know why he didn't want to play. So, without Emu (still hasn't paid or even paid a part of his fine), Hembrough and also Tyzack we were fighting an uphill battle.

Nevertheless, Bunta answered the call and did a magnificent job in a very difficult game. It was at the Ryhope ground where we were hammered off TWR, but this time the performance was considerably different. We had Ed and Mickey P in the centre midfield slot, while Stapes and Digga were on the flanks. I had to play right back, while Jase and Danny were centre halves. Dave G requested to play on the left - which seemed to work and he wasn't wasted. Up front Bunta partnered Herkes.

From the off I thought we did well. They were a large team and direct, while we seemed not to be overawed. A mix up led to long range shot past Watson. We didn't clear our lines and more importantly, didn't win the second ball. Herkes soon grabbed an equaliser with superb work from Bunta. Just before the half time, they added a second, when, again, we didn't clear our lines quick enough.

The second half saw a host of problems. Mickey Pearson was badly injured so we had to shuffle him forward with Herkes on the right and Digga as full back. Dave G went in midfield. Yet it didn't seem to affect us that badly. Bunta scored a superb long range shot and then added a second when Jimmy "Crouch" Donkin turned up to replace Pearson. So at 3-2 it was all to play for. Ed, with a clear shot at goal, hit the post which could have made it 4-2. However, Hendon came back. With the midfield pestering the defence to push up, we lost our concentration. It doesn't change the fact that the midfield weren't retaining the ball enough and losing it to the opponents who were then launching it from the flanks. We have to concentrate on defending and worrying about the offside trap only when being caught on the break.

So, from 3-2 up, we eventually lost 5-3. Overall, it was a great performance considering our struggles in the recent past. Attitude seems 100% while we now tend to play to our strengths. There were one or two long balls too many and also ms-communication (i.e. Dave G, telling Herkes to beat a man, while I was telling him to use a quick pass). We've got pace in the team and need to be quick and rapid in attack. We don't need to beat our man, but have the option of outpacing him as we did against the Dolphin. Great to see Bunta back. I'm sure it would be outstanding to see him and Hembrough in tandem in attack. Also it was good to have Staples, Gourlay and Hodgson back in

Ryhope Rec. Ground, Sunderland
League Game
Hendon Grange 5
Sassco.co.uk 3
David Murton (2), Steve Herkes
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Amour, Pearson (Donkin), Sangha, Hodgson, Dixon, Cook, Murton*, Gourlay, Staples, Herkes.

11th February 2006

Sassco.co.uk 3 Dolphin 3.

Racing into a three goal lead wasn't good enough.

Well, what can you say. Before the game, I would have taken a draw considering we didn't have six key players; Tyzack, Hodgson, Muers, Staples Tommy Wilko and Gourlay. But after the game, everyone felt let down. On reflection, the Dolphin did dominate the middle of the park and tended to win every high ball, but we seemed a bit more clinical.

We (me and Watty) opted for pace up front. Herkes and Hembrough, with Dixon shifted to his less comfortable left side position and Tim Gillespie on the right hand side, instead of Deano - who was right back. Reasoning was that Deano tends to play further forward and not come back enough when on the wing. Defence was the difficult part but it was solved with Pearson and Jase as centre halves where normally it would be Muers and Hodgson.

Key issue on the team talk was to take our chances and not launch the ball - which we did. Hembrough gained two goals after a mixed first half where Dolphin controlled the game, but Pearson and Jase along with Deano and Young P seemed to handle it well.

Second half we went 3-0 up with Hembrough's hat-trick, but the problems began there. Ed Cook was in midfield, but the midfield was being swamped and more chances were being created for Dolphin. They eventually scored with twenty minutes to go to make it 3-1. We still had glorious chances, with Herkes and Hembrough missing easy chances. Nevertheless, they scored with five minutes to go and got the inevitable equaliser two minutes from time.

Disappointing: Yes, but we didn't have our best line up out and players were playing in awkward positions. Plus points were Herkes and Hembrough combining well up front and with blistering pace. Also Mickey Pearson and Jase both played really well in defence against a very physical and huge Dolphin team. Watty also played well. But where did we go wrong? If I had to point, it would have to be midfield. We didn't win anything in the air and didn't cut out the crossfield balls late on. Jase and Pearson did exceptionally well all game, but there's only so much pressure they can take. Also, I Gash B and the Redhouse bunch were happy as it now gives them a fighting chance to get to the next stage - would have been better had we won, but still, they seem quite content.

Shipwrights Field, Sunderland
Downhill Trophy
Sassco.co.uk 3 Scott Hembrough 3
The Dolphin 3
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Amour, Pearson, Pearson A, Robinson, Dixon, Cook, Dowell, Gillespie, Hembrough*, Herkes.

The current stats from our first friendly against the African FC at Hendon up to the 3-3 draw with Dolphin.

Player
Apps
Goals
MoM
Mark Muers
24
10
1
David Staples
23
5
1
Michael Pearson
23
0
2
Chris Dixon
21
2
1
David Gourlay
19
4
3
Davinder Sangha
17
0
-
David Watson
13
0
1
Scott Hembrough
13
18
3
Scott Johnstone
13
5
1
Jason Amour
12
0
-
Steve Stubbs
11
0
-
Tommy Wilkinson
10
5
1
Neil Middlemiss
9
15
1
Anthony Pearson
8
0
-
Dean Robinson
8
1
1
Gav Kershaw
8
0
1
Tommy Bell
8
7
2
Wayne Greenwell
8
1
-
Mark Sammut
7
0
-
Jeff Clark
6
0
-
Chris Haldane
5
3
-
David "Bunta" Murton
5
1
-
Ed Cook
5
0
1
Jon Wardle
5
1
-
Danny Hodgson
4
0
2
John Oliver
4
0
-
Mark Cresswell
4
0
2
Gavin Rackstraw
3
1
-
Jimmy Donkin
3
2
-
Steven Herkes
3
1
-
Tim Gillespie
3
0
-
William Harper
3
0
-
Gary Tyzack
2
2
-
Michael Ross
2
0
-
Craig Charlton
1
0
-
Darren Dowell
1
0
-
Gareth Brazier
1
0
-
Keith Mouat
1
0
-
Ryan McNaught
1
1
-
Steve McDonagh
1
0
-
Steve Priestly
1
0
-

8th February 2006

Sassco.co.uk 1 Santini FC 2.

Another lost opportunity.

A belated match report, which is probably better considering that we've had at least a few days to reflect on it.

The game against Santini was a true opportunity squandered again. This time we had a good squad bolstered by the return of Ed, Jase, Tim and especially, Scotty H. Yet, as with Sassco, all wasn't running smoothly as Watty was struggling with a stomach injury. Lacking all our reserve 'keepers, I was set to go in goal with my Thinsulate gloves and no contact lenses as I knew we had a full squad. Luckily, Gav Kershaw answered the late call and did a great job back in between the sticks. Also thanks to Mickey P for picking him up.

So to the game itself. The line up was as Watty wanted it. I didn't really think it necessary for any major changes. Jase, Pearson, Hodgson and Tim on the back line. Scotty H (replacing the injured Staples) on the left. Ed and Dave G in the middle and Deano on the right. Up front, we had Digga (after his goal last week) and Tommy Wilko. I, along with Herkes and Young P, were on the sides. We started promisingly. Scotty H and Jase combined well on the left hand side and it wasn't too long before we took the lead. Scotty H chipped the 'keeper and it came back off the crossbar to Tommy Wilko. We had a few good opportunities, but the game turned flat for us once they equalised with a speculative shot out of the sunlight.

For the second half, I elected to change things rather drastically, amidst much criticism later on (which I'll deal with later in the report). Firstly, Ed said he might struggle to finish the game due to his spell with bronchitis, so within ten minutes, I brought Herkes on and moved Tommy in defence so that Pearson could play in midfield. This also meant Herkes went on the left - pushing Hembrough in attack. I was originally going to take Deano off as a straight swap with Herkes, but made my decision and stood by it. Anyway, we started to be more direct. The good midfield work from Ed and Dave G in the first was swapped with crossfield balls to Herkes and Dixon which resulted in more chances. However, we didn't take them. Almost every forward line player had a chance to make it count, but it didn't happen. Their 'keeper was in stunning form and his height definitely helped claw out a good few top corner chances.

We were running out of steam and with five minutes left, they scored. I've forgotten to mention that they played all the second half with only ten men. Pearson, pulling one of their players shirt in the first half resulted in the usual swear words at the referee from the offended player. The referee didn't see the shirt pull, but sent the player off. So 2-1 down with five minutes left would seem that we wouldn't have any more opportunities - but we did. I counted at least seven opportunities. Some saves, some wide and some poorly executed. The game petered out and the whistle blew. We were out.

So now to the complaints about the changes. Well, to save on typing, I've just stuck my response on the message board here:

To me, people always seem to miss the point and look for other excuses. We lost that game, simply because we didn't finish our chances and NOT because of the changes made. I counted at least a dozen good chances in the second half before and after their winning goal. We don't put them into the back of the net, we lose. It's a simple as that.

As for taking Ed off. He told me at half time he might start to struggle later on, so I made the judgement in taking him off earlier and adjusting the team instead of doing it late on if he did struggle to finish the game. The changes were straightforward as well. Tommy back in defence like he's been doing every now and then which released Mickey into midfield and Herkes on the flanks to allow Scott up front. We had pace in our flanks and attack - but like I said, we didn't take our chances.

And I agree with the school boy stuff. Simple passes going astray, hands on the back of players, foul throw-ins.

Shipwrights Field, Sunderland
Aged Miners Trophy
Sassco.co.uk 1 Tommy Wilkinson
Santini 2
Sassco.co.uk: Kershaw, Amour, Hodgson, Pearson, Gillespie (Pearson, A), Hembrough, Gourlay, Cook* (Herkes), Robinson, Dixon, Wilkinson.

28th January 2006

Sassco.co.uk 1 Seaham Leisure 1.

Lost opportunity (and a missed penalty, Dave G).

Overall, a disappointing outing. Middle of the week I expected a largish squad with Hembrough, Cook, Gillespie and Herkes, but one by one they couldn't make it for various valid reasons, so it was a calling on the Harper and he did himself proud - between the sticks this time as Watson announced that he was injured.

Problems in paperwork reared their ugly head when the Contracting Services hadn't informed the Complex that we were on. Luckily we managed to sort it out, but I'll have to make sure that the paperwork is sent in by the Council. It's not the team's or the leagues fault, but just a requirement due to Health and Safety. No matter.

The game went reasonably well for us. First half saw Tommy Wilko miss three gilt edge chances, while Harper at the other end pulled off some cracking saves. We were out of sorts later in the half. Deano didn't really get back and help out the midfield and defence, while Pearson was obviously ill with drink. Digga had a great game in attack - the first outing he's had there in years and he did his duty by grabbing the opener in the second half. By this time, we were struggling. Danny Hodge, who had a blinder again, was struck down with a dead leg so we were up against it. They equalised and it was on the cards. Harper had pulled off some cracking stops, while we also cleared off the line.

Hope, though, as late on, Staples won a penalty when clean through. It was captain's duty to take the penalty, but their 'keeper saved it - good save as well. So honours even. Good game and fair result

Shipwrights Field, Sunderland
Downhill Cup
Sassco.co.uk 1 Chris Dixon
Seaham Leisure 1
Sassco.co.uk: Harper, Muers, Sangha, Pearson A, Hodgson, Gourlay, Wilkinson, Staples, Robinson, Dixon, Pearson.

21st January 2006

Santini FC 3 Sassco.co.uk 4.

Vast improvement.

Standing from left to right: Ed Cook, Davinder Sangha, Tim Gillespie, Dave Watson, Mark Muers, Chris Dixon. Sitting from left to right: Danny Hodgson, David Gourlay, David Staples, Michael Pearson, Tommy WilkinsonFrom the start I was positive. We had eleven players only, but those were 100% reliable's, i.e. ones who say they will turn up and do so. Secondly, I managed to pull together ten Sassco shirts. I lent some to Fatty's team before Christmas and luckily had around five in the house as well, so we can at least turn out in our new shirts - although we can't afford to lose one, when before I had around twenty! Also the Echo guy was there to take a nice mug shot. Now, normally when ever we get our picture taken, we get hammered - this time it didn't happen. We had one new comer in Tim Gillespie who played for SNC many years ago. Also, Ed returned along with Dixon and Pearson, so even though we only had eleven, we still had a good side. I actually turned up on the wrong pitch and spent half an hour removing my screw in studs only to change the pitch and find out it was a shitter of an area. The game was playable, but I felt like I was walking around wearing pumps.

First half was controlled by us. In a quagmire of a pitch, Tommy Wilko got himself two goals, with his shiny almost silk-like shorts being one of the highlights. Firstly an excellent nod from a Muers shot and secondly, a superb conclusion to excellent play from Staples, Gourlay and Ed. Pearson was his partner in attack and put himself about as did all the team. Dixon and Gillespie combined well on the right side, while I kept Staples in control. Danny H and Emu had superb performances at centre half. Both very decisive and strong. Ed and Gourlay had great games in the middle.

Second half saw a more even game. A penalty, hotly disputed by our team got them back in it. At 2-1 it seemed nervous, but Tommy Wilko scored a superb third for his hat-trick which liberated the team at 3-1. We went 4-1 ahead from Man-of-the-Match, Gourlay, but let them back in with poor defending from set pieces. It was 4-3 in the end and a frantic last two minutes ensued. However, Santini failed to take advantage and the scored ended the same way our friendly did back in the long hot summer. In that game, Beam was the highlight with two goals, while only Muers, myself and Staples (with a goal) actually remained from the line up.

Venue: Fulwell Mill / Golf Course Area, Sunderland
Downhill Cup
Santini FC 3
Sassco.co.uk 4
Tommy Wilkinson (3), Dave Gourlay (1)
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Muers, Sangha, Pearson M, Gourlay, Wilkinson, Staples, Hodgson, Dixon, Cook, Gillespie.

14th January 2006

Sassco.co.uk 2 TWR 7.

Another poor turn out and result.

Nothing much to say really. Possibly the lowest point for Sassco 11-a-side for many years. We really struggled and on top of it, Wardle and Greenwell dropped us right in it at the last minute. We managed to muster eleven players and the only highlight was a superb defensive performance from Danny Hodgson. First half we were 5-0 down before a second half improvement led to a 2-2 result in the final 45 minutes. Goals from Herkes and Jimmy Donkin, but a heavy 7-2 defeat.

Venue: Ryhope Rec Field, Sunderland
League
TWR 7
Sassco.co.uk 2
Jimmy Donkin, Steve Herkes
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Muers, Sangha, Pearson M (Donkin), Gourlay, Robinson, Wilkinson, Staples, Hodgson, Herkes

7th January 2006

Sassco.co.uk 2 Vane Arms 5.

New year, new pitch. Old kit, old results.

First problem was the kit. Some bastard had nicked the dirty shirt bag out of my garage, so I spent all Friday night running around looking for the old shirts we used to wear. Luckily I had a good few socks and shorts ready in case. Also my two set of boots went missing so I used Sassco's vast reserves of cash to buy a pair of £12.99 Adidas Two Stripe from JJB's. I also used my noggin and also purchase a set of hard ground studs to avoid having to buy a pair of soft ground blades. See, when you run Sassco you have to make every penny count. As a footnote, I've just paid £99 to the League and £127 to the Council for the pitch so now we don't owe anything to anyone.

Talking about the pitch, it was our first return to the Downhill Complex since the 2003 season. We'd been allocated Pitch I, commonly known as the Shippy's Field. An excellent venue, mainly because everyone lives within walking distance of the area. Getting the nets up on time was easy, although there was a dollop of shite at one end of the back of the nets. No doubt, Digga would have stepped into it had he played.

Our opponents in the Downhill Cup were Vane Arms. We were struggling again, but I was vastly confident as we'd done well against lower league opposition. Yet, the loss of Hembrough, Dixon and Jase was probably one step too far. As regulars it put a strain on the team, but we managed to rope together a team good enough to cope. Only new addition was Anth Pearson, Mickey's bro who did a good job for us. Cheesy was also back and he along with Emu, were centre halves. Gourlay and Pearson were in midfield. Watty decided to try out Deano and Tyzack in attack, with Tommy Wilko and Anth Pearson as full backs. Stapes was on the left.

After around four one on one's by Tyzack, I knew it wasn't going to be our day. To sum up the problems we have in one paragraph.

  • No one apart from Emu in the team can win headers.
  • Too many easy chances missed.
  • Lazy shits when we lose the ball.
  • And we pass the ball more time in the opponents goalmouth than we do on the whole of the pitch.

Apart from that, we're world beaters.....

We were 1-0 quite early and proceeded to miss chances. Second half saw a bit of an onslaught from them before Tyzack broke clear to score an equaliser. Yet they scored to make it 2-1 with a poor response to a corner and then they went further ahead. 5-1, before Haldane scored a superb chipped goal. Simple route one was how we got the goal. We played to our strengths and put pressure on the last man for both strikes. But we don't do it any other time.

Never mind...Looks like Watty will be ringing the changes again next week.

Venue: Shipwrights Field, Sunderland
Downhill Cup
Sassco.co.uk 2 Gary Tyzack, Chris Haldane
Vane Arms 5

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Muers, Pearson A (Sangha), Pearson M, Gourlay, Haldane, Robinson, Wilkinson, Staples, Ross, Tyzack

30th December 2005

Latest News.

Sassco back at Downhill.

Most players and others involved will be delighted to hear that Sassco 11-a-side are now based on the Shipwright's pitch at Redhouse. Northern Area was good, but the distance involved was always a problem. So from 2006 onwards, we're at Shippy's Field for home games. Thanks must go to Janine Knight for arranging this for us.

19th November 2005

Sassco.co.uk 2 Hetton Crown 3.

Poor performance.

When Patty Walsh was trying to convince me that his team were struggling today and that the game was up for grabs, I tried to do likewise. We were missing Muers and Staples out of the regulars, which definitely affected the overall performance which was unacceptable from the team.

Both teams have had a poor season so far since we played out a 2-2 draw in the pre-season. Yet, after our two previous good performances, I expected at least a great performance and a tight game.

We had Jase Amour back and also Gary Tyzack making a belated debut. Beam was also back after his new team failed to complete the forms for his inevitable signing. I was the only sub and the team talk dwelled on the usual stuff, including keeping it tight and giving plenty of encouragement. Against a fellow Premier team, we needed it. But the opening salvos were clearly in our favour. Tyzack celebrated his debut with a goal inside five minutes, but after that, we struggled. We didn't match them in the middle of the park and seemed to be constantly misfiring in attack. They had the majority of the chances and half time at 1-0 was a surprise to both teams. Patty Walsh in their goal hadn't really been tested. Second half started and it was the same again. Hetton, spearheaded by Sinnott, soon gained an equaliser. We were on the rack and needed some release. It came from Hembrough soon after with a tight ball which he won and kept in, before beating two men to lash it past Walsh. Excellent stuff and we were on the up. However, late on, they equalised through a melee in the box before scoring off a corner. 3-2 down and we seemed to lack ideas. The last ten minutes were frantic with both teams giving it their all. However, Hetton took all the points in both team's final encounter before the break.

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
League
Sassco.co.uk 2 Gary Tyzack, Scott Hembrough
Hetton Crown 3

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Amour, Pearson, Dixon, Gourlay, Robinson, Johnstone (Sangha), Wilkinson, Hembrough, Tyzack

19th November 2005

Sassco.co.uk 4 Cambridge Hotel 1.

Good start for the new regime.

Well then, a new dawn under a new Team Coach. Watty was making the decisions in his first game in charge. A game which was full of incidents, such as Peter Truman being pissed out of his skull for the opponents and falling over whilst trying to pick fights with his team mates (funny though). Tommy Wilko having a regular clanger and each time he did, all the players started staring at me. Digga getting shit on himself again and so much more. The team choice wasn't too difficult to make - mainly because we only had 11. Linley, Bunta and Cheesy were missing, so most of the decisions were probably made. Only choice was whether Tommy Wilko would be in attack or Mickey Pearson. The choice went to Tommy Wilko and the decision was correct considering that Mickey P had a cracking game at the back, while Tommy gained his first "goal".

The first goal came from one of Deano's many superb corner kicks. A goal mouth scramble led to Hembrough and Wilko both laying claim to it, although Hembro kindly gave it to Tommy. Minutes later, good work from Beam and Gourlay set up Deano who's bending shot literally went through the 'keeper. 2-0 up and we were coasting, but we didn't finish our chances. Like in the Park View game, we dithered. Tommy Wilko lacked composure, Scott Hemb wanted to score the "impossible goal", while Beam rode many challenges but tended to fire off target. The ones on target were superbly saved by their 'keeper. Also, they kept whinging about the official Sassco ball and used their £10 kickabout ball just because it looked like ones they use on the telly. Remember ignorance is dangerous. Sassco balls are up to FIFA Approved standard and are far better than any of the efforts used within the league.

The second half saw more of the same from ourselves, but we were tiring slightly and taking liberties on occasions which let them through. They did actually score, but luckily for us, Muers had nodded a powerful downwards ball off another superb corner which deflected through the 'keepers legs. It failed to spur a comeback because Hembrough finally scored his goal to make it 4-1. There were several incidents in the game. The most devastating was Dixon discovering that he had a streak of shit down his socks. Now those in the know can remember his "shit on the shoe" incident at Ryhope a few years back which led to a downturn in his superb season. This one could cause a similar effect and boost his confidence to no end. Although he was humiliated by the other players in the changing rooms when most of the other players were convinced that he'd been wearing his girlfriends knickers during the game. This all occurred while I was in the showers booting the ball around to remove the shit off it - which I'm sure was caused by Digga doing a clanger of a cross bar challenge.

So, a good day out. As expected, we seem to do well against the lower placed teams in Division 1, while struggling in the Premier. From an General Management point of view, it was poor. We failed to get the required number of players there which forced both me and Watson to play. Cheesy didn't show while Bunta, as expected wasn't available. Sammut and Tyzack were both ill and we'd lost Rackstraw to the Northern League - although he hasn't been here for a while. Also, Beam looks as if he's going to sign for the Dagmar. Our lack of numbers in the last few weeks and poor results hasn't helped so it was on the cards for a while. Never mind. We've got the core bunch of players in with new additions such as Deano and I'm sure more will surely come along.

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Downhill Trophy
Sassco.co.uk 4 Tommy Wilkinson, Dean Robinson, Scott Hembrough, Mark Muers
Cambridge Hotel 1

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Muers, Sangha, Dixon, Gourlay, Robinson*, Pearson, Johnstone, Staples, Wilkinson, Hembrough

After another day of getting dropped in it at the last moment, the mighty sassco took to the field with an OK line up. everyone seemed happy with their positions apart from Me and Muers, I had a tooth pulled out on thurs night and was in some pain with the stitches and also doped up on Ibrufen and painkillers. Muers was full of a Double mighty Burger and a bucket full of chips as when he found out he was to play in goal he decided that he could pig out.
Anyhows the Sassco 11 (including Dov at left back) started well, passing the ball about like they all can, Beam and Gourlay ran the show in midfield winning almost every first ball and if not that every second, Staples and young Deano gave us width and attacking strength and the crosses from Deano were like a breath of fresh air. Both Scotty and Tommy were hastling there defence of which their little big guy was pissed as a fart and spent most of the game on his arse. We were shooting for fun an if it wasn't for their Keeper having a blinder we may of won by more than 4-1.
Defence was sound, a few hairy moments from Dov, Muers and Pearson when they had swung for the ball and missed the twat but they recovered well. Digga played well at right back, he settled in to the role well, like a pig in shit (horses shit).
At the beginning of the game I said to the team don't criticise each other and support each other and we did for most of the game until about 15 mins from the end when Gourlay decided to have a go at Muers, we were 4-1 up so what was the point, we need to keep the criticism out of our game, we are a team of 11 who pays to play football cos we enjoy it, this might be why people don't stay with the team long because of the bitching on the pitch, other seasons it was always Stubba getting it and at one stage every one was, it is not on,as we have seen when we have depleted sides that if we join together we win.
Only a couple of points to make about the performance, we need to defend as a unit and pick up on corners and set plays, that's how they scored an unmarked, unchallenged header at the back post. What else we need is as well is for midfield and defence to close the gap a bit as we sit too deep especially later on in the game when we get tired, Wingers to support their full backs a bit more and get back, on corners either pick up their full backs or take positions on the posts (staples does) this might have stopped their goal.

All in all a good performance, not many things need changing and I think we will start winning more games if we are enjoying the game, we do need an injection of fresh players into the squad, in all positions if you think you can be a Sassco warrior contact Dov and we will see about taking you aboard.

Thanks lads for your effort today.

Wotty
Coach

1st December 2005

Game cancelled.

Hetton Crown v Sassco.co.uk (League).

Game is cancelled.

26th November 2005

Game cancelled.

Redhouse FC v Sassco.co.uk (League).

Game was cancelled today. The bad weather over the previous few days put pay to any chances of it kicking off. The weather actually brightened up prior to the kick off time, but the pitch was waterlogged anyway. In a way, very lucky for ourselves. We'd lost both our centre halves and dissent seems to be growing within the team, which isn't surprising considering the very poor results. Personally, I've lost a great deal of interest in it, but that's due to life changes at the moment (new job, house extension, etc.) If anyone wants to take over coaching duties then I'm happy to fulfill the role of General Manager. But the team starting line up is selected by me and the subs always come on at half time. Positions, etc. can be chosen by the Coach (or Player/Coach).

I think the team needs a shake up, not necessarily in line ups and positions, but maybe more of a injection of new ideas and more professionalism. Personally I've only ever really been classed as Team Selector rather than Coach, which is why I think the change needs to be made now, just on the back of a good win.

19th November 2005

Sassco.co.uk 3 Park View 1.

Nice to get a win. Haldane, Hembrough and Emu on the scoresheet.

About time too. Park View's recent results have been positive against some of the more stronger teams, and with our diabolical attitude in the last game - I was sure we were going to struggle. To top that off, we lost some key players, regulars at that. Gourlay, Dixon, and Rackstraw. Sammut was still injured while I daren't ask Wardle, Greenwell and co just in case they'd drop us in it. The only addition was Dean Robinson who was coming in on the back of an 8-1 walloping off Wearview.

Immediately, we were on top and practically camped in their half, we failed to breakthrough with goals after some near misses. Most of Park View's opportunities came from counterattacks, but luckily, these were broken up by the midfield, with Beam having one hell of a game. Unfortunately, they scored from one of their rare forays into our penalty box. Cheesy's leg tangled with one of theirs and the ref gave them a penalty. For me, panic set in a bit. We'd been playing well and come ever so close, but as usual, didn't take our chances. I thought this was going to be another one of them days, similar to the 2-2 v Silksworth a few months back. However, we eventually equalised. Haldane, who himself had a very good game struck a clean shot from a cross ball which came from good work from Beam, Wilko and Hembrough. 1-1 and it was crucial that we had the goal before the half ended. Second half saw us push on - although the game was a bit more quiet. The pitch was becoming cut up now and it was difficult to keep our bearings. Most, having worn hard ground studs, were now suffering as the pitch turned into a quagmire. Yet for ourselves, the outcome was positive. Watty made a superb save at a crucial time as on occasions we broke through and were top heavy with too many going forward. Yet, after some near misses, Hembrough fired in the goal to give us the lead - this was not too long after he hit the post. As the game wore on, we got tired and injuries to Haldane and Muers didn't help. We had no substitutes so from time to time, our forward players dropped in deep to compensate. With around six minutes remaining, Emu started to drift forward, while all he heard from me was "Emu, where you going?" but luckily for him, he struck a clean long range shot which was practically unstoppable to give us a much needed 3-1 win.

So all in all, a very good performance with a weakened team. Beam was the outstanding player on the day, but all the others had their moments. Deano came in and did a cracking job, like Cressy and Bunta before him, so hopefully he'll become a regular and give us a few good games before buggering off to warm some big teams bench (only joking). We've got to be realistic that we are doing well against lower division opposition and on reflection it was a mistake heading into the big league. But at the start of the season, we had a hell of a squad ready which has slowly broken away. Yet we still plug on and tend to enjoy the victories and good performances when they come. Also, good to see nets up and down with all helping and Emu and Haldane helping out with team sheets, etc.

Next week - away v Redhouse FC, the big one!

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Premier League
Sassco.co.uk 3 Chris Haldane, Scott Hembrough, Mark Muers
Park View 1

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Muers, Ross, Sangha, Robinson, Pearson, Johnstone*, Staples, Haldane, Wilkinson, Hembrough


12th November 2005

Sassco.co.uk 2 Aquatic Sports 6.

Horrendous first half performance, but a bit more bite in the second.

12 11 05Generally when someone says that they are available to play, they turn up. Obviously this doesn't apply to the likes of Donkin, Wardle and Greenwell. A text from Donkin said "Alright mate we are stuck on the m6 we r neva going 2 make it". Typical. We were also missing Sammut, Haldane and Hembrough, but I knew that well in advance.

So three players down and a game against Aquatics was going to be pretty difficult. Yet I managed to cobble together a team. Tommy Wilko was there and this time I managed to get his proper number off him. So ironically, we had a full team with one sub and Exley was on his way as well - just in case.

The game itself was a disaster. Firstly the ref, David Nevin, started blaming me for not telling him where the pitch was! Northern Area - Christ almighty, god help me if I'm getting mugged on the pitch and I decide to call the coppers and David gets the call. Only joking really. Should have been more specific, but Northern Area is its official name as shown on the Council list as well as the A to Z.

From the off, Aquatics were all over us. We had no pride at all and completely looked out of it. If it wasn't for Watty, we'd have suffered more than the single goal in the first half.

Half time I dwelled on the fact that we got away with it and we should take advantage this half. Yet we didn't. With me screaming for our team to mark someone on my side of the pitch, saw that same unmarked player score the second. Indecisiveness led to a quick third and Watty did his shoulder in during the process. So, Dunston went in goal and I came into left back position. It was then that Gourlay scored a delightful looping shot which gave us the impetus to spring into life. Another goal from Aquatics didn't deaden the spirit as we had been coming closer. Staples then scored a cracking left foot volley from good work by Beam, before the game concluded with more goals from Aquatics including the final one which came from the unfortunate Cheesy, who scored an own goal, but overall he had a competent game.

None of us played that well, apart from Watty. Tommy gave it his all in attack, but was caught offside too many times. Stapes did good to get his goal, while Mickey P and Beam struggled in the middle due to being outnumbered. Gourlay's first game back was reasonable considering the long lay off, but topping it off with a goal was the high point. Digga had a bit of a poor one, but he tends to be more comfortable in the full back role now. Both centre halves, Dunston and Racky did quite well, but sometimes caused a panic by trying to dribble the ball out. I suppose I did what I could when I got on.

So to conclude. Poor game overall for us. I really can't abide the fact that players drop me in it - especially the semi-regular ones. This is the second time it's happened so there's no way I can call on them again as I can see some of the regulars buggering off with so many bad results behind us. Back to square one - we'll see how it goes next week.

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Premier League
Sassco.co.uk 2 Dave Gourlay, David Staples
Aquatic Sports 6

Sassco.co.uk: Watson*, Wilkinson, Muers, Dixon, Pearson, Johnstone, Staples, Sangha, Gourlay, Rackstraw, Sangha


27th October 2005

Game cancelled.

Sassco.co.uk v Park View (Aged Miners Cup).

Game has been cancelled. All the council pitches have been called off.

22nd October 2005

Sassco.co.uk 0 Castletown Snooker 5.

Adequate start, but poor second half.

Chris Haldane on the ball.You, know, I think it's a waste of time sometimes me producing the squad line up during the week and announcing it on the site. Firstly, Racky said he'd be struggling due to him being down Leeds - which is fair enough as I was told on Friday. Then Sammut completely went amiss. No answer to any calls etc. Could be something serious so I have to rest judgment before plunging in. Then, of all people, Greenwell, apparently desperate to make a comeback, drops me in it on the same day saying that he thought we had enough...we never have enough. The prick was getting his hair done! (his fucking hair done!). It's these reasons which make me think I should just jack it all in.

Therefore, playing a game against a full-strength Castletown was going to be a bit of a pain. We did manage to get the full complement together including Jimmy Donkin who hadn't kicked a ball in anger for us despite being signed on. Also, we got a bit of surprise at the ground as Tommy Wilkinson was there. Tommy Wilko did great in the 6-a-side over the past few years, but vanished from sight. I promptly signed him on the line (with approval from the opposition manager) with a view to playing him in the second half.

Atmospheric shots of life on the sidelines watching games in the freezing cold. Jona simply doesn't look interested.The game started off in awkward conditions. The pitch had a splattering of puddles which caused both teams problems. But we held our own together quite well spurred on by support from Redhouse FC incumbents, Hunt, Gash and Keith. Fatty Wardle, making his long awaited return, played very well and even gained himself a yellow card (for his gob, not a bad challenge). He tended to combine well with Hembrough up front, but some pot shots just didn't fall our way and near the end of the half, we lost a goal as Barry Cook struck from distance. This came after a lengthy stoppage, but we still kept our heads up and reasoned that we had a chance.

The second half put pay to this when they scored after another opening which was evenly balanced. This time it was the superb Duffy, who played for Sassco 11-a-side (once) and also won a cup with the 6-a-side team during the famed 2002 cup run. Wardle went off injured while Scotty Johnstone also struggled. I had to come on myself for the last thirty or so minutes, but didn't enjoy the experience. Mainly because I'd spent all day running around arranging things. To be perfectly honest, I really can't be arsed. I'm happy handling the kit, the finances and selecting the team. The other bits and bobs, such as team sheets, sorting out payments for the referee, ringing in results, confirming the game a few days beforehand are causing problems as I'm already running about sorting out a botched (or should I say delayed) house extension, looking for a new job and also sorting out our lasses mistakes.

Gash is desperate to look like Pete Doherty, but it's just not working son.Never mind, we gave it our best shot with what we had, but their remaining goals came from Cook (a brilliant header which Donkin failed to cut out) as well as one from Mark McDermott and then one from Lee Cresswell. One of the latter two goalscorers scored when a corner wasn't cut out and the player lashed it in from the edge of the area. So a heavy defeat (we've never encountered a narrow defeat!), but there's not a lot I can do especially when the regulars drop me in, as opposed to the non-regulars. I'll see the situation this coming week and look to sign a few reliable's on. Also, hopefully, Dave G will be back soon as well. For this game, though, Stapes and Pearson did well in the mud and Pearson gets the nomination for Man-of-the-match. Holly didn't have the impact like he did last week, but the pitch was probably to blame for that. Defensively, Jimmy Crouch struggled a bit, but Muers did well again, although he was at fault for at least one goal when he shouted for it and didn't act decisively enough. Digga played well as he could but again, the pitch probably caused more problems for our style of football than it did for the opponents.

Also, don't mean to gloat, but poor young Cressy was left straddling the sideline having signed on and Tommy Bell got barely fifteen minutes of action as by that time they were 4-0 up and cruising. But that's what happens when you smell the success with other teams, there's no way they'd change that team line up now, especially with a lot of regulars back and also Nellie on the sidelines. Duffy also came back from injury as well so the two young ones have to look to see what they want - a medal which no one will remember in the long run, or a regular berth with a team which had the potential, but will struggle to make it due to some "unreliable's." Happy to have you two back in if you want later in the season if you're not getting much action.

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Premier League
Sassco.co.uk 0
Castletown Snooker 5

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Wilkinson, Muers, Donkin, Dixon, Pearson*, Johnstone, Staples, Haldane, Wardle (Sangha), Hembrough


-15th October 2005

Three Horse Shoes 0 Sassco.co.uk 6.

Excellent progress after last weeks superb showing.

Bell striking a free-kick, but Staples looks well prepared for any rebound.There are many events which gain a stranglehold on the human psyche. Events such as Churchill's, "we shall fight them on the beaches..." words. Neil Armstrong's seminal words on mans first ever steps on another world. Kennedy's speech at the Berlin Wall. Dirty Den and now the Mitchell's coming back to Eastenders.

The Tash's return to a competitive game for Sassco is such an event.

After last weeks disorganised effort, despite a good performance coming out of it, I knew we were going to struggle this week. With Manchester United facing off against SAFC at the Stadium, most of my non-regulars were there. Rackstraw, Cressy to name the main ones. Also Sammut did a on the spot, dirty drop out, but luckily for me, both Beam and also Craig Charlton (signed on the line) were fit and ready. Haldane also came in to the fold and Hembrough returned after missing last week.

One and only Tash.So, the opponents were of the same standard as Silksworth, in my opinion, so I left nothing to chance. The pitch was also tiny which normally causes us a host of problems. Yet we played to our strengths. Quick passing and stunning movement. Tommy Bell spearheaded the attack and caused many problems for the opponents. A corner kick was received with a bullet header from Emu. The second strike was a penalty won by Staples, with one of the most spectacular dives ever. It was coolly dispatched by Hembrough, as we restrained Emu who was chomping at the bit - although the 'keeper nearly got his hand to it. Bell eventually got his just rewards with a third goal to give us a very comfortable start.

Second half was similar. Beam, who's midfield work with Pearson was outstanding, scored from a Bell free kick while two further crackers from Hembrough (my choice for Man-of-the-match) gave Sassco a very comfortable win. The football was good and the last two performances have been nothing short of excellent. The Tash's running shouting match with Muers was one of the highlights. "You're like the step son I never had," said Harper. While Muers responded, "You're like the step dad who never cared..." Yet the partnership seems to be coming to fruition. Both The 'keeper nearly gets Hembrough's penalty, but it was struck cleanly and accurately while the rest of the team restrained Emucomplement each other. Stapes on one flank and Holly on the other both played well. Holly in particular had another great game after playing in one of the earlier friendlies. Also his corner kicks were a peach. Everyone looked as if it was going to lead to goal had it not been for the onion shaped heads of some of our players. Also the back line was good. Digga, storming forward, gave Bell a goal, while Scotty H looked "wasted at left back". Watty also commanded his back area and tipped a few spectacular ones over the bar. It's a shame the camera wasn't on. Up front, Bell was excellent as always, while Charlie started slowly, but managed to control the ball in some awkward areas to get other into play.

Great performance lads. We'll just have to keep it up for the next game. It was also good to see players inter-switching during the game once they took a knock. Great initiative taken and good work as everyone seems to be closing together and genuinely enjoying it now after the recent "purge" of players..

Venue: Plesseys, Washington
Downhill Cup
Three Horse Shoes 0

Sassco.co.uk 6 Bell, Muers, Johnstone, Hembrough 3 (1 pen)
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Harper, Muers, Hembrough*, Dixon, Pearson, Johnstone, Staples, Haldane, Bell, Charlton


8th October 2005

Castletown Snooker 6 Sassco.co.uk 4.

Great performance after a tumultuous week.

Put your answers on the message board if you know who this isAfter such a tumultuous week, I knew we'd struggle badly to get a full squad out. However, I had high hopes. We had Watty back and I was really pleased that Emu and Gav Rackstraw worked so well in centre defence. Tommy Bell was also available. The missing persons list was considerable. Jase decided that he'd had enough. John O was still injured (long term). Minnie had decided to join his mates at Foremost, which wasn't a problem, but he was still unavailable due to injury. Scotty H was down at Old Trafford. I got a jolt on Friday night when Dave Gourlay told me he was fooked for a good while with a crushed arm. So, the emergency texts went out to tell all that they definitely had to be there.

But on the day, Bunta didn't turn up (he was in the town and he forgot) which means that he's dropped now, as he did something similar before on the same day (i.e. he was injured but didn't let me know until the day). Beam, also very disappointingly, was either pissed or fooked. Will have to find out later in the week.

So I had to fill in. I was at left back, while I had to put Cressy on in attack with Tommy Bell (who was also injured and originally wanted to be left back). In the middle we had Sammut and Pearson. Digga on the right and Stapes on the left. In goal was Watty and it was great to have him back as in the first half melee he was springing up all over the place like the good old days. The commanding from the back was a breath of fresh air as we were up against a very strong side. Despite this, we conceded two bad early goals. They type that you hate – you know the ones where you win the ball and then lose it cheaply. At 2-0 we still kept our heads up and proved to be strong. Tommy Bell and Cressy had come close on occasions, but Tommy broke through and put one away. He was definitely our man-of-the-match as I've never before seen a single person torture a team so much. Every time he had it, something happened. We let in a very poor goal to give them a 3-1 lead. Barry Cook, in the middle of the penalty box, was surrounded by four of our lot. He received a perfect pass and struck. But again, we hit back. Digga, who really played well on the right, sent in a looping shot/cross which deceived everyone (including himself) so it was 3-2.

Second half saw more of the same. They went 4-2 up and then 5-2 up. We were cheesed off, in between, both Tommy Bell and Cressy came close again after poor defending from their back line. Yet we weren't finished. Tommy Bell struck again and within moments had another. It was 5-4 – we plugged away for the equaliser but it never came as legs gave way. In the final seconds, Barry Cook scored so it was 6-4.

One hell of a game. Castletown have a reputation for being rough and ready, but this game was played in exemplary fashion. Both teams really went at it and gave each other a lot of respect. From my point of view, I couldn't be happier. After so many genuinely shit (yes shit) performances since after the Darlington game, we all ganged together and gave it as much as we could. This was without key players as well. Scotty and Dave G were a miss, but the lack of Beam is a worry. I can't have players dropping me in it on the day. That just doesn't happen in Sassco, because normally the culprits don't get a second chance.

We now seem to have some openings within the squad. I'll see during this coming week to see if we want to add any more permanents on. We currently have two slots for definite available. After that, we'll see the situation.

Venue: Silksworth Sports Complex, Sunderland
County Cup
Castletown Snooker 6

Sassco.co.uk 4 Bell 3, Dixon
Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Sangha, Muers, Rackstraw, Dixon, Pearson, Sammut, Staples, Bell*, Cresswell


7th October 2005

Latest News.

Squad changes.


As most have seen from the message board, Jase Amour, Gavin Kershaw and Neil Middlemiss have left the squad. All went amicably and good luck to them. They've performed well while playing for Sassco and, who knows, we could get together again sometime in the future. Also, Dave Watson has returned to the fold after spending a week at Lourdes and getting miraculously healed from his gammy arm. We'll see how long he keeps together before bits start falling off during games.

So, we're two players down. Also John Oliver is injured long term, but generally he's available with Jason so I will speak to him once he's fit and ready to rejoin the team. Middlemiss was also injured for a few weeks as well. We now have 14, 100% regulars and this doesn't include me. I will see what the situation is like over the next few games to see if we need to add in any more regulars. I've already had suggestions from Beam, Gourlay and also another player from another club contacting me. All are genuinely good players, but like I said, we'll see over the next few weeks.

1st October 2005

Silksworth Lord Seaham 2 Sassco.co.uk 2.


Silksworth 7-6 on penalties.

Beam strides up to score his kickAnother week, another cup we've been knocked out in. Very disappointing performance, especially in the second half. First was quite decent. For a tall team, Silksworth conceded a very long range free-kick which bounced over their own huge 'keeper and prior to this, one of Scott Johnstone's throw-ins led to the opener.

We simply couldn't get out of our own half in the second half and, to be honest, if Silksworth had some more composure on the ball, they would have easily scored a few more. The first came from a failure by Pearson and Johnstone to get the ball through to Murton, while the equaliser was a superb speculative shot which Gav couldn't reach. I only wish our lads in attack were a bit more accurate and showed more decisiveness. Time and time again, we broke through, but dithered on the ball and eventually got it taken off us. The wind didn't help us, but that's no excuse, we needed that third and elusive goal which would have sealed it. The only positives out of the game are Beam's superb performance in midfield and the defensive duo of Gav Rackstraw and Mark Muers (yes Muers) both having good games. What was disappointing was the inability to take any more chances despite opportunities and also lack of closing down in the middle.

It then went to penalties and, you guessed it, Dunston missed in our second kick. Despite that, they also missed, but further misses from Murton, then Rackstraw left them to secure the winning penalty. Very disappointing. We were poor, we still need to get tight and close down more. Next week we've got the rough and ready Castletown Snooker to play against, so some changes in areas are definitely needed. I'm happy with the squad now - just need to get the work rate off the ball up for the whole of the game.

Venue: Silksworth Sports Complex, Sunderland
Alan Hood Cup
Silksworth Lord Seaham 2

Sassco.co.uk 2 Rackstraw, Own goal
Silksworth won 7-6 on penalties
Sassco.co.uk: Kershaw, Cresswell*, Muers, Rackstraw, Dixon, Pearson, Gourlay, Staples, Johnstone, Hembrough, Murton
Penalty kicks: Johnstone (1) Muers (0) Hembrough (1) Gourlay (1) Murton (0) Cresswell (1) Dixon (1) Pearson (1) Rackstraw (0)

23rd September 2005

Sassco.co.uk 1 Dolphin FC 4.

Disaster in defence, bad finishing up front.

Digga takes a moment to choose his targetTo save time, I've not changed the subheading just above. "Disaster in defence, bad finishing up front." is the exact same reason why we lost against Redhouse FC last week and it's reared it's ugly head again. We did have a strong side out again. Stapes, Jase and Sammut were missing, but Beam, Ed and Cresswell were back, so it seems that when we lose a few good players, there's always other lads who come in. We've got a regular squad of 15 and the rest are classed as non-regulars.

Anyway, team talk focused on avoiding the long ball and making sure that we're tight, man-to-man, when we don't have it. The thing that cheesed me off was that we started against 8 or 9 men as their lads hadn't turned up. Our football was good, we have a few good openings, but that seems to be our lot this season. We shaved the post, their 'keeper made a few good stops and we missed some really one-on-ones. And to top it all off, they scored on their first break. I can't even remember what happened. I looked up and their lad was clear on and struck the opener. Gav had no chance. All I heard was someone mumbling that someone else lost the ball in a bad place and that was it.

So, despite this, our first half was really good. We created chances and to be honest, I was sure that our pace in attack would soon result in more goals. Our defence at the back looked strong as well for a change. Ed and Stubba were clearing their lines and Digga, who had one of his best games, was coping easily. Cresswell came into his own and was our man-of-the-match by far. We did equalise. Again, I can't remember exactly what happened, but Hembrough was through on and made no mistake (although he did try chip the 'keeper earlier on). So it was 1-1.

We struggled in the middle all gameSecond half was called and I was looking forward to it now. But that's where the problems began. Firstly, Tommy Bell wanted to come off as he'd done his knees in. But we had an able replacement in Beam. I was advised to put him in midfield (which I was going to) to "mix it" a bit as they were quite physical, but had to change and plonked him on the right, Minnie now up front and Muers on the left. Yet within moments of the second half starting, he'd done his achilles in and had to hobble off. John Oliver, coming back after a good two months out had to fill in on the right wing. Unfortunately now, we'd lost all our pace. Minnie was struggling and Hembrough seemed isolated in attack. At the other end, the typical Sassco pissing about routine happened when, instead of launching it, we played ourselves into trouble and they scored. I can't blame the back line, because none of them are really classed as defenders. It looks good when things are going for us, but when we need someone to take responsibility and hoof it, we haven't got that person. I'm still crying out for a good decent centre half. It's a shame we have to build now when we should have during the pre-season, but that's the way it goes.

Anyway, we were 2-1 down and it just seemed to drift away from us. I stress man-to-man marking all the time but the opponents weren't even pressured at all. I keep getting excuses about the opponents playing with five in midfield or three up front, but the fact remains that if you have 10 outfield players marking their 10 opponents then it will work. There's no point me telling, for example, Hembrough to drop in midfield to compensate, when all five midfielders don't get tight on. Come on lads - it's common sense. When we don't have the ball and you're tight on your opponents, then they'll think twice before passing to him. We also started launching it instead of through balls. From the sidelines there were great gaps where a perfect ball could have been threaded through, but it didn't happen - although it's easier noticing it from the side. Inevitably we went 4-1 down. By now, the opponents had eased off a bit and we got ourselves a few chances. Minnie nearly scored from kick off, but it was achingly wide. Muers also had a good chance, but our heads dropped and we ran out of ideas.

This was a league encounter so we've dropped the points badly. It's away to Silksie next week, so at least we've got a couple of away days now, but still I'm struggling to come to terms with the defeats. We've got the strikers to put the chances away, but it's not happening and, in theory, the defenders are good. But it's not clicking. Perhaps losing Greenwell and Wardle has affected us badly, but that was out of our control as they and other players do have priorities. We'll see if we can get a good centre half. I for one won't sign one unless he's highly recommended or that I've seen him on the 6-a-side stage first. Paul Mouat is ideal and he doesn't play for this signed team (Castletown Snooker), but he has the transfer form so it's down to him now.

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Premier Division
Sassco.co.uk 1
Hembrough
Dolphin FC 4

Sassco.co.uk: Kershaw, Cook, Cresswell*, Stubbs, Dixon, Pearson, Muers, Gourlay, Middlemiss, Hembrough, Bell (Johnstone) (Oliver)

17th September 2005

Sassco.co.uk 1 Redhouse FC 6.

Disaster in defence, bad finishing up front.

Emu on the ball with Sheepy steaming in.It was our big re-match against Redhouse FC. I was uneasy, but put the strongest possible side out. We were missing Staples, but had Corby added into the team. Ironically, within moments of each other, Stapes contacted me to say he was available and Corby to say he wasn't. Nevertheless, there were no excuses. The team I put out was one that I was fully confident in.

The team talk firstly singled out the muppets who haven't been putting the nets up. A rota will be in force for next week where five or six players will do one net and the rest will do the other. Not good enough. I gave enough time for volunteers, but it only seems to be Sammut, Jase, John O and Dixon that do it. The talk also dwelled on decisiveness. There's nothing more I hate in a performance than players dithering on the ball in defence. I was very happy with the strike force though. We did identify their pacy forwards, Butler and Wilson as a threat, but apart from that the teams were balanced.

A shame the performance wasn't. In the first twenty to thirty minutes we more than matched them. We took the game to them and had several good chances. One from Muers - which he hit straight at Davison in goal, and one from Staples - which he hit straight at Davison in goal. Other chances included Scotty H lifting it over the bar as well as Pearson doing the same. The big problem was at the other end. I told Stubba to be in control of John Butler, but he ignored me, which pissed me off considering that poor Sammut was left on his arse with an attempted swipe at Butler before he got the opener - against the run of play. It continued with ourselves giving a good account before they scored again. Now it was a bit of a disaster. They got two more (including one just before the half time).

For the second, Digga came off to be replaced by Bell. As expected, when a team's 4-0 up, they take their foot off the pedal, so we had our chance. We played it the way we should do, by quick short passing which resulted in Hembrough's goal. We kept the pressure on, but still the long ball played by Redhouse caught us out. Comical defending led to the fifth goal from Redhouse, and to be honest, they should have added more than the final 6-1 score line showed. Gav Kershaw made a few good stops, but overall we were really poor.

Dixon played okay but some of the clearances were indecisive. Sammut, going forward with the ball was good, but looked very uncertain when against a tricky and pacy centre forward, but then again, he is one of my famous, converted centre-halves. Another conversion (if that's what you can call him) Stubba didn't have a clue into getting tight on to his man. As a defender, he's very good, but discipline is lacking as he wants to do more. Before the game, Jase's lack of pace was my great fear, but he played very well. He got stuck in and, like last week, made some good passes in the second. Staples did okay, but some of his easy passes were poor. Good in their final third though. Bunta looked lost. Great on the ball, but it's more important what he does when not on the ball. Pearson had a very good game. Gave it his all and is my personal nomination for man-of-the-match. Hembrough really needs to stay on his last man. His opposite, Wilson and Butler both did the same, but Hembrough and Minnie are probably faster than them. Both strikers need to work in tandem. With their pace, they really need to take advantage of it, especially against slow defenders. But when the team was struggling, they came deeper and deeper like most would in that situation. Tommy Bell, came on when we'd lost it. Did well, but all the strikers shooting boots were probably left at home. Back to the drawing board. One thing's for certain - I really need a good centre half. A "Dave Robason" if any are out there (or the man himself). So I have to advertise. The wages are shite (i.e. you pay me), but the publicity is excellent. I'll have you turned into a superstar within weeks.

But seriously, to summarise, here are the main problems:

  • Lack of decisiveness. Defenders need to get your foot through it.
  • Poor finishing, which I'd consider a one-off.
  • No understanding of man-to-man marking. We can kill a game off if we do it and concentrate on it.
  • Using the long high ball. We play it short and sweet instead of panicking and launching it when no options are on
  • Goalkeeper should react quicker and come out (a la Davo).
  • Simple passing. Pass along the floor.

I'll be making some changes for next week for definite. I'd consider the forward situation to be a one-off. I can't comprehend the chances missed so I'll assume that next week, all will be firing on all cylinders. Remember the goalmouth is quite large - so you don't need to shoot at the 'keeper. Sassco do my head in sometimes, especially with results like this. When we lose - WE LOSE....nurse! take me back to the dark place.....

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Downhill Cup
Sassco.co.uk 1
Hembrough
Redhouse FC 6

Sassco.co.uk: Kershaw, Amour, Sammut, Stubbs, Dixon (Bell), Staples, Pearson*, Murton, Muers, Hembrough, Middlemiss

10th September 2005

Sassco.co.uk 5 Darlington East End WMC 0.

Great opening 45 minutes. Strong second half as well.

Soggy action as Jase prepares to attack.It was panic stations during the week. I couldn't get hold of quite a few players as some were injured and some simply couldn't be reached. However, the biggest problem was our lack of numbers in defence. Stubba was missing, while Greenwell, Donkin and Wardle were going to be busy getting knocked out of the same competition we were in. So I drafted in some non-regulars (as shown further down in the news items on this site). Ed Cook and Mark Cresswell came in, but previous unprobables, Beam, Murton and Sammut were available so, luckily for the team, I had been edged out off the subs bench.

Also, I ballsed up with the referee. I was meant to contact him five days before the game, but me being crap as Joint Team Sec. (come back Boothy - I'll pay you), didn't realise until too late. But a few phone calls later we had one, courtesy of DFA Boss, John Topping. I came clean. I said I completely screwed it up instead of making excuses, which meant I wasn't trying to make a monkey out of anyone. So a handy tip. If you screw up, come clean, DFA and WCFL will help out as much as they can (unlike our previous Sat morning league which shafted us/me at every opportunity). So we had our referee, but the said referee mentioned that the corner flags were too small so we had to remove them, so I'll be hit with a small fine. But I'll hold my hands up again and say it was my screw up. Really need some help in this admin stuff from anyone. Jase helps out by going to the meetings, which is a big part of it, but I could do with some admin staff if anyone's interested (ringing results in, contacting referees to confirm the game, getting details from the opposing teams after a game).

Minnie was clinicalGot to be honest, I had no idea about the opponents, but coming from a WMC, you'd expect them to be strong. They certainly looked the part when they turned up (late, but they had come all the way from Darlo). I had my team set out already. Bunta, Beam and Cressy were subs, while Hembrough was back with Minnie in attack. Stapes, Gourlay (new captain), Pearson and Emu were in the midfield, while Jase and Digga were on the full back positions. Partnering Sammut at centre half was Ed Cook. Gav Kershaw was in goal.

We started cautiously. The opponents did most of the running and there a few scares, purely out of indecisiveness, but within a few minutes we settled down. Strict instructions to play it along the floor with a quick one-two-three then through ball approach seemed to be working. Both Minnie and Hembrough literally tore the opponents apart. Minnie scored two goals while Hembrough also helped himself to two. We were strong, we kept the pressure off our back four by keeping the passing short and sweet. With Sassco, we've got so many good ball players who are all comfortable, so the launching it forward method only applies to panic situations in defence. But those were few and far between. Gav Kershaw (barely awake, thirty minutes before the game itself) didn't have any shot to save for all the first half and most of the second. There was only one time he came into action and made a superb save.

The second half, saw direct subs with Murton and Beam on for Stapes and Sammut. Muers volunteered for the central defence role and despite a few raised eye brows, we surely wouldn't lose it now. To his credit, Dunston had a cracker of a half. The highlight which was a huge clearance which crashed off the upright with the opposing 'keeper beaten. By this time, all the players were enjoying their roll about in the mud and it was surprising that Hembrough got himself goal number five for the team and his own hat-trick. Minnie tried his best to keep up, but was getting caught offside on several occasions - unluckily, but he did set up several good chances.

So to conclude, a great game and mud caked conditions. The defence looked calm. Ed Cook did a great job slotting in as centre half, despite this not being his favoured positions. Also, Jase played very well, pushing forward and laying off simply and highly effective passes. Cressy came on late did really well. It's scary that him and Bunta are still only 16. No fear. I'm sure Cressy will feature again, despite being classed as a non-regular player like Ed Cook. This was my first appearance on the sidelines in this competitive season and I was very pleased with what I saw. The most important thing was that everyone enjoyed it and everyone had a good game. It also helped that Stapes rang up Fatty after the game and found out they'd lost.

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Durham County Minor Cup
Sassco.co.uk 5
Hembrough (3), Middlemiss (2)
Darlington East End WMC 0

Sassco.co.uk: Kershaw, Amour (Cresswell), Sammut (Murton), Cook, Dixon, Staples (Johnstone), Gourlay, Pearson, Muers, Hembrough*, Middlemiss

8th September 2005

New signings.

Ed Cook and Corby are back (albeit part-time). Cresswell also signs.

Ed Cook is now signed on for us. Ed played several times in our first season and was most memorable in giving us a 15 minute warm up just prior to our 15-1 thrashing off Mountain Daisy. Luckily, we have no concept of a pre-match warm up now so Ed will be filling in as a centre half or somewhere along the midfield. Ed can only make it for the games when SAFC are not at home, but has signed on to be there when we're short or require his immense talents.

Anthony "Corby" Richardson has also signed on. Corby was a key member in our first ever win back in 2002, against Hogans (we were 2-0 down). He's also been a regular member of the 6-a-side squad on and off for the past five years or so. He, like Ed, will not be a regular but will be called upon in the future if we ever have a shortage like this week.

Mark Cresswell has also signed on. Playing for Hylton Castle in the Tuesday and Thursday League, he and Bunta, revived the team and since then, they've become a force in the league and will be for the forseeable future. As mentioned, he is signed, but as a non regular. Our main squad has been trimmed to 16 players, the remaining classed as non-regulars who'd help out if required (I'm sure).

3rd September 2005

Sassco.co.uk 3 Redhouse FC 3.

Astounding comeback from 2-0 down.

Real life Emu and two Dunstons.Well, I was missing, but here's the gist of things. Almost a full team available, apart from Hembrough. Went 2-0 down with some diabolical defending (Pearson, whatever were you thinking?). Then Dunston grabbed a lifeline at the end of the half. Second half, on came Bunta and combining well with Tommy Bell and Minnie, we got back into it with goals from Tommy Bell and then Bunta. Dropped points for Redhouse for sure, but that's what we'd say if we were 2-0 up.

Best thing out of it, from my point of view, was the comeback performance. Normally we'd be dead and buried as we were against Newbottle in a friendly a few weeks back, but against, and let's not kid ourselves, a very, very strong outfit, we came back and the forward players were outstanding. Greenwell moving to centre half tightened things up, but admittedly we got tortured by John Butler and need to resolve this problem before we play them in two weeks time. Hopefully, Hembrough should be back by then as well, but really proud of Bell and Bunta. I remember our last competitive season, Wardle, Dixon and Emu were the only options in attack and the pressure was too much for them, but this season, having Minnie and Hembrough along with Beam, seems to have transformed the options we have. And the advantage is that all can play either in attack or on the flanks.

Also a big thank you has to go to Tarnjit Sangha for organising nets, kits, etc while I was in Flamingo Land (Sutton Bank's a bastard isn't it?). Also great to see the Tash involved. I really wanted him there to encourage the lads and to start believing in themselves. The Tash himself understands what Sassco can do and puts his point across straight up. Also big cheers to Mickey Pearson, Dave Gourlay and Chris Dixon for handling the transport. Normally I'm there to take some pressure off the lift situation, but everything seems to be running like clock work when I'm not there.

The only downside is that Fatty has put his Saturday mornings above Sassco in the afternoon so he won't really be actively involved. I'll probably call on him in good notice when we're really short, but turning up late to the game wasn't a good sign neither. Stubba's told me he's choosing Sassco first, but he's away next week anyway so there wouldn't have been a clash. Not sure about Greenwell. Love to keep him in the side, but if he wants to put Saturday mornings first, then he'll be de-selected and probably only called on when we're really short. Missing were Hembrough, Beam and Oliver (and me) so we do seem to have enough players to cope. Waynes a good player and will be a miss, but we sometimes over-rely on him (as we do when we have a decent 'keeper in between the sticks - i.e. Kershaw, Watty, etc) so we might be able to compensate instead of forcing him to shoulder all the problems.

The below match report is written in impeccable style by our very own David "wasted at left back" Gourlay.


A great opening day to the season threatened to go pear shaped early on. Digga was due to pick Greenwell up at 1pm from the Torrens but he wasn't there, he was making his own arrangements with Fatty and Stubba, not that Digga knew. It was 1:45pm and there was still no sign of Greenwell, Stubbs and Fatty. Rumour has it that Fatty was desperate for a burger and was at McDonalds. Staples rang him up, the rumour was confirmed. They finally arrived at 1:50pm. A team talk from Tanj and Billy Harper fired the team up and the positions were announced. Gav Kershaw was in goal, the back four from right to left was Pearson, Amour, Sammut and Stubbs, in Midfield was Muers, Greenwell, Gourlay and Staples and up front was Middlemiss and Bell. On the bench was Wardle, Dixon and Bunta.

Redhouse kicked off and were clearly the better side in the opening exchanges, Sassco kept getting caught out with the ball over the top of the defence and it wasn't long before they scored with a lob over Kershaw. This was not good, it was clear that from early on that there seem to be a lack of communication at the back. Redhouse went further ahead after 25 minutes through an error from Mickey Pearson. Instead of clearing his lines Pearson dwelled on the ball and Butler nicked in to slot home. This was a bad start and could have been worse as Redhouse were guilty of missing a few chances from only 6 yards out. Normally Sassco's heads would drop but not this time. Sassco started to get more involved in the game and were playing some nice football. Shortly before the break Sassco pulled one back with some good skill from Bell to provide Muers with a pass which he neatly scored after initially bad control. Sassco now had some hope.

At half time we all had a chat and realised that the game was there for the taking, Redhouse clearly underestimated us and we probably did as well. Muers and Pearson came off at half time and were replaced by Digga (who was looking worse for where after dancing the night away) and Bunta. Muers was probably a little unlucky to be subbed as he was seeing plenty of the ball from the right.

Sassco kicked off the 2nd half and equalized not long after. Gourlay released Stubba down the left who provided Bell with a ball which crawled in over the line. 2-2. No more than 5 minutes later Redhouse went 3-2 up, a long ball caught out the defence and Butler smashed a great strike past Kershaw. This was unbelievable but never the less Sassco piled on the pressure. Wardle replaced Gourlay after he was suffering with blisters with 20 minutes to go, he was complaining that the shirt was too small for him but clearly the burgers, pies and ice cream were taking it's toll. In the latter stages of the game Greenwell moved to centre half and Sammut went to Centre Midfield, this was a great move as Greenwell was becoming a commanding presence in the back line. Bunta was showing some grit and determination and he was rewarded with an equalizer after Redhouse failed to clear their lines. Sassco could have went 4-3 from Middlemiss had the referee not given offside which was very debatable. In truth Redhouse may feel they should have won the game in terms of chances but Sassco battled on to earn a respectable draw. It was pretty hard to call a man of the match as everyone worked their bollocks off and it was a true team performance but Stubba just nicked it as he particularly done a great job marking Wilson in a position which is slightly unfamiliar to him.

Davinder Sangha: Great write up Dave. I didn't realise that Stubba, Wardle and Greenwell turned up late. I would have had them on the subs bench for that. No matter, got ourselves a good (and probably unexpected) start - need to maintain it.

Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Premier Division
Sassco.co.uk 3
Bell, Muers, Murton
Redhouse FC 3

Sassco.co.uk: Kershaw, Amour, Stubbs, Sammut, Pearson (Dixon), Staples, Gourlay (Wardle), Greenwell, Muers (Murton), Bell*, Middlemiss

21st August 2005

Ready for the big kick off?

I won't be there, but team should be raring to go.

3rd September is the kick off date for our game versus close rivals, Redhouse FC. It should be very interesting as both sides have been boisterous, but myself and Keith Brazier have been very quiet. Redhouse FC are favourites, but we'd be disappointed to lose in what is a very difficult League. We play on our Northern Area pitch and the kick off is at 2:00pm. I expect everyone to be there for around 1:00pm. Wardle will be organising the side, while Jason Amour and Tarnjit Sangha will be managing the situation. Payment needs to be made BEFORE the game as the referee gets his fee prior to any kick off. We'll have to put our nets up and also corner flags. Kits will be provided (but bring your own shorts and socks and water and £2), but shirts need to be handed back after the game. For your information, I will be at Flamingo Land for the young-un's Birthday (don't tell him as it's supposed to be a surprise).

Transport
If anyone needs transport, then they'll have to contact Tarnjit Sangha, Dave Gourlay, Mickey Pearson or Chris Dixon. Be warned though, these lads won't be prepared to drop players off at their doors. The pick up points will be in North Sunderland and the drop off points will be in the same place.

Team Selections

I've already provisionally picked the side at the moment, which sees Jimmy Donkin and Jeff Clark missing out due to the numbers of players we have. This might (and probably will) all change as there's plenty of time for players to let me know if they are working or if someone gets injured. But this has always been my major worry about signing too many players on as regulars. If the situation stays the same, then we'd have to choose to rotate the squad each week meaning that a player or two will miss a game at least once, be it by rotation or by injury. This means that if the same numbers are available the following week, then Murton, Donkin and Clark come back into the squad and three others miss out. Sorry lads...everyone seems loyal and up for it so this is the only way I can see where it will work. One things for sure, I won't have lads there on the sidelines who don't get on to the pitch directly at half time. If we get injured, then we're screwed, but that's the way it is. Normally I'm the only sub who tends not to get on and only does so when the two have already come on and then someone gets injured.

New 2nd Shirt
The team seems to be doing okay money wise, so it's likely I'll get a second kit into production to replace our existing blue second shirts. I've chosen red as the colour, but if anyone had other suggestions then I'll consider it. Style is going to be different from the home shirt in subtle ways, but I'm considering producing it in a lycra material (which should look good on Fatty). I'll also order a few more white shirts with numbers 16 onwards on the back for the additions to the squad.

20th August 2005

Too many missed chances.

2-2 draw leaves some walking wounded.

Lovely day, nice game.This was going to be our final game before our league campaign kicks off. I expected a more bigger squad than last week, but unfortunately, some were missing due to injury, work and holidays. So, I got a bit paranoid the night before. We had a total of 13 players, but I was sure we'd struggle or something would come up. So I drafted in David Murton (aka Bunta) from Hylton Castle - just in case. My fears were correct. Minnie was stuck in at work and also Scotty J was going to be about 10-15 minutes late. Bunta went straight in (along with me) in a reasonable looking team. Up front we seemed to have a fair bit of fire power. Bunta and Bell in attack. Stapes, Gourlay, Greenwell and Pearson in the middle. In defence were myself with Donkin, Stubba and Jase. Muers was in goal, due to be replaced after half time by Johnstone.

The opponents were run by Lee Francis, a former player for Groundwork Murton and then Sassco for a few months, in the early days of the Sassco League. I expected the bulk of their superb team to be there, but there was only Francis, in goal and Steve Sinnott in attack. Both had played for me in the 6-a-side on several occasions. Francis was (is) a decent outfield player so it helped us by him being in goal. Also, surprisingly, we saw Patty Walsh, formerly of Toddy's. An outstanding centre half, so it was definitely going to be difficult.

This time transport wasn't a great problem. Our boy helped out by getting Dunston and Greenwell, while I got Stapes and Bunta. Everyone else made their own way to the superb Hetton Crown pitch which was the enclosed Northumbria Centre one (rich sods!).

So now to the game. We were caught out a little bit in the opening stages. Sinnott, as centre forward, broke the offside trap (as if we were playing it...) and nearly scored. At the other end, we were coming closer and closer each time. Bunta missed a great chance after some brilliant football, but eventually, Jimmy Donkin, in the right place at the right time, scored when a ball landed perfectly at his feet. Just before this, Beam had turned up so Mickey Pearson went back to his original position as left back when I came off for Beam. But poor Beam broke down and so I had to come back on. We then let ourselves down when from a corner, Patty Walsh came steaming in to score a bullet header, despite myself screaming for players to mark him. There is a reason why I do the tactics as well as run the team, I do tend to know the strengths of quite a few players and we should have sorted Walsh out. Eventually we did and it was only by doubling up on him, especially for corners against us. But the team followed the instructions before the game. If we'd lobbed the ball in the box, Walsh would have won every time. Instead, we played it on the floor so Walsh's effectiveness in the air wasn't really shown. By this time we'd realised that Sinnott was the focal point of their attack and probably the only person likely to score. Stubba was doing his work by sticking tight on him. It flared up near the end with Stubba and Sinnott, but of all the players on the pitch, you'd expect Stubba and Sinnott to be at each other.

Soon, in the second half, our good play showed and we did it right by keeping the ball on the floor and passing well. Through balls were difficult, as Hetton kept a good line, but overall we did some good stuff. This eventually led to the second goal from Tommy Bell, he outpaced the keeper and from a really tight angle, scored a superb goal.

But after this we got complacent in attack and didn't take shots when we should have and missed some glaring chances, including some cleared off the line and Muers missing a sitter. Yes, Muers came out of goal and Donkin had to go in as he was injured and we eventually conceded. Wasn't surprising. We'd missed too many chances and then allowed Hetton back in it. But the scoring ended there, in our last game before the League commences.

Overall, a very competent performance. We followed the pre-match instructions and didn't lob the ball in the box or dwell on it too much. Passing was sure and great to watch. One-touch stuff as you'd expect from the forward line we had. Special mention needs to go to Mickey Pearson as he changed positions three(!) times during the game but did excellent every time as left back, right wing then centre half. But it shows, that we have the lads to adapt in all these situations. Pearson got my choice as man-of-the-match, simply because team wise we were all good, but he had to adapt and easily did. Also apologies to Muers. He was due to get a half outfield, but both Beam and Minnie weren't available in the second. He did great in goal, but was disappointing outfield late on, when he should have scored at least one of the two good chances he had.

Interesting problem on the horizon. Wardle and co's Saturday morning team have entered the County Cup. Simple situation, if he prioritizes playing for them in this competition instead of us, then he's ditched from the squad. It's a simple choice and one that he, Stubba and Greenwell have to make. We've got a large squad now and if he does decide not to play for Sassco then we'll make a few changes, but we've got 20 lads signed on now so his loss won't create a dent. I think he needs to sit down and think about things. I'm always loyal to my team which is why I've put off signing on a large squad. I'm glad I've added Beam, Kershaw and Bunta to the side now, along with Oliver, Sammut, Bell, Minnie and Hembrough. If Fatty makes the wrong decision (along with Stubba and Greenwell) then he's out. I won't object to Jimmy Donkin playing in the cup against us though as he's one of the later additions to the team and once the full squad comes back (Digga, Sammut, etc.) then he'd probably be sidelined or at the very least, rotated each week.

Sassco always have the best kits, the best website and the best crack. No other team has any website or publicity which even dares to come close to Sassco. Why do you think we get invited by teams such as Northern League Shildon AFC to play in their stadium and Newcastle United's Official Deaf Team to play in games against them.

Sassco's not simply a team, it's a brand name and keeps getting bigger all the time. Some people playing for the team haven't yet grasped this fact and will probably only get the idea when they aren't playing for the side.


Venue: Northumbria Centre, Washington
Friendly
Hetton Crown 2
Sassco.co.uk 2
Bell, Donkin
Sassco.co.uk: Muers, Johnstone (Sangha), Amour, Donkin, Greenwell, Stubbs, Staples, Gourlay, Bell, Murton, Pearson*

13th August 2005

Good, evenly balanced game.

Johnstone, Staples and Haldane (yes, Haldane!) give us the edge.

The new, official model for Sassco.As mentioned in the previous reports, we had a depleted squad. The list of the lost was scary; Minnie, Sammut, Hembrough, Wardle, Gourlay, Dixon, Bell, Pearson and John O. All were first teamers. To top it off, Gav Kershaw dropped me in it, so Muers had to go in goal. The opponents were newly formed so, on reflection, it was an evenly balanced game. We had player shortages while they were getting used to playing together. Also this was the first game on our new home ground, which was located at the Northern Area. It was a good pitch, we were the only ones there, but the changing rooms were reasonably adequate (if not a bit antiquated). Anyway, we managed to pull a team together, but had no substitutes. Steve McDonagh, Chris Haldane, Scott Johnstone and Jimmy "Crouch" Donkin came in. Ironically, they were probably the best players on the pitch in a game played in contrasting conditions. It was humid at the start, but then the rain came pouring down along with the thunder.

We went a goal down quite early. Lack of decisiveness from Jimmy, Jase and Dunston allowed them to loop the ball in the net. But despite this setback, we soon came back strongly. Beam (Johnstone) was getting caught offside, but it was only a matter of time before he got one in. We were right. Soon we were ahead 2-1. Haldane had got himself into an excellent position from the right wing to bludgeon the ball in the back of the net out of a melee, while Johnstone had scored from a tight angle. But then we got a bit complacent. Firstly, a winger out strode me on the right and sent in a speculative ball. Again, indecisiveness from Jimmy and Muers saw their player creep in and hit it first time. Moments after this, Jeff dwelled on the ball and then that led to a goal. We were 3-2 down and Keith Brazier called the half to an end.

Second half showed a reasonable improvement. The rain had stopped now and we managed to string a few odd passes together. Eventually we did equalise. Staples banged it in after great work from Beam, who himself got the fourth and final goal. A good game, a good performance. Hats off to Santini as they played really well and should be amongst the better teams in Division 1, according to some of the lads on my team. But a whopping pat on the back for ourselves, coming away from an awkward game, with a depleted squad and taking a victory. We had a bad experience in Newbottle and a bit of an embarrassing time in Shildon, but this game gave me a bit of confidence back - that we can do it with a depleted squad. Haldane had a blinder on the wing. His passing was excellent and more importantly, calm. I had Stubba and Greenwell in the middle for this one and Stevie Mac with Beam up front. Back line was Jeff, Crouch, Jase and myself. We did okay. We panicked a bit on the back line, but overall we were comfortable. Crouch was excellent. He made some cracking one on one challenges in the box to keep us in it at the end, when all our legs gave way. Muers did great in goal, but most of that was trying to impress his lass. I've also decided to get Crouch and Scotty Johnstone signed on. I'm going to put Wardle back as the Number 1 'keeper as I need reliability. We've got a big line up now, so when the full team is available, i'll have to rotate, but will put priority on the players that have been there the longest. I never want more than 14 players at a game (as if that will ever happen).

Scotty J got the man-of-the-match nomination. It was close between him and Jimmy, but his none-stop running and work off the ball actually created all four goals with two taken himself. Also Chris Haldane needs a mention. He took his goal well and rarely wasted a pass throughout the game. Also good morale boosting support from Fatty and John O on the sidelines as well

Next game versus Hetton Crown at their enclosed ground in the same area, next Saturday at 2:00pm. Should be our last friendly as injuries will be taking their toll soon.


Venue: Northern Area, Washington
Official Friendly
Sassco.co.uk 4
Johnstone (2), Staples, Haldane
Santini FC 3

Sassco.co.uk: Muers, Clark, Amour, Donkin, Sangha, Greenwell, Stubbs, Staples, Haldane, Johnstone*, McDonagh

12th August 2005

Squad versus Santini.

Our first game on our new home pitch.

We've got a bit of a depleted squad again, but there's no point in cancelling as it gives an opportunity to see players perform in difference positions. The game is to be played at our home ground (Pitch D) in the Northern Area Pitches (click Home Pitch on the top menu to see the location).

Transport
We've been having major transportation problems during the last few games. Hardly any have transport now so we need some sort of solution. I don't want to hire a mini bus each time as that's a hassle, but i'll try and arrange a "borrow" of some sort of 7 seater for each game. If anyone knows of any such available, give me a shout.


Latest squad info
Definites are: D Sangha, T Bell, S Johnstone, W Greenwell, S Stubbs, J Donkin, C Haldane, J Amour, J Clark, D Staples
Unavailable are: M Sammut, D Gourlay, S Hembrough. J Wardle, N Middlemiss, C Dixon, W Harper.

 
Tommy Bell
Scott Johnstone
 
David Staples
Wayne Greenwell
Steve Stubbs
Mark Muers
Jeff Clark
Jimmy Donkin
Jason Amour
Chris Haldane


Gavin Kershaw
Substitutes
Davinder Sangha
Gavin Wilson (TBC)
     

8th August 2005

Blistering show from Shildon AFC.

Second half shows the gulf in class.

Dunston gives it his all.The difference in quality between the two teams was quite obvious in the second half. We were camped in our own penalty box giving corner after corner away. Eventually they scored the goal which took them to 3-1.

But it started so differently. A convoy of three cars (mine, Pearson's and Gourlay's) travelled the long distance down to the stadium in reasonably optimism. We didn't have the strength in depth needed. Ryan McNaught and Scotty Johnstone were unavailable as stand-ins, while Trevor Walker and Gavin Wilson had other commitments. Keith Mouat came in to help us out in defence. At the ground, a rousing team talk dwelt on the fact that we had to work harder than we ever had in any game to get some semblance of pride regardless of any result. One of the key issues for me was for the team not to resort to dirty tactics. Lower league teams are rarely given the opportunity to play against Northern League or semi professional sides. I wanted to create a good impression above all and warned my team that no over zealous fouling should be seen and no back chatting or foul mouthing the opponents. We came a good distance to play and enjoy a good game of football and it's safe to say that we came away with good credit for this in a game where hardly a bad challenge was seen.

The start of the game was something that I didn't want. We were playing well, but gifted two openers. Frustration, for a change, didn't creep in this time, as it did on Saturday, but we tightened up and soon started to gain half chances. The pressing and closing down was a sight to behold. We went in strong and fair and forced the opponents to panic. We also won our fair share of 50-50's in the air and on the ground. So when Gourlay, superbly, drifted in the goal, from outstanding work from Greenwell, we were on the up. It caused Jeff Clark to rise from his sitting position in the dug out and crack his head on the dug out ceiling (for the third time) and claim that "goals like that puts bums on seats." All the players at this time were performing out of their skin. Kershaw in goal made some important stops and his goal kicking was precise. The back line of Dixon, Keith Mouat, Sammut and Stubba were outstanding and very sure of themselves. They had the hardest task in this game and all performed well, Stubba in particular. The middle of the park was as strong as I could get it. Stapes, Greenwell and Pearson with Muers all did their job. Up front, Bell was partnered by Gourlay, who dropped off and lay off several good passes. We were desperate for an equaliser in the first, but it didn't happen. We came close(ish), but the whistle concluded the 45 minutes of good work.

Dave didn't look out of place against the Northern League team. Second was all about fitness. We were lacking in it and on our last legs. With no Hembrough, Middlemiss, Wardle, Oliver and Amour. We had the bare eleven. Jeff Clark was sub after he struggled in the warm up and I was the only other fit(?) player left. We were given a run around by Shildon AFC, who, I assume, probably got a bit of a tongue lashing from their manager at half time. They scored goal after goal as most of the team simply broke down in the strict man to man marking which I wanted. Maybe I expect too much from them, but this system will work if implemented properly. It would kill off a game completely and then give opportunities to the strikers more sooner than later.

However, most of the team felt exhilarated. We did our best on a huge pitch, but simply weren't a match. If only we had Hembrough, Minnie and Fatty and co, fit and raring to go. I don't think it would have made a huge difference, but from our point of view, we simply don't have the resources to replace players such as those.

We were made very welcome by Shildon AFC and really enjoyed the experience. Hopefully, with our good behaviour and good show of work in 90 minutes, we'll get more opportunities from teams at a higher level.

Venue: Dean Street Stadium, Shildon
Official Friendly
Shildon AFC 10
Sassco.co.uk 1
Gourlay
Sassco.co.uk: Kershaw, Mouat, Stubbs, Pearson, Dixon (Clark), Greenwell, Sammut, Staples, Gourlay*, Bell, Muers

6th August 2005

Diabolical.

Heavy defeat, hardly any chances.

Standing: Sammut, Dixon, Muers, Kershaw, Clark, Sangha. Sitting: Bell, Pearson, Staples, Greenwell, StubbsWe had a bit of a depleted team, but I was confident enough. Main problem was lifts. Poor Digga must have spent half an hour driving round Redhouse and Marley Potts getting hold of Staples then Greenwell (late as always). Then he had to charge all the way over to Ryhope to pick up Jeff before making his way to Newbottle. I had a straightforward run. Picking up Muers and Stubba, then Sammut and finally, debutante, Tommy Bell.

We had the bare 11. Gourlay, Hembrough, Middlemiss, Wardle and John O were absent. Jase didn't turn up. So changes in positioning which on reflection were wrong. Jeff went from left back to right wing. While Mickey Pearson went from right wing to centre half. Gav Kershaw was making his debut in goal and had a great game.

The first half started off even. Jeff had a great long range effort saved, but they soon scored off a corner where the biggest lad on the pitch was unmarked. They came close on several occasions, but were thwarted by Gav Kershaw who had a blinder in goal, pulling off some exceptional saves. Yet our biggest problem was the lack of creativity. We simply couldn't keep hold of the ball and were overly lazy when we lost it. Up front, Tommy Bell was having an uphill struggle as his defenders towered over him. We should have played through balls like we normally do with Hembrough and Minnie instead of to feet and then forcing them to take players on. Nevertheless, the first half ended at 1-0 and we were reasonably confident that we'd get back into it. But unfortunately we didn't. Soon we were 2-0 down and we completely collapsed unlike in previous games when we conceded we moved into another gear. Eventually it was 6-0 with the final goal being an embarrassing mix up between Digga and Jeff. Digga had it easily to clear (and did), but Jeff came steaming in to deflect it into his own net.

So, being 6-0 down, Newbottle took their foot off the pedal and we came back into it. Tommy Bell gained some space and scored after the 'keeper parried his earlier shot. It was 6-1, but to be honest, we didn't deserve anything. When a team is 6-0 up, they tend to take it easy, so it was inevitable we'd get some chances. Overall, we were very lazy. Positioning was wrong, Muers cannot play as a striker and is more effective on the wing, while Jeff Clark would be more suited to the middle or as full back. Stubba spent the second half arguing with their players and ours and only Greenwell and Kershaw came out of this game with any credit. But on reflection, I'm glad we got this out of the way. We'd been on a winning run since September and we were getting complacent. The laziness crept back in which was missing in our last game v the Wavy. Also it shows that we definitely miss the likes of Minnie, Gourlay and Hembrough. Wardle was also a miss up front, but we've also got to remember that he usually drops deep, worrying about the opponents instead of making them worry about him.

I'll get information about this game against Shildon as soon as possible. It should be confirmed by tonight (Saturday).

Venue: Houghton Cricket Ground, Houghton-le-Spring
Official Friendly
Newbottle WMC 6
Sassco.co.uk 1
Bell
Sassco.co.uk: Kershaw*, Sangha, Stubbs, Pearson, Dixon, Greenwell, Sammut, Staples, Clark, Bell, Muers

30th July 2005

Game v Shildon AFC arranged.

Monday 7:30pm 8th August at Dean Street, Shildon.


Shildon AFC have invited us to a friendly game played at their Dean Street Stadium on the 8th August. Should be fascinating as the standard is Northern League. But we've been crying out to play against strong opposition for a while now and this should be a excellent test.

It's located nearly 30 miles away so we must leave the Sunderland area by at least 6:00pm to get there in good time.

More information to be posted shortly, but the Shildon AFC website can be viewed by clicking here.

On 13th August at 2:00pm, a game v Sunderland Santini has been scheduled on our own Northern Area pitch. More details will be confirmed later.

26th July 2005

Latest News.

Game cancelled v Whitley Bay Deaf FC. Kit has arrived.


After the recent problems in trying to get a team out on a non-Saturday, I've decided to cancel the midweek game v Whitley Bay Deaf FC, mainly because it will conflict with the 6-a-side on Wednesday. I know a large proportion of the team plays on that day so it wouldn't be fair.

There is, however, a high possibility that we could be facing strong opposition in the form of Shildon from the Northern League. This is to be confirmed as soon as possible, but the game would be played on the 8th August which is a Monday evening.

Also 6th August (Saturday) there could be a game v Santini, another new team in the WCFL. Venue and exact time to be decided.

The new team shirts have finally arrived and they look excellent. The size is similar to the previous ones so it will fit most players comfortably. It should be revealed in our next game, where, hopefully, a photographer from Manpower will be taking a photograph for their promotional purposes.

20th July 2005

Game cancelled on Sunday 24th July.

Game cancelled v Lambton at Silksworth.


Lambton FC

Game versus Simon Williamson's team, Lambton, this Sunday morning 24th July is cancelled. I'm struggling to get a set of players available and it's probably better to cancel. Also, in future, it's doubtful that we'll have any friendlies on Sunday due to other teams commitments.


Whitley Bay Deaf FC

The Whitley Bay Deaf FC game should still be on, although i'll check the availability of players in good time before confirming it for definite. It's on Wednesday 3rd August at 8:00pm v Whitley Bay Deaf at Gateshead Int. Stadiums turf pitch. This game is played on the astro turf on Neilson Road in Gateshead (map/directions to be added as soon as possible) which is part of the International Stadium's complex. We're playing there so we can meet halfway as the other team travelling from Whitley Bay and ourselves travelling from Sunderland would be too far to get to each other. This pitch is quite expensive at £48 (in comparison to Downhill and Silksworth which are around £30), but the opponents will be providing a referee free of charge so that both teams just pay a share of £24 each.

20th July 2005

Dave Watson retires.

Gammy shoulder causing too many problems.

As expected, Dave Watson has retired due to constant pain after each game and in normal conditions from his shoulder. Watty's been our Number 1 since day one and was looking forward to the season as well. We'll still be keeping him on as Assistant Manager, but it remains to be seen if he will be watching the games on a regular basis.

At the moment, Jon Wardle is classed as our main goalkeeper until we decide whether to get a new 'keeper or select another player to add to the squad. At the moment it stands as 16 regular players which includes me and the Tash, so in reality there are 14 players there.

We'll keep all posted, but will be trying out a new 'keeper in some of our next friendlies as well.

18th July 2005

Latest News.

John Oliver.
John's got a fractured cheek bone and he needs an operation to get it rebuilt. But he's looking forward to playing again as soon as possible.

Game v Whitley Deaf Deaf FC.

A provisional date of 7th August has been pencilled in for a rematch against the team formerly known as NUDFC. This will most likely be played in the Whitley Bay area, but full details need to be confirmed.

Premier Division.
It's unconfirmed as of yet, but the website WCFL.org.uk states that we are now in the Premier Division. The League requested a response from Division 1 teams as to whether they'd want to enter the Premier due to teams dropping out. I said "yes" immediately. It's going to be difficult but I'd prefer to test ourselves against the best rather than plug away in the lower divisions. If we get relegated, we get relegated, but hopefully with the squad we have we can gain a respectable position.

Alan Hood Cup.
We've bypassed Round 1 and go directly into Round 2 against Silksworth Lord Seaham (at Silksworth Sports Complex grass pitches). The location for the other teams can be found by clicking on to the Home Pitch menu above and zooming in using the map.

Round 1

1. TWR Trade Frames V bye or TBC
2. Santini V bye or TBC
3. Foremost Electricals V bye or TBC
4. Cambridge Hotel V Three Horse Shoes

Round 2
1 V The Dagmar
2 V Aquatic Sports
3 V Hendon Grange
4 V Vane Arms
Hall Farm V Park View
Redhouse V Hetton Crown
The Dolphin V Castletown Snooker Club
Silksworth Lord Seaham V Sassco.co.uk

17th July 2005

4-0 win against the odds.

John Oliver badly injured.

The team limbers up before the gameWe had the bare 11. I was due to go in goal for the Wavy if we had 12 players, but Watty was unavailable so I had to play for our lot. It seems Watty's going to retire now as his shoulder keeps giving way. We might look for a new player or might just use our existing goalkeepers. Wardle is probably the obvious choice now that we have two other strikers available, but the likes of Muers and Middlemiss have both gone in goal and done a good job, and more importantly, enjoyed it. I remember a time when our only option was Watty and then Stubba. So even though Watty will be a miss, we at least have players in there who I'm confident will do a good job.

It started off well. Everyone was there in the allocated time. I picked Stapes, Muers and Min, while Jase and John got Wardle and Stubba. As expected, Wayne, Jeff and Scotty weren't available, but I was confident enough. I gave a good team talk because I wrote it down for a change. Firstly discussing where we went wrong in conceding four goals in the previous game. Lack on man-to-man marking was the key. This time I stressed that our task out of this game was to see if we could kill the game as every opposing team will always have a period in the game when they're on top. Brilliantly, this tactic worked and for the period when Wavy were on top (midway in the first) we coped well and killed the game off.

A bad fracture. Looks like John O could be out for a whileThe good thing was an excellent start. Goals scored in the opening few minutes helped out our cause. We caught Wavendon cold. Stapes opened the scoring after some good goal mouth work before Minnie added the second after snatching the ball from a bad kick out. It was then when John O was caught badly in the face. He clearly had to go off and we were in trouble. We had no subs and in the heat we were in for a fight. Luckily, ex-Sassco Warrior, Gash was there to watch and came on in the right hand side. By this time Jase had taken John to the hospital so we were still one man down. Digga tucked in and earned himself a man-of-the-match award as centre half. Fully accomplished at right back, he had to fill in with Stubba while Gash patrolled the right hand side. This meant Mickey Pearson came in as centre midfield and produced a performance which is one of the reasons why I earmarked him as centre mid with Greenwell a couple of years back at the end of our first ever season as an 11-a-side team. He did a great job with Gourlay as we had our work cut out for us.

Up front Wardle and Middlemiss were making the most of it. Obviously outnumbered, they both came very close on several occasions. But we kept the 2-0 lead up to the half time break. It was burning now and we were struggling with lack of energy, but were delighted with the way the game was going. Wavy offered us a player; Priestly, and he did a good job tucking in at right back leaving Digga and Stubba at centre half. Muers came out of goal as agreed and was replaced by Wardle who did a cracking job between the sticks just as he did against the Africans.

Dunston in goal. God help us, but he didn't have much to do in the firstThe second half was better than the first. We really worked hard for ourselves. The team talk for once seemed to be working. All the lads listened and the importance of killing a game when we're up against it is paramount to any success we're going to have. And like Minnie said, with one man down it was test of endurance. It could have gone pear shaped though. Muers missed an absolute sitter in the start of the second despite doing all the hard work. But he atoned for it later and set Minnie up to kill the game at 3-0. He, like Minnie earlier, snatched the ball from a defender and played it to Minnie. Although his work rate leaves a lot to be desired sometimes. When we're in the shit, all players have to get stuck in and do their marking and work off the ball. With Sassco being 3-0 up, the remainder of the encounter was to see how we could play out before the final whistle, but we ended up playing some of our best football for ages. The team felt liberated and everyone, rightly, can give themselves a pat on the back for the effort. Near the end, Dave G was on his last legs having combined well with Pearson all game. Yet those legs had one last fling as he placed the ball in the back of the net to make it 4-0. "You don't save those," was Digga's comment in his library of cliches (that's cliche number 34 which comes just before number 35 which is "get some purchase on it.").

A good game and brilliant effort. Personally I had a cracker at left back. Won most challenges and didn't really waste a pass, but unlike Gourlay, I don't think I'm wasted at left back. From the organisational point of view, I should have added a face to squad at least. Playing with 12 players is risky, especially when only 11 turn up. With injuries and other circumstances we could struggle in the future. But Jeff, Greenwell and Hembrough are all regulars and this was a Sunday game so it wasn't a huge problem.

Venue: Silksworth Sports Complex, Sunderland
Unofficial Friendly
Sassco.co.uk 4
Middlemiss (2), Staples, Gourlay
Wavendon 0
Sassco.co.uk: Wardle, Amour (Brazier), Dixon*, Pearson, Stubbs, Gourlay, Staples, Oliver (Priestly), Sangha, Muers, Middlemiss

12th July 2005

Team photo.

Taken on 9th July 2005.

Neil Middlemiss, Mark Muers, Jon Wardle, Davinder Sangha, Steve Stubbs, Wayne Greenwell
Jason Amour, Michael Pearson, John Oliver, David Gourlay, David Staples, Scott Hembrough

9th July 2005

Very difficult.

But Minnie (4) and Hembrough (3) were clinical.

Greenwell, who was badly tackled all game, this time checks to see if his opponent is okayTravel problems weren't too bad. I had to pick up Stapes, Muers, Hembrough and Minnie, but when we arrived there, all were present and basking in the sunshine. But when we got to the pitch (with Gourlay and Pearson arriving) it was quite evident from the moment the opponents turned up that it was going to be difficult. The last game saw good effort from the team but bad organisation. But this time it was full kits, pre-match warming up and god knows what else. Keith Nobbs, who is running the show, has evidently done an excellent job in the last few months on setting the African team on a course to success.

We had the team that I expected. Only Watty was unavailable at the last minute but this was half expected. The Tash refused to play after I mistakenly said, "Probably not," to his request to be there. He turned up as a spectator with sun glasses which obviously came free with a teenagers magazine or something. The other problem was that most of Redhouse FC's squad turned up to watch and hope we'd be humiliated. So despite the sunshine, it was turning out to be an unpleasant day for me.

Our main problem was how to play this game. If all went to plan, the opponents would attack in droves while leaving their back line exposed. This time we had Hembrough partnering Middlemiss in attack and goals were expected. The game kicked off and it did go to plan. The opponents opened the scoring with a cracking drive past Fatty in goal (he volunteered).We looked as if we were going to struggle. We were very disjointed at the back and the heat was burning us and affecting us badly while the opponents seemed undaunted by it. But on our breakaway, we equalised almost immediately. Soon we were 3-1 up and coasting. Minnie and Hembrough were very solid up front and based on a ratio, they tended to slot home every second chance. Greenwell, though, missed a true clanger when he was one-on-one. It was soon 4-1 and we were almost home and dry. Other chances were missed during this period including several goalmouth scrambles whenever we attacked.

But that's where it got difficult. The African team came back strongly and scored a couple of goals (including a beauty from Dave G) and should have had more. It was 4-3 and even the half time break didn't help us out. Rapidly tiring, we struggled again at the back while in midfield, John Oliver and Greenwell had their work cut out by trying to stop their supremely talented opposing number 8. He seemed to be at the heart of everything and we failed to pick him up. John O tried to do a man-to-man job on him but it broke down. Also the number 8's quick turns and spins outwitted John O, playing in bad footwear and also Greenwell. I soon came on for John O and immediately was stuck into the action. Jase went centre half while Mickey Pearson moved from right back to centre midfield where he was a positive influence on the game. But before that, they equalised. It was 4-4 and this was just after I cleared off the line. They were fully on top and all the Redhouse FC squad probably expected us to wilt.

But it didn't happen. We broke away and scored again before adding another two goals to give us a 7-3 scoreline. Muers also subsequently got dismissed for fighting, allegedly the opposing lad called him a "white c**t." (so now you know how it feels Dunston). There were several scuffles during the game involving Dunston, John O and Amour. But it didn't explode and the game was a satisfactory run out for both teams.

The left side was the most effective. Gourlay fed Stapes, who in turn fed the forward line.The end scoreline would give the impression that it was comfortable, but it definitely wasn't. But then again, we were missing Jeff Clark, Mark Sammut, Chris Dixon and goalkeeper, Watty. So the back line only had Stubba in who'd be classed as a regular there and even he was due to go in goal had it not been for an injured hand. I think in the circumstances we did really good. Hembrough and Minnie were a class act up front. Hembrough got himself 3 goals and Minnie 4 and you can't ask for more. Stapes had a quiet game. He got stuck in but there wasn't anything out of the ordinary that he did - but that's high expectations from us. In the middle, John O and Greenwell struggled a bit as they were overrun, but there's the dilemma. If either Minnie or Hembrough would have dropped deep, we would have lost our edge up front. John O's problem was his footwear as mentioned before. Muers produced a few good crosses but didn't do anything outstanding. Pearson and Gourlay were excellent, Gourlay in particular. Coming out of defence, he made our left side the strongest and most of the goals were initiated by himself. Pearson had a difficult job in the centre half position but did exceptionally well when he was pushed into the middle section of the park. Jase Amour struggled to start with and some of his clearances were bong eyed, but it was tiring out there and for his substantial kite moving about within that long sleeved shirt, you know he did well to keep up. And Wardle was outstanding in goal. Although one shot went through him and another was a cracker from Dave Gourlay, he performed outstandingly and becomes our fifth choice 'keeper behind Watson, Stubba, Muers and Minnie.

A good game and brilliant surroundings. We still have a bit of a weak back line when some of our regulars aren't there and this was our first friendly where we were cruelly exposed. But luckily the forward line did it's job. If the front players are scoring four and the back are conceding four, it's plain to see where the problem lies. We missed Sammut and (a few months back I couldn't imagine myself saying this) the defensive qualities of Digga as right back. But we won and that's good enough. Everyone had a good run out. Keith Brazier did a great job in refereeing, but he did say that he had a problem "understanding what they were saying," but I said I couldn't understand my team neither, especially Wardle.

Venue: Silksworth Sports Complex, Sunderland
Unofficial Friendly
Sunderland African FC 4
Gourlay (og)

Sassco.co.uk 7 Middlemiss (4), Hembrough (3)

Sassco.co.uk: Wardle, Amour, Pearson, Stubbs, Gourlay*, Staples, Oliver (Sangha), Greenwell, Muers, Middlemiss, Hembrough
Muers sent off

6th July 2005

Saturday mornings.

Clearing up the problem of playing for two teams.

Certain players (i.e. Greenwell and Wardle) are throwing a wobbler about rumours concerning them being dropped due to their own Saturday morning commitments for other teams. This is not the case, but they'll have to be aware of the following:

  • If they get injured in the morning, it's tantamount to them dropping me in it for the afternoon.
  • If they have a particularly rough game, they could be blowing out of their arses for our afternoon game, thus not giving it their all.
  • If they pay subs on the morning, they might turn up with nothing in their pocket for the afternoon (which means they get dropped).

So, those are the reasons. Everyone should be aware now that they can play in the mornings, but if they fall foul of any of the above then I'd recommend them not to play for Sassco.

5th July 2005

Next friendlies.

Against the African 11 at the Downhill Astroturf, Sat 9th July 2:00pm kick off followed by Lambton.

A second game v the Sunderland African FC team is to take place this weekend on the astro-turf at Downhill. We're still trying to get a grass pitch arranged, but this seems unlikely as most of the posts are down.

Kick off takes place at 2:00pm (no delays) and the usual "bring your own water, £2, white shorts and socks, etc."

Squad will be announced soon, but I expect all to be there.

On the 24th, we are also scheduled to play against Lambton FC at the same complex. This time it's on a Sunday morning so we might be depleted depending on which players will be having training or games with their own Sunday league team. The kick off is scheduled for around 11:00am.

1st July 2005

Finances.

Fees paid.

Durham FA affiliation £37.45
Public Liability £10.00
Minor Cup Fee £5.00
WCFL Fee (50%)* £95.00
Pitch Fee (50%)* £127.50
15 Shirts £155.05
Total £430.00
* second half due in December/January

The funding came out of the £400 sponsorship payment from Manpower. This means that we have to generate £222.50 by January/December as we will have to pay this amount (£222.50) to the WCFL and the Council by then

Referee fees are approximately £15-£17 for each home game so that means the £222.50 shortfall should be made up from subs in games by December/January.

We expect approximately £24 coming in during each game (12 players paying £2 each). This will give us plenty of finance.

Going on a figure of 18 games running up until the end of December, the calculations are as follows:.

18 games (9 of which will be away games) £432 subs
9 games referee cost (based on £17 referee payment) -£153  
Total left (a projection) £279  
*A more complete projection will be worked out once the fixtures are ready


During this time, additional equipment is needed, such as medical kit, goal pegs and clips and possibly water bottles.

1st July 2005

Pitch confirmed.

Northumbria Centre.

Just received the paperwork which confirms that we are based at the Northumbria Centre (Northern Area Playing Fields) using Pitch D. It's not our favoured choice and we'll continue to lobby for Downhill throughout the season.

It is easy access, though, as it's near the George Washington Hotel. There are 6 full size pitches there and also 4 junior ones. Hopefully it won't be overcrowded on the afternoons.

The site will be updated with a detailed map and general directions to the pitch shortly.

29th June 2005

NIFC participation cancelled.

No entrance into the NIFC Super League.

Due to problems within the NIFC League, our two games in the league have been cancelled. This is more of an internal issue and isn't really anything to do with our team. More to do with the preferential treatment we were getting, which didn't go down well with other teams in the league. Although the League Secretary, Ovire Akpofure, fully backed us entering.

New shirts

I've just approved the final changes to the team shirts and they now should be with us before the 10th July.

22nd June 2005

Two competitive friendly games.

Temporary entrance into the Community Champions Super League in August.

We've accepted an invitation to enter the NIFC.org.uk League as a temporary entrant during the month of August.

The League is organised on a group basis and all the games tend to be played in North Newcastle. We have two fixtures, the first of which is on the 14th August with a 2:00pm kick off time. The second game takes place on the 28th August. Both games are played on Sundays.

This offers us a guaranteed friendly game on grass, but also offers the competitive edge. I've tried getting games against teams in Sunderland, but most teams don't seem to be pro-active enough to want to arrange something and most won't play on the artificial turf at Downhill.

Pitch News.
It's highly likely that our home pitch will be the Northumbria pitch. I've been consistently told that hardly no teams play on the Downhill pitches, but for some reason the council refuse to let us play there. It seems strange that thousands of pounds are spent on these facilities and only one or two teams are allowed to play there on Saturday's and Sunday's. It's very disappointing but we'll try and get back to Downhill as soon as possible.

Byker United at Killingworth (TBC) kick off 2:00pm (Sun) 14th August 2005

SOL FC at Killingworth (TBC) kick off 2:00pm (Sun) 28th August 2005

12th June 2005

West Denton hammered 10-2.

Not very pleasant surroundings though.

On reflection, I think I will have to turn down any fixtures away from Sunderland in the future as this wasn't the ideal situation. Firstly, we got stuck by detours to Peel Retail Park, but surprisingly, everyone was there. Apart from Staples being given a lift by Chris Haldane. "We're two minutes away," said Stapes to me on the phone before letting me know he was near Heworth Golf Course.

Anyway, we got there in decent time and trudged towards the pitch, during which dipstick Dunston lost the ball on a high hedge. No changing rooms, so back to the cars. The team line up was Beam (debut in goal) with Jeff, Jase, Sammut (in his debut this season) and Digga in defence. In midfield, Stapes and Dunston on the flanks with John Oliver making his debut with Gourlay in the middle of the park. Up front it was the Greasy Spaniard with Hembrough. Ryan McNaught was warming the bench ready for a second half start. We were missing key players. Captain, Wayne Greenwell, along with our leading goalscorer, Jon Wardle, were both missing. Both were in Edinburgh, along with Stubba, who is still classed as our main central defender and also, more importantly for this game, our reserve goalkeeper. Dave Watson, our number 1 was in Malta getting married (again). The Tash was missing again with some obscure excuse - fixing a shelf or something.

So despite the depleted team, we still put out a very strong line up. Immediately we were obviously better than the opposition, but we looked disjointed at the back. A ball over the top led to free-kick given away. They scored from it after it hit the post and we fell asleep for the rebound. We then equalised with Minnie grabbing the goal. I expected us to hammer the opponents, but another free kick saw Beam drop a proper clanger in goal. It went straight through his legs! Now it was game on. The Geordies were getting arrogant, but we soon shut them up. Dunston helped himself to hat-trick before half time, but most of the hard work was done by his team mates. Dunston was just there to pick up the pieces. One came from an excellent Middlemiss step-over directly into goal from low Muers' free-kick. Not great football - but functional football. We used our superior ability to bludgeon the goals past them.

In the second, I made some changes. Firstly John O came off to be replaced by Ryan. Sammut moved into central midfield and Ryan was centre half. Muers also went into goal now that his work rate was going to be zero. Beam took his place on the right wing. I wouldn't say it worked because of the changes, but Beam scored early in the second to put us 5-2 up. It was now a strong and more relaxed Sassco against a very poor West Denton team and anyone was up for scoring as we were clearly going to get ourselves a high score. But by this time, the referee had no control over the game at all and didn't clamp down on any of the aggressive behaviour from them. It wasn't surprising - it's expected when a bunch of Mackems turn up and humiliate you in front of your own people. Everyone from Mick McCarthy to Steve Cram got slagged off including Minnies "quiff."

The goals were added to by Ryan McNaught, then Minnie, Beam, Minnie again and then Staples. Game over. Hembrough shockingly didn't get one and it took all my powers of persuasion to stop him quitting football to take up tennis, but he combined well up front and for a change, the goals came from elsewhere, which is good for the team. Overall the collective did really well. A shaky start from the back line wasn't even heard of after their two goals were scored. Jase, Jeff, Sammut and Digga all looked calm. Digga, especially, did well considering it was his second game in that position. The John O and Gourlay partnership sort of worked, but it was difficult to make out as the pitch was really too small to see if there was a huge impact. It would be interesting to try out John O with Greenwell as both are similar "enforcers," but this overshadows the fact that they can both easily pass the ball comfortably. Both flank players played as they always do and were crucial in getting the goals, while up front, Minnie and Hembrough were always a threat. I had to reluctantly award the man-of-the-match to Dunston for generally being in the right place at the right time. Anyone of our lads could have got the award, but Dunston got the goals which allowed us to relax and enjoy the game once we were a few goals up. I've also got to mention the "forgotten one," Jeff Clark. He was outstanding in that he did his job in clearing his lines on almost every occasion, despite being a predominantly right footer in the difficult left back position. It's great to see all the players having the ability to play in different positions. Digga can function on the right side in any position, while Dunston and Minnie also give us options in attack (as well as in goal!). As always, Dunston is much more effective in the right wing apart from in attack where the pressure is off him to get the goals. The result is that he always seems to get goals from there, as our feared forwards are usually heavily marked. Sammut was comfortable in defence and equally effective in the centre midfield spot. Gourlay, as expected, didn't waste any passes when going forward and everyone got stuck in when it counted.

No game lined up for the foreseeable future, but I think I can't be arsed to travel far and wide and play against a team which can't even get stripped in the correct kit. I've since heard that the referee gave us an exceptional report saying that we were outstanding on our game and didn't give in to any provocation during the game. He slated the opposition though, which isn't surprising.

Venue: All Saints College, West Denton Newcastle
Unofficial Friendly
West Denton 2

Sassco.co.uk 10 Emos (3) Middlemiss (3), Johnstone (2), McNaught, Stapes.

Sassco.co.uk: Johnstone, Clark, Amour, Dixon, Sammut, Gourlay, Emos*, Stapes, Oliver (McNaught), Middlemiss, Hembrough

6th June 2005

Squad numbers.

Based on alphabetical order.

1 Watson David
2 Amour Jason
3 Clark Jeff
4 Dixon Chris
5 Gourlay Dave
6 Greenwell Wayne
7 Harper William
8 Hembrough Scott
9 Middlemiss Neil
10 Muers Mark
11 Oliver John
12 Robason Dave
13 Sammut Mark
14 Sangha Davinder
15 Staples David
16 Stubbs Steve
17 Wardle Jon

The numbers are based on second name alphabetical order. If a player drops out and another one comes in, then the player coming in takes the number of the one who dropped out, regardless of alphabetical order.

These numbers above are a starting point and are not based on the first 1 to 11 being the "first" team.

10th May 2005

Pitch problems.

Downhill seems likely to be unavailable.

After discussions with the City of Sunderland, it seems that our designated base, Downhill, might not be available next season. Our biggest problem was the late entry last season which eventually fell away, otherwise we would have had the pitch - another thing to blame the Tyne & Wear League for.

I'll be requesting a pitch which should be available in the North part of Sunderland, or, my preferred choice, Washington.

I will keep all posted.

3rd May 2005

New shirt, nearly ready.

Rough design and material approved.

Sassco shirts for 2005-2006. Red (2006) is away and white is home (June 2005)Exciting times ahead for Sassco. The new shirt is nearly ready to go into production after the team has been plodding along in the current design used since 2002. The home one is plain white, while the away design is to be red (although the away will probably not be put into production until 2006).

The home is a simple design with a round necked collar and cuffs (to be blue in the final one). The badge is fully embroidered to avoid fading and the Manpower logo will be placed on to the front. The reverse will show the Adidas number style in red plastic (and durable print).

The material is a ventilated polyester style which will be excellent for the cold weather for most of the season. These should be available by mid June at the latest.

23rd April 2005

Great win.

5-3 with Digga (in defence) and Minnie having blinders.

After losing John Oliver, Mark Sammut, Billy Harper and Jason Amour, it's quite refreshing that the main point of conversation after the game was whether Dixon, playing in a right-back position, or Minnie with his four goals deserved the man-of-the-match award. Digga's last appearance there was in the game against Sunderland North where he hauled himself off. This time, I explained the fact that from time to time, we are going to be short and players need to adapt. I clinched the argument when I said "it was him or me."

Within moments of the opening, I knew we had another win on our hands. Time and time again we broke through their defence. Greenwell was partnered by Gourlay in the centre and both did exceptionally well. NUDFC were more organised than SAA, but we still coped. The highlight was the back line. Jeff and Stubba have played in their positions on a regular basis, but both Wardle and Dixon (on the right) had stunning games. All the back four cleared their lines and we were soon 2-0 up. Good work from Emos led to goals from Hembrough and also Middlemiss. Both the new forward players were combining well and it was good to see Hembrough playing for Sassco again as his pace was clearly causing problems for the opposition. Shockingly, we allowed them back in by silly defending (i.e. playing keepy uppy on the left hand side). They were soon back in it with two goals. But brilliantly we scored one straight from kick off. Middlemiss again.

The second half saw us struggling with fatigue. Most of the team had played in the morning as well as yesterday and we only had the one sub. It was 4-2 with Minnie scoring again and then they got one to make it tight with 4-3. Eventually a long clearance from Watson led to the fifth and final goal - you guessed it - from Minnie again. He scored four in total and had chances to get more. Both him and Hembrough combined well and the whole team did exceptional. Watson had to go off late in the game to be replaced by Emos. I came on and launched into a crunching tackle which did my confidence good after the Saturday disaster. Stapes and Emos did well on the wings, but Digga was a revelation as right back. Time to time he stormed forward, but at the opposite end, he always won the high ball and was comfortable.

A good game, in searing heat and on a brilliant pitch. Good luck to the NUDFC team in their cup final at Aldershot on the 7th. Hopefully they'll become one black and white team to bring back a trophy. You know what the rest of them are like......

Venue: Bullocksteads Complex, Newcastle
Official Friendly
NUCDFC 3

Sassco.co.uk 5 Middlemiss (4), Hembrough.

Sassco.co.uk: Watson (Sangha), Clark, Stubbs, Dixon, Gourlay, Emos, Stapes, Wardle, Greenwell, Middlemiss*, Hembrough,

23rd April 2005

Competent.

6-4 win was very comfortable.

For our first game for several months, I expected things to run smoothly. They didn't. First Jase and John (Team Secretary and Assistant Secretary) were late, secondly, someone had destroyed the 11-a-side goals at the Raich Carter Centre which meant we were forced to play in the hockey goals!

But the game went ahead. I expected a comfortable win and in the end we did get that win. Starting were Watson in goal. Jeff, Harper, Stubba and Gourlay in the back line. Stapes, Wardle, Greenwell and Emu in the middle while up front, Neil Middlemiss was making his debut for the team with Chris Dixon.

We soon went ahead after some opening exchanges where SAA boasted more shots on goal. Emos soon lashed in the second after he set the first one up. He then got another and Greenwell got the fourth. One of the best parts of the first half was when Harper scythed Emos down just when he was going to take a free-kick. A truly classic moment. Well at least it stopped Emu taking a quick kick and wasting it. We were over comfortable. SAA were struggling with positions but their 6 man (yes six) midfield completely obliterated Wardle and Greenwell, so it wasn't a surprise when after a lengthy team talk, they came storming back. Camped in our half, they got their opener. By now they were roared on by a huge crowd who happily took the piss out of us at every opportunity (friendly banter though). Jase was on for the Tash in the second but he couldn't prevent more pressure. But eventually it died off and we went 5-1 ahead then 6-2. They soon scored two more quick goals late on. One was my fault. A perfect example of practice what you preach. Launch it and be decisive. The lads were very sympathetic and Harper said to me after the game, "yep, done it myself plenty of times."

So 6-4 in the end. Stapes, Emos (2), Wardle, Greenwell and Minnie got the goals. A good game. Very enjoyable under unusual circumstances. Shame John Oliver, Sammut and Hembrough weren't there as it would have been a good time to get the first game out of their system.

Venue: Raich Carter Centre, Sunderland
Unofficial Friendly
Sunderland African FC 4

Sassco.co.uk 6 Emos (2), Stapes, Wardle, Greenwell, Middlemiss.

Sassco.co.uk: Watson, Harper (Amour), Clark, Stubbs, Gourlay, Emos, Stapes* (Sangha), Wardle, Greenwell, Middlemiss, Dixon

Next stop: NUDFC on Sunday at 2pm.

14th April 2005

News.

Squad numbers.

Each player will be allocated a squad number. This is an ideal way of keeping track of the shirts (which have to be returned after each game) and also stops players squabbling over the numbers. The numbers will be assigned from 2 onwards by alphabetical order of the players' second name.

10th April 2005

Second friendly game.

23rd April v Sunderland Africans Sport.

A second game has been arranged v Sunderland Africans Sport. This is a multi-cultural, Sunderland-based team. The game is most likely going to be played at Hendon, either on artificial turf or on their designated grass pitch.

This game takes place on Saturday afternoon before the encounter away v NUDFC on Sunday 24th April.

Sunderland AS, away at Hendon on 23rd April (Sat) kick off at 2:00pm

NUDFC away at Bullocksteads, Newcastle 24th April (Sun) kick off at 2:00pm


6th April 2005

Cola Boy back?

Deported from the UAE as an illegal immigrant.

Due to an incident "involving death threats, terrorism and deportation," Cola Boy has had his stay in the United Arab Emirates prematurely cut. He's back in Boldon now and could play a part in Sassco's return to the 11-a-side fold.

Playing mainly as a centre midfield player, he offered the team height, strength and aggression (i.e. other teams being aggressive to him). His peak performance was in the Cup game v Mountain Daisy on the 10th April 2004, where a late goal from Muers led to an unlucky penalty shoot-out defeat.

Hopefully, he'll be back permanently or at least for the foreseeable future for Sassco 11-a-side.

1st April 2005

New home shirt design.

To be used in the 2005-2006 season.

The new shirt will be available within the next two months and will be used as the teams main shirt. As always, players should provide their own white shorts and socks (although the kit bag will contain several pairs).

The basic design is similar to the Sassco shirts used in Season 5 of the six-a-side league. The shirt will be 100% polyester and will have an embroidered badge for the first time. The original idea of having a retro-style cotton shirt was dismissed mainly due to problems in washing the shirts. The numbering on the back will be in red and also in the Adidas style font as used for most Adidas supplied teams.

The away shirt is similar but will be in red. Currently the blue shirt will still be used until the red one is available. This could be midway during the season depending on available funds.As with most things Sassco, only the best is used. The team prides itself on kit styles which tend to be unique as opposed to the other cheap kit styles used by most teams.

24th March 2005

Squad definites.

NUDFC v Sassco.co.uk on 24th April.

Wardle, Staples, Greenwell, Gourlay, Sammut, Hembrough, Sangha, Middlemiss C, Middlemiss N, Muers, Dixon, Amour, Watson, Oliver have confirmed their availability for the game on the 24th. Most have games in the morning, but will be available for selection in the afternoon.

.

23rd March 2005

First friendly announced.

NUDFC v Sassco.co.uk on 24th April.

Venue: Bullocksteads Ground, Kenton Bank Foot, NE13 8AH
Date: 24th April (Sunday)

Time: 2:00pm kick off.

The first friendly is to be played against the Newcastle United Community Deaf Football Club.

We expect to take a squad of around 13 to 14 players up at their ground. Squad line up will be announced shortly.

28th February 2005

Team wear.

Possible new kit.

Depending on the cost of printing the new logo onto the shirts, as well as the re-designed badge, we might consider investing in a complete new set of shirts instead as it might be more cost effective. The new shirts will be the same colour, but probably a more plain Adidas type with circular neck and stripes on the arms.

Also, Team Sassco polo shirts will be available at cost price (around £6-£7) to all the team members. Ideally, these should be worn on the day of the game when arriving at the match.

Dave Gourlay has finally added his name to the squad, although he thinks he's "wasted at left back."

16th February 2005

New faces.

Four important additions.

We're delighted to add a few new faces to the team.

Firstly John Oliver, a central midfielder, comes into the fold. John will also be assisting in the admin side of the team, i.e. League meetings, etc. Mark Sammut also comes in after playing for us in one of our last friendly games. A versatile player who can fill in in the defence or midfield. Scott Hembrough is coming in as well. Hembrough played in our friendly v Redhouse FC and secured 5 goals to his name. An excellent addition to the strike-force. Neil Middlemiss also comes into the squad. Very talented, but highly hated (yes hated). Finally, Chris Middlemiss also comes in as a striker to hopefully present a new strike-force. Middlemiss also scored a few goals in our recently friendly games.

Based on the list, we have around 15 players, most of whom will be regulars. More names will probably be added as there is plenty of time yet before the league starts up.

14th February 2005

Manpower to sponsor Sassco.

Global recruitment firm backs the team for 2005-2006.

Manpower, the global recruitment firm has been announced as the next sponsor of Sassco.co.uk 11-a-side team for it's forthcoming season in the WCFL.

Manpower is a leading recruiter of specialist, flexible and contract workforces and a respected authority on employment issues. The company employs over 100,000 people each year, through a network of over 300 UK offices, making it easy for people to find interesting and flexible employment opportunities and for companies to recruit staff with the skills and experience they need.

To contact Manpower, please click here to view the office which is local to you.

13th February 2005

Potential sponsor in the pipeline.

Verbal agreement made.

After months of trying, it seems that we've found a sponsor thanks to Jason Amour. It won't be announced officially as there could always be a last minute change of heart. But it seems likely that Sassco.co.uk will have little or no financial worries in entering the league. The usual donations by all the players won't be needed, apart from (possibly) a small donation in January 2006. Financial projections, though, say that the team will generate enough funds between now and then to cover this.

We were considering a new team kit, but in reality, we shouldn't be wasting funds on something we already have. The new team badge will be attached to the existing shirts which haven't been used since August/September 2004.

The team will officially be known as Sassco.co.uk but the normal name will be Team Sassco.

10th February 2005

WCFL ready to go.

Ready for friendlies as the suspension has been lifted.

Jason Amour and John Oliver were present at the meeting on Tuesday which confirmed our application to the WCFL for next season. We are already DFA affiliated for this season and DFA have also kindly lifted the suspension on the team (thanks to a few phone calls from Peter Maguire from WCFL). None of the players are banned from Sassco, but some who played for Sunderland North will have to deal with their own suspensions themselves.

Sassco are now ready to undertake any friendly games versus teams from the WCFL. With some fixture cancellations, there are a few slots available against some teams. We are available at any time and hopefully most of the WCFL teams are aware of this now and will contact us when a slot is available.

Finance.
Approximately £255 outlay is required for Sassco.co.uk to enter the league. This is broken down as follows:

WCFL payments / DFA payments £85.00
City of Sunderland, Downhill Complex pitch fees £120.00
DFA affiliation for next season £50.00

How will we pay.
The full cash amount will come directly from Sassco.co.uk (i.e., Davinder Sangha). As with all past Sassco 11-a-side projects, the key players will donate £10 towards the team (this will re-imburse Davinder Sangha around 50% of the initial costs. Obviously the WCFL is in no way responsible for this, but it's just to explain how Sassco.co.uk generates the funding. The 6aside league has just had it's sponsorship renewed by Aguk.net so some of that funding will be re-directed to the 11aside team.

Before Christmas in 2005, the key players again donate a minimum of £10 while the second half pitch fees and the WCFL fees are paid directly by Sassco.co.uk.

Each game will see all the players paying £2. This will cover the referee costs and any other costs.

Current assets.
We hardly need any equipment. We already have a full set of the following:

13 white 1st strips
10 Blue 2nd strips
access to a 3rd strip if required
2 goal nets
4 corner flags (currently loaned out to Redhouse FC)
2 match quality footballs
6 water bottles
2 winter substitute jackets

Only major requirements will be net clips and net pegs - usually available pitchside.

Discipline and fines.
If any discipline problems occur (i.e. red and yellow cards, etc), then Sassco.co.uk will pay the amount to DFA or WCFL to prevent the team from being suspended. But it will be written into the team constitution that the player(s) will have to reimburse Sassco.co.uk within 7 days otherwise Sassco.co.uk double the amount and will forward details onto DFA to have the player(s) banned until the payment is made.

Squad and potential player shortages.
Currently we have over 18 players who are ready to play for Sassco.co.uk next season. Not all will be available on a weekly basis, but the core of the team has a guaranteed 11 or 12 players who have played for Sassco over the last two years.

Some of the players currently play for other teams in the league due to Sassco not having a team in this season and no doubt some will want to remain with their teams. If Sassco.co.uk had a team in for the 2004-2005 season, the following would have most likely been playing for the team.

1. David Watson
2. Davinder Sangha
3. Jason Amour
4. Dave Robason
5. John Oliver
6. Steve Stubbs
7. Chris Dixon
8. William Harper
9. John Hunt (TBC)
10. Mark Muers (God help us)
11. Jon Wardle
12. David Staples
13. Chris Middlemiss (TBC)
14. Wayne Greenwell
15. Mark Sammut
16. Michael Booth
17. Dave Gourlay (TBC)
18. Jeff Clark
19. James Dickinson (TBC)

Previous financial and discipline problems.
Contrary to popular belief, Sassco.co.uk have never had any previous financial problems in it's 11-a-side teams.

Toddy's (in the Tyne & Wear League), Sporting Club of Sunderland, Durham Reserves and Sunderland North (all in the Durham Alliance) were in no way linked to Sassco.co.uk. In fact Sassco 11-a-side was running while these teams were also in action

The recent problems with the Tyne & Wear League were resolved much to our satisfaction and also the outstanding amount, once it was decided that it was nearly 50% less than the Tyne & Wear League were demanding, was paid immediately.

We were accused of many things when in the Tyne & Wear League, but none of these turned into official warnings or complaints to DFA. Most of these complaints were in direct response to ourselves criticising the organisation and cost of having a team in the Tyne & Wear League.


19th January 2005

Sponsor required.

Good deal in return for any potential sponsor.

We have two levels of sponsorship and both are hugely cost effective as the offer a huge amount in return.

For £300 you get:

  • Full sponsorship of the Sassco.co.uk 11-a-side team.
  • Extensive promotion within our six-a-side league.
  • Mass coverage on the Sassco.co.uk website in the form of your company logos built in to the site as opposed to links within in it.
  • If you have an existing website, we will be able to optimise it, tidy it up and maintain it during the full year of sponsorship and also integrate our site so that most viewing our site will automatically have a look at yours.
  • If you don't have a site, we can create a single specialist web page designed within the site Sassco.co.uk with a .co.uk or .com web name linking to it. We could set up an email system with .co.uk or .com name.
  • If you have a product or service to sell, the Sassco site will automatically increase your presence on the web. Our catchment group is male and aged between 16 and 40.

The six-a-side league has been going strong since 1999. It was original concept from myself after playing in similar overpriced leagues. The league is advanced and innovative in adding rules such as requiring a full kit at all times as well as custom designed balls. The 11-a-side team also has excellent Adidas branded kits with the Sassco logo on and we would consider the team to be the most professional looking within the region.

The six-a-side league is very well placed within the internet and is used now as an interlinking site for all the local leagues. The players within the league are aged between 16 and 40 and all are local around the Sunderland/Washington area also the Sassco website is, by far, one of the most popular football sites in the region. On average, there are around 100-200 people who view it a day. The hit rate is staggering as well. We get around 35,000 hits on the site per month.

For £600 you get:

All of the above, but in addition we design, host and maintain a full website for you.

Normally this would cost around £1000 to £2000 if you went to a design agency and on top of this they would charge you for maintenance once the site is up.

We will completely design the site to your liking, register web names, even sort out emails, etc. Also while your company is still sponsoring the team, the maintenance will be completely free. So you could change the site if and when you wanted.

Some of the sites designed include the following (I am a graphic designer and some of these were designed during ongoing employment):

• www.sassco.co.uk
• www.geneblitz.com
• www.dadcheck.com
• www.genejockies.com
• www.designa.uk.com
• www.lotuseclat.com
• www.compgeno.com
• www.dadcheck.info
• www.knowledgelab.co.uk
• www.innovationpromoters.com

So you can see that we are a professionally orientated organisation and offer so much to companies such as yours.

We require sponsorship for the 2005-2006 season and would be interested in getting the funds in place now. If so, the site design can begin immediately. Please feel free to contact me, Davinder Sangha on 07780 972630 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at any time.

18th October 2004

Rules for next season.

Changes

After playing in various football leagues in the Sunderland area, Sassco are going to be applying to play in the Wearside Combination Football League (WCFL). This gives us the best option as the league is exceptionally well run and also the fact that it's based in and around Sunderland.

For our team, the rules and constitution of the team will undergo some minor changes:

  • £2 subs paid before a game when in the changing rooms. Anyone pisses about, fails to pay, or acts as if I'm trying to get blood out of a stone will be on the subs bench or dropped completely for the next game.
  • Everyone should have their own white shorts and socks. They should also have their own shin pads. Shirts will be provided, but must be handed back after the game. Anyone who wants to take a shirt home can pay me £1.
  • Bring your own water. I can't stress this enough. The car will already be full of kits, nets and balls.
  • Look after the Sassco footballs. I'll bring two for each game. Make sure that none get lost.
  • Anyone who gets yellow or red carded, MUST bring their fine money to the next game or six-a-side day. Players have to pay their own fines. If they don't then the Sassco funds will have to pay it. When this happens, the player is banned from all involvement until he pays back the team. If this does happen Sassco will add their own £5 fine on top. If the player is skint, then tough. He shouldn't have got himself sent off. This is enforceable by DFA.
  • ALL the team should help to put up the nets and bring them down. If three people are doing it, it takes around ten minutes or more. If all are helping, it's done within minutes.
  • Each key player will pay £20 initially so that the team can pay for entrance fees, DFA fees and pitch fees. The players will do the same in December to pay the second half pitch fees. If we can get a sponsor, then all of this is taken care of.
  • If for any reason the team folds, the League will send a list of key players who have played more than two games in the last ten fixtures to DFA, who will then issue fines which are calculated based on the amount owed divided by the amount of players. DFA can also add their own fines on top of this.
  • I am solely responsible for the team, but that doesn't mean financially. If we bail out (unlikely) then the players pay their share. All must be well aware of this before deciding to play for Sassco.
  • Any talking during team talks will result in the gobby twats being relegated to the bench or dropped from the following game. The manager (be it me or someone else) should always be listened to during the team line up and tactics.
  • There are no great variations on tactics for the new season
  • Closing down any lost cause for 90 minutes.
  • Be prepared when closing someone down that they will either launch the ball or take it past you. Prepare for the latter and be ready to pinch the ball.
  • Back four should play in a line, but anyone screaming "offside" should always look along the line to see if we are offside. As a rule we shouldn't rely on this and play basic man-to-man marking when defending.
  • If the goalkeeper shouts for it but the defender can get a clearance, then the defender should clear it.
  • Avoid pass backs to the goalkeeper.

    For a guide on fitness which includes warming up, warming down, etc. click here

I will be providing official Sassco polo shirts in grey (or white) colour with the official badge on which should be worn when arriving at each game. The cost for these will be around £5 to £15 (I need to work out the cost price) and should be purchased by the team (not compulsory). More details will be given later. As a rule, the kit is Adidas. Players should attempt to get navy blue Adidas track suit bottoms (with the three stripes). The polo shirts would be worn with these. It's always been the intention to kit out the whole team, but funding has never been available to do this. We are also looking into sweatshirts, and will probably provide three coats for substitutes during the cold year.

16th October 2004

Amount cleared.

All players are free to play.

The original amount is now completely cleared. The players owe me £18 each which is due by Tuesday. If not paid to me then I will take the matter to DFA in the form of players not reimbursing the team. I sent a cheque payment via recorded delivery.
We are definitely going to apply to join the WCFL League next season. All the information on the past two seasons has been moved into the archive section now.

12th October 2004

DFA ruling.

Original amount due, not the £438 wanted by the TW League.

Well, what can I say. The meeting went ahead at the Dagmar as scheduled and despite the TW committee turning up with dossiers and dossiers of paper with their own "Weapons of Sassco destruction," they dithered over the exact timings of what they did and failed to show written evidence. Despite having four or five members of the committee there, it showed how unprofessional and badly organised the whole show is. For any successful league, you need one person in command making the decisions for the benefit of his/her league and customers (the teams).

The key points which they failed on were as follows:

  • Failed to inform us in writing about the full amounts due.
  • Withheld our application to enter the following season and then said we resigned from the league.
  • Made the mistake by confusing the fact that Boothy resigned as Team Secretary, thinking the team had resigned.
  • Should have dealt with all cases within 21 days and not allowed the arrears to go on for so long.
  • Should NOT have sent letters to the players without letting DFA countersign them.
  • Did not take the disrepute about the messages on the website any further.
  • Claimed that J. Topping told them to suspend us.

The main objection the hearing had about Sassco was.

  • We shouldn't have not paid in the arrears and then stopped the cheque

Well it's a valid point, but once I suspected that the TW League didn't want us in, I wasn't prepared to hand our arrears over (a large share of the £224 was due to be paid by me) and rather let the matter be dealt with each individual player who should pay their own share. Some of the lads won't be playing football this season (such as myself and Boothy, Galey, etc.) so it's down to the individuals to pay. Also the fact that we were pulled up for disrepute meant if we handed £224 over, we could have been hit with more fines. The TW League simply didn't want us in.

26th September 2004

Fines from Tyne & Wear League.

Not necessary to pay until DFA deals with it.

Many have received letters from Dunsford League requesting payment for around £38. Please note, this isn't official. Currently, the Durham FA are trying to arrange a meeting with me and the TW League to sort out what we owe. The figure is £224 which equates to around £16-20 each. The process is straightforward. TW League will ask for a payment. You refuse and they will take the matter to Durham FA, who will arrange a meeting with me and TW League to decide on the amount we owe.
I'll keep all informed.

 

Sassco win at the Stadium of …

11-a-side - 21st May 2017

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Sassco's most glorious moment in their 18 year history. Sassco 11-a-side, finally won their first game in over a year, and what a place to do it in. It was their first...Read More

Stadium of Light 2017 shirts …

11-a-side - 12th May 2017

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Delighted to announce that the shirts supplied by Woven Inc. have arrived and are ready for our second game at the Stadium of Light on 18th May.

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The rules and regulations for Play on the Pitch 2017 have been passed on from Sunderland AFC. Those who took part last year, will know what to expect. Rules of Play Squads...Read More

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11-a-side - 28th April 2017

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A hastily arranged game against Mark Muers' U35 team, Washington United FC. We really cobbled a team together. High hopes were for the Stadium of Light team, but Smith, Sangha, Dixon...Read More

Woven Inc to supply Sassco's …

11-a-side - 20th April 2017

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Please to announce that Woven Inc, one of the UK leaders in custom workwear and fashion clothing based in Washington, are supplying the AWDis kit for our game at the...Read More

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11-a-side - 25th March 2017

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Sassco travelled to the beyond (i.e. Walker Dome) to take on the Northumbria University Officer Training Corp team. A team which we somehow defeated 6-1 last year, albeit with what...Read More

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11-a-side - 8th March 2017

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We have a number of choices for our game at Sunderland's Stadium of Light in May. Last year, we chose orange as the sponsor colour, but our opponents are looking at...Read More

Sunderland AFC Stadium of Lig…

11-a-side - 28th February 2017

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Delighted to have confirmed 11 Sassco players for the Play on the Pitch event at Sunderland's Stadium of Light, in May 2017. The team is scheduled to play against a similar...Read More

First team ever to use Just C…

11-a-side - 7th August 2016

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New shirt for the nomadic 11-a-side team. Sassco have had branded team kits and custom made team shirts since the foundation back in 1999. So we are now proud to announce...Read More

Cricket score = bad defences.

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Our regular tri or bi-annual game took place again, but this time off the 3G (or is it 4G) and on to grass at Castle View, where we suffered a...Read More

Defeated again; Dave Gourlay …

11-a-side - 3rd July 2016

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Plenty of dinosaurs were dug out for Sassco's difficult game against O'Briens, a team organised by Steve Farrer (himself a rare dinosaur), and containing a lot of ex-Redhouse FC players. For...Read More

Defeated at the Stadium of Li…

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Trepidation meant I wanted everyone to be at the stadium early. All arrived promptly, probably because their subs were £163 each. But it was a bit of a hiccup from...Read More

GB Outfitters - player profil…

11-a-side - 7th June 2016

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Learn about our opponents! Here's a very detailed player biography provided by David Duke from GB Outfitters. Jonny Prested (Goalkeeper)The many faced man; Ronnie O'Sullivan, Peter Whittingham, the count from Sesame...Read More

Sassco.co.uk v GB Outfitters …

11-a-side - 2nd June 2016

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We've finally discovered our opponents, GB Outfitters, a strong side which includes David Duke, who played for us in a friendly v Sunderland Deaf AFC not too long ago. Kick off...Read More

Sunderland AFC itinerary and …

11-a-side - 23rd May 2016

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Itinerary - Thursday 9th June 2016 7.00pm - Team Arrival, taken to changing rooms 7.15pm - Team Photographs 7.20pm - Pre- Match Warm Up 7.30pm - Kick off 8.15pm - Half Time 8.30pm - Second Half 9.15pm -...Read More

Starting line-up at Sunderlan…

11-a-side - 10th May 2016

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The initial 11 who have paid the money for the Stadium of Light game have been set to start as we now have had two drop outs from the original...Read More

Sassco.co.uk 6 Northumbria Un…

11-a-side - 12th March 2016

11 A Side.Sassco V NUOTCnsp 318

Back: Chris Dixon, Connor Llewellyn, Patrick Knox, David Bilton, Mike Barker, Paul McConville. Front: Davinder Sangha, Marc McDermont, Kevin Cooper, Dave Gourlay, Mark Middlemiss Safe to say that this was a...Read More

Wayne Greenwell: My point of …

11-a-side - 13th February 2016

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“Nothing is impossible, you just haven’t done it yet. Dreams are hard to achieve, otherwise they wouldn’t be a dream. In the darkest of hours when all seems hopeless, that’s...Read More

Baxter is lucky 13.

11-a-side - 26th January 2016

11 A Side.baxter Safcnsp 318

Despite thinking that he deserves a full 90 minutes and extra time and corner kicks and free-kicks and pre-match pies, Mike "Max Factor Baxter" Barker has signed up for the...Read More

Eat like a (proper) footballe…

11-a-side - 19th January 2016

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So, our usual pre-match meal would be a fry up, or even being late for a game at Silksworth, due to Fatty wanting a McDonald's. But as we're spending around £120...Read More

Get fit for football at the S…

11-a-side - 18th January 2016

11 A Side.fitness Image Mark Muersnsp 318

It's a little under four months away for our historic Stadium of Light game, so no excuses; we need to be fit. So, here's a quick fitness guide and some advice...Read More

Fatty Wardle at the Stadium o…

11-a-side - 11th January 2016

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Delighted to announce that Jon "Fatty" Wardle is on board for the Stadium of Light game on the 15th May. Wardle last kicked a ball in anger (including with a goal)...Read More

Game v Northumbrian Universit…

11-a-side - 6th January 2016

11 A Side.Facebook 11 A Side Banner V Cuthbertsnsp 318

After Sassco's hard fought comeback win in the pouring rain against Sunderland Deaf FC, the team will next be back in action in March, against Mark Middlemiss' team. The...Read More

Sassco.co.uk 5 Sunderland Dea…

11-a-side - 3rd January 2016

11 A Side.Sassco 11 A Side Team Selfiensp 318

McDermont's 35 yard "screamer". Our bi- or tri-annual game against Sunderland AFC's Deaf team took place at Chester-Le-Street, and shockingly, we had more than a full turn out. A total of fifteen...Read More

Workwear Express to sponsor t…

11-a-side - 23rd December 2015

11 A Side.Sassco At SAFC Workwear Express Shirtnsp 318

Pleased to announce that Workwear Express are now providing the tops for the game at the Stadium of Light on the 9th June. The company have provided the uniform and kit for the every...Read More

Game v Sunderland Deaf FC in …

11-a-side - 20th December 2015

11 A Side.dfc Banner January 2016nsp 318

Sassco will be roaring back into action in the New Year. Our regular game against Sunderland DFC is arranged and will take place at 2pm on the 3rd January 2016. The venue...Read More

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