My comments and views on footballing stories, local and world wide.

11th June 2008 Representing Sassco at the 2008 SAFF Championships in the Maldives.

One of my ambitions has always been to watch the Indian national football team play live. Amazingly, the opportunity came up when India took part in the regional football championship in the island paradise of the Maldives.

Click here for the full report including photos.

10th July 2006 Thoughts on the World Cup.

Overall, an entertaining tournament. Luckily the strong teams got there in the end so there was no obvious Semi Finals like in 02 (Brazil v Turkey, Germany v Korea) and 94 (Brazil v Sweden, Italy v Bulgaria). The Final was good because it was to close to call and the teams, which are as good as each other, cancelled each other out. Penalties was the only option. People harp on about penalties, but go back to European Championship 1968 – Italy beat USSR in the Semi’s on the toss of a coin.

Most people were raving about Argentina, but as in 94, 98, 02, they were eliminated. Not sure what it is. Probably a bit too much fancy football, but also a negative coach. Anyone replacing attacking players with defensive players doesn’t deserve to win any game.

England was vastly overrated. With English team’s heroics in the Champions League, everyone assumed that they’d do well. But the Champions League teams contain highly superior overseas players who tend to overshadow a lot of the problems of the England team. Lampard is a prime example. Completely failed to deliver. Also, Rooney, despite his injury, doesn’t hide the fact that he hasn’t scored an England goal for quite a few games now. Also, his Manchester United team didn’t really deliver at all in the past season.

The manager as well was too negative and didn’t really give any other strikers a chance. Defoe’s only scored against Poland and Theo was a laugh. Sven probably looked at an unused Ronaldo in 94 and also an unpicked Maradona in 78 and thought he’d do the same. What a berk!

As for the others. Spain. Everyone was waxing lyrical about their performances in the group stages. It’s now obvious that their group was one of the weakest. Brazil proved, like England, that if you play poor and keep winning, it doesn’t mean that it’s a sign of a winning team, but one which will be found out. Portugal were rubbish, which irritates me more considering that England didn’t do anything against them. Africa, as usual, failed to deliver. Viewers always are surprised that they haven’t done better now that the players they have are superstars in Europe. But it all boils down to the lack of money with the respective African FA’s. Let’s look at Togo as a prime example. The number of teams playing in Togo might be high, but you can’t imagine them paying their local FA fees towards the National FA like we do. Sassco, for example, pay around £50 per year to Durham FA to affiliate. This money is used for insurance and other things such as football development. A large amount would probably go towards the wage of Sven. So the professional clubs pay a far larger amount which swells the FA’s coffers. Anyway, Togo wouldn't’t get anything like this, so they can only afford mercenary coaches. They can’t heavily finance training facilities, hotels, etc. So there’s the reason why Africa will struggle. They’ve done it in he past though. The stronger nations such as Nigeria and Cameroon have both won Olympic Gold in 96 and 00, but the World Cup is a different matter. Pele’s always harped on about Africa winning the World Cup, but he’s thick. The same person who said Greece and USA will win the 94 World Cup, while in Brazil said Brazil will win the World Cup, etc. etc. You’re a good footballer Pele, but keep your mouth shut in other matters, mate. Your own financial fuck ups forced you to play for New York Cosmos back in the 70’s.

Germany back on track? Not likely. Momentum usually drags the host's through in competition as it did with Korea and Japan four years back and the USA before that. Germany are still an ordinary team and the trials and tribulations of qualification for a tournament is far different to actually being in the tournament itself. The Dutch always used to get a technical staff to qualify the team for major tournaments in the 70's and used to hire a big name to manage the side during the stages (with the technical staff still on board). Not an ideal idea, but it got them to two Finals.

The only way forward for Africa is to have a big company back a single team – Puma for example with Cameroon and attempt to bludgeon them back to the top. Nike did a similar thing with Brazil after 94 and they practically won every tournament for age 15 to adult.

So for the future. England, now with McLaren have an interesting time ahead. I’ve publicly criticised the appointment, but on reflection it might be good. Firstly he will definitely learn from the mistakes with Sven. One thing about having an assistant take over is that he won’t keep the same thing going, but will change and learn off the mistakes. A good sign is France. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, France were shite. Hidalgo took over in the mid 70’s and started to revive them. A 1978 appearance culminated in a fourth place finish in 1982 and a European Championship win in 1984. After this, his assistant took over and took them to third in 1986. However, most of the key players retired and his assistant was replace by former captain, Platini back in 1988. This is where is started up again. He screwed up in Euro 92 and quit to be replaced by Houllier. Who himself ballsed up by persisting with Cantona and Ginola, and seeing his team not qualify for 94 (they didn’t qualify for 90 neither). So now, Aime Jacquet takes over, drops Cantona and Ginola and comes third in Euro 96 and wins the 98 World Cup. His assistant, Lemerre, then is in charge and wins Euro 2000. Went a bit pair shaped after that, but you get the point. I think McLaren will do quite well.

6th March 2005 Ashley Cole is shit.

Ashley Cole. Why so highly rated. Personally I think he’s shit. Watch him very carefully when he goes beyond the half way line. He may as well kick the ball off. He must have gained his reputation when playing the likes of Portsmouth and Norwich. Now as everyone knows, footballers are thick. None of them are like me and you and went through education, but most have no GCSE’s. Hence the thickness of Ashley Cole. He read consistently that he’s the best full back in the UK (if not the World) and being thick as pig shit, believed his own publicity and then tries to pretend he’s Roberto Carlos or someone.

Now point me out if I’m wrong, but to be the “best in the World” you have to win something such as a European Cup or World Cup, European Championship. But what you have is idiots like Harry Redknapp saying so and so is the “best in the world,” therefore causing thick players to believe him.

10th January 2005 My ramblings about football in general as well as the Myth of Bobby Robson.

When Allan Simonson secured the single goal penalty win over England at Wembley, it condemned England to fail to qualify for the 1984 European Championship. Under new stewardship of Bobby Robson, it was a major blow. Greenwood had dragged England, kicking and screaming out of the international wilderness with a resounding success in qualifying for Europa 80, having only dropped one point in Dublin. However, in Italy, the team failed abysmally. Drawing with Belgium, beating Spain, but in-between losing off the solitary Italian goal condemned both teams to failure. But getting there was an achievement. In 1972, the European Championship saw the decline of the national team bear fruit as they were dismissed 3-1 in London, by a rampant West Germany team after which a poor defensive, face saving performance in Berlin resulted in a 0-0. In 1974 it was the Poles who famously eliminated England. In Europe 76, Czechoslovakia, despite being thumped 3-0 in Revie's first competitive game in charge, took advantage of Portugal’s ability to nullify England at Wembley and took the group with a decisive 2-1 in their home turf. Argentina 1978 saw England again miss out as they went down 2-0 in Rome. The return leg saw Greenwood, now in charge, gain a 2-1 hollow victory over an Italian side which sailed through to Argentina.

The 70's were always considered a dismal time for the national team, but was it all that bad? West Germany in 1972 were crowned emphatic winners with a 3-0 hammering of the USSR. Poland eventually finished 3rd in 1974. Panenka's cheeky lob over Maier won the Euro 76 title for Czechoslovakia and Italy defied their critics by gaining maximum points in Argentina before going down 2-1 to Holland and eventually finishing fourth.

Greenwoods England team, packed with European champions from Forest and Liverpool failed to ignite the 1980 tournament and were also ready to be bundled out of the Spain 82 qualifying competition. Losing to Romania, Switzerland and Norway would decimate any teams chances, but gaining a double over Hungary saw them through. Greenwood wanted to resign after hammering Hungary in Budapest but was persuaded to stay on. The finals themselves saw England shine in the group stage but lack of firepower with an injured Keegan (although he wasn’t injured in 80) and no goals against Germany and Spain saw them out.

Robson was one of the obvious choices to succeed Greenwood. But short sightedness by the FA resulted in England's failures. All managers appointed were usually managers who'd taken small provincial sides up to great success with limited resources. However, as England head coach, there are unlimited resources at ones disposal. So for the likes of Robson and his successor, Taylor, trying to turn lead into gold wasn’t ever necessary at national level. The distinct problem of these managers is that they used their work ethic ideas to be imbedded into the national team therefore overlooking skillful artisans in the favour of "honest footballers." The national team failed as a result. With Robson, an easy passage to World Cup 86 was secured with a timid group and also the fact that the top two qualified in the now expanded world cups. England’s failure in the past was pointed out to the fact that usually only one team qualified. Greenwood himself was saved by the fact that World Cup 82 was expanded from 16 to 24 teams otherwise it would have been Hungary flying the flag for the group and not England.

In WC 86 the myth of Robson began to rise. A loss v Portugal and a 0-0 draw with Morocco usually would mean elimination. However, with FIFA's ineptitude, they had a system which saw the best third place teams getting through which meant the group stage was almost meaningless - three games played to eliminated one team! England struck gold with a valuable win over Poland (who were through anyway) and then the 3-0 win over Paraguay. The hand of god has been spoken about to much length, but the manner of the goal overshadowed the fact that the Argentine were vastly superior to England. With Butcher, Fenwick, Sansom and Reid in the team, it's hardly surprising that England lost.

And then to Euro 88. Euro 84 was a superb success with Platini driving France to the final and ultimate success in a tournament which was completely different to Europa 80, where negative football flowed. The reason? The main one was the lack of "big names" in the competition. Belgium, Romania, Yugoslavia, Denmark, France, Spain Portugal, Germany were the entrants and with no Italy, England, Czech, Holland, USSR it was open and entertaining. Even the dismal Germans failed after a 1-0 defeat from Spain eliminated them in the group stage. For Euro 88. It was back to big names. Italy and Germany were strong as were a resurgent USSR and also Holland were welcomed back on to the world stage for the first time in 8 years. Germany were seeded in one group while the other saw England seeded after an emphatic 4-1 in Belgrade in front of 70,000 supporters saw them dismiss Yugoslavia. Euro 88 quite rightly showed the best teams in Europe. All the qualifying groups had around 7 teams with only the top heading for the finals.

England were rudely awakened. Defeat off Ireland in the opener was a bit unfortunate, but Holland swept them aside 3-1 and the USSR did the same in the final game which was there for pride. Robson's naivety was clear. His lack of ability to counter complicated continental systems was quite obvious. Holland eventually triumphed v USSR in the final with the great Rinus Michels taking control and pulling an indifferent team and nation together.

Michels could be classed as the true godfather of modern football. As Ajax coach he initiated the remarkable rise of Dutch football before Romanian Kovacs refined it and took two further European cups. The Dutch arrogance nearly cost them a place in the 1974 world cup. Qualifying Under Frantisek Fadrhonc wasn’t comfortable, but goal difference saw them through. In typical Dutch style, Fadrhonc stepped aside for Michels to take Dutch in the finals and an eventual final defeat. Michels stepped aside after this competition but the same system occurred with the Dutch having Knobbel control the side for the Europe 76 competition. Zwartkruis took over and then stepped aside for the late, great Austrian Happel for the finals, but afterwards came back in and took the team to Europa 80 before stepping down for Rivjers. Problem for Rivjers was that the team was in clear decline and he bravely gave debuts to youngsters such as Gullitt, Rijkaard, Koeman. Narrow failure for Euro 84 saw the legendary Michels return. The question for Holland has been - why do they always implode, or cause infighting. The reason is that the manager must be strong. There are only a few managers who can control the Dutch. Cruyff, Michels and Gullitt are to name a few. They have to be able to say to the players "I’m better than you ever will be" and that will gain them respect. Van Basten, the current incumbent has that aura around him. Michels, Kovacs, Happel have all passed away and in my personal opinion, so has Holland’s chance of ever adding to their solitary Euro 88 crown.

In contrast, Robson meekly secured Italia 90 qualification and that’s where the myth concludes. A dismal group performance saw a good win over Belgium and then a haphazard one over Cameroon. This propelled England into the Semis for the first time since 1968 of a competition. But when you break down the results and fixtures - if I told you that to get to the semis you need to beat Belgium and Cameroon, you would expect it. The same occurred with Germany for the 2002 final. A comfortable passage past USA and Korea meant a final appearance.

Italia 90 saw England lose to Germany on penalties and then lose the third place game as well. Robson moved on to PSV where two titles saw him move on again. PSV were dominant in Holland and won titles before and after Robson. Failure in Europe and key players questioning Robson's naivety saw him move on to Sporting and Porto in Portugal. Success in those countries was hampered by a Euro elimination. He then moved to Barcelona to keep the seat warm for Van Gaal. So why the huge adulation of Robson. He failed in Newcastle and when you look at it, he failed for England. His greatest success will always be with Ipswich.

The mystery of England’s failure while simultaneously being successful in European Club competitions is sometimes baffling. Two key managers, Paisley and Clough were never given the opportunity to manage the national team. Revie had limited success in Europe, but was dominant in English football. Ramsay before him took Ipswich to amazing heights using limited resources and despite a home win in the World Cup, struggled to optimize his team for the great leap forwards in tactics and total football in the 70’s. Defensive football was endemic in the 60’s with Herrera’s Inter triumphing in European competitions before being decimated by Celtic and then also with the success of Brazil’s all attacking 1970 team. This paved the way for Total Football and with Germany and particular Netzer and Beckenbauer in 1972, 1974 saw all the major teams using their own version of Total football, Poland, Germany and Holland all showed the way. The three triumphs for Ajax and then Bayern from 1971-1976 were eventually halted by Liverpool. This was the golden era. 1977 saw the demise of the national team, but several key players from Liverpool were in that team and also the following year for the World Cup 1978. Forest amazingly won back to back triumphs in 79 and 80. Key players from both Liverpool and Forest made up the Europa 80 team which as mentioned elsewhere, failed due to the inability of Ron Greenwood to translate domestic Europe success to the national team.

In 81 Liverpool won again. This time, against a desperate Real Madrid team. With Villas win in 82, it was the norm for any English team to almost automatically win the European cup when entered. But again, this wasn’t translated to the national team. In comparison, when you look at Milan’s 1969 win, Italy reached the WC final in 70. Bayern's hat-trick of wins from 1974 also saw the national team reach both WC 74 and EU 76 finals. But for England this never materialized. In 1985, before the ban, Liverpool lost their title to Juventus, but the post Heysel games still reflected in no small part a balance between domestic and national. PSV’s win in 88 was mirrored by the Dutch National team. In 1989/90 Milan and the national team were reasonably successful (Italy coming in 3rd in 1990). Milan’s 1994 win was mirrored by Italy reaching the final in the USA.

So why didn’t England translate this. True you can look at Belgrade’s win in 1991 win and point out that both France and Yugoslavia weren’t successful, but it’s not as if Yugoslavia teams and French teams consistently reached the Euro Cup finals. My theory is simply bad management. Ron Greenwood could not translate success for West Ham into European trophy, and even Don Revie struggled especially with his details dossiers on the opposition which were probably ahead of its time. This was an era when England’s players still considered themselves dominant in the World.

Robson’s Ipswich success was secured with limited resources and as mentioned earlier, translating this to national team success is quite different.

Sven Goran Eriksson’s appointment was unusual. Eriksson never was able to become successful in Europe, but a Italian League triumph for Lazio was a good success. Eriksson’s tactics have been under some criticism recently. But in my opinion, he isn’t the problem. McLaren seems to be one of the many who are obsessed with their own publicity. As a norm people said that he was a good coach and this stuck. There is no justification for this. An assistant at Derby and then one at Man U. Then the naïve Gibson installs him as Boro manager. Boro fans consistently complain about his tactical tinkering. And why does he do this? Because the papers have convinced him that he’s a good coach and he thinks he has to do it because it works – he thinks any change he makes will work out because he’s been told he’s a good coach. This same publicity believing comes under the likes of Ashley Cole and Arsenal. If you watch Cole carefully against a strong team – he is quite inept once over the halfway line. The ball bounces off his feet, his passes are usually astray, etc. Arsenal as well showed in the recent 1-0 win over Bayern that they were always publicly classed as a passing teams so they refused to simply launch the ball forward and use basic physical pace. Instead they passed around in simply circles and watched themselves get eliminated from Europe again. Arsene Wenger is a manager who has never ever tasted European success and with Arsenal, he probably wont.

With the 70’s and the election of Havelange as FIFA president, FIFA modernized heavily and immediately allowed more third world developing football nations in. In the 30’s exotic nations such as Cuba, Dutch East Indies and Egypt all made a world appearance, but since then FIFA was never fair to these third world areas culminating in a mass boycott for the 1966 World cup when only one Asia/Africa team was allowed in. Ironically it was the amazingly successful North Korea team which came in and reached the quarters, dumping out the under achieving Italian national team in the process. The boycott probably ultimately led to Rous being replaced by Havelange prior to 1974, but in between then Morocco and Israel appeared in the 1970 World Cup, but Havelange’s “baby” was an embarrassment. Zaire, a powerful African nation was a laughing stock losing 9-1 to Yugoslavia before more respectable score lines v Scotland and Brazil. Haiti, who surprisingly defeated Mexico to get to the tournament, also suffered heavily and the only mildly respectable showing was from Australia in the Asian section.

With strong nations such as Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Hungary and England missing due to their spaces being taken up by completely weak nations, this put pressure on FIFA, but they stuck to their guns and kept the system. Iran and Tunisia were the debutantes in 1978 and both gave an outstanding performances. Tunisia, superbly marshaled by Diab in midfield annihilated Mexico 3-1, drew with West Germany and narrowly lost to Poland 1-0. They were eliminated but showed that Africa was clearly a force and more exposure would complete the transformation. Iran fared poorly to bely their Asian standard,. But did come away with a 1-1 draw which eventually eliminated Scotland.

In 1982, Africa clearly came of age. Algeria with two wins were eliminated by the contrived 1-0 win for Germany over Austria. Algeria defeated Germany and also Chile in the group. Cameroon drew all three v Italy, Poland and Peru and were eliminated on goal difference. Ironically it was later reported that the Italians bribed Cameroon for a draw – Italy scored and Cameroon equalized from kick off. The amount of patronizing by the UK press is frightening. Hence my theory on lack of knowledge of the world game and different attitudes. Morocco reached the second round in 1986, but Cameroon’s win over Argentina was a “shock” despite several positive results in the preceding decades (apart from 1974). The fact that Nigeria were one of the favourites in 1994 belies this. The changing face of football is also to thank. With Bosman opening the doors it’s transformed the national set ups of all the countries. In say 1990 for example, the Sweden national team would have 3 or 4 overseas stars while the rest would be playing within Sweden. In the 2004 Euro championship hardly any of the Swedes were home based and also they weren’t in second string teams, but playing for the big names such as Arsenal, Juventus, Barcelona. This has led to a leveling of standards. Greece’s triumph, although was a huge surprise, isn’t technically hard to fault. With players based in key teams across Europe, there is no different from the Greek national setup than there is from say the Czech side which according to the press are always “dark horses” This leveling has led to the demise of the original big name teams and also the development of Brazil in becoming the dominant team in the world. With brazil, their players have always been poached by wealthier European teams which sometimes hampered the national team in selections. The selector always used to use home based players in the minor qualifiers and friendlies and then brought in the super stars for the main games. With long traveling problems a thing of the past, the national team could finally dispel the stigma attached to whether home grown or overseas players should be selected. This culminated in the 94 win and then explosion of European teams aiming to tap into the talent gave the Brazilians vast competitive experience and has resulted in Brazil reaching the final in 1998 as well as winning in 2002. Brazil have not only won in the major tournaments but have regularly won youth tournaments.

Argentina also have a similar pattern now. Being the more Europeanized of all the South Americans, the national team post war failed to ignite in the World Cup. Poor showings in 1958, 1962 culminated in an interesting showing in 1966. The skill was there but cynicism was the order of the day (as shown in Inters catenacio European Cup wins) and Argentina physically came out of their group to face England in the now famous Rattin QF.

In 1970 they failed to qualify and in 1974, unlike now, they were considered one of the inferior South American teams. They did have a mildly successful cup though. Getting out of the group, eliminated Italy in the process, saw them try and muscle into the Brazil Holland – who’s the best in the world, group. A Heavy defeats off Holland in a rain soaked stadium dampened their nerves in ready ness for a 1978 hosting appearance.

The conflicts between home grown and overseas players were evident and only Kempes appeared from overseas while the remaining players were home based. In a brilliant tournament, they eventually triumphed with attacking football despite some cynical moments, the most cynical appearing against Hungary and France.

France were in revival during 1978. Having failed to qualify since 1966 for any tournament, they presented a brand new exciting side molded by Michael Hidalgo and controlled by Tigana, Platini and Michel and were unlucky not to get out of a difficulty group involving Argentina, Italy and Hungary. They struggled to qualify for Euro 80 but 1982 saw their appearance as a good side on the modern stage, an appearance which has stuck since. A defeat against England was a good result as it eventually placed them into an “easy” second round section with Austria and Northern Ireland before losing to Germany in the semis.

Euro 84, by the far one of the most exciting competitions to date, saw them lift the cup in their own country. An ideal time to retire for Hidalgo who was succeeded by Henri Michel. He struggled after Mexico 86. A semi final appearance and a defeat against Germany again put them out, but after this all the key players including Platini retired. As holders they struggled to build a new team rapidly enough and failed to qualify for Euro 88 and WC 90. In 1990, Platini surprisingly took the reigns and built an new exciting side. Cantona was the new star, but a disastrous over cautious approach in Euro 92 led himself to resign and be replaced by his assistant Gerard Houllier. Houllier's reign was nothing short of embarrassing. With France due to hold the World Cup in 1998, a strong showing was needed, but an obsession with Cantona and Ginola who were clearly not good enough for the international stage, led to his downfall. Defeats by Israel and then Bulgaria led to his resignation. Aime Jacquet, his assistant took over and made a bold move by dropping both Cantona and Ginola and never picking them again. A 2-0 deficit against Czech Republic in a friendly returned in a 3-2 win when Jacquet gave Zidane a second half appearance. The World Cup team was started. A poor, tired showing in Euro 96 gave the French little hope in WC 98, but spurred on by Zidane and with no recognised prolific striker, they won in the end with Zidane pulling the strings. A strong team was confirmed with a Euro 2000 win, the first team to hold dual titles since West Germany in 1974. But then it was beginning to be clear that it was only the fact that Zidane was pulling the strings that France were successful, in the same way that Platini controlled the team in the 80’s. Zidane’s injury in 2002 saw the national team crash out of the 2002 world cup with Patrick Viera, Pires, Henry and several other so called “key players” showing an embarrassing and impotent performance. Simply opposition in the Premiership where most of these players were based caused the problem. In Europe most were below par, apart from Zidane with Real Madrid. Henry, Viera, Pires were consistently failing in the major European competitions and then seeing the team suffer in Euro 2004 was no real surprise. And now with Zidane retiring, it seems that France won’t suffer the same fate as the team of the 80’s simply because of the vast pool of talent and the changing demographics of national teams where players are littered all over Europe and rarely are the best players ever remaining in France.

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3g Pitch At Gatesheadnsp 282

Gateshead 3G squads set Unfortunately, the Gateshead Stadium pitch was unavailable, but we were offered the Premier League Standard Training Pitch as an alternative, so we happily accepted. The squads of both...Read More 2 Knattspyrnufél…

11-a-side - 22nd May 2018

Playonthepitch2018.Aden Goalnsp 282

Iceland still unbeaten against England. It was all square at Sassco's third encounter at the Stadium of Light. A loss in 2016, a win in 2017 and now a draw in...Read More

Israel סוקרסטארס Soccerstars …

Israel Tour 2018 - 20th May 2018

Israel Squadsnsp 282

The English lose on penalties (as expected). We were greeted by heavy security at Ben Gurion airport. There were missile silos all around the airport and in the distance, we heard...Read More

Wardle: Sent off!

Saturday Season 20 - 21st April 2018

21 04 18 Blizzard V Elitensp 282

Large wins during the 40 minute games It was searing heat, as six teams kicked off Season 20 (wonder how many will be left at the end). The marathon league takes...Read More

Panini stickers for Reykjavik…

11-a-side - 12th April 2018

Throttur Reykjavik 02nsp 282

Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur "Throttur" line up. If you thought Sassco's line up look rough..... Here we have our esteemed opponents, with their huge squad. in the "Panini" format. The game against Reykjavik's Knattspyrnufélagið...Read More

Soccerball for the Israel Tou…

Israel Tour 2018 - 6th April 2018

Israel Ballnsp 282

Land of milk and honey, and retro Sassco balls. It's the usual style with our retro balls for the Israel Tour. It contains the Woven Inc logo as well as the tour...Read More

Play on the Pitch Panini Stic…

11-a-side - 26th March 2018

Panini Stickers 201802nsp 282

Got, Got, NEED! We've launched the official Panini Stickers for the Play on the Pitch 2018 game. Apparently, Jake Dyke's worth at least two swaps. The game against Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur, our semi-professional...Read More

Tel Aviv-Yafo תל אביב-יפו Ser…

Israel Tour 2018 - 22nd March 2018

Game Cover Newnsp 282

Venues and opponents in The Holy Land.  On Friday afternoon, we will be travelling to the picturesque Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael, just north of Tel-Aviv to take on Tel-Aviv Soccer Stars and...Read More

Season 20 League

Saturday Season 20 - 13th March 2018

Season 20 Imagensp 282

Season 20 to span a number of months After the resounding success from the recent Season 19 Tournament, the particpants requested more regular events.  Therefore the plan is to have a league containing four/five...Read More

Redhouse Fusion win Season 19…

Sassco Tournaments - 11th March 2018

Redhouse Fusion, Champions of Season 19

Slightly older, but worthy winners. The regular league at Downhill ended back in 2011 on a cold, wet and miserable February evening, concluding 17 seasons of weekly football. Since then, a small...Read More

Israel Tour 2018 Itinerary.

Israel Tour 2018 - 1st March 2018

Small Israel Logonsp 282

Flights, football and where Jesus was born. Our five day odyssey in the Holy Land is part of a busy month of May, so we have tentatively planned our schedule. Football...Read More

Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur sq…

11-a-side - 1st March 2018

Throttur Smallnsp 282

A full set of players! Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur have announced their large squad for the game v at the Stadium of Light on the 17th May. They will be bringing a total...Read More

The FA People's Cup at Goals …

Sassco 5/6-a-side - 25th February 2018

PeoplesCup2018nsp 282

Sassco cruised through the group, but eliminated in the knock-out stage. A far better performance this year, with the team comprising of Kevin Cooper, Curtis Newbold, Davinder Sangha, Aden Bannister and Jake Dyke. Game More

Stadium of Light - Rules, Iti…

11-a-side - 24th February 2018

1229pxLogo Sunderlandsvgnsp 282

The rules and regulations for Play on the Pitch 2018 have been passed on from Sunderland AFC. Those who took part last year, will know what to expect. Rules of Play Squads...Read More

Team shirts for the SAFC Game…

11-a-side - 23rd February 2018

Play On The Pitch Shirts 2018nsp 282

Game confirmed! The game has now been officially confirmed and booked in to the Stadium of Light for the 17th May 2018. The kick off is 7:00pm. Our illustrious guests, Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur, have...Read More

Season 19 tournament

Sassco Tournaments - 16th February 2018

Images.Season 19webnsp 282

Season 19 in March 2018 The League, albeit in a tournament format and 5-a-side, is back in action after a long hiatus, since the summer of 2016. It's now played over...Read More

Line-up: Sunderland AFC Stadi…

11-a-side - 7th February 2018

Sol Line Upnsp 282

3 Absent, but 3 in. Delighted to have confirmed 11 Sassco players for the Play on the Pitch event at Sunderland's Stadium of Light, in May 2018. The team is scheduled to...Read More v Knattspyrnufél…

11-a-side - 26th January 2018

Sassco V Protturnsp 282

Our first overseas guests? Not 100% confirmed, but Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur, a semi-professional side which defeated Sassco in the Iceland Tour 2017 in one game (Sassco won the other) are looking to travel...Read More 8 Sunderland Dea…

11-a-side - 10th September 2017

SasscovDeafFC10Sepnsp 282

Avoiding the wire above the pitch and Bear avoiding the goal. There were a couple of challenges in our repeat game v Sunderland Deaf: Avoiding hitting the two pieces of wire...Read More 2 Sunderland Dea…

11-a-side - 13th August 2017

TeamvSunderlandDeafnsp 282

The Harpers return and both last a full game (nearly). Our O35's 11-a-side adventure ended in a whimper, so it was good to be invited to a full 90 minute session...Read More 2 Bishop Juniors…

11-a-side League 2017 - 22nd July 2017

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  Martin Smith: over 300 pro appearances. David Duke over 200 pro appearances. Stubba: Priceless! We were struggling again. This time, we'd lost half the side from last week, due to holidays...Read More 3 South Tyne Bui…

11-a-side League 2017 - 15th July 2017

DixonvSouthTynensp 282

McDermont concussed - wakes up thinking he's Danny Dichio. It was when he was off getting no treatment that we scored the winner. The game was up and down up to...Read More 4 Sunderland O35…

11-a-side League 2017 - 1st July 2017

Snowdon  Sassconsp 282

Finally, we managed to get a win, However, the circumstances were all too familiar, with new faces coming in, but this time slotting in perfectly. Team talk was just about who was...Read More 0 Washington AFC…

11-a-side League 2017 - 24th June 2017

GavGreenerinjurednsp 282

McDermont foaming at the mouth. Another disappointing game topped off with McDermont foaming at the mouth, requesting to be subbed, then fannying around in the box to concede the fourth goal. The...Read More 1 Sunderland O35…

11-a-side League 2017 - 17th June 2017

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Searing heat, another injury and McDermont roars like a kangaroo to hit the crossbar. It was quite disappointing. We were missing a few from last week: Barker, Dan Smith and Dave...Read More

League results and tables - O…

Uncategorized - 14th June 2017

Data here for DCFA O35's Summer LeagueFULL-TIME Home var lrcode = '236946310' Data here for DCFA O35's Summer LeagueFULL-TIME Home var lrcode = '780566184' 1 Absolute Home …

11-a-side League 2017 - 10th June 2017

Sassco V Absolute Home Improvementsnsp 282

Disputed penalty, and it wasn't McDermont this time. A solid performance, again, from Sassco against, arguably, the strongest team in the competition. We were up against it and had three enforced changes...Read More

Terrorism in the UK. Why it h…

Various Articles - 4th June 2017

Terrorlondonbridgensp 282

The questions about these violent acts are constant: Why? What can we do? And so on. I think the solution could be more simpler than anyone thinks, or dares to suggest...Read More 1 South Tyne Bui…

11-a-side League 2017 - 3rd June 2017

11aside030617nsp 282

Last competitive game was 6 years, 9 months, and 19 days ago. Yes, a total of, approximately, 2484 days, 17 hours and 30 minutes had lapsed since Sassco played it's last...Read More

Near miss in the final moment…

Iceland Tour 2017 - 28th May 2017

Day2icelandnsp 282

Tired legs took effect the following day, as we faced an identical schedule, which was increasingly gruelling. Also, the majority of the team were out on the lash until around...Read More

Triumph on Day 1 of the Knatt…

Iceland Tour 2017 - 28th May 2017

WP 20170527 17 55 50 Pro LI 2nsp 282 had a gruelling four match schedule, and despite Dixon being rudely awoken with a frying pan, and using a player provided by the opponents, they triumphed with a clean...Read More

Sassco win at the Stadium of …

11-a-side - 21st May 2017

Playonthepitch2017.sanghajumpnsp 282

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

Solwovenincnsp 282

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.

Opening game v South Tyne Bui…

11-a-side League 2017 - 10th May 2017

11aside2016 Shirtnsp 282

Sassco return to action on the 3rd June at 10am against South Tyne Building Supplies. Squad has been confirmed with the following players: 1. Davinder Sangha 2. Chris Dixon 3. Marc McDermont...Read More

Stadium of Light Rules, Itine…

11-a-side - 4th May 2017

1229pxLogo Sunderlandsvgnsp 282

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

Iceland Tour map and Golden C…

Iceland Tour 2017 - 30th April 2017

Hotelrangagooglemapnsp 282

The main venues are shown below for the Iceland Tour. The apartment is shown, plus the football venue, main bus terminal, as well as hotel and airport. Below this map is...Read More


11-a-side - 28th April 2017

WP 20170428 18 54 25 Pro1nsp 282

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

Wovenimage1nsp 282

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

Sassco 11-a-side are back?

11-a-side League 2017 - 31st March 2017

11aside35nsp 282

We're looking to revive the 11-a-side team in, albeit, an over 35 format. Durham FA are organising a 50 minute game league, which is played on a Saturday morning at Durham...Read More


11-a-side - 25th March 2017

Sassco11aside250317nsp 282

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

Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur To…

Iceland Tour 2017 - 20th March 2017

Icelandtournamentbannernsp 282

The dates and times have been just about confirmed with a five team tournament set over two days. The teams involved, alongside are Þrottur, Breidablik, FC Sækó and Öspin. The dates...Read More

AWDis football kit choices fo…

11-a-side - 8th March 2017

Kits2017nsp 282

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

WP 20160609 20 39 34 Pro LInsp 282

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

The FA People's Cup at Goals …

Sassco 5/6-a-side - 24th February 2017

Peoplescup1nsp 282

Sassco took part in their first FA People's Cup, a 5-a-side competition played at Goals Sunderland on Sunday 26th February, but failed to get a Quarter Final spot. The team comprised...Read More

Official match ball for Icela…

Iceland Tour 2017 - 15th December 2016

IMG20161214WA0008nsp 282

Ready to grace the glaciers. It's back to basics with the 70's retro look for our Iceland Tour 2017 match ball. The ball contains the Iceland Tour logo, as well as...Read More

5-a-side defeat against Sunde…

Sassco 5/6-a-side - 4th November 2016

Bandgalleriesnsp 282

A game requested by Sunderland Deaf FC, who are taking part in a the Rudolph 5-a-side tournament in Derby, was arranged at the outdoor pitches at Everyone Active Washington. The Sassco team...Read More

Iceland Tour football kit by …

Iceland Tour 2017 - 26th August 2016

Iceland 2017 Shirtnsp 282

A little while away, but the initial design for the Iceland Tour 2017 football team kit is ready. The jerseys will be provided by the Just Cool by AWDis brand, supplied...Read More

Icelandair from Manchester an…

Iceland Tour 2017 - 13th August 2016

InfographicIcelandnsp 282

The flights were changed slightly. Originally, we were due back on the 30th May 2017, but as the flight was cancelled, a few panicked communications later saw it changed to...Read More

First team ever to use Just C…

11-a-side - 7th August 2016

Just Cool By Awdis Football Topsnsp 282

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

Iceland Tour 2017 football sq…

Iceland Tour 2017 - 27th July 2016

Subbuteonsp 282

The six players for the Iceland Tour 2017 are detailed below:   Kevin Cooper Joins again after taking part in four recent tours. Superb between the sticks. Davinder Sangha Organiser (as expected) and defender in...Read More

Cricket score = bad defences.

11-a-side - 24th July 2016

Sassco240716nsp 282

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

Games against Breiðablik UBK …

Iceland Tour 2017 - 23rd July 2016

Icelandgamesarrangednsp 282

Really delighted to announce two games in Iceland for the 2017 tour. Games will take place in and around Reykjavik. The first one arranged was against Breiðablik UBK arranged by Andrés Pétursson...Read More

Tactical headquarters in Reyk…

Iceland Tour 2017 - 7th July 2016

Black Towernsp 282

We've provisionally booked a two bedroom apartment in Reykjavik, which will hold 6 people (Booked tickets yet, Tim?). The apartment is close to shopping, bakery, ATM, etc. Bus stop is also...Read More


Uncategorized - 5th July 2016


Defeated again; Dave Gourlay …

11-a-side - 3rd July 2016

11 A Side.Sassco V OBriensnsp 282

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

Fatty says: "Missing or …

Uncategorized - 2nd July 2016

404nsp 282

Sorry, but like Fatty Wardle is telling you, it seems that the page you were searching for can't be found. However, the site does get updated and, from time-to-time, pages...Read More

Post Brexit Guide on dealing …

Various Articles - 29th June 2016

KeithMouatnsp 282

With the recent Britain exiting Europe, or Brexit Referendum, result leading in an increase in racism. I think it would be responsible to part with some advice for ethnic minorities...Read More

Tel Aviv, Israel in 2018

Israel Tour 2018 - 27th June 2016

Tel Aviv 8 1nsp 282

Finally, we'll be setting foot on hallowed ground in the Summer of 2018, with Tel Aviv being the venue. Israel was actually an early choice back in 2009/2010, but other...Read More

Posithread win Season 18.

Sassco Tournaments - 25th June 2016

Posithreadseason18nsp 282

With a revival of the Sassco League, albeit in 5-a-side format, five teams entered and the tournament was reasonably successful, despite no referees, a flare up, slight confusion over the...Read More

Season 18 tournament in June.

Sassco Tournaments - 17th June 2016

Season18nsp 282

Downhill Complex is a distant memory now, but Sassco 6-a-side keeps failing to die off. Now it's a 5-a-side tournament played over a few hours in the new Everyone Active venue...Read More

Microsoft Band / Health GPS t…

Switzerland Tour 2016 - 11th June 2016

Semaillesnsp 282

During the Switzerland Tour, the Microsoft Band was in action and with GPS tracking during the Geneva Tournament, here are the results from my ultra-cautious approach during three 20 minute...Read More

Defeated at the Stadium of Li…

11-a-side - 11th June 2016

11 A Side.safc Lineupnsp 282

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

Geneva Tournament 2016 - Sass…

Switzerland Tour 2016 - 11th June 2016

Switzerland2016.Geneva Tournament Line Upnsp 282

After a bad night's sleep, the next morning, we headed into the city centre again for a bite to eat and then headed to a market. A local said it...Read More

GB Outfitters - player profil…

11-a-side - 7th June 2016

11 A Side.dukensp 282

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

Futsal defeat in Geneva - Sas…

Switzerland Tour 2016 - 4th June 2016

Switzerland2016.semailles And Sassconsp 282

Back in the late Summer of 2015, I was contemplating an end to the football tours. We were Stateside in New York, playing in iconic surroundings, down in the Lower...Read More

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