Bangkok Veterans League Season #3, Month #2 11/Mar/2007 • Harrow School
Mar/2007 Vets League swept away by Cosmos (again!)
Please accept my sincere thanks for yet another hugely-successfully record-breaking 19-team62-game mega-large Vets day on Mar/11th. The way this thing is growing is totally mind-numbing, but I'm certain the credit goes to you — the football-hungry fast-aging crowd in Bangkok.!! Another big congratulations go to Cosmos (again!) for putting on a flawless show of football throughout the day, not even conceding one goal (only a 0-0 draw to Debsirin in the Group Stage — their eventual rivals in the Grand Final). It'll be hard to take down these boys.!
We had the following teams in the line-up:
• Amadeus Bookmakers <== holders of the BadCup!
• LeCoq French
• Anatolian Turks
• NIST Teachers <== after a year of hiatus!
• Swiss United <== a new squad
• BU Japan
• Harrow Teachers <== holders of the Plate!
• Irish Xchange
• Japan FC <== another new squad
• Debsirin Grads <== yet another new squad!
• British Club <== holders of the Shield!
• Sunbelt United
• Bangkok Cosmos <== defending Champ!
• BSL Veterans
• Campioni Italians <== yet another new squad!
• Pickled Liver
• Yingcharoen Standbys
• Winking Frog
Among the 19 teams, all of our regular stalwart teams were present, with the exception of last month's runners-up, Vikings, who had to withdraw due to many cancellations and injuries on their squad. Teachers from Shrewsbury also were quiet and never turned up. However, on the other hand, we've had 4 new squads joining up the League this month — Swiss, Japan, Thai and Italian — giving it a truly international flair.
There were plenty of positives, and still some areas that need improvement, which, through consensus, I hope we can make it even better going forward. The interest is so intense, everyone wants to pitch in their help. I'm receiving plenty of e-mails with numerous good suggestions (Graham in particular), some of which I posted down in the "Feedback" section below. With this many teams, a truly high-tech MS-Excel spreadsheet is now in the horizon!
One of the main gripes is, of course, the time issue. With 2-3 teams absent at 1:00 pm kickoff time is understandably exhausting the patience of the punctual teams & players every month. As always, my requirement is to know EXACTLY how many teams are going to compete at the beginning of each Vets day, so that we can get started with the correct match fixtures from first game onwards, as it's not possible to switch fixtures once we get started.
But, anyhow . . . . . serious discussions for another time. Let me give y'all a brief on what I observed on the day. So, here's a rundown of the teams.
In order of final standings:
Bangkok Cosmos: The indomitable lions of Bangkok swept the Vets Mar/2007 competition with ease again. Still 100% champions whenever they compete — 6 times so far, last 3 of them back-to-back. Such a steamroller.!
Debsirin Grads: A great first-time out on the Vets, showing their class and quality to all teams they faced throughout the day. Obviously, a top contender in the coming months.
NIST Teachers: One of our returning champions (all the way back from 2005). Had a smooth run through the Group Stage, and went down to Cosmos in the SFs, thus relinquishing their 100% championship record!
Irish Xchange: No more "fluke" nickname. 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the 3 times they competed so far, getting to the SFs every time.
Amadeus Bookmakers: the BadCup! holders (donning the "Ronaldinho Orange" this month) turned Top Cup contenders. Finishing at the top of Group-D, they were merciless, and their football earned the respect of other teams, and carried home the Plate! (5th overall) trophy.
Swiss United: Another new joiner team, with Swiss style defence and German style attack. Will be another strong team of the League.
Campioni Italians: Another team, and another nation added to the roster of nations in the League. They had style, they had panache — much like Serie-A ..!
Anatolian Turks: A good Group Stage, but dismal performance on the knockout rounds this month. Blame it on too much Friday night "raki" ..!
Harrow Teachers: last month's Plate! (5th overall) trophy holders relegated to snatching the Shield! (9th overall) trophy, but still a respectable run on the day.
Winking Frog: Derek and the boys from the Winking Frog were unusually subdued after grabbing the 4th spot in Group-C. The crowd's consensus was "too early on the German drought wheat beer". Luckily there was no 5th team in Group-C which would have meant they could have aimed for the BadCup! this month.
Germans: A good run in the Group Stage, until their final group match loss to the Italians, which handed them the 3rd spot in Group-B and cost the Cup Division.
Japan FC: Last of the new joiners, and a high-tempo team. A respectable run on their first participation, and possibly their best is still yet to come.
British Club: British Club almost didn't compete this month, almost letting go of the "ever-present" title. A last minute infusion of French blood kept them afloat, but only to muster 13th spot in the end.
Sunbelt United: Fought honourably until the end, but beer was always tempting.!.
Yingcharoen Standbys: The "Ying" Seniors can't get their act together for a 2nd month in-a-row, ending up in the doldrums again. We all know there is much more to this team than is apparent on the surface.
BU Japan: Narrowly escaped the BadCup! Division this month, finishing 4th in the Group Stage due to their win over LeCoq, yet coming last (16th overall) in the Shield Division.!
LeCoq French: Winners of the BadCup! Division, but not the BadCup! LeCoq were aiming a Top-10 finish in honour of their 10th participation in the League, and finished by winning the Bowl! (17th overall) trophy, still in Top-100..!!
Pickled Liver: When will the boys from Pickled Liver learn, consistency is key to the tournament format football? They were happy and almost won the BadCup! had it not been BSL conceding.
BSL Veterans: After a near-BadCup! performance last month, and without their influential leader, Roland, this month they had it rough going throughout the day, and happily brought home the first BadCup! For Apr/1st, "Ronaldinho Orange" is yours boys..!!.
Having had large tournaments experience in the last 2 months in Feb/2007 and Dec/2006, this month's 19-team organization was not to be underestimated. The logistics of bringing all the people and the amenities at the designated tournament venue with sufficient quantities and at the right time is now a Halliburton scale event.
Due to the increased number of teams, we had to build in "qualification" concept into the 4 groups, which, at the end of the Group Stage:
Top-2 teams entering the Cup Division
3rd and 4th teams entering the Shield Division
and, the 5th and bottom teams entering the Bowl Division (a.k.a. BadCup! Competition)
The random group split seemed mostly even-balanced, with NIST Teachers and Irish Xchange falling in different groups, but defending Champ! Cosmos and the day's new surprise package Debsirin ending up in the same group. Group-D seemed to have mostly easy-going teams in British Club, Amadeus, Pickled Liver and the day's 2 other debutantes Japan FC and Swiss. The very last minute addition, Campioni Italians were to battle it out with the Irish, Yingcharoen Standbys and the Germans in Group-B.
The 4-games-per-team Group Stage offered much action and drama.
In Group-A, the mythical and long-time absent NIST Teachers were steamrolling through the group games, only dropping points to the Anatolian Turks with a 1-1 draw. Harrow Teachers were always intimidating to anyone who crossed their path, and LeCoq French and BU Japan were hard at work, trying to scrape points off of anyone and anything.
In Group-B, the new-joiners, Campioni Italians, under the newly appointed Manager, Thierry, were making waves by winning 2 and drawing 2. And, Irish Xchange was equal to the challenge. In fact, only 1 goal separated these 2 teams at the end of the group games, whereby Irish barely clenching the top spot. The Germans showed unusual moments of brilliance, and almost grabbed the 2nd spot in the group, had they not lost to Campioni in the last game of their group battle. One of our former champions, Yingcharoen Standbys, couldn't find their rhythm again, dropping points rather easily, and BSL Veterans seemed exhausted from their coaching duties earlier in the day in the BSL Youth League, and never mounted any challenge to anyone, managing only 1 point from their draw against the Germans.
In Group-C, Cosmos outclassed the rest of the teams, with an entertaining 0-0 draw in their first game in the group against Debsirin Grads. This was just a teaser to showcase the things to come later in the tournament's Grand Final between these 2 quality teams. Group-C had only 4 teams in the group today, and the other prominent teams in the group, Winking Frog and Sunbelt United, fought with all their might, and concluded the group with 1 and 2 points respectively (yes, no error there ==> Winking Frog 4th in the group with only 1 points from a draw against Sunbelt!)..!
Group-D seemed to contain the "lighter-side" teams, where we had a number of former and current BadCup! holders in Pickled Liver, Amadeus, and BSL. However, the 2 debutantes in the group, Japan FC and Swiss, were unknown quantities.
Once the group games were over, for some strange reason, it took a long while to get the rocket science sorted out and announce group points and rankings, signaling the dire need for more automated approaches to the point rankings (Voila!, enter the computer age tools to be utilized in the coming months!). Top-2 teams of each group going into the Cup Division led to 4 interesting matchups in the Cup Division QFs:
NIST Teachers -vs- Campioni Italians: The vocal Italians fought hard to enter the top draw in their 1st entry in the Vets League, but the experienced NIST Teachers weren't having any of it. [Score: 1-0 to NIST]
Bangkok Cosmos -vs- Swiss United: Swiss probably didn't expect to end up in the Cup Division, and the defending Champ! Cosmos kindly obliged. [Score: 3-0 to Cosmos]
Irish Xchange -vs- Anatolian Turks: An epic battle of the 2 nations from the East & the West of Europe, a repeat of last month's 3rd-4th place game, ending 0-0 after regulation time, and the Irish skillfully converting their penalties in the shootout. [Score: 2-1 to the Irish]
Amadeus Bookmakers -vs- Debsirin Grad: Last month's BadCup! holders against this month's new-joiners in the QF? This must be the yet another Vets League competition.!!!! [Score: 0-0 after regulation time, 2-0 to Debsirin on penalties]. Nevertheless, well done to the boys from Amadeus.
And, on the other bracket in the Shield Division, we've had another 4 interesting QFs among the groups's 3rd and 4th ranking teams:
Harrow Teachers -vs- Yingcharoen Standbys: These 2 teams have played against so many times, they practically know each other inside out. Unmistakably, they pull out another thriller.!!! [Score: 0-0 after regulation time, 3-2 to Harrow on penalties]
Sunbelt United -vs- Japan FC: Yet another up-&-down performance by Sunbelt, and they concede to the new-joiners, Japan FC, on a close call. [Score: 2-1 to Japan FC]
Germans -vs- BU Japan: Missing the Cup Division on a close margin, Germans turned the heat up on BU Japan. [Score: 2-0 to the Germans]
British Club -vs- Winking Frog: Something came over these 2 usually entertaining teams this month, they seemed uninterested in football for some reason. [Score: 0-0 after regulation time, 3-1 to Winking Frog on penalties]
And, of course, intrigue and mystery was brewing in the Bowl Division, a.k.a. BadCup! competition, where the 3 teams that concluded the Group Stage at bottom 5th ranking of their groups were at odds with each other on who will actually deserve the coveted BadCup!
First up was the LeCoq French -vs- BSL Veterans match in which there was brilliant football but no score. So, it led to yet another dreaded penalty-shootout, the result of which favoured LeCoq after a lengthy 4-3 sudden-death action.
Next up was the LeCoq French -vs- Pickled Liver match in which LeCoq left nothing to chance this time, and took care of Pickled Liver on a clean 2-0 score handily. And, they rejoiced, having escaped their first BadCup!, yet brought home the unenviable Bowl! (17th overall) trophy.
And, the scene was set for a major clash between Pickled Liver -vs- BSL Veterans. The announcer's desk advertised the BadCup! Final intensely to be able to draw crowds to it — which it did. And, among all the anticipation and hoopla, we were informed that BSL Veterans were to concede due to having lost their players to "shower rooms"..!! Oh, what an anti-climax.! Stuart and Pickled Liver wanted to play the full 9 min of this game, yet they returned home without a trophy at 18th place, and BSL grabbing the revered BadCup! this month.
The Cup Division and Shield Division of the tournament were still taking place in the other pitches. In the Cup Division, the SFs were:
NIST Teachers -vs- Bangkok Cosmos: This was the most anticipated game of the League's whole 2+ years of history, and these 2 "100%-ers" should have met in the Final.!!! Nevertheless, Cosmos totally dominated the whole game and left nothing to chance, closing up NIST Teachers early in the game. [Score: 3-0 to Cosmos]
Irish Xchange -vs- Debsirin Grads: For the 3rd month in-a-row, Irish Xchange meticulously carried themselves to yet another SF — that's a 100% record for them in all their 3 entries in the Vets League. Debsirin, on the other hand, had a carefully drawn up map for themselves in their "first-ever" entry in the Vets, which they skill fully closed out on penalties. [Score: 0-0 after regulation time, 2-1 to Debsirin on penalties]
In the other divisions:
NIST Teachers grabbing the 3rd place consolation trophy, beating Irish Xchange 1-0.
BadCup! holders, Amadeus, ending up as the Plate! winners (5th overall), their 2nd trophy in as many entries, beating a new force in the League, the Swiss.
Harrow Teachers putting an end to Winking Frog's misery with a 1-0 victory in the Shield Division (9th overall).
Of course, Dominique lifting LeCoq's Bowl! (17th overall) trophy was a memorable scene.
And, the Grand Final between Cosmos -vs- Debsirin showed much of its promise, and displayed a very entertaining game for the spectators. The legs and minds were showing signs of tiredness, however, the hearts were fully concentrated on the Top Trophy. Debsirin generally defended well, yet Cosmos's unrelenting attacks gave way to one lone goal, and handed Cosmos one more Vets championship title this month.
Congratulations to Cosmos, to Debsirin, to NIST, and to all the teams & players who showed up to make it another memorable Vets day.
With this month's 3rd-in-a-row win, Cosmos notched up their championship trophies tally to 6, continuing their 100% record run, clearly earning the "best team" title of our young league. The next record waiting to fall is Vikings's 4-in-a-row feat from the 2006 season. Way to go boys..!!
And, stay tuned to see how it goes in next month's competition. Everyone will be watching.! (do read more about the current standing records and more stats in the "Champions" page).
Here's the complete scores of the day ==>
With the absence of Vikings and Anders this month, the Top Scorer trophy went to an unusual suspect — Franco from the Germans, reportedly filling in 6 goals on the day. Congratulations!
In all honesty, it's fantastic that we can have this sort of tournament every month among the aging-but-dedicated footballers in Bangkok. Let's hope we can keep the momentum going in the foreseeable future. Frankly, I don't envisage any change to the format at this time, as it struck a core with everyone, bringing all of us together once a month on a half-day Sunday afternoon. We'll surely make reasonable adjustments around the edges as time goes on.
My thanks to Gonzague from Sunbelt, Sirichai from Yingcharoen, and Derek from Winking Frog with a helping hand, and all the others who were on hand to assist any way they can (especially, Khun Kruu Steve from Harrow with that crucial "red tape" for the Top Trophy).
And not to forget, another big thanks go to Harrow School and Kh. Somparn for setting up all the nice pitches for us and making it convenient for all to enjoy. It's looking better each new month.
Feel free to forward to me any pictures, comments, thoughts, suggestions and ideas you have. I'd be happy to post them up on the website. It only makes the Vets community livelier.
Next Vets is confirmed for Apr/1st at Harrow School again. Please let me know quickly if you would like to enter a squad. With the way we're piling on the teams, we may have to introduce a cap on the number of participating teams. So, the usual warning applies:
==> first-come, first-serve!
My last and most important message is: ==> If it's first Sunday, it's Vets day — for a fun &
friendly half-day football outing once a month among good
friends and banter.
Picture 1 — Getting ready to kick the day off.
Picture 2 — All the silverware, raring to go!
Picture 3 — BU Japan maestros in their pre-tournament warm-up drills.
Picture 4 — Anatolian Turks and Irish Xchange are thin on the ground early on the day.
Picture 5 — And the games get underway. Amadeus threatening Pickled Liver's goal.
Picture 6 — Campioni Italians and Irish Xchange are battling it our for points in the Group Stage.
Picture 7 — Amadeus is on the attack again against Japan FC.
Picture 8 — Amadeus is all smiles in their BadCup! "Ronaldinho Orange" outfit this month.
Picture 9 — The camaraderie in this Pickled Liver team is untouchable.
Picture 10 — Anatolian Turks ready for some real action.
Picture 11 — BSL Veterans put on brave face throughout the day (despite the BadCup! performance).
Picture 12 — Debsirin Grads had specific plan for the Top Trophy in their "first-ever" entry in the Vets League.
Picture 13 — The very vocal Campioni Italians, in their Denmark-red kits, easily swept into their "first-ever" Vets League.
Picture 14 — The unassuming Swiss proved to be a strong team in their first month in the Vets.
Picture 15 — Yingcharoen Standbys took the day easy, and could finish the day at 15th place.
Picture 16 — BU Japan in their pre-game pep-talk.
Picture 17 — Love those pinky shirts.!
Picture 18 — Mighty NIST Teachers were dominating throughout the day, and finished 3rd overall as a result.
Picture 19 — LeCoq is notorious with their attention to detail when it comes to supply of material and equipment.
Picture 20 — Another brave display of football from the "always positive" Harrow Teachers.
Picture 21 — Irish Xchange is never to be underestimated.
Picture 22 — Campioni Italians return to the iris of the camera, this time in their Swedish-yellow kits.
Picture 23 — New-joiners, Japan FC, had plenty substitutes on the roster this month.
Picture 24 — Japan FC had plenty MORE substitutes on the roster this month (someone must have forgotten to mention that Vets League is only 7-a-side!).
It is too easy in football these days to dish out superlatives to describe a team or a player. However the organizing committee of the Bangkok Veterans League (http://www.vetsleague.com/) will feel justified in describing the NIST Vets Team as "mythical". A myth is a narrative, or a popular belief or assumption, based on the legendary heroes of a culture. Mythology sometimes involves supernatural events or characters to explain the nature of the universe and humanity. As it turned out, Mar/11th, was a day to witness legendary heroes of the NIST community achieving feats that many would describe as supernatural, and certainly extraordinary.
Group Stages: The Myth lives on.
The NIST team entered the arena at Harrow School as a largely unknown quantity despite a 100% winning record. After having won each of the three tournaments played in 2005 season, the squad took a one year break to allow the other teams to practice and aspire to the same level. The pre-tournament build-up was marred by a contract dispute with NIST's former No. 1 goalkeeper, Lindsay "Linz" Woods. Having refused to add an extra Mars Bar to the package, NIST walked away from negotiations. Woods was eventually snapped up by 5-time Champions Cosmos, saying "they offered me 3 Mars Bars AND a Toblerone, it was an offer I couldn't refuse". NIST's management team of Purcell and Watts refused to comment, stating that they would let the football do the talking at the end of the day.
With 19 teams in the tournament, this was to be a long road to the Final. The Group Stage saw NIST pitted against: The French, The Japanese, Harrow Teachers and Anatolian Turks. Each team had spent some time in thinking of their names, time that would have been better spent on the training group wondering how to deal with the lightning quick attacking force of Hodgkinson, Maclure and the electrifying Nicolson. Each team was dispatched with ease.
The French fell 1-0 to a late winner by Hodgkinson who followed up a fierce Millward shot that the sprawling keeper did well to parry. With every passing tournament Millward looks and plays more and more like Jonathan Woodgate, only without the hair band and with bigger shorts. Woodgate is also known for his pre-match ritual of consuming a family bag of chips and a bucket of chicken. "You've got to set your stall out early" said Millward between mouthfuls. The highlight of this first match was a spectacular incident that saw Watts rattle the bar with a stunning long range volley. Nicolson followed up with an acrobatic overhead-kick that shaved the bar.
Long-ball specialists Harrow were comfortably beaten despite strong appeals for two penalties for NIST's Legends. At the very beginning of the game, Goddard, instated as NIST's new No. 1 goalkeeper during the protracted contract disputes with Woods, pulled off the first of many great saves for the day. He clearly justified the faith in him displayed by the NIST management. Nicolson was clearly held back as he surged into the box following clever work by Kennedy on the far right. Kennedy had beaten three defenders with a trademark run and cross, and while Nicolson was fouled, Andrew "Tom" Thomas followed up to finish with aplomb from fully five meters. Two minutes later, Nicolson struck to make it 2-0, bending the ball round the wall with a freekick that would have made Victoria proud. The game could have been wrapped up at 3-0 if the referee had awarded Nicolson the penalty he deserved. After outpacing the suspiciously young-looking Harrow defenders, he was maliciously fouled from behind in the area, despite this he bravely shot at goal, and as the ball came back off the goalkeeper managed to send a ferocious header goalwards from his knees. The ball stopped on the line.
The Japanese were comfortably beaten 3-0. The Legends produced superlative football. A delightful move of at least four passes ended with Hodgkinson driving home a left footed volley after Maclure had jinked through a mesmerized defence. The second goal was a masterpiece. Another sweeping move ended with Hodgkinson chipping to the back post for Maclure to direct a header into the bottom corner and celebrate his first headed goal since Kennedy's last competitive goal in 1972. Nicolson finished the rout with a trademark cool volleyed finish from 15 meters after good work by the marauding Grist. By this stage, teams were starting to recall the fable of that great NIST team they now called "The Legends". Grist was playing with a license to roam that brought tears to the eyes of the watching Germans as they recalled the great Beckenbauer at his peak.
After some pre-match bonding between the teams, The Legends ran out against the Anatolian Turks needing only a draw to confirm their place as Group-A winners. Despite dominating for long periods, The Legends were held to a 1-1 draw. The goal came from a stunning break-away by The Iceman Nicolson. He picked up the ball deep inside his own half and beat three defenders on the halfway line with sublime skill and an electric turn of pace. There was no catching him as he struck from 10 meters with a left-foot shot across the keeper into the far corner, a textbook finish for all the students watching in the packed stands.
Closing Stages: Supernatural Feats
Even legends can be slowed by injuries, tiredness and age. Creaking bodies took to the field for the Quarter Final against the Italians. Watts was given the task of replacing the irreplaceable Nicolson in attack after the Iceman was forced to sit this one out with an icepack. After having expertly marshaled the midfield in the opening stages, Watts showed his versatility with a virtuoso performance. In fact, the winning goal in a 1-0 scoreline was awarded to Watts after a decision by the "dubious goals panel". Maclure swung a hopeful ball to the far post and the unmarked Watts appeared to aim a head at the ball before it crept in at the far post. Later Watts claimed the goal stating, "That's my goal". Despite the weary bodies, supernatural performances were emerging. Purcell knocked a ball into Hodgkinson's path with a pass that some in the crowd felt was reminiscent of a young Cesc Fabregas. Meanwhile, Francis was a rock at the back, amply filling the space left by the missing Smyth — metaphorically, not literally.
The Semi Final draw left The Legends facing the pre-tournament favourites of Cosmos and their controversial goalkeeper. Up against an outstanding team, and a goalkeeper satiated on Mars Bars, The Legends were up against all odds. Sometimes even Legends have to admit they are second best. Despite supernatural performances by Icepack Nicolson and Goddard in particular, The Legends lost 3-0.
In the late evening murk, The Legends played for 3rd/4th game against the Irish Exchange in what would be the most feisty-yet-one-sided game of the day. It was clear from the start that The Legends midfield of Maclure, Kennedy and Thomas had too much movement and guile for the "Boys from the Bogs". Watts was causing problems in attack. Very quickly goal scoring opportunities arrived. Maclure dispatched the goal of the day into the top corner from a long range freekick, only to see the referee disallow the goal after prolonged whining from the Irishmen as the whistle hadn't been blown. If it's good enough for Henry, it's good enough for Maclure! The Legends were only spurred on by this setback and Thomas blasted home from 20 meters with a devastating shot that appeared to take a slight deflection. At 1-0 up, The Legends still pushed for a second and Watts revealed that Legends can produce extraordinary feats. After being put through by Maclure, and one-on-one with the goalkeeper glued to his line, Watts contrived to drag the ball hopelessly wide when it seemed easier to score. The only consolation for Watts was when Hodgkinson asked if that miss was worse than his in the last tournament, and was met with a resounding "No".
3rd Place: The Legends
The Legends of NIST continued their fine record of securing a trophy at each appearance at the tournament. Team Manager Purcell could hardly contain his delight. "I can't believe what these guys have achieved. I mean, look at them man, they are old, stiff and run like 40-year-olds. I am so proud of each and every one of them. To come third from 19 quality teams is a great achievement, almost supernatural. Each player is a hero to me."
From: Stuart Team: Pickled Liver Date: 12/Mar/2007
Just wanted to say thanks for the tournament again from all of the Pickled Liver (ex holders and near winners of the Bad cup this time).
Thanks again for all your hard work. It really is appreciated by us all.
From: Dino Team: Swiss United Date: 12/Mar/2007
Thanks again for this great tournament! We surely try to participate
from now on.
We had a good run yesterday. No goal conceded all day, quite
I have different automated spreadsheets and maybe I could
prepare something for you next time. At least the standings in the
groups would be automated, saving you the points and goal counting.
Anyway, once again - thanks for all the efforts.
From: Pedro Team: Bangkok Cosmos Date: 12/Mar/2007
Good afternoon EG,
First of all "Happy Birthday" to you. As you mentioned yesterday evening to all of us that today is your Birthday. I hope you will have an enjoyable and happy afternoon and a nice Birthday celebration with your family and friends.
Thanks again for your effort and time that you dedicate every month to organize this now already huge Vets football tournament. It's really appreciate by all members of the Vets community.
Then I just have one suggestion regarding the shortage of beverage that you face for every Vets tournament. Why you don't ask 500 Baht more from each team at the end of the day, so that you can provide more drinks (water, soft drinks and especially beer!) for all teams. I have noticed that not only the players are consuming a lot of drinks during the afternoon, but also the girlfriends, wifes and children of the players.
So, I think it would be fair enough to get another 500 Baht from each team, so that it will cover the costs for additional drinks (especially water and beer!). I don't mind if family members are having also drinks since I am also one of the players who brings his family along to the tournament. In a hot day like yesterday, you just need to have enough fluid otherwise one day someone will collapse in this heat!
See you next month!
From: Graham Team: Winking Frog Date: 12/Mar/2007
I hope you will accept these suggestions as they are intended to be helpful feedback. I am justifiably amazed at how much the Vets tournament has grown and how popular it has become and it is much credit to you for this. I believe as you recognised this month, that the competition is becoming to a monster to manage and something has to be done to ensure its smooth running and timely execution. I have noted some random thoughts below with no particular attention to priorities:
Limit the entry to 16 teams. Set an entry date and hold to it. If there is a surplus of players available, invite them to make up the ranks of the teams that have entered. Contact details of the captains is available on the website.
By having 16 teams, you can adopt the 4 groups of 4 format and after a month or two, with a set format, players and captains will become familiar with the way the tournament is run, thus cutting down briefing time and allowing more playing time.
A 16 team format with Cup and Plate Divisions can be easily generated into a digital spreadsheet that updates the Group Stage results as you go along. By using a laptop, you can have immediate seedings for the next rounds. I can help with this and provide a laptop (for the use during the tournament) if you so wish. I can look for a suitable spreadsheet to assist with the compilation of the results. It may take a competition or two to fine tune it to our needs but in the end, it will save a great deal of time. You'll even be able to upload elements of the spreadsheet into the website to provide details of scores and scorers.
Ensure that teams and organizers are ready to kickoff at 1pm. Do the draw before the day and thus have the competition ready to go. If a team drops out, simply ask for another to be formed on the day — in theory there will be a surplus of players — and that team takes the place of the missing team.
Asking around, a lot of us dislike the reduction of playing time in the Knockout Stage and in fact it can be a false economy as many games end at 0-0 with time sucking penalties ensuing. With more efficient time planning and preparation, we can reduce time wasting and standardise the length of each game, perhaps aiming for 12 min for all games.
Employ (i.e., strong arm) a volunteer to be your regular assistant. It is a mammouth task trying to update scores, deal with issues and make announcements all on your own. Having a regular assistant will also free you up to play that you love so much more regularly.
If you are confident of having 20 teams regularly enter, then the same comments still apply, but for a 4 leagues of 5 teams format but 4 extra teams adds a lot of games.
Whatever you choose to do and however you wish to proceed, you have my full support. Let me know if I can be of any assistance. Feel free to circulate or this to captains in order to solicit further feedback.
I really do feel that you have the support to take this to next level but still maintain the fun, friendly nature of the tournament.
From: Martin Team: NIST Teachers Date: 13/Mar/2007
Thanks for organizing the HUGE tournament this Sunday. Even though NIST didn't win this time (well beaten by Cosmos), it was good to hobble away with some silverware.
From: Dominique Team: LeCoq French Date: 16/Mar/2007
First, when I read your message I felt sorry for you; I must explain
why, and then apologize.
LeCoq (toujours Unique) set a resolution to win All the Finals; it is a much funnier game than to go for the top one only we got quite a lot now and Cosmos is very very far behind us; so I apologize to them for letting them know our own rules so late; but now at least it is hard for them to catch up within this year;
Like bridge cards players in this team, before each tournament we confidentially set our objectives; we told you Top 10, but what do you think? This is a VETS game; not a KIDS Game! Do you get it now? My Apologies Boss!
Since these Debbies of Debsirin let us down in the last minute, we were only 7-and-a-half (one of our players also played with British Club; perhaps sunstroke or what, I don't know, he had to leave early he was not feeling well); hence, it was clear we had to lower the objective. By the way, these Debbies, they got near the top but they got nothing! No Cup, no Silver, no Speech, no Trophy, no Girls hand kissing; but they got us a discount on the fees and thanks for that EG.
You are now facing the difficulties caused by this sudden / unexpected successful development.
Definitely, IT is key in improving the efficiency not only for all the teams waiting for your final verdict, but also for you as you are now spending more time in front of the result sheet than playing football or enjoying the day, chatting with all of us !! I trust you can manage the IT thing !!!
The second one is being firm with the teams. If some do not show up, the least they can do is give you a call. At least by friendship and respect for your organization and to the rest of the teams.
As a feedback, the Campioni guys (and yes, we were a big squad of 13 players), we DID enjoy the day.! Great ambiance, they said, they were worried of being far behind most of the teams as they have no practice, but eventually we were positively surprised. We all enjoyed the spirit of the games and being able to spend a day out and exercising whilst having fun. All ready to come back in April. I hope we can register every month if we have a large pool (anyway as you know 13 is too many for a 7-a-side tournament).
Personally, I did enjoy their cheering on the bench. It was a great experience. Now, the BIG disappointment / improvement that all us would like is having the 13 min or 17 min games you promised for the final round. Having QFs/SFs only 9 min does NOT mean anything, and obviously is frustrating when you lose the game, as you do not recover from a goal in 9 min! PLEASE do something about it!
Anyway, thanks for the day and I'll let you know soon whether we'll participate again. I have to check with the guys.
From: Graham Team: British Club Date: 18/Mar/2007
Please find below the British Club report for the Mar/2007 competition.
Britisch Club (British Club) Veterans – Mar/2007
The British Club were originally going to join ranks with the Winking Frog lads, but at the last moment the WF realised that they could in fact piece a team together and come the Sunday, the British Club were down to bare bones. So with Peter, Wayne, British Eric, Jed and Graham making up the core of the team, we were very fortunate to have L'Eric (LeCoq) Berman join our ranks in an outfield role. Seeing how the LeCoq were doing with L'Eric in goal, I'd say we got the best deal! The British Club were still short of a goalkeeper, and may have set a new tournament record by employing 5 different goal keepers throughout the tournament. Only the Irish Xchange refused to lend us young Hayden. Big thanks go to Derek (WF), Lindsey (Cosmos) and Gonzague (Sunbelt) in particular for shoring up our defences.
In the Group Stage, British Club played pretty well moving the ball around nicely with Wayne and Jed providing the thrust, Eric and Peter standing solid in defence and L'Eric "trying" to offer some Gallic flair. The British Club failed to convert superior craftsmanship into goals in two of the group games and that proved their undoing with the British Club finishing in 3rd place on 6-pts, having won 2 and lost 2. Graham's slam dunk from a corner should have garnered 2-pts, but instead he was rightly shown a yellow card and dismissed from one game.
The QF of the Shield Division saw the British Club pitted up against their former brothers-in-arms-to-be, the Winking Frog. The game ended 0-0, which was a bit of a travesty with the British Club raining shots in on the WF goal, hardly allowing Derek in goals to take a swig of larger. Derek underlined his goal keeping credentials and the influence he had on the game by saving 2 of the 3 British Club penalties, and committing the British Club to the basement rounds. Graham took a little satisfaction from converting his penalty against Derek.
The British Club ended on a high though, winning the last two games over BU Japan (3-1: quite a score line for 9 minutes of football) and 1-0 against Sunbelt. Actually that was the only high they could take from the tournament as there was a distinct lack of beer available at the end. So, for those Statos amongst you, the British Club came 13th overall with Graham contributing 3 goals and L'Eric poaching 2.
Finally, a big thanks to EG for another fun afternoon.
From: Yamaguchi Team: Japan FC Date: 19/Mar/2007
I was very glad to join Vets League for the first time on Mar/11th. We wish to express our gratitude.
We will join the Vets League again on Apr/1st.
Thank you & Best regards.
From: Philip Team: Sunbelt United Date: 21/Mar/2007
For what its worth, a few points to improve the Vets league which I would suggest:
Computerize the tournament, taking way too long to tally scores. We should have the minimum amount of time between games. Gives us more play time. Less talk more rock, I think most people are happy to move this thing faster and the mic thing can be a big distraction for teams still playing.
Set a definitive start time. Its tiring to get there an hour early to sit and wait for disorganized types to get ready time and time again. And charge late teams one forefit, they will quickly learn I promise u. Or put a bit of psychology into play, where u set a real start time in your head and aim to begin about an hour later. 1pm seems to be a bit late, so maybe a stratgic time to make this change.
I would advise u have all teams pay a deposit in advance. Believe u me, teams that are committed to paying will find guys come hell or high water. I would suggest a cash drop off by Fri afternoon, alterntaive would be a bank transfer to Bkk account, that makes it easy.
Formulate tournament brackets in advance. And account for dropped teams in the brackets schema. This gets us going quick.
Last few Vets days we have ran out of the refreshments, namely water and beer. Personally I would rather pay more to secure a greater supply of this. And I think most of the food goes uneaten. Maybe an alternative would be fruits and less fried stuff.
Charts or marker boards. Would be nice to have posted big charts with up to minute updates on scores and standings. Two would be good, one near to your mic stand and one near to the main pitches. As well, something to refer to for the time, fields and match ups. Altertive would be a printer to shoot out sheets for referencing. This is good invenstment for future.
Something which I think might be fun to do once a year is to do a draft where people draw straws to play with totally different people and teams. Like random draws the day of and just to have lots of fun. The Cosmos domination will eventually bore people.
Lastly, thx for all u put into this. This is such a damm fun time. Please take my suggestions as a means of improvement, in no way am I complaining. Just would like to see us improve over time.
From: Dominique Team: LeCoq French Date: 19/Mar/2007
LeCoq will be there to add another trophy to complete our long list; will tell you which one later, after we see how many trophies are available and which one we haven't got yet; I tell you this now, with Cosmos and LesGaulois around, we might not go for the top this time again; unless Cosmos decides to chase other trophies too as they should be bored with the top ones and it is more fun underground.
Have a good time in Hong Kong ! The weather is nice here, and we all miss you very much; Be good and come back quickly; don't forget to bring the beer.
From: Stuart Team: Pickled Liver Date: 19/Mar/2007
just so you all know, The Pickled Liver will soon be winning the Cup.
Having won the BadCup! in our first tournament as a team, and in our second full tournament reaching the dizzy heights of 2nd from bottom, we feel that it is only a matter of time before we win the whole damn thing.
watch out the lot of you.....
Feel free to e-mail to me if you would like to voice your take on the above summary, or would like to obtain the original resolution pictures.