Fodder: “A True Underfed” story

The Gammy Knees are yesterday’s news.

After claiming a trophy in their final ever appearance (see Gammy Knees: A History), our Nottingham five aside team faded into the annals of history and Rick and I were left teamless. Lost. Abandoned.

Until, with the arrival of city slicker Tom – at least that’s what he thinks – to our region and we were offered the chance to return to our footballing home.

Powerleague.

Picking the moniker Fodder, we swiftly set about assembling a team. Considering Tom knew noone in the area, his contribution was limited so Rick snapped up his younger, faster brother Sam to join the ranks. Last seen saving penalties in a Gammy Knees semi-final shootout, Sam was hired as a potential keeper.

We all knew just how long that would last.

Then, Tom had a sudden realisation that he did know some people after all and Skipton-born Graham completed the “final five.” A contemporary (and continuing) friend of one Joe Westhead, he would be a fine addition. So long as he didn’t start dishing out teamtalks!

Monday night was the chosen night and our regularity didn’t start well –  a dug out victory in a friendly and then three weeks off due to cancelled games and holidays.

However, when the season started, we were ready.

First up were the team we beat in the friendly, Scott FC, a highly talented but tempestuous group of lads. It was a battle but we got our noses in front and held out, thanks mainly to what became known to us as the Fodder 2nd Half Blitz, thrashing in four or five goals without reply after half time to take command.

The following week we realised that a squad of five players wasn’t enough so a recruitment drive was launched. In came Rob as an extra player, soon to become an integral part of the squad. We had enough players, we had a burgundy kit and, with a pair of ancient goalie gloves, could just about cope without a fixed keeper.

Once we’d secured six players, we went on an unstoppable run of victories.

There were many highlights along the way – Sam’s incessant use of the swivelled turn, Rick’s determination to dink it over the goalkeeper (in five aside nets, with a no over head height rule), Graham’s constant references to goals scored for a different team, Rob’s bludgeoning runs and shots from distance and Tom’s kamikaze goalkeeping allied with stunning bent finishes. Even Ed, Tom’s brother got in on the act, arriving for a cameo and scoring our 100th goal to boot. (I was so frustrated to get the 101st).

Our main tactic tended to be to soak up pressure then break quickly with Rick and Tom in particular bursting ahead of me to score clinically past, what has to be conceded, a whole host of quality keepers in our league.

The reunion with Scott FC was tasty. I was on paternity leave – apparently that’s a thing in football too – but we needed ruthless finishing and some spectacular goalkeeping from Rob to eke out a critical victory.

We played against four man Beat Nix, who scored two own goals from backpasses to the keeper. It was a lesson in how not to be cruel – we were cruel and paid for it in the rematch! – and our final score of 24-4 no doubt hurt them.

In the end, we sewed up the title with two games to spare and could take our foot off the pedal. A little too much as it turned out with Beat Nix seizing control of us in the final game to deliver our first defeat.

Still, with the trophy pocketed, a fresh pair of boots guaranteed and medals secured, Fodder had made their mark in the Monday 5s.

Nine wins from ten is a tremendous effort in anyone’s book. Even if Chelsea have just gone one better than that in the Premier League…

Wonder what the new season has in store.