In a momentous development in my life, I signed on as an official Gammy Knees player in September 2008. Things would never be the same again!
I joined the Gammy Knees on my return to Nottingham in 2008, when we wanted to set up a new Powerleague team. Original members (and team captain) Rick and Matt were still around and up for it. A heavy recruitment drive enabled us to snap up Chris Wagner, Danny Jones, Stephen Kendall and Danny Lunt, as well as finding a place for the erstwhile gaffer Joe Westhead – he of “Man Each” fame.
We were soon into the action. Most of our team were still students – I was one of the senior statesmen at 22! – so we participated in the student league. It must have only been Week 3 or 4 when we were invited into a special “Golden Balls” tournament. The nominated player (Mr Golden Balls) had to wear a yellow bib and any goals they scored counted double. Purely because I’d scored more than Rick the previous Sunday, I was given the privilege and found myself marked very tightly. It was horrible. I scored twice (four goals worth) in one game to get us a 4-2 win but we crashed out in the group stage.
As far as the league season went, our form was solid if unspectacular. Not a description you could apply to Ste, whose brand of sensational backheels and top corner piledrivers won us a number of games. Westhead at the back was a vocal and tough presence – he did fancy the odd foray forward (or should that be a surge?!), usually involving trying to nip in and steal the ball from the keeper’s rollout before unleashing a shot…bottom corner or wide. Every time!
Westhead’s influence on the team could probably be summed up when I got engaged in the February of the season. Rick, who would later become my best man, spoke on behalf of the team after the match that Sunday. “I’d like to say a few words to congratulate Joe on his engagement. So in order to mark this occasion properly, I’m handing over to Westhead.” Well, he did always have plenty to say!
As for socials, we had some good times as a team. One trip to Isis made me feel incredibly old – young, fresh-faced students on a Wednesday night, whereas us older characters had work in the morning. Made friends with some random girls in the taxi. They weren’t too overimpressed with my simple council job nor Rick’s data entry experiences!
We also did the Nottingham Uni Anthony Nolan Trust 10k as a team. Rick, Ste and Danny L sprinted off at the start to make sure they were in the lead, while Chris, Westhead and I took a more conservative pace. Finishing in 45 minutes was a good achievement, even if I only came 4th out of our team. Is now the time to reveal which one of us had a wee halfway round? (By the way, that person still beat me!)
A successful season with some special moments…
…three word summary: Capable and compact