The summer of 2009 brought hefty changes to the Gammy Knees. Would it work out for them?
Despite basically building a new team the previous summer, the end of university for a number of players meant that the Gammies had to undergo a radical rehaul once again. Gone: Danny L, Danny J, Ste, Chris. Soon to go: Westhead. We needed some new faces otherwise the Gammy Knees were done. Another heavy recruitment drive followed. In: Mike, Dave and Pete. With only six, we did often find ourselves needing to draft in other people to play on a number of occasions. People like Nik (with his excellent left foot) and Cogsy did do a decent job when called upon.
This recruitment certainly had a more long term feel with only one student left in the squad, that of our new German midfielder Pete, and he a PhD student. Strong, skilful and determined, he led the charge for us, almost as influential as Rick in many games. He did take a shot more often than he passed…but his finishing ability was usually good enough to compensate.
Adding to the international flavour was Mike, a ballroom dancing IT expert, whose long, flowing hair, tights and vest tops certainly marked him out. A highly useful utility man who could play anywhere and be effective, Mike still remains a key part of the Gammy Knees team and would go on to be captain. (More on that later).
As Westhead bade us a sorrowful farewell and headed for Munich, we needed a new defender. Step forward, Dave, Royston’s answer to Jamie Carragher. He read the game well, wasn’t fussed about nipping forward (although he could certainly hit a terrific shot) and he kept us compact. His long-standing friendship with goalkeeper Matt helped their understanding too.
Again, our team was solid and dependable in the league. We weren’t the types to dominate possession, more about pressurising the opposition into mistakes, sharp counter-attacks involving one-twos and precise finishing. We won Division 3 in the first half of the season and got promoted, a cause of great celebration. Unfortunately, as the next season kicked off, Pete was ruled out through injury, wanting to protect himself before a stint at the London Marathon.
Consequently, our league form tailed off, particularly as we were now up against tougher opposition. We didn’t get relegated but never looked like getting promoted. If we were going to be successful, it was going to have to come in a different kind of competition…
Read back next week to find out what happened in the first Emmanuel KickAbout Cup.