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REPORTS FOR OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2004
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10th October 2004 : Harry is off to New Zealand
Breaking news tonight as we hear Harry is off in search of his fortune. January will see the old boy leave our shores and start a new life in the Antipodes and hopefully before then he will invest in some suitable footwear. Tony "the fat cat" Gavin made an appearance in Ronnie Shah's shop this week looking more like Mr Pastry every time I see him, still the lads still alive and kicking which is more than be said for john "the assassin" Goodwin who seems to have gone to ground.
Tonight's football was pretty decent with Scouse Ron, Dan, Zsu Zsu Mastin, Disley and Malcolm Stubbs in one team. Myself, Steve Gerrard, Keith Proudy and Paul  Garner (back from injury) making up the second team and finally, Gary, Karl, young Jamie, Bud and Nigel.  My team started well but failed to beat Scouse Ron's team in the last three meetings so we shared the honours tonight. Gary's team battled on valiantly but only managed one win all night. Great to see Gary, Malc Stubbs, Paul and Nigel all back tonight but next week it would be better still to see the return of the assassin, we need to be kept on our toes....

17th October 2004 : Vets Return to the fold
Great joy tonight as John Goodwin, Harry and Alistair all make comebacks. The teams tonight 1: Scouse Ron, Bryn, Zsu Zsu, Tony and John  2: Alistair, Nigel, Karl, Dan and Paul   3: Steve Hart and Gerrard, Keith Proudy, Harry and myself.  There were some cracking games tonight with Scouse Ron's team finishing the night as top dogs. John made a steady return after his op but took a few names for future treatment. Bryn had his shooting boots on and it's a toss up at the moment for who is the best striker between him and Karl who scores easily with both feet. Having said that the return of Alistair after over a year saw him score a number of superb solo goals, added to that he made some unbelievable saves in goal as he threw his bulky frame around like a 15 year old. There's a price to pay for everything and when he wakes in the morning that price will be quite clear.  Dan, Paul and Karl linked well tonight and given a regular outing together could become a quite strong team. Miss of the night came when after a flowing move from one end of the hall to the other Steve Gerrard skilfully drew the keeper before rolling a "gimmi" to Proudy in the middle only to find he was tying his shoe lace. Blissfully unaware, the ball trickled past him for Zsu Zsu to pick up and hoof down the other end to Bryn who duly lashed it in. Save of the night was Steve Hart's flying leap to keep out Karls well struck penalty. This was the second penalty save by our old Jocko in recent weeks which must dispel for ever that old Jocko keeper chestnut. 15 vets and a fine session, City beating Chelsea yesterday and UniŁed struggling again,
who could ask for more?

24th October 2004 : Bad day all round tonight, as if only six turning up wasn't bad enough Kaye informed us as we finished that Man UniŁed had beaten Arse 2-0. On top of that City went down by 4-3 at Newcastle this afternoon....
15 vets last week and a cracking session but only 4of them bothered this week plus Chris and
Patrick Kisnorbo scored for HeartsRobbie.  so it was Scouse Ron, myself, Chris, Robbie, Tony and John. We had a couple of 3 a sides with the benches making an unwelcome comeback in goals. Some good football tonight though and six very tired bodies at the end. We all have problems when left one on one with the bench but only Scouse Ron could bollock a bench for lack of effort. Nice to see Robbie back, he's not lost any of his enthusiasm but even he was on his knees after 90 minutes of 3 a side. Let's hope for a better turnout next week and oh! Hearts beats Hibernian 2-1 so at least our old Jocko will be happy.


30th October 2004 : Last weeks poor turnout was soon forgotten as Mary's Moaners ripped into the opposition early tonight. John, Bryn, Scouse Ron, Zsu Zsu and guest Disley really hit form against Karl, Dan, Robbie, Nigel and Paul and then set about beating my team with the two Steves, Chris, Keith Proudy and myself. It was looking grim for everybody as the Moaners played some excellent football and looked capable of that elusive 100% winners title. However when Karls side was joined by Tony they only managed a draw which seemed to set them back a little. Their next game against my team was a cracker, taking advantage of their lack of fitness we played the ball round at pace and pressured John into putting through his own net and that was that. The longer the night went on the louder Scouse Ron got, a sure sign that things had turned pear shaped for the Moaners. In our final game against them Steve Hart and Steve Gerrard ran them ragged. Bryn shot over when it was easier to score and from the put out, Proudy romped up to the other end and netted.  Chris rolled  a superb pass for me to bang in the second and as the third was dispatched into the moaners net they trudged off with their heads down. A perfect example of the Tortoise and the Hare. Karls shooting boots deserted him tonight but he never gives up in any game and given a regular outing with Dan, Tony, Nigel, Paul and Robbie I think they would make a good squad. 
Tonight was a good hard fought session and yet again as we have proved down the years, the vets still have the spirit to go on and on and on. Long may it last.

7th November 2004 : Manchester derby today but still the vets turned out in numbers as the glorious Blues hushed the southern masses at Gold TraŁŁord with a great 0-0 draw. No reds fans here tonight but a few Blues missed the last half hour to play at the leisure centre. A great shock as the session started when Matt turned up sporting a full set beard looking like a cross between Trevor Hockey the old Nottingham Forest midfielder and Robinson Crusoe the old Daniel Defoe hero. If anything tonight he played more like Robinson Crusoe. I enjoyed my game this evening especially when I tackled Scouse Ron, leaving him in a heap like a beached whale before stonkin' the ball into the net, I expect to pay a heavy price for that next week. The two Steves, Karl, Paul, Zsu Zsu, Harry, Nigel and Proudy made up the eleven tonight in another very enjoyable session played in great spirit.  Proudy managed a goal from his own half receiving the ball from the kick off he drilled it into the corner, something no one has managed for quite a while.
Next week marks Matt and Steve Gerrard's  first anniversary with the vets, well done lads, here's to the next year.
It's just over six weeks to Christmas so perhaps we ought to think about an Xmas get together with as many vets as possible reuniting for a good old booze up. I'll have a word with Zsu Zsu next week and see what we can come up with. A good chance to give Harry the old heave ho as well, before he jets off to new Zealand.
Great news this morning as I read about Paula Radcliffe's excellent Marathon win in New York, a great achievement from this much maligned athlete - respect.

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 14th November 2004 : The sad news of Emlyn Hughes (57) death on Tuesday of this week saddened most football lovers the length of the country. Yesterday I heard of the untimely death of Keith Weller (58) the former Chelsea, Leicester and England player who died after a long illness. It's at times like this you actually have to take stock and realise just how lucky we are especially in my case being a year older than the former England Captain, to be still reasonably healthy and playing the sport we love week in and week out.
Anyway on a happier note this Remembrance day, the vets showed up in force again with Mary's Moaners taking the honours tonight in a fine session of five a side football.  The Mary's Moaners were represented by Scouse Ron, Zsu Zsu, Bryn, John and guest Matt (he being the one Ron always describes as boring because of his speed and skill) - Karl, Harry, Nigel, Disley and Robbie - myself, Steve Gerrard, Chris, and Tony forming the other two teams. The moaners looked unbeatable for the first few games as they took the opposition apart with ease but when Karls team mugged them 4-2 at the second attempt the evening took a more well balanced shape. Disley was on the mark with some fine goals and Tony and Steve linked well for their team with some very neat goals. Mary's moaners had the last word though when they bullied Disley into changing his decision to disallow a very dubious goal in order not to lose to Chris's team. It was like watching Roy Keane and his reprobates from Man UniŁed although I noticed Zsu Zsu in the background with his head bowed. Nice to see Scouse Ron praising Matt as he supplied the Moaners with a steady stream of goals, boring, nahhhh!!! Still three good teams tonight who deserve great praise for giving their all in a very competitive 90 minutes.

21st November 2004 : Yet another brilliant session tonight with 3 teams. Karl, Dan, Nigel, Harry and Matt - Steve Hart, Steve Gerrard, Tony and myself - Scouse Ron, Zsu Zsu Mastin, John and guest Disley for the Mary's Moaners. Credit for once has to go to our organiser Keith Zsu Zsu Mastin for picking 3 very well matched teams who for once all claimed an equal amount of success. Goal of the night came from Scouse Ron who stopped moaning for once and cracked in a superb drive from way out. Save of the night without a doubt came from Harry, stand in keeper for the Moaners when he tipped my perfectly struck penalty round the post to make it two misses from the spot from me. Steve Gerrard and Matt both celebrated their first year with us, two excellent additions to our number. Tony slotted nicely into our squad and scored some very timely goals. Nigel and Harry also worked hard this evening with Harry playing some excellent stuff. Dan was robbed a couple of times by some very iffy refereeing but thankfully the football was a much higher standard.  
The Christmas get together has been set for Friday 7th January, well New Years get together I suppose, but lets hope we can make it a bumper turnout and at the same time say good riddance to Harry before he jets off to New Zealand........ 

28th November 2004 : Only 9 vets tonight, a pretty disappointing turnout really considering there were no top games involving our clubs on Sky and the weather was depressing. Steve Hart, Steve Gerrard, Malcolm Stubbs, Zsu Zsu, myself, Matt, Karl, John and Robbie took part in a very good evenings footy. Zsu Zsu had a particularly good  game with some really well taken goals and Karl was back in scoring form with his deadly left foot strikes. Robbie had one of his better nights although injury pegged him back for the last half hour.
We had some very unpleasant news tonight when Keith informed us that Scouse Ron's daughter Alex had been a passenger in a rather nasty car accident and was very poorly in hospital. We all wish her a very speedy recovery. As a father of girls myself, my thoughts are with Ron and Bev his wife, lets just hope everything goes well for them and that we see Ron back pretty soon.

5th December 2004 : It very nearly happened tonight, a team winning all their games. John, Disley, Dan, Matt, Tony and Chris  played against Keith Proudfoot, Karl, Nigel, Harry, Zsu Zsu and myself in a five a side session with one player dropping for each game. John was back on form and Dan played one of his best sessions ever in spite of turning out in that awful Man UniŁed shirt. Disley and Tony were dominant at the back and Chris scored some crackers. If that wasn't hard enough for our team to cope with Matt kept popping the goals in for fun and was the main difference in the teams. We did have our moments however with Karl and Proudy taking on the scoring responsibilities but we only managed three draws which I have to say were hard fought. I had my third penalty on the trot saved which didn't go down very well. Splendid stuff though with loads of good games and everybody coming off well satisfied with the nights sport.
Two more sessions before Christmas to cap off a great year for the vets with a resurgence of interest and enthusiasm. FA Cup 3rd Round draw saw Oldham v City and UniŁed v Exeter, amazingly no Premiership clubs were drawn together.

12th December 2004 : The underdogs came good this weekend with Birmingham and Everton winning their derby games against the odds. Similarly Mary's Moaners triumphed against the odds by completing a second week on the trot unbeaten. This is no mean feat so a pat on the back for Bryn, John, Zsu Zsu and guest Matt. The two Steve's, Chris, Tony and myself made up the second team and Karl, Robbie, Harry, Nigel and new player Paul Guy the third team. Paul did well on his first appearance for the vets and Tony played well for my team but too many players were below par this evening so the Moaners took advantage by winning all their games bar two which they drew. Bryn sportingly switched sides with Robbie to even the teams up but couldn't prevent his own team going through the session unbeaten. He did score the first goal of the night though from his own half with his first touch of the ball.
Some good news tonight about Alex, Scouse Ron's daughter who is home and recovering well from her extensive injuries after her car accident. Could you wish for a better Christmas present, I think not. It will be good to hear the old Scouser bawling his team mates out again, that should put a stop to their glorious run....

19th December 2004 : Christmas is just six days away and there was a fair old bit of Christmas spirit flying round tonight at the leisure centre. Mary's Moaners were represented by Bryn, Scouse Ron, Zsu Zsu Mastin, Dan, John and Dave whilst the opposition was myself, the two Steve's, Tony, Karl and Keith Proudfoot. Ron's return was welcome but revenge was sweet as my side dominated the session for a change with some fine flowing football.  With Mary's Moaners giving us a good old gubbing for the last two weeks the lads didn't need much motivation. Keith and Tony ran riot and I scored more than my usual share of late so it came as no surprise when the Mary's lads fell apart. Poor old John completely lost it and Christmas was a long way from his thoughts as he spluttered and snarled through the session tonight, a far cry from his excellent recent performances.
Steve Gerrard and Steve Hart suffered from some wayward finishing and Karl found it hard to find the net with his trusty left foot, mainly due to the goalkeeping of Dave who stayed in nets after puling a muscle. Zsu Zsu vainly tried to hold his team together and Bryn netted one or two quality strikes but at the end of the day it was a case of "your turn to 'ave some" for the Moaners this week.
Anyway it's only six days to Christmas so this old heathen would like to wish all the lads a very happy Xmas and a prosperous New Year and, a big thank you for making this year a very entertaining one football wise. I'm sure we have lots of good nights ahead in the coming year which hopefully will be played out in the competitive and sporting manner which for me has prevailed throughout this year.

 Don't forget the Xmas get together on 7th Jan 2005 at the White Hart - New Mills 8-00pm   
                          Next Vets 5 a side session - January 11th 2005.                                  

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