It’s decision time. My eldest lad, Titus-Emile has got a tough choice to make as he’s wanted by two clubs: LAL Galaxy and Wigan Parish Church of England Celtic.
Okay, they’re not the Manchester Uniteds or Preston North Ends of this world, but they are a good place to start.
The LAL Galaxy (or to give them their full name, Lowton and Leigh Galaxy) are short of a twenty a season striker after their previous star player struggled to settle in the area, and eventually left – citing cultural differences. In reality, the lad was from Abram, and his dad called the manager a ‘lobby gobbling Leither know-nowt’ then took him to play for a team in Bamfurlong. So the team are currently without a striker of any note – bar a young Polish kid, but nobody can spell, let alone pronounce his name, and he’s likely to be shown the door to prevent any further training ground or team sheet embarrassment.
The Galaxy have been riding high in the Wigan and District under five league for a few seasons now, and their squads have gone on to dominate the under six, and seven leagues. Like most clubs across England though, there’s a fair degree of burnout by the time they reach under eights. It’s a blight of the modern game and heartbreaking to see so many promising young players lost to the likes of cubs, chess club and judo. The sooner we find a remedy, the better.
Galaxy’s latest shirt sponsorship deal through Grimshaw’s newsagent and tobacconist has meant they are the best kitted out team in the area, with their red shirts emblazoned with a gold B&H logo. They’d been looking for new sponsorship for a while after previous suitors Ziggy’s Tattoo Emporium and The Starlight Sauna Suite were deemed inappropriate by the league. Now with a bit of financial clout behind them, Galaxy look a very tempting proposition.
The only downside for my lad though is the potential upheaval. I’ve told him that on a good day we can be there in fifteen minutes, but he thinks all that travelling may not be the best preparation for a game. Also, he’s a firm believer that a player should live within the community of their chosen club, so that they can form an attachment and see the club through the eyes of the locals. I’ve looked into moving but we’re talking Plank Lane here. One decent chippy and that’s your lot.
The other option is to take a punt on Wigan Parish Church of England Celtic. They’re a brand new club, who are clearly out to make a name for themselves – and a long name at that. Formed by a local lad, he wanted to create a football team to celebrate his awakening to the game of football. A couple of years ago when he was attending a christening at Wigan Parish Church, a shaft of light came through the stained glass windows and projected the face of Brazilian legend Socrates onto his hymn book. Some have argued that the bearded face he saw was more likely to be Archie Gemmill because of his Wigan Athletic connections, but whoever it was, it did the trick, and he was converted. When he formed the club therefore, he adopted the name of the church.
The ‘Celtic’ part of the team name is down to the green and white kit they recently purchased on the cheap, although they were keen to point out to me when I spoke to them that they are in no way affiliated to any religious leaning or faith. For instance, they have a young lad whose surname is Pope playing in midfield next to a lad called Mohamed.
There’s also a lad at centre half whose father is a member of The Church Of The Poisoned Mind – whatever that is. They said something about him being from a ‘Cultured Club’, again, I’m clueless. I know the lad they’re on about, and I’ve never met his dad, but I’ve seen his mum a few times; tall lady with a deep voice and surprisingly big hands. I’m trying to remember the name of the boy, George I think.
Anyway, the whole team is one big diverse melting pot and would be a great place for my lad to learn about different cultures and customs. They’ve got a goalkeeper called Singh, a right back from Romania and a left winger called Lee Ho Fampem (or it could be Lee who’s from Pem – it was a bad line). It will be much better for him to mingle with a group of lads from different ethnicities and backgrounds than his usual group of insular Anglo Saxon raised friends, Amr, Arjaan, and Christiano.
So, I’ve left it up to the boy to make his own choice. I’ve told him there’s no pressure, but he should bear in mind that the LAL Galaxy role will carry the most expectation, and he should only make such a big move if he is absolutely ready. Look at the likes of Nathan Ellington and Marlon King to see what a wrong decision can lead to (admittedly Ellington’s was going to the wrong football club and King’s was going to wrong nightclub, but you get the general gist).
Who knows what the future holds? As George’s mum once said to me in her deep voice, ‘Don’t worry about your song missing an opportunity. They come and go, they come go.’
No, I haven’t a clue what she was on about either.
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