May Bank Holiday saw Gemma’s U11 Panthers, Chris ‘Mourinho’ Nicholls U10 Panthers and Dave ‘Bloke’ Youd’s Meerkats travelling North for the Bispham all girls tournament. The local Premier Inn was the main choice for the 3 teams with a few waifs and strays having to stay at the Haven site due to having more kids than an orphanage.  The atmosphere was great and the spectacle of seeing a plethora of Black and White footy jerseys was a sight to be seen.  I wont mention that Gem and Chris opted for the away shirts as their preferred choice of shirt, whereas the Meerkats stood proud in the Black and White prison bars.  The parents and kids mingled and socialised in the bar / restaurant with copious amounts of alcoholic beverages being consumed, the parents also had some.  The kids were expelling vast amounts of energy on the playground with the managers wandering if they were going to burn themselves out.  Saturday morning came and I witnessed a tad more than I had envisaged! We were all woken a some ghastly hour by the fire alarm to which resulted in everyone within the hotel descending into the car park in various stages of undress.  Certain folk looked well rough and some of the choices of night wear were rather questionable.  I didn’t expect to see Dave Youd wearing a negligee, the image however still haunts me.  The culprit was room #29 and a pair of hair straighteners, no-body owned up though!!!

After a slap up fried breakfast the 3 teams made the short walk down to the playing fields and set up camp adjacent to their respective pitches. Banners, Gazebos and flags were erected to show Bispham that Wyrley were in town.  The quality of the teams represented at the tournament was fantastic and the smooth operation led to a great competition. The teams enjoyed their time in Blackpool with the teams having varied results.  Mourinho’s Panthers got the furthest of the 3 teams, only to succumb to penalties in the semi final – great effort though!

The majority of parents and players then descended on the Albion pub (Villa Pub) to watch Arsenal dominant a one sided match.  My Villa scarf soon came off the parcel shelf after that dire performance.

The feedback from the majority of parents and players was a positive one, with a probable return next year.


Thanks to all the parents, players for providing an enjoyable atmosphere where we showed that we were united as a group.  Special thanks to Gem, Chris and Dave for their organisation, logistics and management skills.U12 Meerkats

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