Was this a goal? You’re The Ref! #1


Thanks to Pridee for looking so ‘officiating’ in this pic

Everyone knows by now that at TTFE, we don’t have the luxury of having a referee every week.

Therefore over the years we’ve been playing we developed a way of policing the game and ensuring that things move along without a man in black. That system works because it’s simple – YOU’RE THE REF!

For those who need a reminder – if you want to call a handball or a foul, it’s up to you to do so. You are bestowed with the same power a normal referee would have, so when you feel that a tackle has gone a bit too far for your liking, all you need to do is say the f-word (no not that f-word!). Just remember not to overuse it or use it unnecessarily – or your fellow ‘refs’ on the pitch will not have a great opinion of you!

So to highlight this celebrated rule at TTFE, I would like to start a new fortnightly segment on a Monday called YOU’RE THE REF!

This will involve you observing some unusual instances across the world of football and by using your knowledge of game, make the call you feel is right – give the goal, award the foul… it’s up to you!

This week we go to a U14s match in Scotland where a penalty shootout is underway. If you watch the video, despite the keeper making the all-important save the goal was awarded anyway – but was it the right call? 

See what you think and place your comments below or on Facebook!


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Are you a Star Striker or a Super Spoon? – Perfecting the art of shooting

There's a little bit of spoon in all of us...

There’s a little bit of spoon in all of us…

Now I’ve never been the best when it comes to scoring goals. In fact, I’m more likely to be picking the ball out of the net as a beaten goalkeeper, rather than leading the attack.

I love being a defender, especially because I love putting in vital challenges and playing an important role for the team. But I cannot deny that sometimes my inner child wants to grab the ball, glide down the wing, nutmeg all the defenders and blast the ball past the keeper – all followed by wild celebrations bare-chested Giggsy style. Yes, we all remember THAT goal.

However when it comes to my shooting, it’s safe to say that an opposition player is already leaving the pitch in preparation for the ballooned blunder in front of goal. Once named Fatman Scoop, this cursed nickname gives you an idea of how often I get to dance wildly after I hit the back of the net.

Therefore I had some sympathy on my return for TTFE’s latest member of  ‘Spooner Squad’ – our very own burglar, Michael VB. I have to say that his ability to spoon and scoop in front of goal really impressed me, not to mention his team mates, who must have thought there was a mystical magnetic field between him and the goal.

Some people have the gift of a golden boot, while the rest of us have the golden spoon. But what does it take to start grabbing those spoons and scoop up a dish full of goals?

Toon’ up your shooting skills

Geordie legend (and unwanted ticket deliverer) Alan Shearer has had a little bit of experience in this area. He believes:

“The most important thing when hitting the ball with power is getting your head and knee over it to keep the shot down. Practise using the inside of your foot, the outside and the front, so you’re confident that in a one-on-one, you’ll be better than the keeper.”

For all my fellow scoopers out there, remember that leaning forward can the key difference between bagging a goal and doing a Baggio.

“If you lean back, the ball will go miles over. If you get over it, you’ve got half a chance of scoring.”

There’s a ton of shooting tips across the net and I’ve grabbed some of the best videos below.

So for all of TTFE’s super strikers – what’s your secret? Let us know in the comments!

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“Why is everyone so quick?!” – Some help for the TTFE oldies…

Desperate times call for desperate measures for some of our elderly defenders!

Although I’ve been out of the game for a while, I’ve come to recognise from my return last week that TTFE has been undergoing is a bit of a transformation in my absence. 

One key change is to see a load of new, youthful faces at TTFE which of course is a great thing to see. I’m pleased that we’ve been welcoming new friends to join our merry pool of players and ensuring that we keep the TTFE train ‘choo-chooing’ every week.

So to all of our new TTFE members – thank you.

However for elderly gentlemen like me, with our receding hairlines and bulging bellies, this has certain consequences. This influx of fresh, younger blood has cranked up the average pace of games a few notches, meaning we are are struggling to catch these young whipper-snappers. Nutmegged and left for dust, all we can is look to the skies in frustration, shake our fists and curse our old, aging bones.

Now to the fellow golden oldies of TTFE – I’m not saying that some of you need practice… but when help comes along we would be wise men to grab it with both hands. After all, speed is only one element of the small sized football game – tactics are just as important, if not more.

5-a-side have a great article on how to succeed at 5-a-side football which as a TTFE OAP I advocate to the rest of the TTFE veterans.

Let’s show the youth of the today that there’s still life in us yet!

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Karlito Quits – Time for TTFE to take injuries more seriously?



So the sun dawns on one of the longest standing players at TTFE, Karl ‘Karlito Kool’ Manley. Known for his trademark pose and habit of playing the game with a Phantom of the Opera mask, his time wreaking havoc as a playmaker-turned-goalkeeper looks to come to an end.

However his decision was tinged with some reluctance rather than one which implies he was moving onto better things:


Karl’s notice of retirement from TTFE this week

Karl’s long standing issues with injuries have been well known to members, especially as he has had several periods of absence from the game in the hope that things will improve.

We hope, like we have in the past, that this will not be the end of the Karl’s antics in his green goalkeeper jersey – but I’m sure we’ll see many more Karlito Kool poses at future SLODBN events!

Keeping yourself injury free

When it comes to injuries, as keen footballers we all know the extreme frustration which comes with taking a knock. Karl has wrestled with this for over a decade, whilst I can say that recently I’ve gone through this torturous process of taking time off, resting up, undergoing physiotherapy, getting back into other forms of exercise and then making light steps back into regular games again.

Thankfully injuries at TTFE are fairly low and after the majority of matches players leave with all their limbs in tact – which I believe is partly down to the maintenance of the pitch and the ‘controlled competitive’ nature that is part and parcel of the game.

But when it comes warming up and cooling down, TTFE can still learn important lessons to ensure that we avoid the possibility of injury through the lack of adequate preparation. How many of you actually stretch or do a light jog – rather than start kicking the ball around?

We could all learn lessons from Callum, who offers no excuses for anyone who says they didn’t have time before the game. Even when the whistle blows, the Barbarian is still stretching and lunging away – but always throws in a defensive tackle at the important moment when under attack!

Anyway here is a nice guide from the nice people at 5-a-side to ensure you’re keeping injury free on Thursday nights – or even at Gol and PowerLeague.

Stay healthy!

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TTFE returns this Thursday

After a short break last week TTFE will return as normal this Thursday (14th May).

Last Thursday’s game was cancelled due to Sophia Gardens hosting the vote count for the recent General Election.


The booking at Sophia has been extended to the rest of May and June.

Well done to Rolan for booking a pitch in the absence of Sophia.

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Coconut water, Coke or a pint of Carling – What’s your TTFE drink?










If you’ve watched ‘The Waterboy’ you’ll know the importance of staying hydrated throughout a sports session. Bobby Boucher may not have been the sharpest tool in the shed, but he knew the power of high quality H20!

But when playing at TTFE, I have to say that there isn’t too much variety when it comes to seeing a choice of drink. Some of you are even hardcore and don’t bring one at all!

I have to say I was always an ‘orange squash man’ – a happy compromise between the blandness of water and the sugar riddled sports drinks. I’ve wavered though in recent years – moving from one end of the spectrum to the other, depending on how virtuous or lethargic I was feeling on game day.

Some of us in the past (definitely in our younger days) even had a few swift halves before playing to get them in the mood. And in some cases it worked!

But if you’re one to experiment with the best drink to get you pumped for TTFE, check out 5-a-side‘s article called How to Make Your Own Isotonic Sports Drink. It’s not a bad read.

I’m sure by next week there will be a great array of drinks on offer!


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Greens supreme in TTFE’s Three Team Tournament

In the year 2055, When the next generation looks through the TTFE records they will confused with what they see when they arrive at Thursday 30th April 2015.

I’m sure they’ll be scratching their heads as to why 1) there were 21 invited players and 2) why we had an odd number of players. (Especially the latter one – even numbers are A MUST!)

Then again, they will wonder who was the legend known as Pridee….


Ok who didn’t watch the spreadsheet….

That’s why this post needs to be written. To explain everything to the future torchbearers of TTFE!

This was the first ever ‘Three Team Tournament’ – just like regular TTFE but with an extra team moaning on the sidelines about how long 10 minutes really are.

So there was a Blue Team captained by Chris Phillips, a Green Team led by G and a Yellow Team headed by Karl Manley. There were a few comparisons made with political parties competing in next week’s election but that would mean Chris would be David Cameron, G is a tree-hugging eco-warrior and Karl is a flip-flopping, untrustworthy liberal. I’ll say no more.

The tournament was officiated by a mystery figure in charcoal, who took great pleasure in barking instructions, carrying a little notebook and crushing players’ dreams with this whistle. Sounds like a real bastard!

So the rules – Tournament was played in the ‘winner stays on’ format. Consecutive winning teams were allowed to stay on the pitch for a maximum of 5 games before being ejected (this actually happened twice).  Games lasted for a maximum of 10 minutes or less if a team scores 2 goals. Games were recorded as wins (3 points), losses (0 points) or draws (1 point) with goals scored and conceded also being considered.  If a draw occurs the pitchholder (winning team last game) stays while the challenging team is ejected.

The opening game between the Blues and Greens was a good advert for what to expect all week – fast paced, passion filled play. Captain Chris in Blue took first blood, but it was Team Karl that took the early advantage with some steely determination.

As they grinded out the necessary results, Team Karl led from the sticks as his luminous glowing yellow rods of uranium asserted their dominance on the pitch. We even were treated to a long-ranger goal from Barbarian Callum.

But as the Yellows celebrated and cooled down after their 5 game residence at Sophia, the Greens were licking their wounds and plotting something wicked.

Team G grabbed their first win of the night and dished out some revenge on the Blues, who put them to the sword in the opening game. And clearly staying on the pitch had an effect on them as they went on to beat the tournament leading Yellows.

However it would be their next game which would be the decisive encounter – and where a big game comes, controversy was bound to follow.

The Yellows felt that they were back on winning ways when the ball struck one post, skittled along the line and hit the other post for the keeper to collect it. It seemed that everyone but the referee was convinced it had indeed crossed the line, but the man in charcoal was having none of it and ruled it out.

With the unstoppable force of the Greens taking 2-0 victories in each of their 5 games, they gathered enough points to win the tournament. Well done to them!

The tournament’s Fair Play Award goes to Pishty, who took his sinbin for two handballs in one game with grudging acceptance.  Well done to him too.

table mataches





So G leaves as tournament winner and TPC champion – not bad for TTFE’s resident superhero. This night was momentous as it marked the departures of G, who has a single way train ticket down to Somerset, while ex-pat Jon Pride is returning to Oz for another two years of life down under. Both clearly heading off to sunnier climes! Good luck to you both and we hope to see you back at Sophia in the near future!


The Green Team – although some of them weren’t in green!

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Is TTFE tee-ing up for charity?


TTFE is considering putting together a team together to play a marathon day of golf to raise money for charity.

First suggested by Karl Manley, the idea involves playing a mammoth 72 holes of golf in a single day. This noble concept has started to gather some interest and it is hoped that TTFE will be putting their polo shirts and grabbing their putters to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Care.

If you are interested in taking part contact either Karl or Joe to learn more about this great opportunity.

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Official TTFE Spotify playlist launched



Picture the scene: It’s Thursday night, 8:30pm. You’ve grabbed your shirt, shorts and laced up your boots. You’ve got your game face on – you’re ready to do battle for the night’s game – especially if it’s a TPC match!

You step into your car, or if you’re walking or taking the bus you put on your headphones. The music starts playing – it’s YOUR jam, the fuel you need to play your best. Oh yeah, this has got you PUMPED!!

But what is it… we need to know!

TTFE is building a collaborative playlist of our favourite music tracks. Whether it’s rap, rock, RnB or even classical, get involved, add yours now, or comment below and we’ll add it for you!!!

If you’re a user of Spotify get involved now and add your own tracks to our ever-so-funky TTFE playlist.

Click here to access the TTFE Spotify playlist

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Expected return of Pridee for tonight’s game


It’s been a long time coming but it’s looking very likely that Jon Pride will be playing his first TTFE game in over three years.

Jon “Pridee” Pride was last seen on the Sophia pitch in September 2011 before leaving to begin a new life down under in Australia.

Players lower down in the order shouldn’t worry too much though as his march up the TTFE order is going to be put on hold – perhaps for another three years – as he is only in God’s Country for a short time visiting friends and family.

It’s always great to have Jon back with us at TTFE and we hope that he enjoys his TTFE testimonial. Jon was always the type of player that if you played against you would hope he played below his best, but I’m pleased to report that party animal Jon was on top form when it came to the recent SLOBDN – which is widely believed to be the best yet!

Jon’s return comes at time when a number of older TTFE legends are being invited back to play. One of these players includes Dale; TTFE co-founder and a legendary captain during the old ‘Chris V Dale’ rivalries in the early days.  

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