November 13th 2015 saw the momentous occasion of the first Nite Spartans tour during the managerial era of Don ‘Revie’ Brooks or ‘Big Don Atkinson’ to his closest friends…
Taipei was the destination, Phil kissed goodbye to his wife, Baz kissed goodbye to his TWD and Ben and Fordy just kissed each other. Beers flowed from Terminal 1 onwards with all the players bar Martyn (early flight) and Adam (fake conference call/ briefcase w@nker) present, everyone knew it was going to be a great trip. Niall ‘over me’ Kelly had to join up with the squad on Saturday morning due to Irish international duty on Friday evening…
The Nites decided to base themselves at the 5 star resort ‘Misa Casa’ in Wushan District. The resort, equidistant between the Taipei nightlife and the tournament pitch, proved to be an inspired choice for base camp.
After a heavy first night out for several reasons the Nites rocked up late and hungover to their 3 team mini tournament. The opposition were Jhubei FC and Taipei Magpies. Big Don refereed Jhubei against the Magpies with a performance fit for the recently blinded Fordy. The match ended 0-0.
Spartans tour squad: Don (Manager), Weyman (Tour Operations Director) Ben (Captain/ Drinking Liability), Fordy, Sam, Brucey, Phil, Niall*, Martyn, Adam, Baz, Azy, Dave and Brad
Jhubei FC V Nites Spartans
The Nites started poorly as the opposition looked more comfortable than Ben and Fordy in a double bed. Brucey was looking as fresh as a daisy which had been continuously watered with lager. So it wasn’t long before the opposition’s pressure told and when the lackadaisical linesman didn’t raise his flag there was only one outcome 1-0. Changes were made with honorary Spartans Dave and Azy coming on to add some more attacking presence. Having been allowed his testicles for the weekend from the Mrs, Ford tried to drive us forward at every opportunity but it was Azy and Dave making the difference. Finally the Nites got the breakthrough with Azy robbing the defender like he was Baz in a poker match and firing in, 1-1.
The first of the 40 min matches was over and Assistant to the Manager, Ryan, attempted to organise the team for the next game, chaos ensued. Like an adolescent Ben Williams, we were all very confused…
Taipei Magpies V Nites Spartans
The next match against the Magpies kicked off and straight away we were feeling the pressure. Within 5 mins it was 1-0 to the opposition. Chances were few and far between for the HK outfit so like Baz we decided to gamble, unlike Baz it paid off. Phil swapped with Weyman and made his way upfront. We could only hope that Phil’s scoring record would turn out to be better than his sh1thouse Poker record. The Nites, playing an unorthodox 2-2-6 formation began to take control. Chances followed, good play by Dave as he squared the ball to Ford only for him to steer the absolute sitter wider than a Safa in Roxy Rockers. Brucey was next up to miss a sitter, spending what seemed like an eternity to take it round the keeper but the usually clinical front man could only hit the outside of the post. Then disaster struck, Sam chopped down the unsuspecting striker who fell harder than Ben off a stool in Barcode. Gallagher’s foul was definitely maybe a penalty and all the cigarettes and alcohol in the world wouldn’t have stopped the Magpie striker scoring against Ryan, 2-0. Like Baz the night before, we had a mountain to climb. Then some magic happened, Don one of the 6 Nites strikers squared the ball too close to the keeper only for the French stopper to handle the ball like Ben handles is beer and spill it everywhere, Brucey was there to scramble it home, 1-2 with 5 mins remaining. Like Ben’s Saturday night the end was approaching all too soon. Suddenly we were getting forward at will and when Fordy launched a long throw into the box there was only one outcome as Dave slotted the ball home, 2-2. Commence the Gazza style dentist chair celebrations!
With the Magpies and Jhubei drawing 0-0 in the first match, the Nites had won on goals scored. After the match we all went straight back to the accommodation, there was certainly no deciding penalty shootout and Brad definitely did not miss.
Player of the Tournament: Brad
Goals: Azy, Brucey, Dave
D*ck of the Tournament: Fordy