Think England ’66, Brazil in their pomp, Barcelona at their best and Liverpool in the ’80s and you’re getting an idea of what the UCL Medical School football team brought to the Royal Free 5-a-side annual tournament held on Hampstead Heath on 26th July.
Unlike most of the other teams they fielded a mixed team of talent that included Tom ‘The One and’ Olney, Sam ‘Thierry’ Henry, Jeannine ‘Juninho’ Attreed, Osvaldo Feliciano Donda (with a real name like that who needs a nickname) , Mike ‘Martial’ Solotan, Conor ‘The Hammer’ McIlroy and John-georgio ‘Cruncher’ Nicholson.
After a slow start, the team, playing together for the first time ever, clicked and ended the evening with three big victories, a draw and two losses.
When asked about the losses, player-manager Olney said “We were on the end of some diabolical decisions, we should have had two pen’s, but it’s a game of two halves, goals win games and we needed more of them. We also started slowly and defended like school boys and girls. Still we took those losses on the chin and started playing for each other.”
Olney was much more upbeat when talking about the teams quick turn of fortunes and its strong finish which is likely to see them blast their way into next week’s knockout rounds.
I was proud of every one of the players out there tonight. They are a credit to the club- I mean the School. By the end there were some tired legs out there, but they gave everything and ended up playing some beautiful stuff, scored some cracking goals and left everything out on that heath.
It was a great debut for a team that can surely only get better and with the continued support of their one travelling super fan, Carolyn Cohen, this reporter thinks it won’t be long before this team is making waves on heaths all across Europe.