Kicking off for the fans’ team is Michael Young (or EshSquaddie as he’s known in Northern League circles), hailing from Esh Winning via Afghanistan and a Durham County FA training course for referees. As if taking on a crack team of football writers wasn’t enough of a challenge for one day, Michael’s also volunteered to run the line when Birtley Town play Ryton and Crawcrook Albion in the three o’clock game and the trophy winning writers’ team are all busy drinking champagne…
Position(s): Anwyhere on the right; forward; goalkeeper.
Teams played for: Steelers FC (Sunday league), Esh Winning in friendlies and various Army teams.
Just being able to set foot on the same pitch as some of Britain’s top football writers is absolutely mind-blowing. None.
Player or team you’ve modelled your game on: John Burridge and Micky Quinn.
Joining him in the Fans’ squad is Bedlington Terrier Michael Boyle (don’t let the picture fool you that he’s any good, by the way – he only plays football on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and packed in the competitive stuff months ago).
Teams played for: Peacock (Newcastle Central Sunday Afternoon League)
Career highlight so far: Overturning a 2-0 half-time deficit with three late goals to win the 2006 Newcastle Central Sunday Afternoon Cup 3-2. Peacock beating Greyhound 4-0 in the Malcolm Turner Cup final the following year.
Player or team you’ve modelled your game on: Play Doh. (Note to Stuart Fuller’s elbows: I’ve seen Michael head the ball and he’s not joking).
Freelance football journalist, web editor, the Morning Star’s man at Ashburton Grove and senior writer at Channel 4 Paralympics, Mike Grady brings a bit of metropolitan finesse to the writers’ midfield. Or he would do if he wasn’t from South Shields.
Positions: Jack of all trades, master of none. I started out as a striker then moved to the left wing, but when I realised I couldn’t finish or dribble I dropped back into the centre of midfield.
Teams played for: St Bede’s RC Primary School, South Shields Wanderers, Bookers and one of the best 5-a-side teams north London has ever seen, Los Bameneros.
Career highlight: Wow. Well, there have been so many. Erm…like the time I…well. I scored a left footed curling shot while playing at uni that beat the keeper, hit the post, hit the back of the keeper’s head and went in. I got a player of the month award while at Bookers where we also won a cup. We played at Gypsies Green in South Shields.
Player or team you’ve modelled your game on: A striker who can’t score: Diego Forlan at Manchester United. A winger with little skill but crossing ability: Peter Beagrie. A holding midfielder with trouble tackling but can pass: Paul Scholes. (He scoffs.)
Follow Michael’s attempts to organise a practice game before July 9th on twitter here.