Northern Leagues United Pen Pics #5

Another of the Football Writers’ Sanddancers in exile, Simon Walsh is the brains behind Sunderland blog and podcast Roker Report. Just as versatile off the pitch, you can follow him on twitter here and here.

Positions: Played them all. Was ‘keeper until I stopped growing (height-wise anyway) at about 15. Have since attempted to play striker, holding midfielder and defender. Basically I’ll do whatever I’m told in order to actually get a game.

Teams played for: Roker Rookies, South Shields Wanderers, Marsden Inn, Jarrow Roofing Juniors, Boldon Colts, Various 5/6/7-a-side teams.

Career highlight: None to speak of. Probably scoring four goals on the opening day of the season for a 7-a-side team. They were the only ones I scored all season.

Player or team you’ve modelled your career on: I’m going to plump (pun intended) for Matt Le Tissier. It adds up too. Consistently overweight, ugly, lazy and overlooked by England, though with a penchant for a spectacular goal every now and then.

English teacher and Accidental Groundhopper, Michael Hudson will gladly go in goal on the 9th on condition the crossbar is lowered to five-a-side height and a no-crosses-above-the-waist rule is very strictly applied. If not, he’ll settle for a one-minute cameo in the style of Alan Shearer’s testimonial as long as no-one expects him to take any penalties.
You can follow him on twitter here.

Position(s): Five-a-side shot-stopper; right-back; clogger; any place on the pitch the ball isn’t likely to be found.

Teams played for: Simonside Juniors’ “worst side in living memory”; Hedworthfield Comprehensive; Anglie Liberecká; England (in a 2010 World Cup tournament held under non-FIFA auspices in an Odessa public park).

Career highlight: Conceding a mere seven goals against Algeria in front of a crowd of 82 (106 if you include the mothers and toddlers in the playground next door) during the Odessa World Cup. We got revenge a fortnight later, cheating outrageously to beat them 2-1.

Player or team you’ve modelled your game on: Mark Crossley in his early Nottingham Forest days or Paul Sweeney up against Millwall’s Jimmy Carter in 1991. Carlos Alberto stripped of pace, hair, skill and positional awareness.

Completing the trio of scribes is Paul Fraser, the Northern Echo’s chief football writer. Born and brought up on the mean streets of one-time Quaker bathing resort Seaton Carew, July 9th could be the day he realises his dream of turning out professionally is finally over – at the tender age of 33. That’s after he’s scored six goals, of course. Defenders on the Fans’ Team can get some early practice in following Paul here.

Position(s): Centre forward.

Teams played for: Cleveland Juniors, Billingham Synthonia, Athletic Rugby, Lion Hillcarter, Staincliffe FC

Career highlight: Either playing in front of 7,500 at the Riverside for Gary Parkinson’s benefit match or bagging 59 goals (old big head) for Trimdon in 1995.

Player or team you’ve modelled game on: loved Kenny Dalglish, admired Michael Owen (before Newcastle) but play and look more like Micky Quinn!

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