Plato once said that the beginning of something is the most important part of the work. If that happens to be the case then this article may already have been ruined by the cliché use of a quote from a long-dead philosopher as an opening sentence. For the glorious Langwith 4s however, if our beginning is anything to go by, the future may well be bright, or at least by Langwith standards…
College trials were certainly an unusual experience for me. I guess I now understand how death feels in a retirement home; wandering solemnly round and tapping poor souls on the shoulder to deliver the bad news. Or at least that’s how it should have been! Instead, like a swarm of yellow-clad lemmings to a cliff, forty-plus freshers showed up to the 3G to flaunt their skills. To my, and the other captains’, pleasant surprise, many of them weren’t all that poor. One of the freshers from the flat I was a STYC for even managed to successfully pass the ball five feet! Obviously he’s playing 1sts now, but at least I’ll have a figurehead of skill for my trusty fourth-teamers to aspire to.
Talking of aspiration, those of you who read the first of these articles (available on yorkvision.co.uk), may remember my desire to be elevated to the level of Ferguson and Mourinho in the eyes of, if not the general public, the student population. Well, as any good manager knows, the most important bit of your job is picking the team. A good team selection can make the difference between making excuses about your own judgement and blaming it on the players. With this in mind, I set about choosing my first squad for the big opener against the York Medic 2nds… but I had a problem.
When I begged Dave Washington for a 4th team, it was widely assumed that this would be an opportunity for me to play my mates and assorted Langwith celebrities (YUSU prez, I’m looking at you). However, following the phalanx of freshers that turned up to trials, the situation had changed and my joke team had become less of a witty one-liner and more of a slightly contrived gag about how Man Utd aren’t that good anymore. Out went the unfit second and third years and in came the slightly more fit and thoroughly more naïve set of first years.
When match day finally swung round I was the most excited man in York. I got up exceedingly early for a student (a daring 8:00am) and practically jogged down to the pitch to greet my rag-tag bunch. Our well-worn bar crawl t-shirts glistened in the sun as we faced down the budget Sunderland kits of the Medics. Never before had a UV paint penis looked more majestic, and from its generous girth I divined that we would win the game. Unfortunately, that illusion of optimism was shattered quickly by the crushing reality that life is often not on your side, as the crook-come-referee sent us in at half-time behind to two goals so far offside that the strikers had applied for visas just to stand where they did to poke the ball home.
Unfortunately in the second half, despite a rousing team-talk at the break, we fell victim to fatigue and capitulated to a 5-1 defeat. We’d taken a sound beating but it was a baptism of fire for the Langwith freshers who would have to get used to this happening on a regular basis. Battered and bruised we headed to the pub.
A week later and the lads were ready to go again, this time against the slightly less intimidating purple bibs of the Vanbrugh 5ths. This time we were bolstered by the famous Langwith Ed Sheeran look-alike, Alex Braim and his twin brother (not quite so Sheeran-y) Dom. With a strong ginger presence in the centre of midfield our opponents were intimidated and we began to dominate the match. Passes were strung, 50-50s won and at times I forgot I was watching college sport and imagined I was privy to a gruelling 0-0 between Burton Albion and Accrington Stanley. Despite all this positivity, with 15 minutes left we were winning by one goal to nil and beginning to show signs of our late game slumber from the week before. We needed a hero to make the game safe, and I had just the man.
Cue Jack Fishwick: lanky with an eye for goal and an incurable addiction to the unnecessarily spectacular. He’d rolled up about an hour late with a hangover but it mattered not; I threw him onto the field and between the headaches his influence shone, first assisting a goal and scoring a penalty. The only black mark on his cameo was a back-heel wide from two yards… why Jack? Why?
Ultimately that will remain an issue for the philosophers (how cyclical) to riddle over, but regardless, we’d done a job and put our first points on the board. Victory!
It’s been an exhausting few weeks, but from humble beginnings the 4s are making progress. By the time you read this article we will have engaged both James teams in our league in further exciting ball-chasing encounters, so join us in Week 8 for an article about two monumental defeats.
4s love, Goltinho.
York Medic 2s 5-1 Langwith 4s
Man of the Match: Addy Swann
Langwith 4s 3-0 Vanbrugh 5s
Man of the Match: Dom Braim