a guest post from Stuart Trotter, one of the 5 aside refs.
The Paxos 5 a side tournament kicked off on Monday night with some great football played. Pride, tension and testosterone were boiling over on the opening game, particularly in group C with 2 red cards and lots of crowd unrest. With the game ending in a draw (6-6) and going to penalties eventually “Los Chicos” edged it with pretty much the last penalty to save everyone the anguish of “sudden death”
The organisers, who painstakingly run Paxos’ 1st team (who are very good incidentally with one of the first team being invited for trials at Watford FC in their brief stay in the Premiership a couple of years ago) praised the turnout of supporters and actually said that the number was greater than they get on a Sunday for a 1st team game!
There are 3 groups/12 teams with some 80+ players registered for the tournament between ages of 14-60!! The tournament is solely “Paxos” with all who live on the island welcome.
There have already been some fairly high scorelines, 11-1, 8-1 etc so lots of entertainment to be had.
The organisers wanted non “Paxiot” neutral referees, so 3 full time residents came forward, Bruce Middleditch, Marco Biasetti and myself all of whom have already earned their medals 10 fold for all the crowd and player abuse received so far. They cannot however it seems pay for any coffee’s in Gaios wherever they go, better than brown envelopes I suppose.
The tournament will break for the Christmas holidays and resume and end in January.