A Cock and Bull Story (Una Historia de un Gallo y un Toro)

Sheffield Stags 2 (Thomo, Sniper)

Team: Miller, Shabba, Gallo, Thomo, Albert Finney, Molinero, Snake, Irish. Subs: Dr Love, Josh, Gangsta, Sniper.

Porcos Bravos 1 (Martin)

Team: Santi, Marcos, Fontaiña, Fran, Argie, Serge, Victor, Martin. Subs: None

Venue: Gym Plus, Crookes, Sheffield.

Attendance: Approx 20 including Boroman, Homer, Ronaldo and Big Duncs in the home end and Nando and Pablo in the away end.

As Spring dawned the sun dutifully adorned the pitch that was later to become the battlefield of the sixth playing of the Anglo-Galician Cup.

The Sheffield Stags, 3-2 up in the series so far, handed debuts to Craig, son of Dave aka The Miller, and nicknamed Molinero (Spanish for “Miller”) and Josh, son of Scott aka “Monkey Boy”. The Monkey Boy sitting this game out along with Fenners due to injury.

Before the game the flag of St George hung proudly behind the Stag’s goal whilst at the other end the flag of Spain, emblazoned with a black bull (El Toro), fluttered behind the goal of the Porcos Bravos. Those responsible for flying the flag over the visitor’s goal were then subjected to a few choice words as they strode back to the safety of their own half. Their plan to rile their Galician counterparts had succeeded.

The first half was a tight contest, devoid of many clear cut chances but far from devoid of comedy as Sergio of the Porcos somehow managed to fall over the ball with no-one within 5 metres of him. At least he fell due to some form of contact; this could not be said of the rather impressive dives of the “Argie”, Lutsky.

The half had promised to be an open affair, as early as the second minute Shabba’s last ditch tackle prevented Marcos from having just the Miller in the Stag’s goal to beat, and then soon after, a snap shot from the Argie flew just wide after he had been cleverly played through by Fran.

The Stags were restricted to very few chances and, other than one or two long range efforts, their best moments came as Thomo’s deflected corner struck the front post and Gallo’s free-kick struck the pie-seller.

Gallo was having a half to forget. A miss-hit back pass allowed Martin a great chance in front of goal but he was denied as The Miller expertly tipped his effort over the bar. The Miller showed further great reactions a couple of seconds later as he crawled back onto his feet to quickly remould his bright-blond hair, just in case the cameras were watching. Then as the half wore on and as the ageing legs of Gallo were visibly ageing even more the Stag’s veteran cynically clipped the heels of Marcos “The “Engine” as he threatened to break clear.

Just before the end of the first half it appeared that the Porcos Bravos had taken the advantage. An almighty scramble in the Stag’s penalty area ended with Sergio wheeling away in delight after prodding the ball home following Molinero’s goal line clearance from a Victor effort. However as the diminutive “27-year-old” celebrated Victor demonstrated the spirit in which the cup has been played by admitting to a hand ball offence during the melee.

The second half was a slightly more open affair as the Stags began to abandon their touch-tackling defensive game and started to play a bit more football. John, “Irish”, was handed a glorious chance to open the scoring when a slick move instigated by the forever youthful Albert Finney (Little Ray) found the Stag’s overseas player on his own in front of goal. Unfortunately the Wolverine look-a-like could not keep his header down and it whistled just over the bar, much to the relief of Santi between the Porcos’ sticks.

The Sniper was getting a little more joy from his battle with the ever-impressive Fontaiña and his harrying of the Porcos central lynchpin resulted in a loose ball that Thomo controlled and volleyed inches over the bar.

However despite the early second half pressure from the Stags it was the Porcos that took the lead. A hopeful ball over the top (and it’s the Stags that get abuse for the occasional long ball!) found Martin in space behind the Stags defence. As “El Delantero” bore down on goal he appeared to over-run the ball but somehow the man who has made scoring an art in this fixture, squeezed the ball in at Miller’s near post. The Miller, clearly expecting a cross, was left floundering in his area.

The Porcos hero was to quickly turn to villain. A few minutes after the goal, and as the Stags were trying to force a way back into the game, the hero-turned-villain handled the ball a couple of metres outside the area. Controversy surrounded the decision with the offender claiming that it was ball-to-hand rather than hand-to-ball. TV replays confirmed his ill-fated claim but they also confirmed that possession was gained, and the danger cleared, due to the handball. The arguments could run for ever but the one thing the history books will show is that the resultant free-kick was emphatically dispatched by Thomo. A left foot rocket which left Santi, the Porcos ‘keeper, motionless as the ball nestled high into the back of the net.

With the scores back level the impetus was clearly back with the Stags and it wasn’t long before they took the lead. Gallo picked the ball up in the middle of the park and with plenty of time he picked out the Sniper. With space in the Porcos area the fleet-footed striker clinically finished the ball low and hard through the legs of the despairing Santi.

The Porcos trailing for the first time in the game looked for an equaliser and Sergio’s long-range effort caused a few nervous moments for the Miller as he needed two attempts to safely gather the ball with an on-looking Argie waiting to pounce.

Despite this effort it was the Stags that looked the more likely to score again as the advantage of having a few subs, and as the Porcos were carrying more weight this time, began to show. The Stags released Dr Love into the game, sporting a pair of 1980’s jogging bottoms, and once his legs were finally doing what his head wanted them to, he gave the left hand side of the Stags some much needed balance and experience as the game entered it’s final stages.

Firstly the Sniper was excellently denied by Santi as he broke clear and then he saw a dipping volley fall agonisingly onto the back of the net. Irish also tried his luck from distance but his effort was high and not-so-handsome and it sailed over the bar, over the fencing and onto the changing rooms building before bouncing down and shattering the windscreen of Shabba’s car. I guess you could say it was cracking effort after all!

In the dying minutes the Snake, who had been admirable at the back all game for the Stags, succumbed to a moment of madness as he tried to dribble his way out of defence and was caught in possession. Fortunately for the Stags as Martin broke free Gangsta, in his usual no-nonsense defensive way, shepherded the ball, and the man, in to touch just as the striker was about to pull the trigger.

At the other end the Sniper had possibly the easiest chance of the match to double his tally but the “fat” striker woefully pulled his shot wide from a couple of metres out. The ball threatening the corner flag more than it threatened the goal.

The Stags looked comfortable but there was one last nervous moment for them to endure as the Porcos played a long free-kick into the Stags area and Fontaiña, who had lost his marker (I was in two minds whether to name Gallo again), narrowly failed to connect with the ball with the goal at his mercy.

That was the last action of a compelling and hard-fought game and one where the Stags deservedly ran out winners and ultimately regained the Anglo-Galican Cup.

Stag’s Man of the Match: The Snake – commanding non-stop defensive performance, ably supported at the back by Shabba, Gangsta and Gallo. His private battle with the Argie saw one or two crunching tackles, from both parties, and he controlled the game from his position at the back.

Porcos Man of the Match: El Toro.

El Mejor De Todos Los Instrumentos, La Infantería Británica

Cuando despertamos, la Copa no estaba allí.
No va a ser fácil acostumbrarse.
Porque en todas las noches cerveceras que quisimos, la tuvimos en nuestros brazos.
Porque desde Octubre de 2008 hasta Marzo de 2010, no hizo falta verla a diario, ni siquiera visitarla esporádicamente, para saber que nos pertenecía.
Era nuestra, porque nosotros se lo decíamos, y ella no lo negaba.
Hay en cada momento de despedida una imagen de la muerte.
Pero la VI, no es el largo adiós.
Fue, un amargo hasta luego.

La otra crónica, la escrita según el tradicional método galeguidade ao pao, informa:

Sheffield Stags 2- Os Porcos Bravos 1.

Sheffield Stags: Dave Moxon (Gk);Gallo;Shabba;Gansta;
Dave Thompson (1); Snake; Sniper (1) ;John Callanan;
Albert Finney;Josh Dyball; Craig Molinero; Dr Love;Fenners.
Os Porcos Bravos: Santi (Gk);Serge;Fontaiña;Lutzky;Viktor;
Frank;Marcos; Martín (1)
Venue: Gym Plus Ground,Crookes Road.Sheffield.
En perfectas condiciones.
Attendance: Una treintena de privilegiados.Por primera vez,
Os Porcos tuvieron seareiros en Inglaterra gracias a Nandiño y
Pablo King Spider Crab.
Incidencias: Primera mañana primaveral de 2010. Ligeramente
nublado.Temperatura agradable. Os Porcos estrenaron
uniforme negro. Los Stags jugaron de blanquiazul Wednesday.
Snake fue el M.O.T.M por parte inglesa. Su pasional forma de
jugar el partido, se puede odiar o defender, pero no dejó indiferente
a nadie, y fue clave en la victoria de los anfitriones.
Marcos fue el Man of the Match por parte de los gallegos.
Desde la foto inicial hasta el amargo fin de la VI,
dio todo un ejemplo de aptitud y de actitud.

Partido igualado desde el pitido inicial. Bastante más de lo que estaba previsto en un principio.
Los ingleses hicieron valer su condición de locales, y jugaron al límite del reglamento todo el encuentro.Los gallegos tuvieron la posesión del balón, en una trabada primera parte que acabó sin goles. Acababa de comenzar la segunda mitad cuando Martín Fisher, fiel a su cita con el gol, clavó una pelota imposible en el marco Stag. Pero el tanto, no fue suficiente acicate para la escuadra Brave. Los 27 minutos restantes se les hicieron interminables. La negra espalda del tiempo se cebó especialmente en el centro de campo porco bravo. Se vieron los kilos, pero en la aciaga jornada matinal, faltó el talento que se presupone.
Con la perdida de fuelle visitante, llegó la ofensiva sheffielder.En pleno asedio inglés,una discutible mano, cobrada como falta por los sajones,fue lanzada magistralmente por Thommo. Espoleados por el empate, los Stags no tardaron en marcar el segundo tanto, aprovechando un gran tunel en la defensa de Os Porcos. Con el intercambio final de golpes, tanto pudo llegar la igualada, como el tercero de los ingleses. No sucedió ninguna de las dos cosas.
La CUP se queda en Inglaterra, tras año y medio de estancia en Galiza.
El cómputo global refleja cuatro victorias a dos para los Stags de Sheffield.

It Is Simpler To Believe Sheffield Equals Steel.It Is Just A Simple To Believe That Sheffield Lies At The Centre Of England.

Programa Oficial de la VI Edición.

18 de Marzo. - Resaca de San Patricio. Os Porcos Bravos llegan en autobús,coche y tren, a la capital del Reino. El vuelo, rumbo a Londres, despega a las 15 horas. Hora prevista de aterrizaje, a las 16.06 ( hora local). En el aeropuerto de London Stansted, espera el microbús que nos trasladará a King´s Lynn, Norfolk, East Anglia. Un par de horas de asfalto. Nuestro hotel, o particular Casa Rosada en este, otrora importantísimo puerto, es el Elizabeth Dukes Head Hotel, sito en Tuesday Market Place.
La ciudad de King´s Lynn, a orillas del río Ouse, fue conocida en la época medieval como Bishop's Lynn. Conserva en su aceptable casco histórico, un importante número de construcciones de aquellos tiempos felices, cuando formaba parte de la Liga Hanseática y desde sus muelles, se exportaba lana a toda la Europa continental.

19 de Marzo.- English breakfast. Paseo matinal apto para los más valientes.
Salida prevista, a las 9.20 horas, dirección Sheffield.
Sobre las 12. 30, saludaremos una vez más al familiar The Psalter Tavern, nuestro castillo en la ciudad del acero. Debemos efectuar el "check in" a uña de caballo.
On the road again, hasta alcanzar la Thornbridge Brewery, Derbyshire, acompañados por una nutrida delegación Stag. En dicha cervecería, nos recibirán los dueños. Pompa y circunstancia.
Una muesca más, que se añade a nuestras anteriores visitas a las fábricas de Theakston, Black Sheep Brewery ,The Kelham Island Brewery o The Burton Bridge Brewery.
A eso de las 15:30, tenemos reservada una copiosa comida en el cercano The Castle Inn ( A 300-year-old coaching house) en Bakewell, Derbyshire, en pleno parque nacional del Peak District. Bakewel es un precioso y típico pueblo inglés, mundialmente famoso por su pudding.
Volvemos a Sheffield, al filo de las 19.30. Salvaje run amok de pubs, por el centro de la ciudad: The Devonshire Cat, Bath Hotel, The Red Deer, Frog and Parrot, entre otros.
Luego, que cada palo aguante su vela.

20 de Marzo.- El rock and roll comienza temprano.
A eso de las 11:00, descendemos hasta The Sheffield Tap, un nuevo pub de real ale, que se encuentra en la Sheffield Station. A las 12:30, caminito al New Barracks Tavern, donde estos días, se celebra un festival de Real Ale. Nos preparamos a conciencia para el partido de las 15 horas, entre el Sheffield Wednesday y el Derby County ( Ligas de 1972 y 1975, F.A. Cup de 1946 y la Charity Shield de 1975). Dos históricos dandose de hostias. No olviden nunca, que el Wednesday nos ha regalado las entradas. Muchas gracias a los Owls. Por otra parte, los veteranos de la II, volveremos a encontrarnos en un campo de football inglés, con Nigel Clough. El mundo es un pañuelo.
Finalizado el partido, regresamos al hotel, tomamos un poco de aire y bajamos caminando hasta el Porter Brook, donde nos esperan los sheffielders Blades. Cenamos curry en el Ambars, y luego; luego la noche es tan joven...

21 de Marzo.- El PARTIDO. 11 de la mañana.El Battlefield, es el mismo que en la III y la V Edición: El magnífico Gym Plus Ground, Crookes Road, Sheffield. Ellos apelan a la juventud de Yorkshire. Nosotros confiamos, un año más,en nuestros kilos de talento.

21 de Marzo.- Ya debe ser primavera. Tercer tiempo en el Milestone Pub. Cuando se acabe, acudiremos al Fat Cat,donde nació todo.
Empieza aquí, el tercer pub crawl del viaje. Los veteranos de las anteriores campañas se lo conocen de memoria.Es el,ya clásico, Martha´s Trail. Obviamente,no puede faltar una visita a The Kelham Island, nuestro entrañable Calamar, nombrado por segundo año consecutivo,como mejor pub de las Islas Británicas. Sálvese quien pueda, y espero que los higados de todos Os Porcos estén a la altura del reto planteado.

22 de Marzo.- A las 10.30, nos despedimos de Sheffield. Proa hacia London Stansted. Tras 150 minutos de carretera, una larga parada técnica en The Queen´s Head; Newton, Cambridgeshire. Los motivos,que nos sobran, se encuentran en The Pub Sign Says: You Are Still In England.
Reservamos el shopping habitual para la tiendas del aeropuerto.Más piontas, y un sincero hasta luego a la Vieja Inglaterra.
El itinerario del vuelo: Salida a las 18.00, llegada a Oporto a las 20.50, (Ambas horas son locales).En la ciudad lusa, aguarda el microbús que nos sube hasta el hogar,dulce hogar.

Galiza nos llama. Somos los defensores de la fe.
E coma sempre, o de sempre, Galicia Über Alles !


Shabba honours the blog with the below entry;

As the famous song goes, "It's coming home! It's coming home! It's coming, the Anglo-Galician Cup is coming home".

As the Galicians hit the shores of Old Blighty again next week it's with open hearts that we once again spend some quality drinking time with our amigos.

The local real ale pubs will be stocking up again as we try our best to drink every barrel they provide, but this year there will be one big difference to last year...

Not the fact that Fran has reached the age of 40, no my friends get ready to go home empty-handed with a tear in each eye, as the Anglo-Galician Cup will be staying well and truly in it's home town of Sheffield this year, as the mighty Stags will once again rise from the ashes and be victorious.

Sunday 7th August 1588 the Spanish tried to invade our shores all those years ago, on Sunday 21st March 2010 they will again try to defeat us, but yet again this will come to no avail as we batton down the hatches and send them packing.

We may not have Sir Francis Drake or Lord Sheffield this time, but with Thomo, Gallo, Finney and Shabba we will show them the true English fighting spirit.

It's coming home! It's coming home! It's coming, the Anglo-Galician Cup is coming home!

Psichological warfare II: training day at the Stags HDQ?

While our boys are working their ass off in the killing fields, we suspect that the Stags have their own way to get ready to face the coming Porcos Bravos storm(see video).
Is this the Thin Red Line that held up the Empire?