Pay Day

At long last! The day we have all been waiting for. Kaoru's return to the blog. er... sorry for not posting yesterday - was a bit out of it. But as I predicted (from even before JP2 died whilst watching CNN Pope Watch), the new pope was elected on my birthday. I don't really know what to feel about the whole situation, espceially as they picked that new KFC Burger Rat-zinger fella and decided that he should have the monastic name of Benedict XVI - hardly the most inspiring of names is it? The Sun, witty as ever, went with the headline "From Nazi to Pappa Razi". I suppose it is an honour to have a Pope being elected on MY big day - indeed, I wonder how many people there are in the world who can claim such affinity with the big man. I kinda get the feeling however, that I am more divine by right of birth than some randon punter (in essence) who just happened to be chosen on that day. My humanitarian mission in two days times adds more weight to my thoughts....

So yes, two days to go now till the Habitat for Humanity Trip to Sri Lanka. To be honest, I haven't had much time to really think about what I am doing, why I am going and what I want to do, but I am kinda of looking forward to it anyway. Any apprehensions that I do possess generally stem from my dislike of travelling in massive groups and trying to reach a consensus on what to do, where to go etc. I've twice had the misfortune of not quite making it to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam thanks to the inability of the group to make a collective decision. Thank you all for your support since the start of the year! This trip wouldn't have been possible without you coming to support out events. AJET- hang your heads in shame - you really need to sort yourselves before the end of the year, get some events planned, and more importantly prepare for the new people coming in. Myself and the DRs will talk about this on out first DR meeting in May, and if you haven't sorted yourselves out by then, we will have no option but to integrate AJET reponsibility with DR responsibility with IMMEDIATE effect. I think I speak for most people (not just a a PA and part of the Saga JET Support System) when i say that I am disappointed that there have been no AJET events this year. Quite frankly it is a disgrace to collect all those fees (for 2 years!) and not really do much. I understand you are busy and it isn't easy to organize events, but we still have a couple of months left, and there is still hope for a beach party, a 90's party and even a ball in Saga. Lets finish the year with a bang and give the punters some value for their money.

Back to the football, and there has been some development. Gareth "I broke a rib sneezing" Newbold Jones, Saga's welsh talisman, sent an e-mail of enquiry to somebody he knows at the Welsh Football Association, the highest power in the beautiful game in that barren country. Being the joker that he is, he called the Fukuoka boys "Aho Fukuoka FC". This is the reply that we (he) got:

"Dear Gareth,
Thank you for your entertaining email. Yes, you are absolutely right (as usual) Aho Fukuoka FC have infringed upon the FIFA law as stated in appendix M1(b) regarding the illegal use of oxygen supplements. It is therefore within my power to advise the organisers of "The Kyushu Cup 2005" that, if they have concrete evidence of foul play, the aforementioned Aho Fukuoka FC should be disqualified from the competition and stripped of their title immediately.
I hope this answers all your queries. If you have any other questions regarding this matter please do not hesitate to email me.
Mark Evans
Football Association of Wales, International Affairs Dept.
Football Association of Wales F.I.F.A. representative.

So there you have it! Official confirmation (again on my birthday) that Saga Wanderers are the rightful winners of the Kyushu Cup 2005 champions!! Well done us.

Here are some match reports for you all to enjoy:

The Kyushu Cup Tournament 2005, Yamakuni, Oita-ken.
Saga Wanderers were the first players to arrive at fortress Oita and found themselves in a farcical debate over whether to have a diagonal pitch or not with cartoon boy Ed and his skinny sidekick. When the Robbie Savage lookalike turned up the situation intensified, but in the end Big Rob Wilson agreed on having a fat, rectangular playing area.
With the Wanderers looking resplendent in their emerald and ivory hooped shirts the opposing players could only look on in awe and envy, and who could blame them. The fear was even evident in the eyes of the mighty Aho Fukuoka FC, lucky 5-1 winners when they last met the Wanderers - they knew that this Saga team was an entirely different proposition.
The squad was trimmed to twelve for this tournament but with experienced veterans like Robert 'No Way' Wilson and 'Big' Jim McAllinden in their line-up it was obvious that these Wanderers were no wimps.
The Saga Wanderers squad was -
1. Josh 'Eat your Legs' Novak
2. Gareth 'The Pirate' Newbold-Jones
3. Adrian 'Grecian 2000' Kerr
4. Olliver 'Gripper' Gryce
5. Cormac 'The Shirehorse' O Connor
6. Lee 'Buck' Rodgers (Captain)
7. Jim 'Barney Rubble' McAllinden
8. Robert 'The Chest' Wilson
9. Amit 'The Pro'
10. Kaoru 'Stevie' Sohun
11. Tim 'Razor' Reeve
12. Kazuya 'The Traitor'The opening game of the tournament pitted pre-competition favourites, Aho Fukuoka FC, against the extremely dark horses, Saga Wanderers.
Revenge, bitterness and thuggerywere in the air as the sides took the pitch. Fukuoka, spurred on by the captain everybody loves to hate, began in ominous fashion and, after some lacklustre Saga defending, took the lead a few minutes into the first half.
Most teams would have then capitulated - but not this sterner, stronger, sexier Saga team. Inspired by the words of their spiritual guide Rob 'the Oracle' Wilson (" I will bet my life that we will beat them!") the Wanderers played themselves back into the game. It was Big Rob himself who got Saga back intoit when he blasted a right footed shot, "The Cannon" *tm, past the hapless time waster in the Fukuoka net. Some sweet passing movements followed, bringing 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from the heaving throng of supporters in the stands; and then, on the stroke of half-time a moment of controversy and magic all rolled into one.
The controversy, as ever, surrounded Robert 'The Truth' Wilson who was adjudged by the linesman to have handled the ball before he set up 'the magic' - a 180 degree turn and shot from 20 yards out by 'Captain Buck' Rodgers that flew over the keepers' head and into the top corner (ish) of the net. For a few agonising minutes it looked as though referee Robbie Savage would disallow a perfectly legitimate goal but "justice" prevailed, perhaps helped in part by Robert 'no fuckin way referee' Wilson's timid protestations. As the half-time whistle sounded it was Saga who unexpectedly found themselves on the edge of the promised land with the score at 2-1 in their favour.
The second half kicked off much as the first had began, with Fukuoka in the ascendency. After some intense pressure on the Saga goal the favourites eventually found an equaliser thanks to some neat play by the Fukuoka left winger (I think).
The score remained at 2-2 until the last minute of the game when a visibly tiring Wanderers team scored an own-goal (Kazuya) as a result of relentless Fukuoka pressure. As the team in white celebrated a hard earned victory with a post-match team talk, Saga trudged off the sandy Oita pitch with their heads held high and their previously tarnished reputation restored.
In an exciting second match hosts Oita came from 4-1 down against a Greg-inspired Nagasaki team to clinch a magnificent 5-4 victory and stay level on points with Fukuoka.
Saga's second match was against Kyushu Cup organisers Oita. Led by their inspirational captain, Ed, Oita soon found themselves a goal behind as the Wanderers played like a team possessed. Kazuya, upset at scoring the winning own-goal for Aho Fukuoka in the previous encounter, more than redeemed himself with a bullet-shot from the left hand side of the Oita goal area (it made Rob's cannon look like a 100 yen water pistol) which the keeper would have done well to see as it flew past him into the net.
Oita replied immediately with a goal of their own which Tim 'The Ripper' Reeve, who had replaced the equally formidable Joshua 'Get out of my way' Novak after the first game, could do little to stop.
In a see-saw tussle the Wanderers then took the lead for the second time in the match. Following good work from Graydrian, at the heart of the Saga defence, and a rejuvented Big Jim in midfield a hopeful punt upfield was met powerfully in the air by Rob 'The Shove' Wilson, who held off at least six defenders to head home. The half time whistle blew with Saga again leading 2-1.
In a dour second half an obviously knackered Saga team struggled to create any chances of note and midway through the half they conceded yet another equaliser. Most teams would have surely crumbled under the mental and physical pressure Saga were now under, but most teams do not have the presence of seasoned campaigners like Kaoru 'Wonder', 'Killer' Cormac O Connor and Gareth 'Fred Flinstone' Newbold-Jones in their line-ups to steady the ship amidst perilous waters.
When the final whistle finally blew it was Saga who were the more frustrated of the two teams with a 2-2 draw, but they were also slightly relieved.
In the other match-ups, a one sided game saw Aho Fukuoka thrash Nagasaki 6-1 and then go on to beat Oita 3-0, results that meant Fukuoka were assured of top spot in the table and all Saga had to do was beat an average looking Nagasaki team to set-up an intriguing final against the number one team.
The Wanderers took to the field with a steely glint in their eye and a swagger in their step. Due to Kazuyas early departure form the competition there was a slight reshuffle of the Saga team. With Joshua 'The Force' Novak restored in goal and Tim 'The Charm' Reeve starting in defence the Wanderers had a solid, almost unbeatable look about them.
It came as no surprise that, after some scintillating attacking football, midway through the first half Saga took the lead. It was Lee 'Roy' Rodgers that stabbed the ball home after a goal-mouth scramble. With Nagasaki offering little attacking threat the Saga players could relax and play with type of vigorous, champagne football that has long been their trademark.
Unfortunately, the Saga forwards could not find the target up front, and with Rob's 'Cannon'(tm) hopelessly mis-firing, the score remained at 1-0 until 'Ard' Amit struck home a white-booted shot to settle the tie and ease the intense pressurefelt byevery Wanderer.
Saga celebrations were cut-short, however, when Fukuoka declined the opportunity of a final match and opted instead to go to the Beer Factory to start drinking. Wanderers players didn't really care at this stage and were more than happy with their excellent performances over the three matches and second place in the group table.
A very enjoyable day out was had by all, even Rob. The Saga Wanderers should take heart from their impressive displays and be looking forward to winning the title next year and retaining their Boat Race title, which was won with ease at the after-match party in the beer factory - well done Kaoru, Josh, Tim and Olly for that startling triumph.
**********************NEWS JUST IN***************************
Due to the Aho Fukuoka FC team consuming performance enhancing oxygen supplements between matches they have subsequently been disqualified form the tournament and have been relieved of their title and trophy, which under Rule 6(b) of the Kyushu FA Rules will be awarded to the second place team. So the Kyushu Cup champions for 2005 are .....Saga Wanderers! Congratulations!