|Action from one of Europe's largest international junior football tournaments. Last season, Blackpool Mechanics Under 16's were victorious in their age group under manager Big Ryan. This morning they began their campaign at Under 17's. Could they repeat last season's success? Updated – Monday 9th – Ryan's team win the final ! Summary of the final with pictures now published.|
What a glorious morning at Commonedge Road where the warm sunshine quickly saw off the mist and there wasn't a breath of wind. The Blackpool Cup is well worth a visit as it's a massive junior tournament from Under 9 all the way through to Under 20's. Teams from all over Europe and beyond show up to play and it's just a mass of colour and kids chattering away in Italian, French, Dutch, Icelandic, Spanish, Swiss intertwined with Irish, Scots, Welsh, Scousers and Cockneys – the whole caboodle.
Unfortunately, not many local teams take part but last year a team under the name of Blackpool Mechanics FC Under 16's played. They're made up of lads from the local youth league teams including Clifton Rangers, YMCA and Poulton Town Under 16's FC and are managed by local football character Big Ryan who's often seen out watching Highfield Social FC or Quilligans FC. Last year they won their final on Easter Monday so they were back again this season looking to win the Under 17's version. I promised Ryan I'd pop over and take a few photo's so here they are. He'd managed to steal the Highfield Social kit so let's hope they don't have a game tomorrow.
First up for our lot were an outfit from the Netherands sponsored by the Dutch bank Rabobank. A dusty Pitch 1 was the venue. A great start as Ryan's team began with a 4-0 win. They could do well but like last year they're an indisciplined rabble and Ryan needs to get a grip of them. 4-0 up, giving silly free-kicks away, arguing with the ref and the opposition it was no surprise when one of them received his marching orders from the Scottish official. Last year even Ryan himself was ordered to the stand in the final. They can go all the way once again but they must display more self control. Good luck lads.
Blackpool take the lead.
Thirsty work – Half time team talk
Another goal for the home side.
“It waszsh three kilometres offshzzide referee” A couple of decisions went against the Dutch resulting in the liner coming on to the pitch for a Dutch/Scot chat. The Ref quickly sent him on his way.
Shovels FC keeper Danny Jardine.
Mr Jardine Snr
The Ref steps in and we're down to ten men.
The best of luck to Ryan's team for the rest of the competition.
Updated Sunday 6pm: After finishing up the website following Sunday's Alliance programme it was back over to Commonedge to check in again on the Junior Football tournament. In my absence Ryan's Blackpool Mechanics Under 17's had reached a 5pm semi-final against a team from Northern Ireland. This despite further indiscipline in the shape of another sending off and turning up late for a group match and having to forfeit the game.
One team had come all the way from Iceland and got there on time but Ryan couldn't get his men the hundred yards from South Shore Cricket Club to Pitch 1 by kick off time. Anyway, they still managed to win their group. Credit where it's due the team were awesome in the semi and generally well behaved. They played some really good fast flowing passing football and all but murdered the opposition from Northern Ireland with a 5-2 win to set up a final on Easter Monday morning at 10am on the Blackpool Mechanics dustbowl.
Monday 9th April 2007
Cold and grey at Blackpool Mechanics this morning for the final of the Blackpool Cup (Under 17s). By a twist of fate Blackpool Mechanics opponents were the same team from the Netherlands who they'd played in the first group on Saturday. Haarlem FC had finished second in the group and won their respective semi against the other group winners to reach the final. Before Christmas I spent a week working in Haarlem which is a town about 30 minutes outside Amsterdam. A wonderful place and highly recommended for a visit.
Blackpool Mechanics Under 17's 2006/07
This morning's officials
Kon Haarlem FC
The sides enter the arena
MAGS (Blackpool's Mums and Girlfriends)
Blackpool scored straight from the kick off. Three passes put Martin Bird clean through and he made no mistake. 1-0.
Goal celebration dance.
Miss Noon with Dad.
GOAL ! Jamie Gunn fires it past the keeper to put Mechanics 2-0 up.
The Haarlem captain.
Half time score : Blackpool Mechanics FC 2 – 0 Haarlem FC
Yellow card for a Haarlem player.
The Haarlem keeper.
Big Ryan barks out some instructions.
Blackpool keeper Danny Jardine pulls off a great save in the dust from a Haarlem free-kick. What happened to the wall?
There's a tangle on the floor and a Blackpool player lashes out.
A straight red from the Ref is the correct decision.
The dismissal goes down well with the Haarlem contingent.
With time running out the Haarlem keeper goes up for the corner.
Hurry back mate!
The final whistle goes and the teams shake hands.
Final score : Blackpool Mechanics FC 2 – 0 Haarlem FC
Disappointed Haarlem youngsters.
The runners up collect their trophy.
The Haarlem Club captain.
The Haarlem management team rightly proud of their team's achievements.
Respectful applause for the winners.
The Blackpool players collect their medals.
The final was far from a classic encounter and overall there were only a handful of clear cut chances. It was clear that Haarlem FC had adapted well since the first match between the teams. It can't be easy to come to the UK and adapt to our dusty pitches, breezy conditions and physical style but by the second half they were competing evenly with the Blackpool side. Their manager said his team were not used to the English game but had learned quickly and that his players would go back to the Netherlands as more experienced and better players as result of the experience.
Haarlem were worthy opponents and went down with dignity. As for Blackpool two first half goals were enough to seal the victory. They have some excellent young players and as they make the often troublesome transition between junior and senior football I hope they end up in decent teams with good strong managers who can keep them on track and bring out the best of them. Staying disciplined and learning to win well as lose well are important traits to gain. Well done lads and congratulations from Fyldesport.com. Our Blackpool player of the tournament was captain Anthony Spayte.
Jamie Gunn picks up the Manager's Player of the tournament.
Blackpool Cup Under 17's Winners 2006/07 – Blackpool Mechanics FC
IT'S OURS !! Big Ryan lifts the Trophy.