Prince Michael recounts on the day...
I am almost embarrassed to say that I have never taken any interest in football. This must be partly due to the fact that the boarding school I went to didn't allow us to play the game. Based in the wilds of north Wales rugby was was lived and breathed. Even a bit of hockey which I found a surprisingly good and aggressive game.
So it has come as a huge and pleasant surprise to me to witness just how much passion is involved with the Sealand football team and their opponents.
At our recent away game in Alderney our team members had come from Sealand, Scotland and across the UK to do battle with the tiny islands very competitive team. The team, myself and my three grown up kids arrived with a bang, landing on the wind swept airstrip in forty knots of wind, the plane yawing and pitching on approach and landing with a thud as the pilot expertly wrestled the stick and control levers.
It was a brilliant start to the day. The game had been delayed for half an hour because one of our two flights had been delayed at Southampton due to mechanical problems.
Waiting outside the small airport was a minibus with a very jovial and cheerful driver who took us to the football ground the "long way" to show us some of the island. He explained that before the island was occupied by the Germans during the war the British government evacuated the island leaving only five residents and relocated the remainder in Glasgow. What a shock to the system that must have been after their beautiful laid back and sleepy island.
We were introduced to all the football dignitaries past and present, the opposing team and our new team sponsors P J Construction (www.pjconstruct.co.uk). Then battle commenced. After the first few minutes Alderney managed to score over the prostrate body of our goalie Tom McIntosh who had been knocked out by a foul that was unfortunately not seen by the ref. When I say knocked out, I don't mean in that girlie footballer way seen at some games, I mean sparko totally unconscious and not moving! It took several minutes to bring him round and he was helped off the pitch with a bit of a funny pallor. This presented a problem as we didn't have a spare goalie. Alderney stepped into the breach and "lent" us a goalie who I have to say in a very sporting fashion played 100% for our team while he was on.
Despite having the gale of wind blowing furiously behind us in the first half we didn't score. In fact if anything it was a hindrance as whenever the ball was kicked with any height it the wind would carry it sailing off into the gorse on the hillside at one end of the pitch. At one point we were down to the last ball as young lads searched the bushes for the lost ones.
Half time and the Sealand skipper Ralf Little had a team talk in the changing room. "Right then you useless bunch of *****!" he roared and harangued them as a team and then individually one by one in very impressive and loud style for their failings.
They all hung their heads in shame and nodded in agreement.
Tom the goalie, a tough cookie, announced that he was better now and hadn't travelled all the way down from Scotland on trains and planes not to finish the game.
So the lads trooped out again for the second half determined to regain the initiative. Battle re-commenced and a ball kicked by Sealand bounced off an islanders hand, the refs whistle went for hand ball as the ball went sailing into the goal! We were starting to think luck or the ref was not with us. Once again he was harangued by our Baron Chay. I can't help but think he didn't have any red cards in his pocket or Chay would surely have got one!
Off we went again and a goal was scored by Sealand's Daryl Moore making the score one all at the final whistle. It had been agreed prior to the game that if this occurred we should go to penalties.
The crowd waited with baited breath as Baron Chay took the first shot and sent the ball over the goal...however after the next 5 shots from Sealand hitting their target and a save from our Goalkeeper Tom...the pressure was on Alderney...they sent it wide of the goal and we had won the "Bavarian cup"!!
After the jubilation of winning it was into the club bar for refreshments served up by our generous hosts and lots of re-runs of the game and interviews.
Despite being told the weather might be to bad for the return flights we were back in Southampton for the evening and further celebrations late into the night.
A huge effort all round by the team, our Football President Neil Forsyth and Ed Stubbs in arranging it all as well as the logistics.
This was covered by the BBC and other press .
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