Surreal Madrid

Posted on 6th February 2008

DanDan looks to intercept

DanDan looks to intercept

DanDan is now a fully fledged member of the Callowbrook Swifts Juniors Football Club, playing in the 7s age group. He played his third match, his second full match, at the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed himself. He's getting really good these days, and although there are still plenty of improvements and confidence needed to get the best out of him, it's been really consuming to watch him and his team mates play. I don't think I've shouted so much at a football match in years! The whole team are great to watch and they have some stars in the making too.

They played against Hampton Sports on Sunday and put up a good fight. Zak and Jack held the defence well, to the point Zak unanimously earned himself man of the match, and the remainder of the team certainly got in the way, just not really making the most of their potential. One of Hampton's goals was very lucky to go in, as their man just happened to be on the far wing, as a throw-in on the other side got kicked further over, and then when he shot for goal, Zack, Jack and Ross just couldn't quite reach the ball to kick it away. For a Callowbrook corner, DanDan was standing too far back from the far post, and had he been level, the ball would have dropped at his feet with an open goal. Joel made several attempts at getting the ball in the goal, but was tackled down every time. In the end they lost 2-0, but it could so easily have been a 1-1 draw. The team are getting better, now they just need to get the goals.

It took a while to notice, but amusingly there was a Kane, a Jack and two Dan's on each team. Unsurprisingly, calling out to Dan caused some confusion, especially among the Hampton players. With our DanDan having problems with his ears, he never seemed to notice. As such one of the Callowbrook mums suggested we randomly shout Kane, Jack or Dan to put Hampton off ;)

At some point this year I really ought to revamp DanDan's website and start adding all the football matches and photos from the last few years on there. I've given the coach photos of DanDan's first two matches, so hopefully they use them when they update the Callowbrook Swifts site. In the mean time, some of the action shots from the last two matches from the first half of the season:

File Under: callowbrook / dandan / family / football

Another Town, Another Train

Posted on 23rd May 2007

Crewe Alexandra FC

Crewe Alexandra FC

Dario Gradio is the longest serving manager in English league football. In fact he's possibly the longest serving football manager in the world. On July 1 2007, he plans to hand over the reigns of Crewe Alexandra to the first team coach, Steve Holland, after 24 years as manager. Dario isn't leaving the club, as he will take on the role of Technical Director, but he will be missed as he's made a significant impact on the club and fans, even rivals, and will leave a lot to live up to, with an amazing legacy that will be a long time before anyone equals or betters it.

From the age of 11, I went to Crewe County Grammar School on Ruskin Road (now a comprehensive), and passed Gresty Road on the bus to and from school for 5 years. During the 70s the club was the butt of several jokes, as they were always struggling near the bottom of the fourth division. I can remember a few times when they were fighting relegation into the Conference League. I left Crewe in 1982, a year before Dario took over at the club. Partly because I missed the town and partly because I didn't feel any affliation to any club near Hinckley, my support of Crewe Alexandra grew. I've never been much of a football fan, but I did follow their exploits in the press and watch the games whenever they got televised, but I wasn't what you would call a die hard fan. For a while I was a member of the Alex Exiles, but never got to any of the meetings, as they mostly seem to congregate in London.

I still feel that my club is Crewe Alex, and even DanDan has answered Crewe Alex when he's been asked who he supports. The reaction is quite amusing, as he gets quite a lot of respect. That's mostly thanks to Dario Gradi, as he's been the longest serving manager for a good reason. He's given the Railwaymen a club to be proud of. Next time I go up to see friends in Crewe, I'm hoping to drop by the club shop and get DanDan some memorabillia. A 2006/7 strip would go down nicely, so he can wear it when he goes to football practice. Maybe I'll even get to take him to a game next season too ;)

File Under: crewe / football

All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit

Posted on 20th April 2007

DanDan has been going to The Strikes Soccer Accademy for the past year, and had some great football coaching. He already had the ability to drop-kick and aim the ball from as young as 3, so we knew he had a natural talent. Thanks to Neil his coach, and getting the chance to play with the older boys at school, he's come on leaps and bounds.

My only disappointment is that Strikes doesn't seem to be able to market themselves very well. At the moment there are only 4 boys being coached in the under 8s group, which DanDan is a part of. It's supported by Birmingham City FC, Walsall FC and Birmingham City Council, so I'm surprised that it hasn't had a lot more publicity. Having a smaller group to coach has meant that Neil has been able to give each boy much more dedicated coaching, which is good, but it does mean there isn't more of a challenge for DanDan.

There was talk of a marketing campaign earlier in the year, but I haven't seen any evidence of it. It would have been good to promote the football coaching to local schools, as there are several. Callowbrook Swifts seems to be the next step up for some, but they seem much more orientated to playing rather than training, and I think DanDan needs more of the training at the moment.

I was thinking the other day, if we did manage to nuture his talent and help him become a first team player with some (preferably local) club, I wonder whether he'd get labelled as "the next ...."? I hope not, he's DanDan. Our DanDan ;)

And for the youngsters among you, regards the title ... see here.

File Under: birmingham / coaching / dandan / football / strikes

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