You may remember a while ago that my old school friend Steve Gooch was going to holding a retirement football match at Carrow road, Norwich, Home of the now premiership team, The Canaries. you may also remember that he was making it a charity match for the Anthony Nolan Trust, in memory of our old friend Neil Offley.... well the match took place on Sunday 31st May at 6pm for what turned out to be an action packed match..
Sunday morning started of grey and wet and I had a feeling I was going to be photographing a football match while wearing a plastic poncho, It was still dreary as everyone arrived at Carrow road, but as the teams entered onto the pitch, the clouds parted and the sun shone down (Neil... that's all I'm saying)
Before coming out of the changing rooms, the lads had a surprise for Steve, they had only managed to arrange for a personal letter of support from Liverpool Football Clubs gaffer, Brendan Rodgers which with steve being a massive Liverpool fan rendered him speechless, they also had had a whip round and handed him a rather large donation for the charity pot even though, they had already donated each when they had arranged to play.
After the team photos in the goal mouths were taken (South Creake's photo having to be retaken as Aaron wick turned round and showed his own south creake) the game kicked off on time officiated by Robbie O'Neill, Matt Hudson and Kev Greenwood, this was also the last hurrah for Robbie O'Neill as it happened as this was to be his last match on the pitch too...
The goals came thick and fast by both teams ending in a 4-2 win for South Creake F.C with both goals being scored by Daniel Reeve for Ashill Harts F.C. and Jonathan Weir, Daniel Ballantyne, Aaron Wick and Cameron Allen for South Creake F.C. but it wasn't all smooth sailing as unfortunately Ryan Hugo sustained an ankle injury and ended up being helped off the pitch (to a rapturous round of applause) after connecting with the goal keeper Jason Lister near the end of the 1st half of the game.
The total announced after the match from an initial count up which included cash donations as well as the justgiving.com page was just over £1170
WELL DONE LADS!!
The draws to win the signed Norwich City shirt and the Anfield tour tickets has yet to take place, but will be done shortly.
I'll stop waffling on now and show you some pics...
Steve after being presented with a personal letter from Liverpool Football Clubs gaffer, Brendan Rodgers
Sue Offley (Neils mum) in the crowd, enjoying the game
During half time Tony Walker showed of his goalkeeping skills against his daughter (the youngest goal scorer at Carrow road, I think)
Ryan Hugo being helped of the pitch after sustaining an ankle injury
Eric Hallgreen being a poser (I'm told "as usual") with a cheeky Robbie O'Neill photobomb
Edward Young, Sue Offley and Steve Gooch after the game