FHM O2 Cup - The Scotland Match Report

With the final round of regional heats for the FHM O2 Cup roaring into Glasgow yesterday, the morning atmosphere was electrically competitive, as 17 Scottish teams prepared to battle it out for a place in the nationwide final alongside the winning teams from the North of England, the South of England and The Midlands.   And the prize on offer – the chance to play at Arsenal’s legendary Highbury stadium on Sunday 14 May 2006 in one of the last ever games to be staged on its hallowed turf before the North London club swaps home after 93 years of footballing heroics.  There is also the small matter of £5,000 cash and five Sony Ericsson Walkman® phones for the winning team, not to mention the chance to beat those spoilt Southerners and lift the FHM O2 Cup.    The Scottish contingency certainly looked hungry for victory.  Take the Kenya Lions, for example. One of their members had shaved the word ‘FHM” into his stomach hair. Another turned up dressed as a burglar and people bawling, “Kelly! Yer’ dad’s a legend” to host Kelly Dalglish (on account of her Celtic-playing pa) rang out as the initial round of matches kicked off.   Frantic footie followed until the Westes and Destined Toulouse topped Groups A and C respectively with maximum points, leading onto the quarter-finals…   St Mirren fanatics, the Black and White Army, demolished G Spot 4-0, which included a hugely contested goal that hit the underside of the cross bar and bounced down – not unlike Geoff Hurst’s controversial goal in the 1966 World Cup Final.   Elsewhere, the clash between Westies and Wet Dream Team ended in a 1-1 draw. But with scores level after extra time and penalties, it was down to sudden death…   In what was quite possibly the longest sudden death penalty shoot-out ever (we counted over 15 penalties), it was up to their goalie, Ian to take a shot. Firing the ball straight into the hands of Westes’ goalkeeper, Ian’s fellow Wet Dream Team players emerged from their shirts (where they’d been hiding because of nerves) and looked more gutted than a recently eviscerated fish that they weren’t London-bound to play in the Highbury Final.    Meanwhile, Destined Toulouse booked their plane to London with a 1-0 victory over Loch Lomond larrikins FC Losers, despite (according to a Toulouser), “playing like girls!”   And so onto the semi-finals. Black and White’s game against Edinburgh’s Corn All Stars was a melee of phlegm-spitting, swearing and aggressive “I’m gonnae give ye’ a Glasgow Kiss in a moment” style glances.  Black and White finally won the battle, edging through with a 2-1 victory.   It was then time for the Final. Black and White Army versus Destined Toulouse. With Black and White’s Steven Jack neatly tucking the ball away for their first goal, and Richie Newell lobbing a ball over the goalie’s head, Black and White were crowned ‘Best Amateur Five-A-Side Team in Scotland’ with a 2-0 win. Were they happy? No. They were still arguing away about a ref apparently wrongly awarding a penalty to the opposing team during an earlier 1-1 group game (the penalty-taker missed, but that wasn’t the point).   Anyway, the euphoria of Black and White’s final win was torn asunder when they faced BBC Scotland Ladies in an exhibition match. Okay, Scotland Ladies might have had Neville Southall playing in defence, but that was no excuse for Black & White’s treacherous tactics. First, their bear-like goalie was sent off to resounding boos for bringing a female player down. Then, their second goalkeeper was dismissed for a similar offence. Ach! The horror! By the end of the game, a paltry three Black & Whiters were battling it out against ten ladies (a mysterious five more had found their way onto the pitch) eventually slumping to a humiliating 2-1 defeat.   As the awards presentation took place, the sound of bagpipes filled the air and Kelly Dalglish was splattered in champagne fizz from a winning team. We’ll see Kelly, the Black and White Army, BBC Ladies, and heat runner’s up; Westes, Destined Toulouse and Corn Allstars at the Highbury Final on May 14. What a party that promises to be…    What is the FHM O2 Cup?   The FHM O2 Cup, in association with Sony Ericsson is the FA Cup of amateur five-a-side competitions, designed for football fanatics nationwide and hosted by Sky Sports’ extraordinaire Kelly Dalglish. We’re not searching for seasoned pro’s or the next Thierry Henry, we’re looking for a bunch of mates who enjoy a kick about and want their five minutes of fame.   Having already survived a tough preliminary voting stage, 96 teams from across the country were selected to participate in the four regional heats, which were held in Scotland, the North of England, South of England and the Midlands throughout March and April. The top four teams from each heat will then get to play in front of thousands of fans and groupies at the glamorous grand final at Highbury on Sunday 14 May – one of the last ever games to be played at the famous stadium.   This year we’re even embracing equality as not only is there a men’s cup but there’s an FHM O2 women’s cup too.   The eventual winners of the men and women’s finals will be bestowed with the honour of lifting the FHM O2 Cup at Highbury and benefit from all the other spoils of victory – the respect of the nation (possibly) and the adoration of football fans across the UK (hopefully).  There is also the small matter of £5,000 cash and five Sony Ericsson Walkman® phones for the winning team.    Grand Final Date:               Sunday 14th May Kick Off           11am Location:         Highbury Stadium Avenell Road Highbury London N5 1BU   For more information on the FHM O2 Cup final, please visit www.fhm.com/O2cup