It has indeed been a while since I’ve written anything sport related on this blog – normally these days, no news is really so substantial that it can’t be expressed in less than 140 characters. However, this one is a bit different!
I’ve been an FA Futsal Reporter for nearly a year and a half now and it’s something I’ve loved doing. Going up and down the country to watch such a gripping and fascinating sport take place on a Sunday afternoon, interviewing plenty of friendly folk on the way and then seeing my match reports online on englandfutsal.com is always a great feeling.
Unfortunately, there appears to be a complete restructure going on at The FA, which I’m somewhat in the dark about, that has meant that all my superiors have now left the organisation. All the people who told me what to cover and who paid my expenses have departed over the last four months or so and this has meant that I am currently out of a job (of sorts at least – I still pour pints and clean toilets in order to fund my student lifestyle). If I had a few hundreds pounds spare in the bank then I would happily cover the FA Futsal Super League in my own time because it is something I truly enjoy doing – but alas, my disposable income is essentially non-existent.
Hopefully, there is still enough interest in futsal on a regional level to fill the voids left by the likes of Simon Walker, a thoroughly nice chap who I wish all the best success in the future. But at the moment at least, my role as an FA Futsal Reporter is at an end… cue the violins.
There’s been plenty of great memories – the first ever game I watched was in Swindon between Oxford City Lions and Middlesbrough, where I saw arguably the greatest futsal player in England, Lucas Toti, in action and he completely astonished me with his technical ability. I had to walk up the side of dual carriageway for 15 minutes in order to get to the game but it was certainly worth it. Other notable moments include chatting with Chema Jiminez and Ernest Cardona following Baku United and Birmingham’s progression to the Futsal Super League finals, getting several free mars bars at the FA Cup Finals 2015 just for having an ‘access-all-areas’ pass, watching the most brutal games in the form of Maccabi vs FC Siauliai and meeting plenty of decent fans along the way, all of them sharing passion for futsal and one day hoping that it will gain mainstream recognition.
Best of luck to all the Super League and Division 2 sides this season – hopefully I will be match reporting at the games again soon! Good luck also to the seven teams in the National Ladies Futsal League which kicked off last month, which is another step forward for English futsal in this country.
If you’re still reading at this point, make sure you buy yourself a copy of Futsal Pro Magazine! Look out for the second edition too, which is steadily coming together.
On the 31st of May, I travelled to St George’s Park in Burton (England’s national training base for football) on behalf of the FA to report on the most significant English futsal games of the season in the Futsal League Grand Finals. Participating on the day were Baku United, Helvecia, Loughborough and Manchester Futsal Club. It was an entertaining afternoon with goals galore as Baku triumphed for the second consecutive season and remained England’s futsal champions.
Below is a gallery of some of the photos I captured throughout the semi-finals, final and third-placed play-off. Admittedly it’s not like me to dabble in the realm of photography but since I have a fairly professional camera at my disposal, I decided to give it a go. Any feedback is appreciated since sports photography is a lot trickier than I anticipated.