UFC Worldnet 2012
by Scott Thornberry - 20th July 2012
Uncovered’s ninth and last* trip to Worldnet takes place this weekend so we might as well have a look at the bunch of players who will be representing Darlington in Europe’s biggest football supporters tournament. Don’t know if actually is the biggest, probably isn’t . Who cares. Sue me.
If we end up in the Plate on the Sunday (which, let’s face it, is likely), we’ll be hoping to go one better than last year when we lost the final on penalties to Portsmouth.
Disappointing that a year after getting to the final, so many of last year’s squad can’t play (seven of last year’s 19 aren’t making the trip). Mind, we have enjoyed listening to the long list of various excuses that people have offered. Only one I’ve not heard yet is ‘my dog’s eaten my homework’. Perhaps people were caught out by Worldnet’s dates this year as it takes place towards the end of July for the ninth consecutive summer. Bit of a shock that...
Never mind that, here’s the 21-strong squad:
PIC: Uncovered FC's squad at Worldnet last year. Back row, left to right, Andy Ashmore, Barry Thompson, Garry Mann, Chris Vallis, Craig Stoddart, Matty Ashmore, Mark Batey, Frazer Davies and David Robinson (manager). Front row, left to right, Chris Elliott, Chris Nixon, Paul Saxton, Sean Cummings, Nick Cawood, David Aiken, Wayne Harrison and Nick Richardson. Also pictured, to the left of shot, is a beached whale, AKA Nick Woodward, a former Darlington fan who says he will no longer support the club.
AMANDA SUNTER: Physio and, therefore, an essential member of the squad for the elder players among us who struggle to play once a week, never mind two or three games per day in Leeds. Amanda’s presence ensures at least one Sunter will be at Worldnet, thus reducing some of the shame heaped on the family by left-back Paul Sunter who, for the second year running, is missing Worldnet after being bullied into going on holiday by his wife. STOP THE PRESS: Amanda’s pulled out now, back injury, so the Sunters will be absent after all – now who’s going to wash the kits on Saturday night?
ANDY ASHMORE: Has seemingly recovered from a brutal challenge by an ‘enthusiastic’ David Robisnon at Glebe Road a few weeks ago to take his place in the squad. Like Sunter, however, Andy’s another weak individual having again had has his request for permission to stay the weekend at Bodington Hall turned down flat by Mrs Ashmore.
CHRIS ELLIOTT: Uncovered’s very own Kevin McCloud will down tools at his Grand Design project in Bishop Auckland (hope he’s finished weeding the front garden, what a mess it looked last time I was there) to shore up the backline. Or the frontline, depending on where he plays this year.
CHRIS LUPTON: Not the tallest goalkeeper that football has ever seen, and at this point it is customary to trot out a tired old cliché such as ‘a giant in goal, despite his lack of height’ or ‘makes up for his lack of inches with unequalled shot-stopping’ or some other such bullshit that’s frequently used in football writing. But anyone who witnessed the goal Lupton conceded in Yarm a month ago, when he ducked – I kid you not, DUCKED – out of the way of the ball would have serious reservations about his future between the sticks. Still, nice lad though.
CRAIG STODDART: A number eight-wearing midfielder that counts Steven Gerrard, Paul Gascoigne and Frank Lampard among none of the players that he can be compared to. Plays like Martin Gray in his heyday, but without any of the football ability. In an admission of his advancing years and rapidly approaching retirement from playing the game, chopped off a good eight inches of his (greying) locks recently, not that any of his team-mates noticed the heartless set of cretins.
DAN KING: The balding King is to make a rare but welcome return to Uncovered colours at Worldnet. The team’s first ever manager’s UFC appearances have been fleeting since beginning his job in the media department at Newcastle United...what’s that you say, you didn’t know he works at Newcastle United? Did you not get the hint when he started turning up at Darlington matches in an official Newcastle United coat, making him the most conspicuous member of the crowd? Might as well have marched the length of High Row every weekend carrying a placard announcing who his employers are – ‘I WORK AT NEWCASTLE UNITED – THAT MAKES ME CONSIDERABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU’ - or telling people on nights out that he actually plays for Newcastle. Imagine that...
DARREN KENT: This lad’s a pal of Craig Brooker’s – a sentence that ordinarily ensures that the best course of action would be to keep a hand on your wallet and make sure all your valuables are locked away. But, in a departure from the usual riff-raff in bookmaker Brooker’s clan, Daz seems a decent lad. Furthermore, he’s a more than capable centre-back that enjoyed a solid debut in a game a few weeks back near Eaglescliffe (or was it Stockton? Can’t remember now, does it matter? No, now piss off).
DAVID ROBINSON: The gaffer. The boss. The manager. Our supreme leader and the man who last year was sent off and told to stand 200 yards away from the pitch, over near the burger van, due to his ‘colourful’ language. One of the team’s most skilful players at one point (about ten years ago) and still shows a deft touch on a Monday in six-a-side, which, if we’re honest, is no good to Uncovered is it. Despite edging closer to retirement, demonstrated his value as an outfield player during a recent appearance in goal...
JONATHAN ATKINSON: Born March 18, 1939, commonly known as ‘Big Ron’ and (earlier in his managerial career) ‘Mr Bojangles’ is an English former football player and manager. In recent years he has become one of Britain's best-known football pundits.....actually no, that’s not right is it. That’s Ron Atkinson. Bollocks. That said, we know more about him than we do about Jonathan Atkinson who is another of Andy Ashmore’s crew and other than being a talented defender we know nothing about the lad.
MARK BATEY: Received a late-call-up to replace Chris Nixon who had been due to be parachuted into proceedings for the third year in a row. The tricky midfielder might’ve been a welcome addition, but he was axed from the squad due to his unkempt appearance (haircut (Stoddart receives a let-off as it was him that got the shorts and socks off Darlo).
MARK SIMPSON: Not a Darlington fan, we’re led to believe, but moved to the region recently and was keen to get involved in the team so we’re grateful for that at a time when plenty of others are showing a lack of interest. Other than playing as a striker we, again, know very little about Mark other his surname is Simpson which he shares with OJ, Ray and Homer.
NICK CAWOOD: After four years darn sarf has returned from Lahndan with a law degree, but, thankfully, not a cockney accent. He’s still a bit well-spoken for a North-Eastener though. However, he does appear to have bulked up somewhat so we’re hoping his new condition does not have an adverse impact on the fleet-footed winger’s electric pace – if it does, he can be considered to have let down not only Uncovered and himself, but also his family as well as Darlington supporters across the world. No pressure, Nicklaus.
NICK RICHARDSON: In a truly sickening act of greed and single-mindedness, has this summer turned his back on his local club in its hour of need in pursuit of glory, fame and money at Nottingham Forest. Appears to have taken Darlington’s special brand of decay to the City Ground as within two weeks of his arrival, the club had already been taken over and the manager sacked. Jinx.
OLLIE GELL: A mate of Nick and Nick and nobody is happier than Frazer Davies that Ollie is going to Worldnet. A room was booked at Bodington Hall for the erstwhile Davies, only for the unreliable mite to bugger off to Belgium for the summer – no idea what he’s doing over there, something to do with animals, apparently... But Ollie has stepped into the breach and saved Fraz 80 sheets, a noble gesture.
PAUL SAXTON: God-bothering goalkeeper with a penchant for an occasional appearance at centre-back. Presence at Worldnet was threatened by an injury, and for a lengthy spell the author of these profiles was not sure of Saxton’s availability as the ignoramus failed to reply to messages on Facebook - bet Jesus wasn’t so bloody rude. STOP THE PRESS:The modest Saxton has requested that this player profile mentions his role in a penalty shoot-out win last year. Well done Paul, you’re my hero.
SAM COOPER: The latest in a long line of short-left-backs at Uncovered. First was up was Dan King, then Paul Sunter and now Cooper. King, Sunter and Cooper – sounds like a particularly untrustworthy firm of solicitors. Sam appears to be present at most, if not all, Darlington matches which either makes dedicated or daft – you decide, but as he’s among those travelling on both days to Bodington Hall we reckon that makes him a fruitcake.
SIMON GOY: Another one of Andy Ashmore’s mob and, therefore, little is known about him other than that he’s a canny player - when he turns up. Elusive.
TOM BREEDON: Heavyweight striker that seemingly, due to injury, hasn’t seen a football for a good while, but he’s seen plenty of burgers alright. Likes his boxing does Tom, but that doesn’t mean you have to weigh the same as a one, does it Thomas. That said, and we know this is a cliché, but he really does have a ‘great touch for a big man’ , never demonstrated better than with his goal against Wimbledon some years back. Ray Houghton played for Wimbledon that day too, how do you like them apples?
GAV BROWNLESS: One of a clutch of new signings that, despite being from Middlesbrough/Stockton/Norton/Billingham (not sure where exactly, it’s all one large sprawling smoggy mess over there) follows Darlington. A tidy midfielder with a good touch and a younger brother named Adam who won’t be at Worldnet, which is a shame as he’s also a cracking player AND a Darlo fan.
MATTY ASHMORE: Turned 30 last year, but is blessed with the spine of a 90-year-old, the result of which being his football days are approaching the end so is unlikely to feature this weekend. Scored a cracking goal for Uncovered in one of our first ever games in 2001, against Hartlepool, and has been living off that (and pies) ever since. Refuses to be any further away than two miles from his dog at any time during a 24-hour period so, like his younger brother, will not be staying at Bodington Hall.
WAYNE HARRISON: Spent this summer at Euro 2012, the jammy bugger, so perhaps will feel inspired to play like any one of the Spanish team (and hopefully not like any one of the frankly awful England team – that bunch or wasters, apart from Steven Gerrard, are an embarrassment to the country and should have issued public apologies after returning to these shores, especially Ashley Young, where was his contribution this summer? What did he do to warrant a call-up? Pathetic. Same goes for James Milner. And Wayne ‘golden balls’ Rooney, well what a magnificent tournament the ugly potato-faced assassin had....dear me. Scored a header from a yard out (brilliant, well done) and then did precisely nothing, nowt, zero. Didn’t even deserve to be there after heaping shame on the nation with his red card last year for kicking an opponent (again)). Right, I appear to have digressed somewhat, anyway. Canny player is Wayne, but wouldn’t do any harm if he ate a meal once in a while.
*Not officially Uncovered’s last Worldnet, but it is the last one at Bodington Hall as the site closes in January, while the tournament organisers are both stepping down. So if there’s a Worldnet in 2013, it’ll be starting almost from scratch and it’s unlikely to take place an hour’s drive from Darlington...