Remember the days when you played as your favourite team? Whether it be playing football in the street, or unboxing those gleaming Subbetteo figures, there was a magic and it’s this which created a nucleous that spawned our idea for the Masters of Kick Off 2!
The great game is a vast game, Team A vs Team B is cracking but we figured lets open it up. Tournaments are lacking, but what’s always been constant is 3 mates meeting up whatever the weather so we figured it’s time to hark back to the good old days of playing the game however we liked.
So lets join messrys Robson, Ronaldo, Whiteside Southall, Lineker and Augero as we guide you through the events that unfolded.
Everton 5 vs 7 Manchester United – aka Steve E vs Simon K
The fixture gods pitted Everton against Manchester United live from Goodison! A full house watched an almighty classic with goals galore and the game ending 5-7 in favour of the Red Devils with a cheeky goal from Bryan Robson and a brace from Ronaldo. Gary Lineker’s inspired performance wasn’t enough to save Everton’s blushes. Would Man Utd be able to carry this on in the next game?
Manchester City 2 – 2 Liverpool – aka Steve E vs Garry C
Next up were the remaining teams, Manchester City vs Liverpool. Only in recent teams have Man City been able to recall much success and so it was no surprise when Augero was announced to spearhead the attack. Along with him was a surprise performance from Peter Reid in the engine room with Kinkladze jinking on the wing. The game ended 2-2 with Ian Rush scoring them both for Liverpool
Manchester City 1 – 3 Everton – aka Garry C vs Simon K
The Benchmark had been set, Man Utd and Everton, despite the defeat looked the strongest and this carried on in the next round with Derek Mountfield shoring up Everton’s defence and a fine performance from Kevin Sheedy – 1-3 in Everton’s favour.
Liverpool 2 – 4 Manchester United – aka Simon K vs Steve E
Watched by millions across the globe, Liverpool hosted Man Utd. With Robbie Fowler scoring one along with John Barnes, it was not enough to save their blushes as team from Old Trafford powered to a 2-4 win with Gary Bailey producing a solid display along with his defensive cohorts Pallister and Bruce.
Everton 4 – 4 Liverpool – aka Garry C vs Steve E
Whilst every game is a derby to some degree, this was the round that saw old enemies from not too far away do battle. They used to call this the friendly derby but there was no love lost as goals were smashed in either net. Liverpool nearly got the win they craved but Gary Lineker scored a fine effort to end the match in a draw.
Manchester Utd 1 – 3 – Manchester City – Gaz vs Si
Like Liverpool, this tournament wasn’t going to the liking for City but unlike the reds, Man City were able to overturn Man Utd’s dominance and win the game, Nial Quinn and Vincent Kompany galvanising the team to stop the steamroller that was Man Utd!
Man Utd 4 – 4 Everton – Simon K vs Steve
These two certainly like to entertain and this was no different. Both teams had the beating of each other but Everton defended slightly better this time, infact, with Neville Southall beaten, Norman Whiteside thought he had won it for the neighbours but only for Kevin Ratcliffe to clear off the line. Draw!
Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City – Garry V Steve
City were back in the race but Liverpool were stranded and despite the previous match ending in a draw, they were unable to capitalise by producing a draw too. The most dominant teams of the 80’s were struggling, would they turn it around?
Manchester Utd 1 – 8 Liverpool – Steve E vs Simon K
The answer is emphatically! With morale at a low, Simon K – yes, we weren’t going to mention actual names who played but we feel special mention is required on this one as Liverpool had been shocking all night, but what a performance! The team was galvanised and played some lovely Tika Taka with Gerrard the focal point for it all. United only needing a win to all but guarantee the title were shell shocked. After the game, Fergie kept the team locked in the dressing room for 1 hour as they tried to pick the bones out of a worrying turn of events.
Everton 3 – Man City 3 – Simon K vs Garry C
Man City stormed into a two goal lead to signal their intentions in winning the North West Masters, helmed by a struggling Garry C. But this time was Everton benefiting from Simon K’s midas touch and that two goal lead became a 3-2 deficit! But Gaz was strong and he squeezed in an equaliser at the end. The night hadn’t been kind but he was about to enter the spotlight…
Liverpool 4 – 4 Everton – Steve E vs Garry C
Manchester City 3 – 4 – Simon K vs Garry C
Due to Liverpool’s surprised surge in the previous round the league had been one to remember. Going into the last game every team actually had a chance of winning! So after conferring with the FA, the powers that be decided that both games would kick off at the same time. With both games being all ticket and local derbies to boot, this would be a fine way to end the proceedings.
In both games there were goals galore and in both games, all the drama would happen at the death. Going into the last minute, Liverpool made it 4-3 and must have realised they had – against all odds – won the Masters, but then news come through from Maine Road that Augero had made it 3-2! But Man Utd wasn’t going to let their grasp on the title disappear and with Ronaldo and Rooney using up every last sinew of energy, they scored one…then another to make it 4-3! By this time Everton had equalised in the other game to confirm that indeed, Manchester United were the first ever winners of the North West Kick Off masters!
Steve E 5 – 7 Simon K
Steve E 2 – 2 Garry C
Garry C 1 – 3 Simon K
Simon K 2 – 4 Steve E
Garry C 4 – 4 Steve E
Garry C 1 – 3 Simon K
Simon K 4 – 4 Steve E
Garry C 1 – 1 – Steve E
Simon K 3 – 3 – Garry C
Steve E 1 – 8 Simon K
Steve E 4 – 4 Garry C
Simon K 3 – Garry C 4
It’s a funny old game…
The beauty of this was was it was inclusive for every player. The game can be harsh, Gaz had an awful night and never truly got going – until the end! Normally this would have been end of season disco mode for the struggling for form player. Likewise it wouldn’t be any great shakes for the opponent either with the league no doubt tied up, but the beauty of the masters was Gaz went from struggling to actually being in with a shout of directing a team to the title! Infact we all were! So win, lose and draw, we all had fine memories of the night and no-one was disconsolate – apart from maybe Si who would have preferred us to use our names such was his dominance – maybe next time mate hehe.
With tournaments few and far between this was the perfect antidote to rekindle our interest and if social lives permit, we aim to do more.
In the Midlands we have worked wonders in recruiting new players but by the end of tournaments their passion has dwindled. Why? Perhaps because the game they remember isn’t a cut throat tournament against people who’ve been playing it non stop for 10 years – as awesome as they are for the regulars that ‘get it’, but for the more casual player it’s playing in cup games, it’s changing kits, it’s playing with different players, it’s the glory of meeting up for that one night – it’s Kick Off 2 Masters!