Saturday 7th of May 2016
No sooner had he singlehandedly masterminded the Fox's EPL triumph than Nick Beswick was back in the hunt for more silverware with the Beijing Barbarians.
Turning his attention to an altogether more meaningful and fiercely competitive stage, Besmundo (as they call him in Brazil and certain corners of Greater Manchester*) was once again highly influential as the Barbarians becalmed a Viking invasion, unleashing an attacking maelstrom of their own to run out 6-0 victors at BSB Shunyi last Saturday.
Not only did Beswick dominate in midfield, he (or was that Mark B?) also put in an assured performance at centre back alongside Bradbury, the old master, who managed to make his contribution to keeping the Viking onslaught at bay almost entirely with his head (Opta statistics reveal that of the 131 touches Bradbury had during the game, 3 were with his left knee, 2 with his left shoulder, and the remaining 126 with his head, surpassing the previous Barbarians record of 117 held by former A team manager Stuart Hayward).
The Barbarians opened the scoring (as you had already discerned by reading the scoreline) after around fifteen minutes of turgid, disjointed football from both teams (exception: demigod Nick Beswick whose silken touch sent shivers down so many spines that it was actually the reason for such substandard football). A peach of a pass (so good it was probably played by Nick Beswick) split the defence and with Carlos (who by this point was truly living up to the nickname Mad Dog) in hot pursuit, the defender closest to the ball was so unnerved by Nick Beswick's threatening position just to the right of the centre circle (after all, it was an extremely small pitch) that he bundled the ball past his goalkeeper and into his own net. 1-0 Barbarians, and one more vital contribution from Besmundo.
If the first goal was all about Nick Beswick, the second goal was all about Nick Beswick. Some sterling post-corner hustle from Muniz pressured the clearing defender into smashing the ball directly at Nick Beswick, 18 yards out (or maybe 14- it was, after all, a very small pitch). The fearless midfield maestro didn't flinch, leaving his nose to take the full force of the blow (luckily it's quite big so the sizeable force was distributed over an area the size of a small island nation, leaving the wearer relatively pain-free). His nose, in turn, cannoned the ball back from whence it came and then some; it whistled through the crowded penalty area and almost busted the back of the net to put the Barbars two up.
It seemed Beswick's billet header had given them just the ticket to kick on.
Buoyed by the fact that both God and Nick Beswick were on their side and seemingly unperturbed by the precariousness of their 2-0 lead, the Barbarians, as they are wont to do, began to treat the game like a walk in the park (even though there was not a park in sight, only soulless Shunyi and its swathes of overpriced international schools), throwing their on field responsibilities, and very nearly their lead, to the (very slight) wind. Whereas up until this point the Vikings had been limited to speculative long range shots from the traitor (but still all-around awesome guy and Barbarian legend) Alex Kibuuuuuuuuka, a better chance came when what would have been a routine backpass were it not for the case that only Collins, one other Barbarian, and six Vikings were within 50 yards of the ball forced the Barbarians' number one to improvise an impromptu evasive dribble to avoid a melee which would have almost certainly led to the concession of a goal (irrevocably staining the clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet).
Following the foul, Collins attempted to launch a melee of his and own swung for the forward, but the force is strong in Beswick and through telekinesis he managed to both soften the blow and redirect it to the striker's chest, resulting in only a yellow and saving the team from finding out quite what disastrous consequences a ban for their keeper would have had for the rest of their season (although they probably got a pretty good idea of that from the 7-2 hammering they took in the previous game). Thank you, Nick Beswick.
Shortly thereafter the force was once again used to good effect as Nick Beswick from deep in his own half made the Vikings keeper roll the ball gently to KP Mothapo who duly slotted it into a gaping goal for 3-0.
A halftime characterised by too many Barbarians saying too many words about a half that, in all honesty, contained too little football was followed by a resurgent start to the second half by the Vikings who for a good five minutes abandoned the solid tactical plan they'd adopted for the majority of the first half (limply rolling over and failing to offer any attacking threat) in favour of the time-honoured tactic of throwing men forward, launching it high and long, and putting it up 'em (a tactic the Barbar's previous opponents had used to devastating effect).
Onslaught over, the Barbarians took a leaf out of Nick Beswick's book and began to stroke the ball about elegantly, putting together some flowing moves (one move was even counted at 6 passes) and threatening the Viking goal with increasing regularity.
With this momentary Martinezing** up a goal was bound to come, and come it did as a cute, besmundolicious pass was played over the top down the right hand side (the reporter can't remember by whom and so they will go with the zeitgeist and attribute it to Besmundo, of course. Congratulations again, Nick, by the way) for the second-fastest man (trapped in the body of a child) in Beijing, Murchik, to race onto and apply an incredibly deft dink over the keeper.
Still pulling the strings, Beswick took it upon himself to pull them tighter, almost as though he were riding the Vikings in a style popularised by a bestselling novel with adult themes and content. Receiving (the ball) in the midfield he looked up and in the distance saw the fastest man in Beijing: Rob Skupien. Beswick then unleashed what he has, on social media, described as "my raking 50 yard pass onto Skupien's left foot" and land on Skupien's left foot it did. What happened next was pure magic as Skupien demonstrated that as well as being extremely fast he is also an obscenely gifted footballer. Skupien's velvety control took him past an onrushing defender before he curled home a glorious right foot (RIGHT FOOT. RIGHT FLIPPIN' FOOT) finish from just outside the area.
The Barbarians rounded off the rout with a blistering strike from youngster and part-time badger impersonator Max Mert Can Celik who, on receiving the ball after some blundering involving a fall, some writhing around on the ground, and a backheel (not necessarily in that order) from Barbarians' left back, was driven on towards goal by Beswick, controlling him as though a player in a playstation game and instructing his brilliant-white right slipper to smash the ball high to the keeper's left from close range. 6-0.
In one glorious and magnanimous final act Besmundo attempted to show his team mates, unsuccessfully, that he is only human by slicing a simple five yard pass woefully (30plus yards) astray and out for a throw in. With that, the referees whistle blew and the three points were the Barbarians'.
Final score: Barbarians 6-0 Vikings.
Thank you, Nick Beswick. Congratulations, Nick Beswick.
Next up: a(nother) must-win game with FC Kozo Japan this Saturday at SiDe Park, 2pm. Let's Smash 'em.
*Keith's Mum's house
** to Martinez is to increase one's effort, heart, desire for goals, and appetite for destruction (in a footballing context). In more quotidian contexts, to Martinez something up is to add intensity and pizazz to a thing. The word was first coined in honour of the way that late in the second half of this very game and with the Barbarians performing below par young Martinez brought his (on this occasion)boundless energy, enthusiasm, and zest for life to the game as he entered the fray hungry for goals and (according to some reports) frothing at the mouth.
Man of the Match: Keith Bradbury
Honourable Mentions: Rob Skupien (excellency, elegance, right foot), Eddie Martinez (giving meaning to the word Martinez)
Donkey of the Week: Morgan A. Grice (reasons undisclosed)
Shampagne Moment: Rob Skupien worldy. A finish, worthy of Nick Beswick himself, that gave new meaning to the word 'curler'. And after claiming before the game that he didn't have a right foot.
- The Numbers Game:
1 Barbarians appearing to masturbate in the bushes prior to kickoff
1 Barbarians applying Tiger Balm to groin injuries, prior to kickoff, accused of masturbating in the bushes
1 B team goalkeeper hissy fit
1 There is only one designated B team penalty taker
1 Celebratory shrimp dinner for the B team goalkeeper
1 Crippling bout of foodpoisoning resulting from the shrimp dinner
1 Barbarian leaving the IV early in order to make it to Leicester in time for his performance of Nessun Dorma in an Adrea Bocelli mask at the King Power Stadium. Moving.
2 Barbarians spotted in Jamaica Blue at the scheduled meet time, enjoying a romantic lunch date.
2 B team goalie gloves removed as part of penalty paddy.
2 In spite of attentive chaperoning before the game, Gideon was still 2 minutes late.
1 Billet header. Just the ticket.
5 assists by Nick Beswick. Mahrezesque.
9 Number worn by the angriest man on the field.
11 workrate (out of ten) from Nick Beswick. He must have Kante-knees genes!
126 Headers by Keith. Record.
19807361 Number of measurable, valuable contributions made by Nick Beswick to Leicester's title-winning season. Congratulations Nick Beswick.
19807378 Messages to Nick Beswick on the Beijing Barbarians Wechat group chat (which, in fairness, should probably have been private) congratulating nick Beswick on his enormous achievement and immeasurably, measurably enormous contribution to the events unfolding.