Saturday 21st of May 2016
Sometimes in football a result doesn't tell the whole story, but Barbarians' seventeenth match of the season unfolded exactly as the scoreline suggests.
Asterix, Brigitte Bardot, Andre the Giant, Greg Desbuquois, Monet, Charles De Gaulle, Napoleon Bonaparte, William Shakespeare, Fabien Barthez, August Rodin, Just Fontaine, Marquis de Sade: your boys took one hell of a beating.
With the kind of performance that would traumatise the Videprinter, the Barbarians made history in securing the silverware that had eluded them over their thirteen seasons of existence. In scoring thirteen without reply, thanks in part to Colum Curtis's Dary Stone-esque five goal haul, the Barbarians also broke the IFFC Premiere League* record for the largest margin of victory. Unbeknownst to the Barbars at the time, spectacular and unforeseeable results elsewhere over the weekend would also ensure that the bleach boys ended the season with the league's best attacking and defensive records, as well as the best goal difference.
Even though Ethan Collins wasn't wearing the shirt it was apparent almost from the off that this was going to be a game that the record crowd of fourteen or so Barbarians fans packing the area between the edge of the field and the cage, including the two self-hating suspendees Dawson and Muniz, were going to enjoy. Barely a beer had been cracked on the sideline when Curtis began the destruction with a sweet left-footed volley, stoning it in** from just outside the box.
Two more followed in quick succession courtesy of Curtis, apparently desperate to do enough to win the game as quickly as possible and in the process earn himself an early substitution to maximise drinking time. The second of these, his third, was a truly succulent free kick which with Pythagorean precision worthy of Dan Schmeeckle found the corner of the French goal. 3-0.
After the third, events took a turn for the Carnivalesque. The Great Helmsman himself, Kev Broady, who had overruled Dawson's team selection and named himself among the subs for the afternoon in order to bask in the glory of league triumph fully kitted out without being accused of John Terrying was seen on his knees, begging the manager to release him from the shackles of substitutehood so that he could toast the impending triumph. Dawson's resolve held firm until after the fifth goal, or fifth beer, and with the Benevolent Leader's first triumphant gulp his grip on power was restored, allowing him to take centre stage and continue to cultivate his cult of personality during the carefully-choreographed post-game victory celebrations.
5-0 up at the interval the Barbarians passed the quietest half time in their history, not because they were taking the time to drink in the moment and appreciate that they were on the brink of history, but because they were busy cramming Snickers bars down their throats as hungrily as they would attack the French goal after the half.
* * *
After the eighth goal all the action became rather hazy and took on a fairly surreal feel, as it tends to do after a certain point on a Saturday during the football season. The ninth or tenth goal remains in the memory for the way Richard Curtis claimed his fifth goal, humiliating the keeper with yet another piece of ridiculous videogame skill. The final goal was also noteworthy as Sham's thirty-eighth attempt of the game dribbled into the goal for his first of the day, after the sub-standard-stand-in striker had proclaimed before the game "I will be a monster today. They will not be able to touch me. I will destroy them" and, during the second half, waved off numerous attempts to substitute him.
A short while after Sham's moment of glory, it was time for the Chairman's moment of glory; the final whistle blew and the Barbarians were champions.
And Keith Bradbury is still wearing his shinpads.
Man of the Match: Colum 'Richard' Curtis (scoring goals)
Honourable Mentions: Everybody who played for the As this season. Top stuff.
Donkey: No Barbarians are donkeys, they are all stallions
Shampagne Moment: Colum Curtis ludicrous jumpstandrockgentlybacktofrontheel one on one goal. A piece of skill so insane the manager sank to his knees with tears in his eyes, weeping at the beauty of what he'd just seen. It's probably time to rename this award.
Leader of the Week: Kevin Broady
Leader of the Decade: Kevin Broady
*Yes, we know this is not how it should be spelled, Nick.
**TM. Nasir, 2013.
The Numbers Game:
0 Number of nicknames possessed by Eddie Martinez.
1 Fairytale story.
1 Barbarian in a black shirt on the team photo taken after the game.
1 Barbarian in Kev Broady's crosshairs. Absolutely in no way related to the above sartorial indiscretion. honest.
1 Barbarian player's name emblazoned on the back of the referee's shirt (Sham's, of course)
2 Mark Blackburn has two legs. He broke one of them once but didn't bother to get it fixed. Tough guy!
8 Consecutive days Keith remained in full kit after the win.
9 Margin by which the Barbarians won the league, in points.
10 Consecutive weeks in which Beswick hasn't found the time to buy boots. Weak.
11 Bradbury's all time record for days continuously wearing shinpads.
13 Goal margin of victory. IFFC Premiere Division record.
13 Goals. Club record (tied with the B's 13-1 demolition of DP, 2014)
14 Fans in attendance. Club record.
22 Number of league titles the Barbarians have won, according to the Official History of the Beijing Barbarians (author: Kev Broady)
45 Barbarians' final points total. Another club record.
46 Barbarians' final goal difference. Their previous record was +2.
78 Snickers consumed in the ten minutes prior to kickoff by the playing squad to the soundtrack of Ethan losing his mind at the unprofessional preparation
83 Snickers bars consumed at half time.