Bangkok Veterans League Season #4, Event #9 • Tesco-Lotus "BCCT Bangkok Masters" 2008 • 31/May-01/Jun/2008 • Patana School
VetsLeague-LeCoq United Take on the Football Celebrities
Thanks to the efforts of LeCoq El-Capitan Dominique, we had a chance to play in the 5th annual Tesco-Lotus BCCT Bangkok Masters where ex-pros from the English Premier League (EPL) often show up.
This year was no exception! Among others, we rubbed shoulders and shook hands with:
• Ian Rush — Liverpool and Juventus legend, and England national
• Steve Coppell — Manchester United legend, England national, and many coaching stints in the EPL
• Peter Reid — Everton legend, and many coaching stints in the EPL, and current Thailand manager
• Viv Anderson — Nottingham Forest and Manchester United legend
• Paul Masefield — Birmingham City legend, and famous ESPN Star football pundit
• Shebby Singh — Malaysian national, and famous ESPN Star football pundit
After a quick e-mail to Captains, the following volunteers were more than happy to make up the mighty VetsLeague-LeCoq United: • Veterans League
- Eralp (M) • LeCoq French
- Dominique (C)
- Vincent • British Club
- Reza • Pickled Liver
- Mark "Rocket" • Winking Frog
And, we were ready to take on the challenge of the ex-pro football celebrities, except that they were playing in the Over-35s competition, and we entered where we belong — the Over-40s competition!
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We barely made the publishing deadline, and the following team write-up and photo of the mighty VetsLeague-LeCoq United appeared in the tournament official magazine.
Page 45 — VetsLeague-LeCoq United prominently featured in the tournament official magazine — on p.45!
Day-1 — 31/May/2009 (Sat)
A Strong Showing in the Group Stage
We were drawn into a relatively even-strength group in Group-A with:
• Team Bondi (Sydney, Australia)
• Singapore Chinese (Singapore)
• VetsLeague-LeCoq United (Bangkok, Thailand)
• Shanghai Old Stars (Shanghai, China)
Group Match #1:
We had a good start to the tournament, and overcame an early morning challenge from the Shanghai Old Stars. 2 beautiful goals from Gilles in both halves ensured a clear win. Well done!
• Full Time ==> VetsLeague-LeCoq United 2-0 Shanghai Old Stars
Group Match #2:
Against the Australian ex-pros, the tactic was defend-defend-defend, which worked pretty well for 18 min. Their attempts to attack as in the close range didn't bare fruits. Then, in the last 2 min, one single long-range shot gets the job done for them.
Nevertheless, 9-0 loss last year compared to only a 1-0 loss this year can be viewed as a massive improvement. Added to that a great friendly spirit, what more we can ask for.
• Full Time ==> VetsLeague-LeCoq United 0-1 Team Bondi
Group Match #3:
A masterfully played game from the first whistle to the last. While each and every player contributed their best, 1 player certainly stood head-&-shoulders above the rest of us — Gilles, scoring all 3 of our goals and marking his hat-trick — a header (his first in his life), a skillful chip over the goalkeeper, and a beautiful full-volley top-corner strike.
• Full Time ==> VetsLeague-LeCoq United 3-0 Singapore Chinese
Picture 1 — Might VetsLeague-LeCoq United convene early in the morning. Standing: Reza, Mark, Martin, Philippe, Marc, Peter Front: Eralp, Gilles, Graham, Dominique, Vincent
Picture 2 — Forcing the goal in the early morning game of the day against Shanghai Old Stars.
Picture 3 — Oh, yes, my other team, BCCT, in the Over-40s too. Standing: Paul, Mark, Steve, Terry Front: Eralp, Greg, Kevin, Steve, Joe
Picture 4 — Ok, it's lunch time. Let's pop the cork, spread the cheese and break the baguette, and get the French picnic underway.
Picture 5 — Perfect time for a cup of luscious French red wine.
Picture 6 — Relentless Team Bondi attacks produce a goal only in the last 2 min.
Picture 7 — We just can't get enough — back to the picnic table right away.
Picture 8 — Reza and Vincent debate away the world's problems — solving none, but enjoying the pleasant Bangkok afternoon and the beers in the process.
Day-2 — 01/Jun/2009 (Sun)
A Short-lived Stint in the Top Flight
Now that we qualified for the Cup Division, the task at hand was to get through the Semi Final, and at least, make a showing in this years Over-40s Grand Final.
It wasn't mean to be!
Knockout Match #1 — Cup Division Semi Final:
Having lost Reza (to booze), the task for keeping the goal was handed over to agile-but-inexperienced Eralp.
We faced the Group-B toppers — BCIS Phuket, a strong team indeed.
All of us put in a good 1st Half, and defended rather well, even creating danger in the opponents goal through Gilles often times. The goal looked safe in the hands of Eralp, slapping away a number of tricky situations in the penalty-box.
After the break, we lost concentration, especially in the goals, giving away 2 easy goals early in the 2nd Half, and having to fight it back in whatever remained in the 10 min.
We did get on the board through a Martin header, and conceded another easy one from a corner, which ended our Grand Final hopes immediately.
Still, a pleasant outing, and plenty of handshakes.
• Full Time ==> VetsLeague-LeCoq United 3-1 BCIS Phuket
Overall, we had a great time at the annual BCCT Bangkok Masters together with the boys from LeCoq French — both on-&-off the pitch. The picnic on both days were immaculate, something we shall repeat next year.
Picture 9 — VetsLeague-LeCoq United back on Day-2, shooting for the stars.
Picture 10 — Eralp fending off the goal rather well in the 1st Half.
Picture 11 — Rollin', rollin', rolling, keep the bellies rolling!
Picture 12 — Friendly photo with BCIS Phuket.
Picture 13 — Ian Rush and Shebby Singh find time to strike a pose and sign autographs.
Picture 14 — Peter Reid caught shirtless in the frame.
Picture 15 — Tournament Over-35s champion (with many familiar Vets faces) is The Crossbar.
Picture 16 — Everyone is thirsty for that last one for the road.
Dinner with Celebrities — 01/Jun/2009 (Sun)
Many Glorious Stories are Told
And, the highlight of the whole event ff the pitch — tournament-ending Celebrities Dinner.
Many of us found time to go and listen to multitude of stories from the ex-pros from their former glorious years running the ball in Europe's top leagues and against top class footballers in the World Cup.
Picture 17 — The Englishmen sharing the same table — Steve, Tommy, Eralp, Craig, Peter, Mark, Martin.
Picture 18 — The Turkish clan — Eralp, Beyhan, Yilmaz, Mesut, Ilker — always there or thereabouts with football.
Picture 19 — Caught Steve Coppell as well for a photo-op, with Keith and Martin.
Picture 20 — Flanked by Paul Masefield, Ian Rush and Viv Anderson, Peter Reid is explaining how he tracked Maradona in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico from all the way from the midfield line till he scored his famous goal on England, and wished he should have taken him down along the way — something he still has dreams about.
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Feel free to e-mail to me if you would like to voice your take on the above summary, or would like to obtain the original resolution pictures.