Congratulations to Bury Relics Vice President and player Pat Fitzgerald who will be carrying the Commonwealth Games Queens Baton around Bolton on Saturday 16th July 2022.
Pat’s route starts at 18:39 from 96 Great Moor Street, Bolton BL3 6DS. His segment finishes at 7274 Ashburner Street, Bolton BL1 1TD.
Please turn out and support Pat on his journey.
Pat’s commitment to his local community, charities and The Relics was captured by fellow Relic Iain Dawson in his nomination summarised below.
Pat Fitzgerald is Vice President of Bury Relics Walking Football Club but he is so much more than that.
Bury Relics were formed in 2017, They now field four teams in the Greater Manchester Walking Football League. They also organise and provide community-based walking football on a weekly basis, open to anyone over 50 years old, irrespective of ability or gender and including people with learning difficulties, physical constraints and health issues. The wellbeing benefits to society are evident in the important and enthusiastic support Bury Relics receive from parties such as Bury Council, The Football Foundation and local healthcare providers (their main sponsor is a major GP practice in the area).
Pat is absolutely central to the ethos of the Relics and to everything they do. He is a coach, a kit man, a referee, a “groundsman” (he recently arrived early for training specifically to shovel snow off the pitch), an organiser, a provider of post-match refreshments, sage advice and compassion. (Illness and loss are unfortunate recurring themes amongst our membership). He is the first to welcome any newcomers. He also plays but always waits to see what positions need filling rather than making his own choice.
Prior to the Relics he has managed various local teams and been secretary of a local league, receiving a long service award from the FA.
In the last 20 years he has also developed a passion for hockey which has led to him becoming a qualified umpire, the Chairman of the Bolton Sports Federation Hockey section and (with his wife, Mandy) joint coach of Bury Youth hockey teams for both girls and boys. He is currently campaigning hard for a hockey pitch to be built in the Bury area, which would be a fitting legacy.
He has been actively engaged in projects to raise over £1m for the Army Benevolent Fund and local charities. This led to him receiving a written commendation from the Army. In other volunteering, he provides maintenance services for his local church and a transport service for people who need help getting to it or for attending to hospital appointments.
In short, he is a man of remarkable energy whose motivation in life is to help and encourage others. He is a huge asset to any sporting or community group and makes a genuine difference to them all. If he carries the baton this summer, he will see it not as a personal tribute but as a tribute to all those that he supports. He is a great sport and a great sportsman – our champion companion!
The Relics will play the GMWFL Division 2 winners, Club Kingsmaid away in the Regional Final, date, time and venue to be confirmed, but the tie should be played on the weekends of 23rd or 30th July, details to be confirmed.
A place at the Grand Finals at Lilleshall National Sports Centre on 18th September is at stake.
Apparently, a mini-heatwave is predicted for this weekend, and it had made an early start at Heywood today, ergo there was not the usual wind and rain that usually greets us. Hopefully, this was a prelude to good football. This was the final set of spring league fixtures for the stipes over 60’s team but it was down to a skeleton squad due to injury and holidays. Alan from Manchester Corinthians was drafted in, which had a bit of fortune attached to it; Corinthians were due to train today but only 6 had turned up, so they abandoned training and Keith S/Ken managed to grab Alan to help the Relics out. Plenty of supporters had turned up to see if the Relics can take the runners up spot in the division.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes versus Ribble Valley WFC. Bury started well by passing accurately and moving into space, and were able to string 6 or 7 pass moves together, involving all of the out-field team. Keith B was given the role of fulcrum up-front, always been available, ahead of their last defender, and then laying off the ball back into the midfield. All players were passing well, with Corinth Alan controlling the ball and passing off to John, Bury Alan or Mark. The missing ingredient for the Relics was creating clear-cut space to shoot, which was down to good man marking by the Ribble. When the Ribble did manage to intercept, they were trying to shoot quickly, and one good shot, Eddy had to make a good save by diving across goal, with an agile dive to his left, and pushing the ball around the post and out for a corner. The corner came to nothing and Bury regained possession, and were probing around the Ribble defence; again the passing was good, involving all Bury players but it was difficult to find a shooting opportunity. Eventually, Ribble regained possession via a kick-in on the left-hand side, that found their striker in a bit of space on the edge of the area. He controlled the ball, and took a shot low to Eddy the keepers left and into the net. Disaster? Almost, but Eddy was immediately claiming the ball had run into the area prior to the striker hitting it, and the referee backed up his claim by awarding a keeper’s ball and not a goal. That was a close call as it was on the line, and a let-off for the Relics. On the subsequent Relics possession, an attempted interception by Ribble resulted in an over the head free-kick to the Relics. John H was on the ball, as he quickly took the free-kick that found Bury Alan in space up-front, but alas, the Ref was not ready and it had to be re-taken. That was good quick thinking by John H. The free-kick ended in a turn-over in possession to Ribble, and they moved the ball forward to their striker, who again was in front of his marker to have the opportunity to shoot; and again, Eddy made a save, but it was more straight forward this time. Just before half time, Bury Alan did some nice play; he managed to make a good last-ditch interception-tackle on the edge of the Bury area, and then dragged the ball back with skill to swerve away from the Ribble attacker and finally play the ball wide to John H in space. A superb bit of skill and play. Following half-time, the pattern of play was similar, with Bury Relics passing around well, and now with substitute Watford Mark creating space on the wings, but without making any clear-cut chances. Also similar to the first half, the Ribble were periodically regaining possession and shooting early. But none of those shots troubled Eddy in goal and the game played out to a goalless draw. Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes 0 – 0 Ribble Valley WFC.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes versus Wakefield Wanderers Whites. Ken’s in between game talk probably included something about taking more shots, as Bury had very few against the Ribble, and early on, there was a good strike by Alan B. From an Eddy throw out, Mark T received the ball on the right hand side, and used some good skill to move past his marker and play a pass inside to Corinthians Alan. He moved forward with the ball until confronted by a Wakefield defender. He turned and saw Alan B with a bit of space in front of him, so Corinth Alan played an inviting ball to Alan B, who on the move hit a very powerful shot. In terms of power, it was magnificent but in terms of accuracy, it was high and off target and even cleared the fence behind the goal. A few chuckles and the words “AV IT” were heard but it was a good effort by the Relics, who had been a bit shot shy in the first game. With the ball lost over the fence; an innocent woman civilian was happily carrying her shopping home, but was kind enough to stop, put her bags down and throw the ball over the fence, which was applauded by players and spectators. The subsequent passage of play led to the first goal of the match, to Wakefield. Although the Relics won the ball back through Watford Mark, the next passing move by the Relics, moved the team forward but with leaving their striker stood with about 3 metres of space between him and the last Relics defender (goal side). An interception was made by Wakefield and a quick pass to their striker, who plays a bit Podolsky, had time to pick his spot and scored low into the net, with Eddy having little chance of saving it. This made the Relics more determined to make good passes and find an opening for an equalizer. However, as the game progressed, Wakefield were picking up running and bad tackle offences as they tried to quell Relics attacks. It was not long before it was a penalty to the Relics for a fourth foul. An interesting situation then occurred, where Eddy the keeper confidently wanted to take the penalty. The Ref allowed this but it seemed he was not sure of all the rules with it. A conversation ensued between the referee and Eddy about the one step rule. However, at this moment, there was a bit of confusion as to what happens if the ball rebounds out and still live, back into play. In any case, Eddy confidently dispatches the penalty, mid height, to the keepers right. The keeper made a good effort to save, and got his hands to the ball. However, the power that Eddy had put into the shot, meant the keeper just diverted the ball high into the net instead of saving it (see the video below). A fabulous equalizer for the Relics. However, the penalty saga was not over yet, see below. Meanwhile, in another area of Manchester, Dr. Smith told Pat the cat to relax, as he lay inside a large tube of an MRI scanner. The doctor turned away, and then heard a patter of footsteps, but ignored it as this was probably just the nurse moving to her station. He commanded the nurse to start the MRI scanner; lots of wiring and electric sounds began. Back in the game at Heywood, the Relics were again passing the ball around accurately but without creating too many chances. Then, in an almost carbon copy of Wakefield’s first goal, their striker was left alone, in space, on the edge of Eddy’s area. An interception and a pass was made to him. This time, the striker tried to hit it high into Eddy’s net but got his bearings wrong, with the ball flying well over the top. That was close and a let off for the Relics. Neither team had any further clear cut shooting opportunities in the game, and it finished a 1 all draw. Following the game, and a conversation with the referee, it was discovered that if the ball had rebounded back into play, then it will immediately be a penalty to the opposition, as the goalkeeper penalty taker is out of his area. That rule appears extraordinary and probably needs to be looked at by the league, as it effectively means a goalkeeper can’t take a penalty. Elsewhere, Dr. Smith looked very puzzled, following Pat the Cat’s MRI scan, as there appeared to be nothing on the scan picture. That was because Pat had done a runner to Heywood, to help out the depleted squad. He was putting his shin pads on in the build up to the next match against Winstanley. Pat had heard the conversation about the goalkeeper and penalties, and came up with a genius idea of changing goalkeepers if another penalty happens. Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes 1 – 1 Wakefield Wanderers Whites.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes versus Winstanley Walkers. This was a high-stakes game, against the champions elect. The Relics needed to win, or at least draw to have a good chance of finishing second in the league. However, that was no easy task, as Winstanley have been very good, and I understood were in top place already; they will be wanting to cement their place as champions. Winstanley started the game well, finding their #9 striker up-front, who fired just high and wide of Eddy’s goal. Keith B, like he had been doing all day, was finding space up-front, and holding up the ball brilliantly, and looking for support from midfield. Both the Alans and Mark were trying to provide it for him. However, as in earlier games, the Relics were finding it hard to just get that clear bit of space, so that a shot can trouble their keeper. Winstanley were making chances and then disaster strook. In a previous game against Winstanley, Eddy was beaten by the spin of the ball after making a save. The almost exact same thing happened here again. Their striker shot powerfully, and Eddy made a cat like dive to stop the ball reaching the net, but the power and angle of incidence on Eddy’s hand, took the ball up and down quicky, onto his heel, and then into the net. Very unlucky that, and a 1 – 0 lead to Winstanley. However, the Relics were not giving up, and were passing around well and trying to create shooting chances. During this time, Winstanley were racking up the fouls, and soon it was a penalty to the Relics. Ken, the manager, had a decision to make; should Eddy take this one, as he did before, but this time putting John H in goal? Or should an outfield player take it? Ken was decisive and a bit like Sergeant Grim from the Thin Blue Line; “We’re not doing anything Hoity Toity or Amby Pamby, Alan, you take it!”. Alan B did as he was told but unfortunately for the Relics, his penalty was just too high, but only by a whisker. Bury Relics toiled hard to try and get back into the game but Winstanley were resolute, and that penalty opportunity was the best chance the Relics had in the game. It was a good game, both teams playing well, but the result was a 1 – 0 loss to Winstanley. Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes 0 – 1 Winstanley Walkers.
A steady inaugural season for the Bury Relics over 60’s stripes. In the end, Wakefield took the runners up spot, courtesy of scoring 1 more goal than the Relics did. So close to being runners up, but hopefully the Relics can do better next season. Under the adverse circumstances today, the scratch team put together did very well. A special mention and thank you to several men: Alan from Corinthians, playing at very short notice and doing well, Pat for abandoning his MRI scan and scrambling down to Heywood, ready to help the team, and Nev for his tigger like enthusiasm. Even though he’s been injured, he’s been down to watch all fixtures since and helped out by taking great photos. Not forgetting Keith B, who did a fantastic job up-front today, even though he plays for the over 70s. The efforts put in by all the team have been excellent, and if I remember right, only 3 players have played most games this season: Watford Mark, Andy R and Eddy the keeper. So many changes through the season’s fixtures. Ken and Keith S did a good job of guiding and organizing the team, as usual. Today’s squad consisted: Eddy the Keeper, Alan B, Mark T, Watford Mark, John “bobble hat” H, Keith B and Corinthians Alan. Thanks to Nikon Nev for the photos and all the supporters who turned up, that included Terry. Match report by Dr. John.
Videos A montage of moments from Bury vs. Ribble click-here. Eddy’s penalty vs. Wakefield click-here
For all the GMWFL Spring 2022 fixtures, results and league tables, see the Match Centre page here
Just like the last day of last season (Autumn 2021), The Relics started the day second in the table behind Manchester Corinthians, this time two points behind compared to one point behind last season. Everything was at stake in the first game of the day which might decide the title. Due to holidays and injuries the Relics were down to a bare 6 players, and when John W came off briefly with a calf strain early in the game things looked bleak for the Relics. Pat went on briefly for John W and Keith B was drafted in as sub. John W came back on but was clearly carrying the injury and seemed to play most of the game in the right back position with Tex playing right midfield, Pete Shev was at left back, Alan in midfield and Gerry L in an unusual position for him, up front. Gaz, as usual, was the general at the back. The game was a close, well played game, lots of passing and moving from both teams, and both teams moving forward only for the various attacks to get broken down by the two defences. The match report lacks detail now as this was the time I did my not so quick, costume change into a kit. While I was away Corinthians look the lead but Gerry equalised for the Relics. So the race for the title is still wide open. Final score Relics 1 – Corinthians 1
The second game of the day was against Manchester Senior Citizens, and the Relics started with the original six players and with Joh W not 100%. That didn’t stop the Relics as Alan scored for the Relics but was deemed inside the box, still 0 – 0. Alan shot over and a smart free kick move for the Relics resulted in John W shooting wide. The Citizens replied with a few shots from distance that didn’t trouble Gaz.
The Relics were having the better of the game, Gerry on the right passed to John W whose left foot shot went wide. Shortly after, Tex found John W on the edge of the box, but this time his saved. Citizens had a rare shot that was reflected for a corner.
Pete Shev cut out a throw from the Citizens keeper and had a rare break into the opposition half but his powerful shot was over the bar. A good passing move from the Relics found Gerry L on the right, his cross field pass to John W was perfect and Mr Red Boots John W didn’t show any signs of injury when he put the ball away with accuracy and pace. 1 – 0 to the Relics.
A last minute winner for the Relics. Final score Relics 1 – Citizens 0
The next game was against Rochdale who are always difficult opponents despite starting the day at the foot of the table. Dale started well with a shot in the first few seconds that went wide. The Relics had a quick three chances with Alan shooting wide, Gerry having a shot blocked and Tex hitting the side netting with a fierce shot. Rochdale replied and Gaz had to be on his toes to make a couple of good saves. John W was still carrying his calf injury but still had a couple of chances one was saved and another was deflected for a corner. A good passing move from the Relics found Gerry on the edge of the box but his shot was just wide. Rochdale had a break away which resulted in a corner on the Rochdale right. The corner was struck across the box, the striker managed to get on the end of it despite pressure from Pete Shev and hit a strong shot past Gaz. 1 – 0 to Rochdale. Rochdale could have gone further ahead a couple of minutes later when they were awarded a penalty when a Relics defender was judged to have stepped in the box The penalty was struck hard, but relief for the Relics is was wide of Gaz’s left hand post – missed! a loud sigh of relief from the Relics supporters on the side-lines but time was up. Disappointment for the Relics. Final Score Relics 0 – Rochdale 1
Final game of the day was against Preston. The Relics made a couple of positional changes by putting Tex up front, moving Gerry to right back and John W in midfield. The changes soon paid off, with a good interchange between Tex and John W resulting in John W putting the Relics ahead. 1 – 0 to the Relics. Tex was loitering with intent in the Preston half and a great pass from defence found him on his own, but his shot hit the post. The next move put Tex into another scoring but the final pass to him was a bit strong, Tex managed to slide and hit his shot which beat the keeper but agonisingly hit the post. A beauty of a pass from Gerry in the Relics defence went nearly the full length of the pitch to Alan who was free just outside the Preston goal area, he scored calmly passed the Preston keeper. 2 – 0 to the Relics. The game was all one way now, the Relics were breaking down the Preston possession and creating lots of chances. Tex got free and smashed a shot that rattled the crossbar, then Tex and Gerry combined well for Alan to score his second of the game and put the Relics 3 – 0 up. Alan nearly got his hat-trick late on. He was on the left hand side of the area, he played the ball inside to Gerry, who played it back to Alan, his shot from an awkward angle was saved at the near post. Final Score Relics 3 – Preston 0
Seven points on the day wasn’t enough to overcome Corinthians who had gained 8 points pipping the Relics to top spot in the league by 3 points. The fight against adversity was won though, and second spot was a great achievement after the challenges of a reduced squad and injuries on the day. It brought more silverware for the Relics cabinet, that’s three trophies in June, Over 70’s League Champions, Over 70’s WFLA Champions Cup win and the over 65’s second place in the league today.
Well done to all the players, Gaz, Pete Shev, Gerry L, Tex, John W, Alan, last minute subs Pat, Keith B and the management team of Ken, Keiran and Keith S. Thanks to all the supporters that turned up in the sunshine.
Sorry no photo’s or video’s today.
For all the GMWFL Spring 2022 fixtures, results and league tables, see the Match Centre page here
Bury Relics over 70’s have won the inaugural Walking Football League Alliance (WFLA) Champions Cup. The Competition was open to the top two teams from all 16 Walking Football Leagues that are affiliated to the WFLA The Relics beat Rochdale Strollers 3 – 1 in the final held at Leek Town Football Club on 11th June 2022. Two goals from ‘red boots’ John W, and a penalty from JoMo securing the win.
Due to unavailability, holidays, injuries, and other commitments The Relics were down to a bare six players, Keiran, Pat, Tex, Jerry, JoMo, and John W, with Jerry also not feeling 100% on the day.
As boss Keiran put it, “All the guys had the Relics positive, never say die, attitude. Led by Keith S the lads gave everything and on the day were the better team as acknowledged by our opponents”.
A great achievement for all the players taking part and one for the history books for the Relics.
The Relics over 65’s broke new ground as they took part in Round 3 of the Pharmacy 2U Walking Football Association (WFA) National Cup.
Todays opponents were The Oakwood Glossop who had progressed to Round 3 with an impressive 2 -1 win at Bolton Arena in round 2. They had an early start to travel the twenty odd miles to Goshen for a 9:30am kick off.
The ref planted the ball firmly on the centre spot and the Relics kicked off. Straight from the kick off the Relics were in control, after a passing move between John W, Tex, Jomo and Stewart, John W had a left foot shot that was just wide of the Glossop right hand post. John W had another great double-chance shortly after, the Glossop keeper got down awkwardly to John’s right foot shot but somehow managed to knock the ball under his body, the ball bounced up sharply and hit the top right hand corner of the goal frame and bounced out back to John W, he hit a powerful side-foot shot but the keeper had recovered well and slid down to block the shot out for a corner. After another good passing move from the Relics, JoMo had a shot that was comfortably saved buy the Glossop keeper.
Glossop finally had a bit of possession but the move was broken up by Stewart in midfield. Good passing and moving from the Relics resulted in another chance for John W,. He received the ball from Tex on the edge of the Glossop area, he dummied the keeper onto his knees, did a quick shimmy to the right and shot passed the keeper, but Johns shot hit the post and was collected by the Glossop defence.
Glossop had a bit of possession, the resultant shot was saved comfortably by Gaz in the Relics net.
That was a rare moment for Glossop, the Relics were dominating the game, good passing and moving creating space for all the Relics, and leaving Glossop chasing shadows. The next chance for the Relics came from a pass out from the back from Pete Shev that Stewart latched onto, turned and hit a good shot, but the Glossop keeper knocked over for a corner. From the corner a move from Stewart > Tex > Stewart > John W > JoMo on the edge of the area with 2 defenders around him did a quick draw back to flat foot the defenders but his left foot shot went wide.
On the rare occasions that Glossop got forward they were met by the wall better known as Pete Shev with not many shots getting through to Gaz in the Relics goal.
The Glossop keeper was having a great game and frustrating the Relics. Yet again he got down well to save from JoMo, and shortly after from John W. A period of Glossop possession was broken up by JoMo and John W in midfield which led to a great passing move John W > Pete Shev at the back > Stewart > John W > JoMo > Tex > John W > Tex > Stewart on the edge of the box who was smothered by the Glossop defence.
A Glossop free kick on the Relics left hand side was intercepted by Stewart who played the ball back to Pete Shev, his long cross field ball had JoMo doing his John Cleese fast walk impression down the left wing to get to the ball, his superb lay off to John W in the centre was perfectly weighted to allow John W to step up and hammer a low shot that finally beat the Glossop keeper. 1 – 0 to the Relics and fully deserved.
The Relics continued to dominate and could have gone further ahead when JoMo was free on the edge of the area, his shot sent the Glossop keeper the wrong way but hit the post and went out for a goal kick.
The Glossop keeper was still frustrating the Relics with another great save from John W following a Relics free kick.
Before half rime Glossop had a rare shot, from distance, but Gaz got down well to his left to keep the ball out.
Half time and the Relics are 1 – 0 up, but it could have been a lot more if it wasn’t for the Glossop keeper who was in great form.
The second half started with a pre arranged change with Alan B on for Pete Shev. The play was more of the same from the Relics, with Alan directing things from the back like Franz Beckenbauer at his best. The Glossop keeper was still frustrating the Relics with saves from JoMo and John W who twice had the keeper down but still couldn’t get the ball into the net. Stewart also had a double chance that was well by the keeper, first with his feet and then got down well to hold onto Stewarts second shot. A few minutes later Stewart was denied again when the Glossop keeper saved with his feet. Glossop didn’t have many chances and were restricted to speculative shots from distance that Gaz was more than equal to. In the last few minutes Glossop put the keeper into a striker position and brought a different keeper in off the bench, but the new keeper was in good form too, keeping shots from JoMo and John W out. Stewart could have made the Relics life a bit more comfortable but his left foot shot was wide. Final score Relics 1 – Glossop 0
A dominant performance from the Relics, that wasn’t reflected in the score, sees them progress to the next round where their opponents will be either Kingsmaid or Wigan Walkers.
Well played to all the Relics squad of Gaz, Pete Shev, Tex, Alan B, JoMo, John W and Stewart. Also manager Ken. Thanks to Glossop for a game played in the right sporting spirit and well done to the Ref.
Bury Relics over 60’s versus Kingsmaid Just like last season, the division 1 over 60’s team are in danger of being relegated, with both the Relics and Rochdale teams looking over a cliff edge. As I drive up, Bury Relics and Kingsmaid have just kicked off. Meanwhile, in another area of Manchester, Gaz the keeper had just finished his strawberries and cream, was comfortably nestled into his summer chair and was about to hit the remote switch on the TV control. His 50 inch-flat-screen TV had already been wheeled into the garden, and Gaz was looking forward to watching the Jubilee Red Arrows display on TV. A thunderous buzz can be heard, but it’s not the Red Arrows in #70 formations but it’s Gaz’s phone buzzing; he answers and a loud voice of Keiren the presidente says “Where are you? We are playing football today!”. Gaz almost chokes on his last strawberry but jumps into action. Back in the game in Heywood, with Tex in goal, the Relics and Kingsmaid are playing at 1000 mph, there’s running everywhere but for some mysterious reason, the officials are allowing it. Pete, Kieth S and Terry are doing a sterling job in defence, blocking shots by Kingsmaid. However, eventually, Kingsmaid make an opening and take a good, low shot to the far post, for which Tex makes a tremendous save, full-stretched, to get across the goal and to push the ball wide. That was almost a certain goal, only for Tex’s fabulous save. Talking of goalies, there was a squeal of breaks in the carpark, as if to the sound of “The Professionals” theme, and a Blue Van screeching to a sharp halt; Gaz had arrived. The game continued but it was not all one-way traffic. New Relics players, Ian and Gordon (Dog), were combining well in the middle and putting some attacks together for the Relics, trying to get shots away but no goals as yet. This was a frenzied game, with Kingsmaid going all out for the championship and Relics trying to survive and stay up. Kingsmaid were having more shots but Bury Relics were standing firm to deal with them and playing good football of their own. This pattern of the game continued until the final whistle, and the result was a commendable draw for the Relics, against a very good team. Bury Relics over 60’s 0-0 Kingsmaid
Bury Relics over 60’s versus Manchester Corinthians Now Gaz had arrived and was ready, he was re-installed as the Relics keeper and Tex instated as an outfield defender. The next game was not much easier, against the Corinthians, another team in with a chance of a first or second place finish the league. However, the Relics started brightly, by putting some multiple passing moves together, involving Keith, Terry, Dog and Ian. Dog found Ian in some space, who hit a good shot but was saved by the Corinthians keeper. The Corinthians soon hit their stride and were also playing the ball about, with passes reaching their men. But the Relics, out of possession were marking up well against the Corinthians, so there were few shots for Gary to save early on. Bury then had a good attack, with Dog collecting the ball with his back to goal, and using his dribbling skills to make space and take a good shot, but the keeper made the save. Then, the Corinthians replied with an attack of their own, with their tall striker latching on to a pass from the back, and at speed, cruising past a Relics defender, and shooting. Gary had it covered but the outcome was a free-kick to the Relics for running. The Relics had a strong defensive unit and most of the attacking was coming from Ian and Dog, who seemed to have a good understanding of each other. Terry had an opportunity, when bombing forward from the back, but his powerful shot just went wide. Again, like against Kingsmaid, this was a good battling performance and the result was a goalless draw. Bury Relics over 60’s 0-0 Manchester Corinthians
Bury Relics over 60’s versus Rochdale This was the big one, as the team the Relics could over-take was Rochdale. However, the task had already become more difficult, as Rochdale had taken 4 points from the first 2 games, whereas the Relics had gained 2. Right from the off, both teams were looking to get the ball forward quickly and to shoot with any half chance. Terry was starting to get some joy down the right-hand side, waiting to collect passes from midfield in space. One from Dog gave Terry a shooting opportunity but the shot was not on target this time. Rochdale in their next spell of possession, found their striker in space, and he rushed forward, only to be thwarted by the Referees whistle for running. Besides, Tex would have been there to intercept if the move had continued. Bury took the free-kick and passed around the team, whilst been quickly closed down by Rochdale players. However, Terry was the outlet, making a darting run down the right-hand side and hitting a tolpedo of a shot that went in off the far post. Unsavable for their keeper, but alas, it was not allowed because Terry was adjudged to have run. However, there was a cruel irony, as on Rochdale’s subsequent attack, their striker burst down the left at pace, with Terry running, trying to keep up with him, only for the Rochdale striker to hit a powerful shot past Gaz, to make it 1-0. It was a surprise that Terry’s earlier attempt was disallowed, yet Rochdale’s almost carbon copy goal was allowed. But that’s football, and I am a Bury Relics fan. The Relics fought hard to try and get an equalizer, but all the shots hit by Ian and Dog, were saved well by their keeper, who had a good game. Gaz was not troubled again in this game, and despite the hard fighting and attempts by the Relics, the game finished 1-0 to Rochdale. Bury Relics over 60’s 0-1 Rochdale
Bury Relics over 60’s versus Wakefield Save the best to the last; what a game this was. The play was so open, with attacks from both teams, the game going from end to end. The first goal was a bit generous by the referee, as it was a penalty because one of the Relics players had put a foot in the penalty area. However, if a striker who is bigger and is backing in to you, where else can you go? But it happened and it was a penalty to Wakefield. Gaz made a valiant effort to save, but the striker hit it the other side to score. But after that soft goal, the Relics team started playing really well. Passes from Gaz and the back, from Pete, Keith and Terry were finding Dog, who was then finding Ian. It was great to watch. In fact, Dog was playing a stormer in this game, with some magic glue that meant the ball was stuck to his foot. He was teasing the Wakefield defence, and he made the first Relics goal. He dribbled past his marker, using sublime ball control and clever play, which meant another Wakefield player had to leave Ian and move to Dog, but Dog released to Ian, who shot hard and low, and into the net. 1 goal each, and a fabulous goal for the Relics. But Wakefield was also attacking well, and their strategy was to get the ball to the striker’s feet, who would just sit on the edge of the area. He got the ball with his back to goal, with a Relics defender behind him. However, he turned very sharply and hit a first time shot that was wide of Gaz and into the net. A great goal for Wakefield but not for the Relics. The end-to-end constant attacking football continued from both teams, and again it was the vision and skill of Dog, to see Ian free, and again he played a good ball, that Ian dispatched, low and hard past the despairing dive of the Wakefield keeper. That was 2-2 and a great game, but Wakefield had not finished. Whilst both Bury Relics goals were similar to each other, Wakefield’s 3rd goal was just like their second. The ball was played up to the striker on the edge of the area, with his back to goal, and in a split second, he had swiveled, made a yard of space to the side, and walloped the ball, that went in high off the far post. An unsavable shot and a great goal for Wakefield but a sucker punch for the Relics. The Relics kept fighting and attacking but the equalizer did not come; the game ended in a loss to Wakefield. However, despite the defeat, this game was fantastic to watch and the Relics fought to the end. Bury Relics over 60’s 2-3 Wakefield
Pat wrote a nice piece after the games on WhatsApp, and I totally agree with it and almost echo all of it here. It was great to see so many people out to support Bury Relics in a tough predicament, and in such a competitive league. Every player gave 100% in effort, in an attempt to avoid the drop. Although, ultimately, they went down, they went down fighting hard and the prospects for next season look very good. Ken, Keiren and Pat did a great job of organizing and encouraging the team from the side and it was nice to see Mark P down, just after his knee operation in support. Hopefully, his recovery is complete enough for him to play in the future. Tex did a great job for filling in as keeper in the first game, making a fine save, and well done to Gaz for getting down asap, once he understood the games were on. Well done to the team for their fighting efforts, it consisted: Gaz, Tex, Keith S, Pete Shev, Terry, Ian and Gordon (Dog). Thanks to all the supporters who came, that included Mark P, Iain, Watford Mark, Carl, Jerry, Dr. John and others. Report by Dr. John.
After recently purchasing a Spotify subscription, I drove up to a puddle laden Heywood Sports Village car park, listening and humming along to Iron Maiden’s Running Free classic, but what I should have been listening to, was We are the Champions! At that time, I could not predict the Relics were going to be champions but they were in the driving seat, sitting 2 points clear of all other teams, at the top of the table. This was a massive opportunity for Bury Relics to make another successful milestone in their history. There was evidence it had been raining and there were some angry and dark clouds above in the sky, but they were punctured by bright beams of sunshine, which were illuminating the 4G pitches of Heywood. The battleground to the destiny of victory delight or the comfortable mediocracy of runners up was set. One small side note was that Manchester Senior Citizens could not get a team together, so all teams on the day were awarded a 1-0 win as the result against City. Bury Relics arrived to the pitch sporting their blue shirts and a sizable support had turned up to cheer them on. The referee went through his pre-game routine, which included asking the Blackpool players if Eddy the Keepers Orange shirt clash will be a problem; they say no, and the first championship game is under way.
Bury Relics Over 70’s versus Blackpool Senior Seasider’s Keith S, the manager, can be heard encouraging his players to be sharp from the off, and Bury Relics got the game under way. A very simple but nearly effective move gives the Relics a quick first chance. From the kick-off, John W lays it back to Tex, who quickly passes out to the right and Tony, he then plays a quick ball down the line, where Keiren had engineered a bit of space; “whack”! A low hard shot right across the goal was hit, but just flying past the post. A good start for the blues. The subsequent passage of play saw the seasiders pass the ball around but without making any openings, as the Bury defence was standing firm and making challenges. However, after a kick-in and a further cache of Blackpool passes, a player from deep tried his luck from long range, but it was double blocked: first by Bob and then by Tex. From the Preston kick-in, Bob made a perfectly anticipated interception and played the ball to John W, who then delayed his pass to Keiren, waiting for him to get forward. Once Keiren received the pass, he held off his marker, waiting for someone to be free, and his best option was a pass to Bob, who was coming forward to support the attack. However, Blackpool had got back and well organized, and the move fizzled out. Then came a chance for Blackpool from their keeper; he made a long pass out to their #11, who made a deft turn using his instep to take it away from a Bury defender. That close control bought him some space, and he took the opportunity to shoot, but for the Relics, good news, it was wide. Possession exchanged hands several times before Blackpool strung some passes together and got forward. However, this was ended by a perfectly timed tackle by John W, who fairly took the ball of the last Blackpool player, and was suddenly free with acres of green pitch in front of him, as well as Keiren in a more advanced position. However, the turbos had been switched on and the ref decided it was running. From the free-kick, Blackpool made a shot but it was very comfortable for Eddy, who just had to catch it. Then a great move from the Relics; at first it looked like Blackpools press was working and causing congestion at the back for Bury. But Bob saw space down the left wing and John W read the run (fast walk), and played a peach of a ball between 2 blackpool players. Bob was free down the left and he waited for support that came with John W and Keiren. Bury patiently looked for a shooting option, and Tex looked like the man in space, but the pass was not quite right, and Bob had to quickly get back to make sure Blackpool did not get a free shot. The Relics attacked again but Blackpool made another interception and played the ball forward, catching Bob off-balance, who took a stunt man like tumble. Bob was fine but soon in action again, where he was nutmegged by Blackpools #11 but the referee decided he was running during the process. From the resulting free-kick, Tex found Tony free down the right, who then found John W in midfield, who had spotted Bob travelling into the space. A perfectly weighted pass to Bob, gave him time to get his shot away, and it was only inches wide. A good effort. Blackpool now had a spell of pressure, including several free-kicks close to the goal line on the right. Yet, this pressure was not leading to shots or goals; the Relics were standing firm. Eventually, Eddy had possession of the ball and quickly bowled the ball long to John W, who was free on goal on the left. But, alas, the half time whistle went to save Blackpool facing a shot. The half time team talk injected a bit of energy into the team, as the Relics were quickly into the tackle after the break, which caused quick successive changes in possession. Bury Relics goal came from this. Blackpool had won the ball back and their keeper played it out to their defender, who did not measure his subsequent pass properly and played it far too close to John W, who quickly intercepted and played the ball into space, to the middle of the area. The crowd were willing him to shoot, and he obliged, hitting a low and hard powerful side-foot shot to the keepers right and into the net. The crowd cheered, it was a great finish by John, and the Relics had one hand on the league trophy. From the kick-off, Blackpool played several good passes and tried to move forward, but again, the Relics intercepted with Tex, who then had a foray forward, taking a defender on the outside and hitting a powerful shot. It was saved but the ref had decided it was running in any case. Blackpool now enjoyed some possession but as was previous, were not making any clear-cut chances. They again resorted to a long range shot that sailed over the bar. Now it was the turn of Bury to have possession, carefully looking for openings in advanced positions. Keiren was working hard trying to be in a position to receive the ball, and Jerry too was working hard down the right-hand side. Then a triangle of passes from John W to Keiren and then Bob, led to a good chance that Bob just hit over the bar; great move anyway. On the next Relics attack, the ball was played to Jerry on the right, who hit as pile-driver of a shot that just flashed across the goal; another good effort. That was the last meaningful action of the game, and the final whistle went to give Bury Relics victory. Result; Bury Relics 1-0 Blackpool Senior Seasider’s
Bury Relics Over 70’s versus Rochdale Strollers This game was the big one; as long as Bury did not lose to Rochdale, they are champions. Bury kick-off and are quickly on the attack, with Keiren getting a couple of shots away, the first one blocked and the second one, from a wide position, saved by their keeper. The Rochdale keeper is wide awake though, and immediately plays a long ball down the middle to their #9, who turns sharply and hits a left foot shot just over the bar. Nice power and that chance was direct and out of nothing; danger for the Relics if they are not careful. The Relics have a free-kick as it was high and Tex works the ball to Keiren, who then plays it back to John W, who finds Bob on the left. He looks up and sees Tex joining the attack, and lays a perfect pass for Tex to hit a low and hard speculative shot, that the keeper had to be smartly down to save. A good reply for the Relics. Rochdale then have a spell of possession in the middle, with their #4 turning one way then the other to find a support player. Eventually the ball is worked forward but is intercepted by John W. From an Eddy throw-out, the Relics put another good passing move together, involving the whole team, culminating in John W having some space to shoot; he takes a low hard shot, but the keeper makes a good save. That was a well worked chance by the Relics, and they were close to taking the lead. Then brilliant play from both teams. First it is the Relics putting passes together, which are made possible by the good movement of the team, which leads to minor controversy, when Jerry is body checked. There are several complaints from players and supporters, but the Ref says “play on”, and now Rochdale put 4 passes together, and get the ball quickly up front with their #9. His quick turn puts him with only Eddy to beat, but Eddy is alert and deals with the shot with a quick right hand, to give a corner. That was a good opportunity for them. From the subsequent corner, Bury intercept and have a break on, with John W getting the ball out wide, right side of the box. He spots Bob calling for it across the area, and squares the ball. However, the keeper is alert to it, and intercepts while breaking into a trot. The Ref calls it running by the keeper, and it’s a free-kick to the Relics. From this, the ball is worked to Jerry, who closes one eye to take aim, but the execution is not quite right and it goes over the bar. It’s head height, and Rochdale quickly move forward from the free-kick and shoot, only for Tex to make a good block. Another head-height free-kick and another Rochdale shot, this time Eddy makes a simple save. Then comes a mystery decision. Bury pass and move around the Rochdale end of the pitch, with what looks like good play, then suddenly the whistle goes. It is not clear what the offence was, but at least it was a Relics ball. Then, the Relics enjoy another good spell of pass and move possession, after intercepting Rochdale, which crescendo-ed to a Keiren chance, who hit a powerful shot that was on target but was too close to the keeper. Good power and a decent effort. The first half ends, the second half starts, and play resumes with a similar pattern, with Bury on top. Keiren is seeing a lot of the ball, and making good movement and bringing the midfield into the game. It is great play from the Relics, probing the Rochdale defence, with Keiren, John W and Jerry trying to find an opening to shoot. No luck this time, and Rochdale quickly play the ball down to their #9 striker. He delays for a while with the ball at his feet, then suddenly bursts past Bob and gets a shot away. Eddy saves it, as there are shouts of running. It was not obviously running but it was a fast turn to get the space to shoot. Well done Eddy for making sure and being safe. Relics then played a triangle between Tex, John W and finally Jerry on the right-hand side, who saw the opportunity to shoot, and did. It was on target and for a moment, it looked like it could squirm under the keeper, but alas, not today. The keeper gratefully gathered the ball. On the subsequent Rochdale attack, the keeper rolled the ball to the midfield, who passed back into the defence, and he subsequently hit the line. Neat play by #9 took 2 Relics players out of the picture and he played into the midfield. The midfielder had space to shoot, so a Relics defender closed him down. Instead of shooting, he saw another Rochdale player free on the edge of the Relics area, and played him in. He quickly turned and hit a shot passed Eddy and onto the post. That was Rochdale’s best move and the closest they were to scoring. The game continued with Bury passing and moving well, with Bob, Tex, John W, Jerry and Keiren all passing and moving into the space. No clear-cut shots from this play, and Rochdale were very direct when they intercepted, by getting the ball quickly to their #9, who was using either his quick reflexes or skill to make shots. One such shot, was going into the top corner before Eddy got his hands to it. A good and important save. Then it was a good move from a kick-in by Relics, with Tex playing the ball to John W, who fed Keiren. Tex moved into space, in the centre of goal, and received a lay off from Keiren. He strook the ball hard but it was just too high. John W also had a high shot late on in this game, but that was the last of the action, and the draw meant Bury Relics over 70s were champions. Result; Bury Relics 0-0 Rochdale Strollers
Bury Relics Over 70’s versus Preston Preston kick-off and put 6 or so passes together, before finally getting the ball up-front to their striker. He manages to turn but he is too close to Bob, who gets a foot in, to take all the sting out of the shot. From the kick-out, Bury put several passes together, but a pass down the line goes astray. Preston now have possession but are intercepted by the Relics. However, while the Relics are passing the ball around the defence, their striker nips in to have a snap shot, which Eddy easily gathers. Nearly a gift for them. Eddy subsequently bowls out wide to Bob, who exquisitely turns his marker to pass the ball into the middle, where John W receives it in acres of space. It appears John W does not realize how much time and space he has, as it was a good shooting chance, but the defence just get back in time to hold him up. The game begins to stutter a bit, with neither team string many passes, but a hopeful ball forward by Preston, puts their striker up against Jerry, who stands firm and prevents him from turning and shooting. From a Preston corner, Bob does well to clear the ball to John W, who tries to get the ball further clear, only to be closed down by Preston, who get a shot away. Eddy is easily behind it to save. Eddy plays a nice long ball up to Keiren who holds it up and lays off to Jerry in the middle, who plays a one-two with John and plays it back to Keiren. Meanwhile, Keith B makes space by taking a defender away, which leaves a space for Jerry to go into. However, the Preston forward spots his chance to intercept and does so, which gives him a run at goal. But disaster is averted in the form of Bob, who quickly gets back to make a challenge. The next passage of play involves both teams playing several passes, and then giving the ball away. On the final occasion, it is Bury who have possession, and work the ball out to John W, who is wide on the left. He sees a half chance, and fires a cruise missile across the goal. It’s spectacular, as the keeper goes sprawling to cover his far post, but it was OK from his point of view as it went wide. Then it was Eddy’s turn to make spectacular saves, denying their #5 twice in quick succession: on the first occasion, their goalkeeper plays it out to their defender, who passes down the line to their striker, who turns and runs without touching the ball, and Bob has to keep up with him, shoulder to shoulder. The Preston striker shoots, but Bob’s big toe makes a telling touch to take all the power out of the shot and enables Eddy just to catch it. Great defending. Then, from Eddy’s throw out, Bury immediately lose the ball, and #5 becomes free and alone on the edge of the box. He is fed and turns to shoot at Eddy, despite the last ditch attempts by Jerry to get back. The shot is powerful and Eddy gets behind it, but there is a top-spin ricochet and the ball could go anywhere. On this occasion, the ball spins and bounces gently against the post and into Eddy’s grateful arms. On the next Bury attack, they win a free-kick, which is well worked by John W, and Keiren, who lays it to Jerry, who hits a hard shot that is only just wide of the top-left hand corner. That’s the last action of the half. The second half starts with an energized Bury Relics team on the attack, with good battling and passing around the Preston area, which ended with a Keith B shot. Then their keeper quickly passes out to wide right, and their player hits a pass right down the middle to a player on the edge of the Relics box. Although he is marked, he makes a good turn and shot, and it’s going in, low to the keepers left. Only a quick and agile dive by Eddy stops the goal and puts the ball out for a corner. A good save indeed by Eddy. Preston lose the ball from the corner, and Eddy plays a good ball to John W in the middle, who first waits and then turns his man and plays a good ball up to Keith B, with a bit of zip. While the ball is travelling to Keith B, John W exploits the small amount of space in front of him and moves into it. Keith, cleverly, hits a first time lay-off back to John, who majestically rifles a shot from distance into the top-right-hand corner of the net. A roar from the Relics supporters ensued, and it was worthy of such celebration, a great move and a sensational strike. Keith B played his part with a deft lay off, and John W absolutely thundered it in; 1-0 to the Relics. The Preston keeper needed a moment of therapy, and just put his hands on his hips in despair. From the centre, Bury regain possession and win a free-kick in an advanced position. Tony puts the ball down and evaluates his options, selecting a pass to John W, who hits a first-time low shot to the keepers left, but he makes the save this time. Several minutes of pinball among both sets of players took place, with neither team making a clear-cut chance. Eventually a chance falls to Keith B on the left of the area, who has found a bit of space, he hits a hard shot but the keeper is equal to it, to make a save. Then, immediately, the ball is down at the Bury end, and Preston’s #7 has a similar chance to Kieth’s, but he hits his chance wide. Then Preston make another chance, which finds their #5 free and one-on-one with only Eddy to beat. He hits a hard shot to the right of Eddy, but Eddy is pin-sharp and gets 2 hands to the shot, pushing the ball wide of the goal. A great save for Eddy. The last few minutes of the game has Preston camped outside the Bury area but with the Relics holding firm and not giving any space away. Following an interception by Bury, a pass is over hit and out for a kick-in, but it does matter as the final whistle goes, and it’s smiles all around for the Bury Relics players and supporters. Bury Relics are confirmed champions of the GMWFL Spring League. Result; Bury Relics 1-0 Preston
Bury Relics absolutely deserved this, League Champions, undefeated and only conceded 1 goal all season. The entire team has played well, not just today but for all fixtures in this league. From the defensive players such as Eddy the keeper, Tex, Bob, Tony, Dave, Peter A and Pat, to the midfield battling of John W and Jerry, and the hard-working Keiren and Keith B, who played both up-front and in midfield. John W’s and his red slipper boots provided the goals today but others such as Keiren, Tex and Jerry have also been on the score sheet too this season. Also, the behind the scenes work of manager Keith S and Ken have contributed, guiding and encouraging the team and sorting the formations. A big congratulations and well done to today’s squad: Keiren, Bob, Tex (C), John W, Keith B, Tony, Pat the cat, Jerry and Eddy the keeper. Thank you to the enthusiastic support who turned up, that included Stewart, Carl, Iain and Dave. Report and videos by Dr. John.
Final league table
GMWFL Spring 2022 season, Over 70’s final league table
Relics players Tex O’Rourke and Stewart White were included in the Greater Manchester Walking Football League (GMWFL) league teams that competed in the inaugural Walking Football League Alliance (WFLA) Inter League Cup Finals played at Leek Town FC on the immaculate 3G pitch on Saturday 28th May 2022.
Tex was included in the over 70’s team that took part in a three team, round robin, tournament with Dorset and Wales. In their first game the GMWFL team beat Dorset 4 – 0, then beat Wales 5 – 1 to win the trophy.
Stewart played in the over 65’s category which, due to late withdrawals. was reduced to two teams, GMWFL and Wales
Due to the reduced number of teams the Final was played over 6 phases of 15 minute duration. Stewart scored the first goal for the GMWFL in a 4 – 1 victory that saw Manchester lift the cup.
The Relics are looking forward to returning to the same venue on June 11th to compete in the Champions League Finals.