Continental football? It's a piece of fruitcake

`We attacked like madmen, exposed ourselves at the back and let through five goals. That surprised them'

WELL, IT'S been another roller-coaster of a crazy football ride for the British clubs involved in Europe these last two nights (writes our football specialist, Rene McGrit) and make no mistake - we found out for the first time just how hard it is out there in the choppy waters of Continental competition after another roller-coaster of a crazy football ride for the British clubs - no, I've said that already, let's think, yes, I know - after a baptism of fire in the cauldron of Continental competition that could still leave a few scorch marks on the reputation of English football.

Unlucky M1 Wanderers, standard-bearers of the English Premier Banking Division, may still rue their inability to score in the first leg against the wily Portuguese side, Sporting Casino, with the score sheet at 0-0 after 90 minutes. They hit the woodwork, they hit the goalkeeper, they hit the top of the main stand, they hit the TV cameraman running up and down the touchline, and very often they hit each other, but they just couldn't get the ball into the net, at least not by the big hole in front.

"Well, look on the bright side - at least we didn't hit the referee," said manager Gabby Frost, whose book I Managed All Right has just been published. "Otherwise, not much went right for us. But take nothing away from our lads. We threw everything we had at them. Unfortunately, they threw it back at us. Then we threw it back at them. Then... but you get the picture. In the second half I could see we needed a substitution, so I took off our ace striker Wagstaff. Unfortunately, I forgot to send anyone on to replace him, so we were down to 10 men for a while, but they held out magnificently. That'll be pounds 500 for the interview, please."

Meanwhile, over in Spain, the crack northern team Pennine Rangers took on the might of Real Franco in the seething Santa Pecora Stadium, and rose above everyone's expectations to come away with a 5-1 defeat.

"We really surprised them," said Pennine's manager Joe Firmly (whose book Managing to Survive is now out). "They thought we were going to put up a stone wall of defence and retreat behind it, hoping for a draw. Instead, we went out and attacked like madmen, exposed ourselves at the back and let through five easy goals. That surprised them. It certainly surprised the hell out of me. pounds 300, please."

In the calmer waters of the Cup-Losers Cup, the Scottish team Tay Bridge Disaster flew to Finland to take on the little-rated local side, Helsinki Harriers, and went down by only the odd goal in five, that is, 4-1.

"Aye, well, we did our research reasonably well beforehand," I was told on the phone from Finland by the manager Jock Crumlin, whose book Jock the Giant-Killer is now out in paperback, "and we knew that the average Finn loves gloomy music and gets paralytically drunk of an evening. I still believe that. Unfortunately, we ran into what must be the only 11 Finns in the country who don't drink before a game, and who can string a useful pass together. Still, I have to say that the hospitality here is terrific, and we're still celebrating with them, five hours later.

"That'll be pounds 200, and if I could have it right away in Finnish currency, I'd be dead grateful."

The Irish side Glenhoddle also did creditably when they took on the Maltese champions, Valletta Marina, in the Pre-Med Cup and came away with three yellow cards, two goals and a disputed penalty. The manager, Harry O'Barry, who has never written a book, but wants to call it I Demand to See the Manager if he ever does, had this to say about the incident.

"The ref pointed to the spot and awarded us a penalty kick. I thought it was very dubious, so I ran on and shouted at him and said we'd be happy with an indirect free kick. That surprised him all right - nobody had ever asked for their own penalty to be disallowed before - but he said the decision should stand. I told our spot-kicker, Paddy Quinlan, to miss on purpose, which so confused him that he tucked it in the corner of the goal, which is what I knew he would do. Psychology, that's the name of the game. Give us a hundred quid and we'll call the case closed."

One late result. European Fruit Cup: Sporting Portillo 0 AC/DC Milan 0

Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week