And Britain can walk tall today after their first encounters with the might of the mainland. Majestic M1 Wanderers, the pride of the Midlands, were at their magisterial best in the San Serif stadium in Italy, playing their first leg against AC/DC Milan in the Champion of Champions Pay To View Cup, and coming away with a very creditable 2-1 loss.
"This may not have been the result we came for," said manager Ally Barber last night, "but it's certainly the result we are going away with, and you can't say fairer than that. We scored an away goal on the night. They didn't. That makes things very difficult for them in the second leg. It makes things very difficult for us too. More difficult for us, probably. A lot more. Well, that's football. But take nothing away from our lads. They ran and ran and ran and ran, and occasionally kicked the ball too. You can't say more than that. They were magnificent. Take nothing away from these lads. I won't. That will be pounds 400, please."
Meanwhile, on home ground, Villa Park were doing even better at their London base, where they entertained the crack Norwegian team FC Anorak to a cliffhanger 3-3 draw.
"What can you say? Both teams scored three times," said haggard manager Bert Umber after the nail-biting last few minutes in which both sides hit the upright, though not with the ball. "Three goals on either side. Terrific entertainment. Piss-poor football, unfortunately. I'm choked. Still, I'll say this for the lads. They ran and ran and ran and ran. Unfortunately, so did the other side. I'm afraid we've got it all to do in the second leg. Terrific entertainment, though. What more can you say? I can't. pounds 300, please."
Tynegate Rovers, the pride of the North-east, travelled to Denmark to take on Hornby Dublo, the Danish champions. Unfortunately, they weren't meant to. They were meant to travel to Turkey to take on Sporting Paklava, the Turkish cup runners-up, which means they forfeit the first leg on away penalties and go into the second leg 5-0 down.
"It was a nightmare night for us," said manager Bill Gateshead, on a mobile phone in Copenhagen airport. "Our lads ran and ran and ran and ran, but we still couldn't get the last flight to Turkey. It's always disappointing to lose the first leg 5-0, especially when you haven't played, but I'm counting our blessings - we haven't sustained any injuries, except for young Gary Romain who pulled a muscle trying to control a luggage trolley. Still, let's look on the bright side - there's always a chance that Sporting Paklava will turn up at the wrong place like we did! pounds 250, please - and could you bring it out here in cash? As soon as possible? We're running out of the readies..."
Blarney Rovers, the little-fancied Irish team, did their reputation no harm at all in the Cup-Losers Cup when they took on the might of Portugal's Sporting Faro and lost by the odd goal in seven, that is, 6-1.
"Lots of people were saying before the match that they were going to be all over us and everyone in the team was going to score against us," says manager Al Garvey. "Well, I think we've proved the wailing willies wrong. There were at least five of the Portuguese lads who didn't score, and one or two of them who never looked like doing so. Great stuff by us. I think we can hold our heads high and hold our hands out for pounds 50."
Huddlestone City completed a great night for British football when they met Ibiza Rovers in the Med Cup and only conceded three goals.
"We were unlucky to meet them in peak form," said manager Frank Fearless afterwards. "They had signed several German star holidaymakers in the close season and we weren't expecting it that. Still, they've got weaknesses too, and I think we can pull it all back in the second leg. What? There isn't a second leg? That was it? We've been knocked out of the competition? Well, Blimey O'Riley. What can I say? I'm choked. Still, that's football for you. Make it pounds 25 and a drink."
Cup Losers Cup
Sporting Gazebo 0 Real Meccano 0
Racing Special 0 F C Fastnet 0
European Fruit Cup
Sporting Nancy 0 Gay Vienna 0
Queen of the North 0 Disco Hanover 0Reuse content