By FRASER HOPE
In a desperate attempt to kindle excitement about the upcoming season, coach Graham Tweddle and chief statistician Mark Aston reorganized the Annual Old Boys Golden Boot Awards from the post season to a preseason time slot. It was thought that competition with FIFA and UEFA award ceremonies might shut Salt Spring’s own ceremony out of the media spotlight, and the new timing and coverage would increase our marketability in obtaining TV and live streaming rights.
So on Friday, Sept. 6, the Tranter-Tweddle Auditorium was decked out to receive all the A-Listers invited from across the globe: Harry and Meghan, assorted Kardashians, Old Boys Alumni and present members of the Old Boys FC; everyone having their moment of publicity on the red and black carpet before reaching the awards stage. As it turned out, being a workday for many there were no A-Listers, never mind B or C Listers! It was hard enough bringing out the personnel who will face Castaways FC in the first game of the season on Sunday at Carnarvon Park in Victoria.
Most of the absentees had indicated reasonable excuses for their absence: Work, dental appointments, vacation plans or simply forgetting the date. Could be a sign of things to come for the Old Boys medical staff — a new set of conditions that will impact on the preparedness of the team and the ability to field a fully functioning team each game day. As it was, the main topic of conversation was on injuries past and ongoing that would mean several regulars’ first appearance would be delayed to well into next year after the winter break.
Tweddle had to fend off persistent enquiries as to new signings that were rumoured to be imminent. “We are still in the negotiating phase with players and their representatives” was the rather evasive and not entirely comforting response from Tweddle. Hopes were high as a CHEK News truck was parked next door in the Legion car park. Had Old Boys FC Management engineered a dramatic entrance of a high-profile star just as Copenhagen FC had introduced Nicklas Bendtner of Arsenal and Juventus fame to the team and fans?
All we heard was some oblique references to desserts and UPS — Sweet and Brown. It made no real sense, but when did Old Boys management ever make sense. Ooh, Hope will have his media pass revoked if he is not careful.
Attendees enjoyed the food and convivial spirits on tap provided by the OLD BYOW drinks cooler as everyone settled waiting for the MCs to announce the nominations for the various awards.
A surprise nomination for the Red Mist Award saw reporter Fraser Hope edge out the usual suspects Howe, Aston and Dave Toynbee for an altercations with a match referee concerning his assistant referee duties. Hope is “alleged” to have indicated to the referee “I’ve given more offsides than you, ref, have had hot breakfasts!” or words to that effect.
The Most Loyal Fan was a very tight race between three or four regular fans, but Kathy Kendall was declared the winner and was suitably presented with a #1 Fan Finger Glove for her seasonal devotion
The “Keyser Soze” (The Usual Suspects 1995) was given to Sean Goddard for failing to make an appearance throughout the season. Kevin Spacey was to have presented the trophy but was otherwise detained.
The trophies and nominees came fast and furious: The Fewest Assists, the Most Assists, Own Goal Trophy, Iron Man Trophy — all important in their own category — but the members of the voting panel were confident that the “Usual Suspects” would win.
The tension mounted in the audience as Michael Berndt stepped forward to give a background to the next award, a first in team history. A visiting archivist from Salt Spring Archives confirmed from her researchers that this was indeed the first time for The Tasmanian Devil Award in the history of football worldwide. Berndt related to his experience in a game where without warning he was knocked to the ground in a game and before he could even suss what or who he had encountered he was subjected to a second knockdown. As Berndt noted in his notes “present this new trophy to . . . a moment’s hesitation. “Ben Cooper!” A well-deserved winner with no clear opponents in second or third place. Berndt is continuing to receive medical attention for his amnesia resulting with his meeting the “TD” and will be avoiding Cooper as much as possible.
After that dramatic presentation it was something of a letdown to find Mike McCormick the winner of the premier trophy, The Golden Boot Award, with a season total of 19 goals. Well done, Mike! It is safe to say that McCormick has been adept at tracking the path of the Tasmanian Devil as one of his winning factors.
The only other award was The Penalty Shot Award, which may or not be a reoccurring event depending on the availability of Old Boys penalty opportunities and whether the recipient returns the award at the end of the season. Scott Howe, your worst fear was receiving the Red Mist Award, but you surely knew you would make an appearance even if you were not there!
We are all looking forward to new rules instituted by FIFA which bring its own set of complications for the Old Boys, who have not entirely understood the last set of laws. Anyhow, all will be evidenced on Sunday at Carnarvon Park where 11 or 12 or whoever turns up will be out to uphold the Old Boys’ reputation as being The VICSL’s Most Sportsmanlike Team.