Lessons learnt at a Banbury United football match
I weighed the idea of even going to watch the game for quite some time. We had a colleague over from Graf Iberica in Girona, our Spanish sister Company, so I wanted to look after him at least a little bit and I wasn't convinced that the delights of Banbury United football club would quite fit the bill, especially given that the Spanish are used to a slightly higher grade of football!
Still, we gave it a shot. It's was our first game to attend since we became one of the club's sponsors for this season. We called to get some extra tickets before the game and got given the opportunity to be the official match sponsor too, so this meant we got to present the match ball and choose 'man of the match'. Suddenly I thought we can at least put David from Spain in the heart of the action, which would at least add some 'unique flavour' even if the football turned out to be rubbish!
However, my assumptions about the whole evening were way off the mark. It turned out to be fantastic! From the minute we walked into the Sponsors lounge, we were welcomed like best friends. As we took on the position of official match sponsor, we were then thanked publicly in the sponsors lounge which was a lovely touch, again very welcoming and unexpected.
Once the game kicked off, the standard of football was actually much better than I thought it would be. We were expecting Banbury to suffer a loss, possibly quite a significant loss, given that they were playing Stourbridge who were second in the league and had beaten them several times before! But, in fairness to Banbury they looked the stronger team. If they could only put the ball in the back of the net, they could have won reasonably easily! Their whole game was great, except when it came to shooting and scoring, or rather, missing!
They worked extremely well as a team though, which is more than could be said of Stourbridge. I don't attend many football matches, partly because in my experience they're not the nicest places to be, especially when you throw in the language and hostility between fans. Never before though had I heard this same bad language and hostility among players playing for the same team! They were hating each other! Shouting, swearing, screaming, not far off even physically fighting each other when things didn't go their way! It was such a lesson in teamwork over a group of - probably quite talented - individuals who just weren't playing together, or helping each other.
Sadly, Banbury couldn't quite manage to properly punish them for their lack of team spirit and it ended a 0-0 score line. But Banbury United certainly won themselves some new fans that night, and we'll be returning soon to see what else I can learn from the Puritans!