Yorkshire St Pauli: Summer ANTIRA 2014

Two weeks ago we held the second Yorkshire St. Pauli ANTIRA football tournament in tropical conditions at Leeds Carribean Cricket Club. After playing in previous tournaments organised by FC Kolektivo Victoria (FCKV) and Republica Internationale in recent years, we hosted our first tournament back in February and it was so much fun that we decided to do it all again in the Summer. A date was set, teams were invited and the finer details were put into place. All we had to do now was turn up, build some goals, make some pitches and play some football. Ace.

ysp summer anrtiraUnfortunately the winner’s from February, United Glasgow FC, couldn’t make the long trip down to Yorkshire, so the title was well and truly up for grabs! The draw for the tournament had already been made in the week leading up to the event, and the tournament would be split into two after the initial group phases. With 8 teams split into 2 groups, the teams who finish 1st and 2nd in each group would go into the ‘higher’ knockout tournament, and the teams who finish 3rd and 4th would compete in the ‘lower’ knockout tournament. The format means that every team, regardless of ability, have something to play for at the end of the day and each team plays an equal amount of games.

THE GROUPS

Group A

Mount Pleasant Park FC – A “community football” organisation that stands for equality, social integration and multicultural respect & learning. Some of our members are part of the DIY & World music & arts community scenes, some others from the Anti-Fascist or Vegan networks but some others simply like to engage with their neighbours once a week and feel part of a big community. Based in the multicultural epicentre of Sheffield (Sharrow) Mount Pleasant Park F.C. started with ad-hock “three sided football” sessions 4 years ago and has evolved into a weekly session where everyone is welcomed. Football for all..football against racism!

A completely unknown quantity, but the fact they have ‘FC’ after their name suggests they know how to kick a football. Potentially a surprise package.

YSP FC 2 – YSP FC started 18 months ago with a friendly kick about against Republica Internationale, and soon competed in a couple of friendly tournaments that had been organised by Republica and FCKV. These inspired us to see whether we could get our members to play football, and then developed when we started to link up with local refugee charity PAFRAS. We used football as a social tool to welcome refugees and asylum seekers into our group, to play football for free and to provide a welcoming community for them. This has developed further in recent months with our ‘Football For All’ project, which is a friendly and uncompetitive kickabout every Sunday afternoon, where refugees and asylum seekers play for free, with the cost of the football subsidised by waged players.

With a squad of 14 players to select from, the Yorkshire St. Pauli FC contingent fielded two teams for the tournament – with a mixture of YSP members alongside a number of service users from PAFRAS. The teams would be fairly divided by football shirts randomly thrown at individuals in no particular order to divide players into two teams. YSP FC 2 for the purposes of the competition would wear the famous brown jerseys of FC St. Pauli. It’s fair to say that the success of YSP FC in recent tournaments has been nothing short of spectacularly poor, having only ever won 2 games in competitive tournaments.

Leeds Caribbean Cricket Club – The first Caribbean Cricket club set up in the UK, it was established in 1948 by the Jamaica Society in Leeds as a social gathering for mainly West Indian men, although predominately those from Jamaica.  In 2007 Caribbean Cricket Club’s 1st & 2nd teams both won Leeds West Riding league and also the 20/20 festival cup. In the same year they formed a women’s group at the club.

Our hosts for the day who have dropped their cricket bats and pads and donned a football kit. An unknown quantity!

FCKV (from Leicester) – We are a football club based at Victoria Park, Leicester who recognise the fundamental equality of all people, irrespective of age, class, culture, disability, gender, race, religion, or sexuality. We seek to enjoy sport as part of strengthening local and international solidarity, performing to the best of our potential, and enjoying being part of a team. We seek to further mutual understanding and respect for all people and to challenge discrimination. The club will not tolerate prejudiced or abusive behaviour.

The team responsible for inviting us to our first ever ANTIRA tournament and for introducing us into the great world of ANTIRA footy.

Group B

The 1 in 12 Club (from Bradford) – The 1 in 12 Club is a not for profit organisation relying heavily on the time donated by its unpaid members. It is managed, owned and run by its members, founded on the anarchistic values of self-management, co-operation & mutual aid. Together we are a community of people aiming to provide an affordable, non-commercial venue for events, socialising, meetings & information.

Stalwarts of these competitions, the 1 in 12 are the team to watch out for. They’re renowned for their organisation and have two young lads (who don’t look so young these days!) upfront who cause all sorts of problems. One of the favourites.

Republica – A Leeds-based Socialist football team and part of an international network of like-minded teams, distinguished by our philosophy and by our political commitment, all committed to ‘freedom through football’. That slogan attempts to capture what we, and the other teams, share philosophically, because in many other ways we’re quite different. We don’t believe in political cloning, but we do believe in sharing alternative ideas about anti-oppressive culture and action.

We play grass-roots football (both in Leeds and abroad), but we also socialise enthusiastically, and engage in other forms of political action.  We’re trying to keep politics in sport, and have a good time as well. We’re not perfect, but we do try. We endeavour not to be too dogmatic about our beliefs, and to be as inclusive as we can.” 

The team that really encouraged us and started the Yorkshire St. Pauli FC movement, by showing us what can be achieved through football. As a club, they’ve been fantastic in their support of us over the years. The work they do is fantastic, and they’ve seemingly being doing it forever too!

LAFN – With a recent resurgence of the far-right and a feeling that the tactics of UAF aren’t effective, activists in Leeds have felt that something needs to change with the way we do anti-fascism and have committed to a critical look at how we can work together resisting fascism on the streets and in our communities.  We are made up of members of groups from different parts of the left as well as non-aligned individuals and are committed to remaining independent of any political party or organisation. We believe that the way to counter fascism isn’t through liberalism but through grass-roots organising and resistance amongst the working class.

A relatively new group, but already a regular at these events and they know how to enjoy football and play it in the right spirit, regardless of results! They bring the party (and the beer!) and they pro-actively stand up for what is right.

YSP FC 1 – See YSP FC 2 above. Not to be confused with YSP FC 2. YSP FC 1 will wear the ‘away’ strip of red. 

 

 

GROUP A

Team Won Drawn Lost Points GD
MOUNT PLEASANT 3 0 0 9 +3
YSPFC2 1 0 2 3 0
LEEDS CCC 1 0 2 3 -1
FCKV 1 0 2 3 -2

 

GROUP B

 

Team Won Drawn Lost Points GD
1 IN 12 3 0 0 9 +8
REPUBLICA 1 1 1 4 -1
LAFN 1 0 0 3 -5
YSPFC1 0 1 2 1 -2

 

THE FINALS

FCKV – LCCC (Lower Final)

FCKV, despite all the problems they had faced on the day, had a chance of glory in the final against Leeds Carribean Cricket Club who had found some form after losing their opening two group games without scoring. LCCC continued their run of good form and took an early lead, and they looked to have won it going into the final minute. For detail on what happened next, here is the description from the report of the tournament from FCKV…

And so, with the game still at 0-1 and less than a minute to go, FCKV won a throw-in. As is the done thing, our goalkeeper made his way up. A headed flick on in the area and a full on goalmouth scramble broke out. Cats, dogs, random passers-by, all got sucked into it. At one point I think I even spotted Nick in the middle of it all, naked and daubed in some kind of ritualistic body paint as the very fabric of society unravelled before our very eyes.

The ball ping ponged about. I think we hit the post but the sound could easily have just been someone taking one of the uprights and wrapping it around the nearest FCKV player. Somehow the ball squirmed under the LCCC goalkeeper and Blue was there to toe poke in from about 10cm. FCKV went batshit and the referee blew for full-time.

Extra time followed but the two teams couldn’t be separated and it went to penalties! After 5 penalties each, FCKV scored their 6th and the pressure was on LCCC. The LCCC player, carrying a can of lager in his hand, stepped up for the big moment. He tried to dink it down the middle of the goal but it didn’t fool the FCKV goalkeeper who saved it comfortably and that was that. FCKV had won the lower tournament!

YSP FC 2 – Mount Pleasant FC (Higher Final)

Having beaten Goliath in the semi finals, it seemed Goliath had done what every kid did during a fight – told on his older, taller brother to deal with you. YSP FC 2 faced Mount Pleasant FC, who were still to concede a goal and had already beaten YSP FC 2 by a single goal in the group stages. The tactics of YSP FC 2 remained the same – somehow score, somehow defend and don’t concede. Forget parking the bus, this was a convoy of HGV lorries in front of the goal. A couple minutes into the game and central defender Scott went on what can only be described as a mesmerising run down the wing. The run had caused so much confusion in the Mount Pleasant defence that the resulting cross towards the back post was turned into the goal by a Mount Pleasant player. Mount Pleasant played some great football to try and get back into the game, and YSP FC 2 were sitting deeper and deeper in the final minutes.

It seemed an equaliser was only a matter of time, and in the final minute their goalkeeper came forward for a corner and had a great chance to equalise but the chance was missed. The final whistle was blown and somehow YSP FC 2 had won. Scenes of jubilation, shock and general bewilderment followed. After finishing last in almost everything we do and just having fun finishing last, we’d finally found something to put in the YSP trophy cabinet we’d bought on Gumtree years ago when all this started.

Also a huge well done to the Leeds Anti-Fascist Network who picked up the fair play award as voted for by the referees. Well done, and keep up the great work!

Final words…
We have to say a huge public thank you to all the teams and players who turned up and took part. To Leeds Carribean Cricket Club for being excellent and friendly hosts and for helping us out. To Blu from Republica for sorting things out, alongside Scott, Shaun and Nicole from Yorkshire St. Pauli. Gary and John for refereeing. To Rob helping out on the day and to JP for taking photso, and to everyone else who turned up and watched. It was an absolute pleasure hosting it, and a fantastic day. I would say we’ll do it again next year, but i think it’s only fitting that we now retire the YSP ANTIRA tournament and the trophy stays with the winners…

Finally, two years ago we played in our first tournament held by FC FC Kolektivo Victoria, and we were thumped in every game. Our record in most games since has been along the same lines. But in recent months we’ve had great fun with our ‘Football For All’ initiative, which is essentially a weekly kickabout session open to everyone and we invited refugees and asylum seekers to play for free. The sessions have been a huge success, and more than anything we’ve built a fantastic group of friends with a real team and community spirit. In many ways, it echoes the spirit of St. Pauli. Our victory was a success for everything we’ve built in the last few months, and everyone who has helped us.

Forza Yorkshire St. Pauli!

Full review of the tournament here: http://yorkshirestpauli.com/2014/08/03/review-ysp-summer-antira-july-2014/

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