How the BIG Cup was won!
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WONDERLAND
Dreams do come true, believe it!! On Saturday, 24 June 2017, West London Celtic Supporters club pulled off a magnificent victory to win the London Supporters League (LSL) champions League final. Whilst we all don’t come from within 30 miles of our London home, the Royal Horseguardsman in Brentford in the west of London, there was still an element of the fairytale to this victory, like our heroes of 50 years ago.
This team did not exist 6 months ago, but was put together to play a friendly against supporters of Borussia Dortmund because of our mutual admiration for Paul Lambert. An invitation to join the LSL then came and history was made.
The team has gone through some line-up changes over the season, due to availiblity issues, but has remained fairly constant in it’s core since the beginning.
The final saw an end to the heat wave which had been punishing London as the Bhoys came up against Lazio, who had topped the league stages, unbeaten. They came with an air of confidence, perhaps over-confidence, as the game began before the biggest crowd of the season, perhaps as many as 50 spectators.
Their confidence was rocked as the lads put the pressure on and within the first 10 minutes were 2-0 ahead. A long shot from Jason Scannell found the bottom corner, and then a long free-kick from Harry Ratcliffe found its way into the net, with Jack Phillips claiming a final touch. A similar goal was disallowed 2 minutes later, mainly due to Lazio protests over the previous attempt. While Lazio did not appear too dangerous, a terrific left=handed save from Michael Kelly kept them off the board until half-time.
Game over, I hear you cry. Have you not read the Porto report? Immediate pressure from Lazio, and to be fair, they didn’t really look like scoring, but they did, after about 10 minutes of the second half. The game was becoming a little feisty and the lads were in danger of being sucked in by the passion of the Italian team.
However, Jack Phillips, fighting his usual solitary battle up front, got another. 3-1. Game over. Not a chance. Lazio come back to 3-2. Cue more giving the ball away, more pressure. Phillips does it again with another breakaway goal, 4-2!! Game over. Are you kidding? Lazio come back, etc, etc. 4-3. By the way, have I mentioned the tension on the sidelines? We were sweating buckets and not even playing!!
Lazio themselves were disintegrating a little, arguing amongst themselves and the Celtic finally killed the game off with another breakaway goal, this time by Luke Stritt. A well-merited goal as Luke had worked hard all game, harassing their defenders when they were on the ball and generally working hard for the team.
It’s not right to single out any one player from the game, but it is also important to note that we were missing our captain, Lloyd Paton, for the match, and he played a vital part during the season. One or two other players were not there for the final but their contribution is noted and remembered by everyone involved.
Cue the celebrations, and fair play to Lazio, they came and had a drink and a song, and gave us genuine congratulations, although one guy said we played s*** but effective football. Where’s his trophy? (For the record we scored 16 goals in the league, and 9 in two play-off games)
Another Italian, a Roma, supporter said that in his mind, after we lost to them in the first game of the season, he wouldn’t have given a penny for us to win the tournament. Maybe we should give him his penny back!! What is it with Celtic and Italians?
Back to the Horseguardsman and replays of the game, both literally and in lyrical form, with speeches and songs and a typical Celtic good time. There is a lot to be proud of here, although it may only be a small tournament. A fantastic group of young men have played the game the Celtic way, in the right spirit and have fought together as a team, each one standing up for the other and standing together.
Come On You Bhoys in Green!!
The LSL is a supporters based league here in London, where supporters of 8 teams have gotten together to play a Champions League tournament. The teams represented are: Celtic, Aston Villa, Fiorentina, Juventus, Lyon, Lazio, Porto and Roma. It is a nine-a side competition with all teams playing each other once; the top four then play off for the Champions League trophy.
We hope to expand the tournament to 10 teams for the next edition.
London Supporters League: www.facebook.com/londonsupportersleague