Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Soccerboss - Living the Dream

Billy Bremner and Mick Jones of Leeds United in all white on the box lid

The Autobiographical Bit

I picked up Ariel's Soccerboss in good condition from a car boot sale a few years ago, to replace an original copy from my teenage years, which had long since evaporated, or whatever happens to neglected board games.  It brings back memories of childhood before the age of daytime TV and electronic entertainment, where it was a great alternative to geography homework (for example).  To be fair, it also brings back a fair few memories of argument and frustration and unfinished business – as I recall, most games at Yapp Towers tended to finish early due to curfew or everyone else except me leaving to do something else.  Such as having a life.

Soccerboss competed with Wembley, Soccerama, Subbuteo and Waddington’s Table Soccer in our household.  For me, it had one significant disadvantage.  You needed four players, minimum.  I hardly had three friends simultaneously at the best of times, and Yapp Towers did not have the space to accommodate four bulky teenagers and Bruce the resident German Shepherd Dog.  Most of my friends were terrified of Bruce anyway and never so much knocked on the door as shouted from the next street.  Plus, the little plastic players would not have been good for Bruce’s digestive system.  So full-length games of Soccerboss were very rare in practice.  The nearest we got was me and my brother running two teams each, usually refusing to trade with each other and selling all of one team’s decent players to our other more favoured team and a cup-final winner-takes-all dénouement.  Financial Fair Play it ain’t.

Soccerboss was marketed as a game of skill and promised you would “learn the problems of management”.  I would love to tell you that I applied my learning in later years as a headteacher, but other than “You can’t spend it if you haven’t got it!”, I am struggling.  The rules booklet makes the standard assumptions of its times, through its exclusive references to “he/him/his”, that the teenage girls would be engaged in other things like playing Heartthrob or running the country.  Or in 1970s West Bromwich, chugging Snowballs and Babycham in industrial quantity if memory serves me correctly. However, I digress – here’s the game stuff.

Step One: Read the Rules - cunningly disguised as a newspaper including a cheeky ad for "Wembley", also made by Ariel at that time

How it Worked
The game is set up for a league consisting of Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool, Celtic, Rangers, Notts Forest (sic, that must have annoyed them) and Sheffield Wednesday.  Who knows why they were chosen.  Our first action was usually to throw out Wednesday and replace them with West Bromwich Albion, before engaging in complex coin-tosses or rock-paper-scissors tournaments to decide who would manage the Baggies this time.

A certain number of players of each grade (yellow = international = 5pts, red = 4, blue = 3 and green = donkey = 1) were drawn randomly for each team at the start of the game.  To be honest, much of the final result was decided there and then.  If you drafted a pile of rubbish you would struggle.  The total points score of the 11 on the pitch determined which of the four dice you rolled for your team.  There was a 10-minute period allowed for transfers between each round of matches.  The indicative value of a yellow player was around £70,000, going down to £10,000 for the green makeweights.

Ah, the good old days of 2-3-5.  I have offloaded right-half and inside right ... but have a pile of rubbish on the bench.
... better hit the transfer market!
There are pre-match cards and match cards which in some ways function like Chance and Community Chest in Monopoly with a mixture of Good Things and Bad Things happening at random to your side.  Injuries and suspensions happen and your yellow centre-forward heads off into the sunset for anything up to four matches.  Gate receipts are connected to your position in the league.  There is a set fixture list, and you play a conventional league, and a knockout cup.  You can buy stands, which in effect count double value at the end of the game.  “The CUP FINAL is the last match of the season”, it says.  How quaint and olde-worlde that is.

Gamble !

The object of the game is to be Manager of the Year.  Winning the league is worth 5pts, the cup is worth 4 and being the best financially is worth 3.  Therefore you could win the game by winning the cup and being clever in the transfer market.

A little task for readers: what would be on the pre-match and match cards in a 2014 version of Soccerboss? “Your international centre forward bites his opponent and is suspended for 27 matches…” etc.  Over to you, enter by comment below or to @GrahamYapp on Twitter.  Keep it clean, this is a family website with an impressionable readership ;)

Other Modus Hopper Random Nostalgia

In case you don’t believe me about “Heartthrob”:

Apparently "Captain of the Football Team" is a Good Thing in Stereotypia



... plus for dog-lovers, a rare pic of Bruce the GSD!

Hopping For Moorfields
If you have enjoyed this post and would like to make a donation to the research fund at Moorfields Eye Charity, then my previous post (link below, see FAQ3) will tell you how and why.  At the time of writing (30 July) I am collecting in the final few pledges and hope to send the final amount to Moorfields in mid-August.  We have raised around £800, but even £1.91 would sponsor me for a penny-a-goal for everything I saw in 2012-13 and get me closer to my original target of £1000.  Thank you in advance!


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Hopping for Moorfields - Call for Payment

Many thanks to everyone who made a pledge for Hopping for Moorfields during the 2012-13 football season.  This is about raising money to support the world-class scientific research fund at this London hospital, for which benefits ultimately extend worldwide.  Most people pledged a fixed amount per goal but there were a few other categories and criteria – here is the final tally and the request for payment.  It looks like the final total will be around £650.

Please accept my grateful thanks in advance, and let me have your contributions as soon as you can.  It is a brilliant collective effort.  I am sending discreet reminders out later today by email or Twitter DM.

The final number of goals seen was 191, so the penny-a-goal pledges are worth £1.91 each.  Most sponsors chose a fixed amount-per-goal.

Amount Pledged per Goal

Here are the other end-of-season totals that affect certain sponsors:

Number of Grounds with Visible Farm Animals
Clear evidence from Larkhall Athletic but I am counting the duck next to Hadleigh United which was clearly happily domesticated
Dutchmen or Belgians encountered during the season
See Stamford
Number of Castlecroft Rangers players seen
Including unused subs! This grassroots post became the biggest hit of the season.
Number of games with exactly 3 goals
See the full list elsewhere in this post.
Number of games with 8 or more goals
Trafford 5 Spennymoor T 3
Number of grounds with covered terraces or standing

Number of 0-0 draws
At Newport County, and my Boxing Day double at Wisbech T and AFC Sudbury
Number of bicycle kick goals

Number of somersault goal celebrations

Number of goals scored by goalkeepers

Number of abandoned games due to snow

Number of days in which personal involvement in a multi-vehicle motorway pile-up is followed by a late-night puncture in a thunderstorm
Unfortunately, no-one had the foresight to sponsor me for this. See the Larkhall Athletic post.

Hopping for Moorfields FAQs

1          How can I pay?

By PayPal: to the email address headyapp (at) hotmail (dot) com
By cheque: email me on headyapp (at) hotmail (dot) com or DM me on Twitter and I will send you my home address.
By online transfer: email or DM me and I will let you have my bank account details

I will publish the written acknowledgement from the charity in due course, hopefully around the end of August, to prove that your donations have been passed on.  If you prefer to send the money direct to Moorfields then their details are here.  Let me know if you do this so that I can include you in the totals.

2          Can I make the donation through Gift Aid?

Yes if you meet the qualification rules as a UK taxpayer.  You would need to complete and send this form (link below) to me with your payment and I will make sure that your instructions are followed.  Email or Twitter DM me for contact details if you wish to do this.  This would be a good thing to do as it increases the value of your donation – but remember to keep a copy for your own tax records.

3          I didn’t make a pledge at the time, so can you accept a donation now?

Of course, make a payment of any random amount that you choose, by any of the methods in FAQ(1) above.  This would be magnificent.  The original idea of this season is that hundreds of people would give me small amounts each.  No donation is too small or insignificant.
4          Will donors’ names be made public?

I will not be publishing individual names though of course many of the initial pledges were made publicly on Twitter.

5          Which games did you see?

Firstly, these were the games at 47 “new” grounds which took my lifetime total up to 512.  Each one has its own blogpost which can be reached from the tag cloud on the right of the page.

Eastern Counties Premier
FC Clacton 2 CRC 2
Midland Alliance
Tividale 3 Westfields 4
Conference North
Workington 4 Stalybridge Celtic 1
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Wootton Bassett T 1 Hamworthy U 0
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Sleaford T  1 Rainworth Miners Welfare 2
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Highworth T 1 Shortwood U 0
Sussex County D1
Selsey 1 Lancing 5
Isthmian D1S
Crawley Down Gatwick 3 Dulwich Hamlet 1
Hellenic D1E
Henley T 1 Chalfont Wasps 5
Rotherham U 4 Bradford C 0
FA Vase 1st Qual Rd
Cobham 3 Oakwood 2 aet
FA Vase 1st Qual Rd replay
Cranfield U 4 Bush Hill Rangers 1 aet
Conference Premier
Newport Co 0 Stockport Co 0
Hellenic Premier
Marlow 4 Highmoor Ibis 1
FA Cup 1st Qual Rd replay
Blaby & Whetstone 1 Eastwood T 3
Conference South
Truro C 0 Bromley 1
FA Cup 2nd Qual Rd
Trafford 5 Spennymoor T 3
FA Trophy 1st Qual Rd
Grays Ath 1 Ashford T (Mx) 1
Southern D1 Central
Rugby T 6 Guildford C 1
FA Vase R1 Replay
Hanwell T 0 Oxhey Jets 1
FA Cup 4th Qual Rd
Hastings U 3 Blackfield & Langley 0
Denmark (2nd tier)
Hobro 1 AB 1
Denmark (2nd tier)
Viborg 2 Fredericia 2
Denmark Superliga
Esbjerg 1 SønderjyskE 2
Denmark Superliga
FC Midtjylland 1 Brøndby 1
Denmark Superliga
Horsens 1 FC København 0
FA Trophy 3rd Qual Rd
Bognor Regis T 1 Havant & Waterlooville 4
FA Vase R2
Amersham T 1 Rye U 0
Hellenic Premier
Highmoor Ibis 0 Binfield 3
Brigg T 0 Coalville T 3
FA Vase Rd 3
Hadleigh U 2 Oxhey Jets 0
Isthmian D1S
Maidstone U 2 Worthing 2
Eastern Counties Premier
Wisbech T 0 Godmanchester Rovers 0
Isthmian D1N
AFC Sudbury 0 Needham Market 0
Eastern Counties Premier
Diss Town 1 Gorleston 1
Northern Premier
Witton Albion 2 Nantwich T 2
B’ ham AFA Div 6
Castlecroft Rangers 2 Dosthill Boys Club 2
Coalville T 2 Sutton Coldfield T 0
FA Vase Rd 4
Larkhall Ath 2 Peacehaven & Telscombe 1
Northern Premier
Buxton 0 FC United of M’cr 3
FA Vase Rd 5
Spalding U 1 Guernsey 3
Southern Premier
Stourbridge 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 3
Southern Premier
Frome T 0 St Albans C 3
Isthmian D1N
Thamesmead T 3 Potters Bar T 2
West Mids Regional Prem
AFC Wulfrunians 4 Black C’try Rangers 3
Combined Counties League D1 Cup Semi-Final
Eversley & California 1 AFC Croydon Athletic 2
South Midlands Premier
Holmer Green 2 London Tigers 3

I also saw these games at Hitchin Town FC:
5-0 v Whitehawk (FA Cup 2nd Qual Rd replay), 1-2 v Hastings U (FA Cup 3rd Qual Rd replay), 0-3 v Cambridge C, 0-1 v Leamington, 1-3 v Chesham U and 1-1 v Bedworth U (all Southern Premier League).

Finally, I paid a second visit to Stamford (4-1 v King’s Lynn) and two more to Wembley for the Two and One playoff finals (Bradford C 3-0 Northampton T and Yeovil T 2-1 Brentford).

6          Why did you do this?

Moorfields Hospital has performed a number of eye operations on close family members for a range of conditions involving cataracts and detached retinas.  I and they are very grateful for these life-changing outcomes and it goes without saying that we need to keep on doing good science and developing clinical practice if we are going to help people all over the world recover or protect their sight.  Here are some examples from Moorfields’ own website which show how our donations make a difference.