The Pub and Sponsor
Greenbank are a pub team, sponsored by the Seymour Arms - in the humble opinion of most of the team, the finest pub in Plymouth. However the Seymour is not just our sponsor, Greenbank actually are the Seymour football team. The landlord, Steve Launder, takes an active interest in team affairs and helps the team out considerably - both on the financial and on the playing side, as well as being the club chairman. Launder was once on the books for Plymouth Argyle, and played in the South West league for many years.
The Club and Staff
Greenbank Wanderers began their first-ever campaign in Division Three of the Plymouth and West Devon Sunday league in the 2003-04 season, following promotion from Division Four at the end of 2002-03. This was achieved when the Fourth Division was abolished in 2003 due to teams dropping out.
As has already been stated, Ralph Ferrett is the manager and also the treasurer. When circumstances dictate that it is necessary he will also occasionally play at either left-back or on the left side of midfield. However he is not fit, good or brave enough to be a proper first team player.
His partner in crime running the team is Recardo McDowell, the club secretary and first team player. Rik is a versatile utility player who has filled almost every position for Greenbank with varying degrees of success. Rik does the lion's share of administration and form-filling and is the guy who makes sure that the team actually runs. Rik also helps pick the team.
Tom 'Lombardo3' Williams is one of the founding fathers of Greenbank Wanderers - he was the first captain and chairman, as well as being a pretty nifty winger (provided you didn't expect him to actually pass the ball!) - however, Tom's first-team appearances have been limited since he left Plymouth and joined the Royal Marines.
A Short History of Greenbank Wanderers
The club was founded on a drunken evening at the Seymour on a hot August Saturday night in 2002. Ralph was approached by Rik who asked if he wanted to be involved with the team. Although initially reticent, Rik soon became enthusiastic about the whole thing, and together with Rik and Tom, the team was founded. A frantic couple of weeks ensued and Greenbank Wanderers were born. Hallelujah!
The inaugural season (2002-2003) was not particularly successful (the team finished eighth in a league of 11). Greenbank Wanderers are capable of some good football when confident and passing the ball, but quite often the team are too vulnerable at the back. This has cost the Wanderers dear on many occasions; and it seems clear that several matches were lost due to this. However, it is to be hoped that the future will involve lots more glory, through the extra experience gained in the season 2002/03.
The Rest of the Players
The team captain and best player is Richard Channing. He is the midfield dynamo, with both his defensive and offensive play - he scores goals and saves them for the team. Richard was voted Greenbank Players' Player of the Year for the 2002-03 season.
There are several other key players in the team, Chris 'Rick Waller/Ralph Wiggum4' Hayman, who is the goalkeeper and one of Greenbank's most consistent players - the 2002-03 Club Player of the Year.
Glenn Tookey and Adam Lake were the club's joint top goal scorers for 2002-03. It's hard to tell who is the more lethal Striker - Glenn missed half the season through injury, but on the other hand Adam played most of his games in midfield. Glenn's injuries permitting, they look set to contest the Golden Boot for years to come.
Dan 'Murtagh5'Glover was missing for the 2003-04 season due to spending a year in industry but is a key defender/midfielder and a great provider of atmosphere with his intelligent almost-Wildean wit, and sublime subtle insults. Greenbank's other Dan, Dan Billings won the most improved player award in 2002-03 for his style-over-substance delays and also finished fifth top scorer after he scored three goals with his mullet6.
Ian 'Scroat7' Curran, the team's left-back, was responsible for most of the goals in Greenbank's games (shame they were mostly own goals!).
Simon 'Heskey8' Dowell has an uncanny ability to hit the corner flag from just about anywhere with his shots. However he is also very skilful and the fastest player on the team.
Young Mark Channing, and John Tremblitt joined the squad late on in the 2002-03 season, but both are quality - versatile players who have strengthened the Wanderers.
Utility players 'Lazy9' Steve Lacy, Andy Ley, Steve Marmion, Jason 'Wayne10' Carr, Al Smith, Matt Nicholas, Mark Nicholas, Keith Luscombe, Ben Joinson, Ben Wilson, Darren Hislop, Mark Lyle, Mark Livermore and Gary Annetts make up the rest of the first team squad.
Sunday League Football
Sunday League football is a curious phenomenon, sometimes it seems like the most amazing fun; at others the most incredible drag. Given that Greenbank are a Sunday League team is seems appropriate to discuss what it is all about.
One of the great aspects of Sunday League football is the team aspect. As with any team sport you get great camaraderie, and make friends. Greenbank are no different regarding this, great fun is had by the team during games, after them at the pub, and on team socials. Of course, part of this camaraderie is the banter 11 that occurs within the football team.
Quite possibly there are many places in the world where the weather is not an issue for Sunday League football. However, in Plymouth12, it really is. Greenbank Wanderers do not own their own pitch which means renting one from the local council. This can be quite problematic when combined with bad weather, as the pitches tend to be not that well maintained. It is a frequent occurrence that Greenbank matches are either called off or played in what is effectively a mud-wrestling ring. Also there is the issue of changing rooms, occasionally you have a poorly-heated room - but more often than not you are getting changed in your car or on the sidelines!
Referees - the bane of the football fan and player alike. Sunday League referees have very bad reputation - they are often seen as old, overweight, short-sighted or so officious that they seem to have come straight out of 'Full Metal Jacket.' However, this is probably not fair to referees - it is easy to forget that they do a very difficult job, without which the football could not happen. Often they do it with enthusiasm and humour for little reward (in fact they usually get a very hard time.) Another facet of Sunday League referees is that quite often they do not turn up and at such time alternative arrangements have to be made - usually a non-player from one of the teams does it. This is when you realise that the referees actually do a good job.
When Greenbank played the George Inn during season 2002/03 no referee turned up. After discussion it was decided that both managers would referee a half each. When Ralph Ferrett took the whistle for the second half his performance was OK; except he seemed to not be able to operate his stop watch. Consequently, the second half lasted over an hour, during which time Greenbank scored two goals to level the match after which the George walked off the pitch. Ralph is still teased about this to this day.
It cannot be understated how important it is for human beings to engage in regular exercise13. Sunday League football provides an excellent form of exercise, giving the average player at least an hour and-a-half of strenuous exercise a week (probably more with training). This will improve general health (and appearance if weight is lost) which will probably lead to a higher standard of living. Anybody who takes the time to watch Greenbank play will be treated to seeing a group of young athletes at the peak of their physical condition14.
During a match with Western Kings, Recardo McDowell exerted himself so much during one run, he ended up being sick on the pitch. The Greenbank players missed this event, but in the spirit of mickey-taking, the Western Kings players let us know about it after the match so we could rib him!
Greenbank Wanderers are now well-established as a Sunday league football team. The coming seasons will no doubt entail for all the players involved (both for Greenbank and against them) blood, sweat, tears and laughter - fantastic!