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Mayday festival of football. Clissold Park, Stoke Newington.
report by Bluebird, 29th April 2000

"Football unites more than it divides."
I love that line and have used it frequently to justify my obsessions. Saturday was all about celebrating our love for the working man's ballet, to bring people together for what was thankfully, a sunny day in the park and in some part to strip the game away from its increasing commodification, returning it to the grass roots level of participation for all.

Arriving early to lay out the two seven-a-side pitches we were greeted by the square mile's finest. There were two meat wagons full of coppers present all day. They spent a fair amount of their time filming and photographing the action and when they weren't doing that they quietly turned pink in the sun.

They'll probably be pouring over their footage as you read this, alarmed by the high levels of tactical sophistication on display and note, will no doubt have been taken, of the organisational genius as we bumbled about asking each other for a pen to write down the scores and argued about the pass back rule.


Still their presence had the effect of buying some credibility for the jaded old anarchos with the teams of local youth that entered the competition.

Ten teams entered the tournament which ran in conjunction with a free for all kids and adults slog fest. All the usual suspects were present as were plenty of new ones. Action in the initial group phase (just like the Champion's League this) was hot, marked by the shocking demise of the favourites and previous winners of the Loony Left Cup, the mighty Stockwell Diablos. Bollocks.

Anyway, local side B's Dream Team together with the horror of the Between the Lines Collective, the Camley St. Rowdies and North / South Divide FC reached the semis. At times some of the football was simply breath taking, as in its hard to breathe when you&'re laughing, with loads of goals scored by some quality finishers ( do you believe that?).

B&s Dream team and the BTL Collective prevailed and they contested a final that was high on drama and low on talent. A noisy crowd witnessed BTL claw back from 3-1 down to win 4-3.
The last rays of the sun glinted on the Mayday Silverware as the victorious team lifted the cup.

I think I might even have seen a copper ripping off his shirt, moved to ecstatic cheering by the spinetingling conclusion to a day which saw its aims fulfilled.

Then again I could have been having visions. Still I went home with a big grin on my face.

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