Our peers in the financial services industry in London may not have been that familiar with ‘the Irish Invesco’. However, on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC, that all changed as our team of ‘proper footballers’ began the group stage of the charity football tournament with a pincer attack that left the opposition shell shocked. The first goal of a 6-0 win over Rathbones happened within 12 seconds, a goal that I’ll be telling the grandchildren about in years to come. Shooting into the famous “Shed End”, it was a top corner bullet that their own Didier Drogba would have been proud of. Echoing the thoughts of Conor McGregor, it sent the message to the other 19 teams, “we’re not here just to take part, we’re here to take over”.
As the games went on the goals kept coming, while our defence proved near impenetrable, winning 4-0, 4-1 and 3-0. Talk of the Irish brigade was filtering through the crowd, the name “Invesco” was on everyone’s lips. Still, the Invesco boys remained vigilant as the knockout stages awaited after a break for the presentation of the £20,000 raised for Regain, an admirable charity.
The quarter-final kicked off with a natural caginess that you might expect, with the opposition intent on stifling our attacking threat. Still, it wasn’t long before we cut open their defence and the ball was in the back of the net. Some solid goalkeeping kept them in the tie, and an unfortunate own goal put us in a position we had not been in all day, drawing with 4 minutes remaining. While others might have dropped the heads, the Invesco team spirit flourished, netting two quick goals in succession, to earn a semi-final place against Citywire.
No break, it was straight into the semi-final against the team in black, an unfortunate colour given the referee was also in black. While football fans are often referred to as the 12th man, in my mind the referee was the 6th man for the all black Citywire, catching us out numerous times in the opening minutes. The game was short on chances as both sides defended resolutely. Unfortunately, as the final minute ticked down, our hopes of a place in the final were taken away by a goal from a player deserving of victory. Still, we left Stamford Bridge with our heads held high, a 3rd place finish in GAM’s inaugural charity 5 aside football tournament.
The stadium might not have been full, but we lived the dream for a day!