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Being a half Scot, it always feels like a home from home when I cross the border. My fears of heavy traffic because of the long bank holiday were unfounded. I had a straight run up to beautiful historic Stirling in central Scotland. In 1297, the Battle of Stirling Bridge took place here , when old brave heart himself William Wallace defeated the English. Bannockburn is a stones throw from here too. I remember going watching Scotland v England as a kid at Hampden Park and seeing a “ REMEMBER BANNOCKBURN “ flag in the crowd , referring to another famous defeat of the English in 1314. Unsurprisingly, Jubilee bunting was scarce in this part of the world . Suits me fine.

After an afternoon spent walking around this “mini Edinburgh “ and former capital city of Scotland , I plonked the jumpers down on the main shopping area , Port Street . I tried earlier but the cops were buzzing around . How dare they do their jobs ? After about 20 minutes of public invitations to play , local lads and friends Keith Cooper, Kieran Cowper and Brandon Thomson-Hoare joined me for a kick-about . All the lads were in their early 20’s ..all working in shops and stores . They enjoyed living in the city and having tourists around too. 5 minutes later , Ashok (Ash) Kumar and Nirmal Balley from Bilston, West Midlands joined us. Ash, Kieran and I took on the others and what a cracking little game we had .

Brandon was brilliant ! Super skillful, Twisting and turning like an MP avoiding the truth . He struck first for them ..chipping me as I sprawled on the ground expecting a shot into the corner . Cheeky git. I pulled one back with a hopeful shot but then Brandon struck again with a darting run and shot across the hapless Ash, who by this time was breathing through his ears . This quick, enjoyable game came to an end at 2-2 when Kieran equalised for us. Three middle aged blokes and three lads in their twenties from very different walks of life united in an instant through a shared love of the earth shaped ball. Onwards !


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