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Cup win for Village FC

Cup win for Village FC

Village Manchester Football Club ended a ten year drought on Friday 11 May, beating Yorkshire Terriers FC to win the GFSN Cup for the first time since 2008. In front of a packed grandstand at the Manchester City Training Academy, Village took the victory by three goals, leaving their players and supporters celebrating long into the night.

The game began with a minute's silence in memory of the Bradford City Stadium fire, which killed 56 people on this day in 1985, at the request of the Yorkshire Terriers, which was marked with respect by all in attendance. The players then took their positions, the referee blew, and the match got underway. The first twenty minutes saw plenty of end to end play and a feeling that whoever grabbed the first goal might take control. That first goal fell to Village just before the half hour mark. Some good attacking play won a corner, and VMFC captain James Wilson came up from the back. The corner came in, Wilson outjumped the defence, and powered his header into the net.

Despite Village's lead, at half time the teams still looked well matched. One team needed to step up and take control, but it took another 25 minutes of attacking football from both sides before Village got the second goal they needed to consolidate their position.

From a long ball down the left, VMFC forward Damien Mooney ran in towards the goal before cutting the ball back across the box. The Terriers keeper managed to get down and palm it away, but he could only push it into the path of the second VMFC forward, Munetsi Mbano, who calmly stroked it into the net.

At this point the match became a bit scrappy, and in the 77th minute Terriers were reduced to ten men after a foul and a brief argument with the referee. Village punished Terriers just two minutes later, winning a corner from a long, pressing attack. This time Mooney slipped his marker, reached the ball ahead of anyone else, and took a well deserved goal to reward his hard work throughout the game.

Tired legs limited the action for the last ten minutes, until the referee blew his whistle and the stand erupted with the cheers and applause of the Village fans. VMFC manager Jay McNaught said "I'm incredibly proud of all my players tonight. To have made our way from the preliminary stages of the cup back in August right through to win the final, and to do that while only conceding two goals in the entire competition, is the sort of thing a manager dreams of. I can't thank the team enough for their efforts this season, and it's good to have this trophy back in our cabinet at last!"

Club chairman John Bridges added "We'd like to say a big thank you to the fans who have come out to support their team tonight. We'd also like to thank Terriers and their supporters, who've come across from Leeds and beyond to be here. It was a great game, not least because of the fantastic venue – thank you to Manchester City for welcoming us to their Training Academy."

There was a much higher fan turnout than usual for the cup final, perhaps partly due to the excellent venue and the fact both teams are relatively local. Linten Technologies, sponsors of VMFC, were there to support the team, and they were thrilled to add a cup win to last year's first team league promotion - not bad going for their first two years sponsoring the club. Also among the crowd were representatives from the various leagues VMFC has links to, including the Manchester Amateur Sunday Football League and the Manchester Accountants League, as well as Andy Baker of the Manchester FA. GFSN Chair Ed Connell was present and hosted the award ceremony after the game, having driven all the way up from London just for the match, promptly to drive straight back.

The GFSN Cup is the premier knockout competition of the Gay Football Supporters’ Network, and it features teams from right across the country. With homophobia still a big issue in mainstream football and no openly gay professional players, the GFSN plays a vital role raising awareness in the football community, as well as providing great networking and a safe space for still growing numbers of inclusive teams in the United Kingdom. VMFC has now become only the third club in the history of the GFSN to win the Cup twice, and in the course of their campaign they travelled to play in London, Bristol, and Newcastle. They beat Edinburgh’s HotScots, Newcastle Panthers, and London’s Charlton Invicta and Soho FC to reach the final. They now have their sights set on becoming the first team to win the GFSN Cup three times.

Village Manchester enter a mixed squad in the Cup, made up of players from both their first and second teams. On a weekly basis, the first team competes in the Lancashire and Cheshire Saturday League, winning promotion last year in their first season. The second team joined the Manchester Amateur Sunday Football League at the start of this season and have had a tough but spirited campaign.

VMFC is a gay and inclusive football team founded in Manchester in 1996. The current season is all but over and the summer break is about to begin, but training will resume on the 19th July and anyone is welcome to come along – new players are always welcome. Training details will be posted on Facebook and on the website, or feel free to drop the team a message or email for further information.

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Published: 24-May-2018

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