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3

Player Profile: Elliott Tennyson

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Kikker chief sports writer Alexander Ögmundsson meets the team captain at Axle

Elliott TennysonElliott Tennyson could not have imagined that at the ripe old age of 30 he would get his first professional start for the club he supported as a boy (although they were called Herefordshire United back then). It’s been a remarkable rise for the local Whelm boy, although he has been met more than half way by the remarkable fall of Club 957740.

I was a fan of The Apples back when they first started out, my Dad used to take me there, and although I was in their schoolboys team from the age of 13, I knew I would never be good enough to play for them. The fact that they have become so poor has been a blessing in disguise for me – I’m still not good enough to play for anyone decent, but the Gaffer rates me and I’ve done alright with the chance I’ve been given.

The Gaffer – Jonas Solksín – rates him highly enough to make him club captain. But not before he tried to sell him when he first arrived at the club just a few weeks ago.

He sat me down and said, “Look, Elliott, I like you, but you’re not going to be any use to me here. I need footballers. So you’re on the transfer list.” A week later, he calls me into the office and says, “Look, Elliott, I like you, and there have been no offers for you, so I’m making you club captain. I doubt you’ll get in the team, but it’s nice to have an old head around looking after all the new boys.” Another week later, he calls me into the office, and says, “Look, Elliott, I like you, and the new boys aren’t up to much yet, so you’re in the starting line-up on Sunday.”

He’s been there ever since. But it was a long and winding road to the first team for the man from Whelm.

When Herefordshire United got taken over by those Trubczechs, the first thing they did was disband the schools teams. I was fifteen then, and I joined the local boys team, Juventus Of Whelm. After one season I was signed by Whelm Town Welfare, where I stayed for most of my career.

In fact in his early career the utility man alternated between the Welfare and another local amateur side, Angers Irregulars, whilst earning a living delivering buns for the Golden Baps Bakery in Whelm. Eventually he established himself as a favourite in the Welfare side, and at the age of 27 Club 957740 finally came calling, after Tennyson led his team to the presitgious Clunwardineshire-just-Under-Salop County Alliance League & Cup double. Unfortunately for Tennyson, Club 957740 was under the guise of Arington at the time.

The manager then was Harvey Baker, and he had seen me play in the Alliance Cup final. He signed me as part of his ‘big new start’ scheme, but a week later, he was sacked. I spent three seasons in the reserves for Arington and Sporting United, but the only games I played were when I went on emergency loan to The Welfare a couple of times. I was about to retire and move back into the Bakery business when the Icelanders [present owners Icelandic Tundra Group] came along.

After a faltering start, almost leaving before he got a game, Tennyson has shot to the top of the list at Axle, but he’s realistic enough to know it won’t be forever.

If the right young player came in, I know I’d be out tomorrow. That’s football for you. But I’ve got my coaching badges, and worse comes to worst, I’ve got my baking badges too. People will always need good baps. That’s baking for you.

But Solskín may have other ideas. There is no doubt that Tennyson has won his manager’s approval the hard way, and he could well be rewarded with a longer-term future. Solskín often talks about building a family club, where players move into coaching, teaching, and other infrastructure work once their playing careers are over. Tennyson could be the first of them – whether as coach, or team baker, only time will tell.

9

Vikings Show Promise

Match Report

Every kick, every punch, every game...

Rúnar Lúðvíksson reports on the startling improvements at Tundra Park

Tundra Axle FC 1-0 FC Barkerlona

Kikker returns to print – after embarrassingly running out of paper – just in time to witness a massive shock at Tundra Park as Axle overhaul top of the table FC Barkerlona to continue a distinct improvement in their fortunes. After the impressive debut Golden League win Romania a fortnight ago, Tundra impressed at home to in-form Fekete-Sereg and were unlucky to go down 0-2; what followed was a shocker at Renaissance FC in the Golden League, an overconfident Axle losing the plot and going down 0-6 before regaining their composure for the league and a highly impressive 8-0 win at Lockwood Town. Nothing could have prepared the supporters for what was to come next, although a sell-out 12,000 crowd, the biggest for years at Tundra Park, must’ve suspected something was in the air.

Barka came to close down their far less experienced opponents and although they succeeded in the most part by preventing Axle from getting any good sight of goal for almost the whole match, they failed to create anything themselves and Tundra looked distinctly untroubled by their title-chasing visitors. The first real attempt on goal by either side came from Tundra’s Ted Hayes with ten minutes of the game left, breaking through after some neat footwork for a one-on-one with the opposing keeper, before blazing wide. The game looked set for a stalemate, and that in itself a victory of sorts for the home side, until man-of-the-match Steve Chapman put young defender Ajay Grace through on the left, and though he looked a little surprised to find himself so far up the field, he maintained enough composure to slot home a remarkable winner with five minutes to go.

Manager Jonas Solskín looked as surprised as anyone afterward, offering a brief word of praise for his heroic troops:

I’m as surprised as anyone. Look, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, let’s not call them heroes just yet. But this is a terrific result and the boys worked hard for it. I’d like to seem some consistency in the run-in, that’s got to be next. But it’s fish & chips tonight at the Whelm Town Friar, and I’m buying! Well, I’ll put it on expenses, but you know what I mean.

Tundra Axle (4-4-2): Şaşmaz – Lisý, Grace, Aragón, Marín – Poggi sandri, Tennyson, Dourandish, Tomašević – Chapman, Hayes.

Barkerlona (4-4-2): Romero – Chalmers, Deyna, Theisen, Gallagher – Bjegović, Vandeputte, Zambianchi, Kauste – Grevet, Krisztin.

Highlights

1 – 0 Ajay Grace 85′
1 booking accumulated Ilkka Kauste 14′
1 booking accumulated Florencjusz Deyna 88′

Editor Gets Marching Orders

Kikker Editor-in-Chief Spencer Rice was fired yesterday as the ‘daily’ missed it’s fourteenth consecutive edition, allegedly after running out of paper. Some contributors have pointed out it is an internet-only publication, but nobody from management was available for comment. Kikker owners Snooze International, embroiled in a legal battle over telegraph tapping in the fictional county of Clunwardinshire-just-under-Salop, are believed have put Kikker and it’s so-far unseen sister publication Outside Left up for sale.

1

Just The Ticket

Fekete-sereg ticket

Discount tickets from Dóra the Driver

 

Tickets are now on sale for the biggest game of the season so far, as Fekete-sereg come to town on Sunday 8 January. And to pack in the crowds, the club are offering a batch of discount tickets priced only £8, thats half price tickets – available now from Dóra on the purple TATA club shop. Fekete of course bashed Tundra for seven on the day Jonas Solskín took charge, and the young manager will be eager for a fine performance and perhaps even some revenge – dare we hope for any kind of result that is not a defeat? Solskín is certain the fans can play their part:

I’m certain the fans can play their part. We need them there in force to cheer us on – with a hostile partisan stadium on your side, anything is possible!

Keep an eye out for Dóra around Whelm this week and flag her down for discount tickets.

2

Golden Start Marred by Violence

Match Report

Every kick, every punch, every game...

Rúnar Lúðvíksson in Romania on how Tundra’s unpredictability upset the locals

FC X-Team 1-2 Tundra Axle FC 

There was trouble around the Tapsan-X stadium following a shocking night for the locals in their Golden League fixture against debutants Tundra Axle FC. After a record equalling win followed by two massive defeats, it was impossible to call this first Golden League tie for Tundra, but manager Jonas Solskín has got to be happy with the perfect start made by his young team at Tapsan-X. Reverting to his favoured 4-4-2 formation after the bruising encounter at Ottery St. Mary in the league, his boys looked far more comfortable on the ball and better organised, with some of his fringe players putting in claims for a starting spot at the weekend. Solskín looked shocked and a little sheepish after the game.

That’s the second time in a few days I’ve had to come out here embarrassed by my team. First we lose 8-1, and then we win with the kids when we had no right to. We were outplayed for large parts of the game but we stuck to task and perhaps stole a win. Did we deserve that? No, but we’ll take it.

It all looked rather bleak when the Blue Hornets netted after only five minutes, and after shipping an astonishing 18 goals in their last two games, it was easy to see why the travelling supporters – all three of them – were fearing the worse. But despite long periods of possession, the home side failed to make any clear cut chances and it was Axle, through debutant Andrea Spaziani, who got level 20 minutes in. The rest of the game was really about great possession play by the hosts, no chances, and the odd counter attack by Axle who were for the most part spectators, except in defence. Ermanno Morettini spurned the best chance of the game in the second half for Tundra, but in the end it did not matter, with winger Marcin Wartalski converting to bag a shock win for the visitors.

These lads were an example to our first eleven: dogged, patient, and well-behaved spectators in the game – an example also to the local spectators on how to watch a match without losing it. And when the chances came, they took them. Well, most of them.

Despite his glaring miss, new boy Moretti looked the pick of the bunch, always dangerous on the rare occasion that Tundra broke, while solid defensive performances across the back line kept the Blue Hornets at arms length for most of the game. Spaziani did his selection chances no harm at all with a solid game, but a late knock means he’s ruled out for a fortnight and he’ll be left wondering if his chance has come and gone for this season.

Following Wartalski’s surprise 77th minute winner the local ultras went on the rampage, ripping up seats and hurling broken things at their own players and coach. Travelling Axle fan Travelling Tony said:

It was quite a shock to see them lose their tempers like that. Reminds me of summer nights in Croydon. Terrifying, in fact.

Blue Hornets manager Xuturo attended a press conference yesterday to assure the watching public that these scenes are unacceptable and the hooligans responsible are being rounded up by the police. There is no word yet from the Golden League on possible expulsion or bans.

Highlights

1 – 0 Radu Gelea 5′
1 – 1 Andrea Spaziani 20′
1 – 2 Marcin Wartalski 77′
Got injured Zoltán Boros 27′
Got injured Andrea Spaziani 73′
Substitution Out Zoltán Boros
In Hendrik Bettinger
27′
Substitution Out Andrea Spaziani
In Ajay Grace
73′
4

Axle Hangover: Elites Too Ott To Handle

Match Report

Every kick, every punch, every game...

Rúnar Lúðvíksson reports on a miserable start to the New Year

Ottery St. Mary Elites 8-1 Tundra Axle FC 

An embarrassing return to the bad old days saw Tundra plod into the new year nursing a bad hangover from the revelries of the night before, and the Elites, looking for revenge for a 4-2 defeat at Tundra Park just a fortnight ago, reminded the young vikings just where this club has come from.

Manager Jonas Solskín opted for a surprise 3-5-2 formation with heavy emphasis on wing play, giving Spencer Chan his first game under the Icelandic manager with veteren Steve Chapman also returning in a wide position. There were debuts for young Italians Ermanno Morettini in defence and Nicola Brusadelli up front, while Biram Blum dropped to the bench and Boris Aragón was still missing, nursing a slight ankle injury which Solskín obviously wasn’t prepared to risk worsening. The surprise formation only managed to surprise one team – and that was Tundra, who didn’t sem to know where to look next as Ottery ripped them to pieces. Solskín was in contrite mood.

I can only apologise to the fans. We lasted thirty minutes, but after that, it was a shocker. Once they’ve all recovered we’ll be calling them in to explain what they were all doing at the Zarathustra [the night club in Whelm] the night before a big match. I knew it was going to be bad on the club coach to Ottery – there was more hurling than on the Dover Crossing in a gale force nine storm. Shocking.

Steve Chapman’s equaliser on the half hour after Ottery had taken an early lead was indeed the highlight. Debutant Brusadelli came off with concussion following a clash of heads shortly after, and the combined hangover from  a night on the town saw them sink rapidly into decline from this point onwards. By half-time they were 1-3 down and Solskín’s half-time team talk obviously didn’t help as the hapless hungover vikings leaked another five goals. The manager has a stark warning for his team with two big fixtures coming up:

These boys have got to step up, and step up fast. We’re not going to compete in the Golden League with an attitude like that. We approached the game like a sunday league team and that will not happen again. I’ll be doing a breath test before the next games, and anyone failing will be out. And I mean out of the club – I doubt even the Welfare [Whelm Town Welfare FC] will want drunks lining up for them. And next week we are home to Fekete-sereg, the fans will be paying top dollar to see us turn out against a top side, so we’ll have to give 100%. Maybe even 107%. So my boys will be adopting a professional attitude: I’m setting a curfew. Breath testing. Making them walk in a straight line. Whatever it takes to get them sober.

Ottery (3-5-2): Applecross – Rea, Pearshouse, Catron – Halliday, Özdemir, Stewart, Venezia, Purry – Peeling, Galindo.

Tundra (3-5-2): van der Berk – Morettini, Grace, Lisý – Chan, Tennyson, Carta, Poggi sandri, Chapman – Hayes, Brusadelli (sub. Marin, 33).

Highlights

1 – 0 Aristeo Galindo 12′
1 – 1 Steve Chapman 30′
2 – 1 Nathan Halliday 37′
3 – 1 Aristeo Galindo 40′
4 – 1 Will Stewart 51′
5 – 1 Cihan Özdemir 71′
6 – 1 Peter Peeling 78′
7 – 1 Will Stewart 82′
8 – 1 Nathan Halliday 84′
1 booking accumulated Jerguš Lisý 83′
Got injured Nicola Brusadelli 33′
Got bruised Kim Venezia 85′
Substitution Out Nicola Brusadelli
In Nataniel Marín
33′
65

Under-Whelmed

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Rúnar Lúðvíksson says goodbye to the trainees

James Jeffrey joined fellow former trainees Andrew Dennahy, Matthew Lampard and Sidney Whelan today at Clunwardineshire amateurs Whelm Town Welfare after failing to impress manager Jonas Solskín. He is believed to have signed for the Welfare on a free transfer and is contracted on amateur terms, likely to be a weekly bus ticket to the training ground, a quarter of an orange at half time on a game-to-game basis, and a scoring bonus of fish, chips and mushy peas at the Whelm Town Friar chip shop of a Saturday night. As a leaving present Solskín has permitted all four ex-trainees to keep their matchday shirts, which have never been unwrapped from their packaging:

They are good lads and I’m sorry to see them go, their training ground skills provided a laugh for all the club and we’ll particularly miss their unique approach to the game. But football is an uncompromising game, and we need players who know their studs from their elbows. We wish them well at The Welfare.

Meanwhile rumours persist that Axle & Welfare are discussing a link-up, to ensure a steady flow of failed trainees to The Welfare in exchange for a steady flow of fans to Axle. The club declined to comment.

3

Tundra In The Gold

Axle Go Global!

Sunneva Gunnlaugsdóttir, Spokesperson for Tundra Axle FC

Tundra Axle FC are pleased to announce that we are entering the prestigious international tournament, The Golden League. The club feel this is a good way to move forward with our plans to make Tundra the biggest club in the tiny fictional county of Clunwardineshire-just-under-Salop. It will also be an opportunity for fans to visit some of the most famous grounds in the Hattrick world, as well as host some of the most renowned clubs.

Imagine Renaissance FC or Langer House stepping out of the tunnel of the East Stand here at Tundra Park! Imagine heading to Australia for some Pig Hunting, or to South Korea to mix it with the Buraq of AS Uijeongbu 07!

Manager Jonas Solskín has officially stated his delight at this latest development:

I am delighted with this latest development. Officially delighted. Fixture pile-up? Officially not a problem.

Coach Giampietro Porto expanded:

It will be a fantastic opportunity for the supporters to see some of the world’s greats. I imagine we will be introducing some rotation to the squad for this, so it’s also an opportunity for the fringe players to get some game-time in really testing environments. Our friendly this week shows we are not being challenged enough in our friendly schedule [losing 0-10 at Matungo] so we look forward to some proper hard scraps.

Our first Golden League match, next week, is a big trip to Romania to play the Blue Hornets of FC X-Team, presently going strong at the top of their Division and clear favourites. Club captain Elliott Tennyson is certainly looking forward to it:

I’m certainly looking forward to it, and so are the kids! Most of the boys here have never been to Romania and they can’t wait. Football? Well that’ll be fun, sure, but the sightseeing opportunities!

The club are arranging a free supporters coach to the airport – look out for Dóra and the purple TATA club shop for more details.

0

Solskín Pushes Youth Agenda

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Rúnar Lúðvíksson on the rebuilding of Club 957740

Jonas Solskín brought in six more youngsters over the weekend at the same time as criticising the club’s scouting network and it’s youth policy. Is the new darling of Tundra Park – the first manager in living memory to have his name sung on the terraces – on a collision course with the owners of the club, who have already stated that a youth team is not an option at this time?

Solskín has been disappointed with the quality of the youth signings from local stock of recent weeks, with Matthew Lampard, James Jeffrey, Andy Dennahy and Sidney Whelan all on the transfer list within weeks of being brought in by the scouting network. The options open to Solskín were to beef up the network with more investment, replace it with an academy, or rely on his own skill in the transfer market. We understand from a source inside the club that Solskín has already cancelled spending on the scouting network, and favours establishing an academy system. But the owners have made it clear already that an academy is not an option until the club finances are more secure. That means, at present, Solskín must find any youth players himself.

Cue the arrival of five more young Italians, who will join Deivis Balili, Francesco Carta, and crowd favourite Manuel Poggi-Sandri among the latin contingent at Axle. Oreste Possanzini graduated from the Cantarasaray academy, and immediately moved to Polish side VWV. He seems not to have settled there, getting only a single game in the first half of this season before joining Axle for a nominal fee under €1,000. Nicola Brusadelli has arrived from the fc.Squacquaeruco 1992 youth team without any first team experience, Andrea Spaziani arrives from the AuroraRG youth system, Daniele Trambaioli from Carini Coccolosi, and Ermanno Morettini from I Mosquito for a fee of £14k, bringing the number of young Italians at Axle up to eight, probably under the wing of Giampietro Porto, Solskín’s Italian coach. Portugueso Jesus João Rosa Batista also arrives from Compao, but don’t expect to see him any time soon – the defensive midfielder checked in carrying an injury that rules him out for a fortnight or more.

Porto said of the new boys:

These six lads are signings for the future – we think we’ve got some really good kids here for almost nothing, and they will be joining a group of young italians so we wouldn’t expect any problems settling in. Rumours that Oreste [Possanzini] has already upset some of the team here are rubbish. Team harmony couldn’t be better – look at that christmas day win [against Coope.fc] we looked as happy a unit as you could ask for.

The Italian contingent might also provide Solskín with an argument to convince his board to invest in youth – they are setting up a very Icelandic corner of Shropshire. If Solskín could convince them to link a new academy to an Icelandic scouting system, they might well be interested: a steady flow of Icelandic youth into Tundra Axle in the same fashion with which the Italians are arriving would no doubt appeal to their patriotic side.

With two young forwards joining the ranks, Axle have released former trainees Matthew Lampard and Sidney Whelan, as well as selling 22-year old Claus Woolliams for £667. Woolliams has the dubious honour of being the first player sold by the new regime, as he joins Belgian outfit Forza FC Bruges. Lampard and Whelan are believed to be discussing amateur terms with local outfit Whelm Town Welfare FC.

4

Vikings Stuff the Turkeys For Christmas

Match Report

Every kick, every punch, every game...

Rúnar Lúðvíksson reports on an historic day at Tundra Park*

Tundra Axle FC 7-0 Coope.fc

Jonas Solskín masterminded a third straight victory for the little Icelandic club in Shropshire, Tundra Axle FC, the first time this club has managed such a feat in seven seasons. More signs of their continuing recovery came through a dominant performance, with 76% of the play, and a club record-equalling seven goal win. Man of the match Ted Hayes topped a battling performance up front to record the club’s first ever hattrick in a senior match, an extraordinarily poor run. Perhaps the best news of the day was the turnout of 5,529, more than double the previous best since ITG took control of affairs at Tundra Park – whether it’s the results, the PR drive or the club cartoonist that has done it is not important, what matters is that a good sized crowd, by Tundra standards, witnessed a terrific performance – by Tundra standards. Most will be back, surely, after this christmas day stroll in the park.

Solskín rested two of his seniors for this game, with Chapman and Tennyson sitting it out, so it was left to Hayes to lead the youngsters and he was paired up front by 17-year old striker Nataniel Marín. Hayes soon settled any nerves, pouncing on a defensive error to put Axle ahead after only 5 minutes. Francesco Carta, in for Tennyson and playing a roaming central midfield role, put in an excellent display to give Solskín a selection headache, and put the home side two up on twenty minutes, poking in Wartalski’s probing cross. Hayes made it three before halftime, heading in another cross, this time from crowd-favourite Poggi-Sandri on the right.

Carta and Hayes continued to harass the Coopers after the break, while Marín, perhaps lacking some match fitness and experience, ran and ran to little avail. Carta made it four almost from the kick-off with a probing solo run, prompting a reshuffle from the visitors to an all-too-late 5-5-0 formation which held Axle until ten minutes from the end. Run ragged and exhausted, the Coopers conceded three late goals from Hayes for his hattrick, Poggi-Sandri and Dourandish to equal that all-time record.

Tundra Axle FC (4-4-2): van der Berk – Lisý, Grace, Blum, Nádeníček – Poggi sandri, Carta, Dourandish, Wartalski – Hayes, Marín.

Coope.fc (4-4-2): Blackstock – Chilvers, Gillett, Wood, Merlin – Cranshaw, Spacey, Kaul-Seidman, D’Ambrosio – Soper, Haldon.

Highlights

1 – 0 Ted Hayes 5′
2 – 0 Francesco Carta 19′
3 – 0 Ted Hayes 36′
4 – 0 Francesco Carta 47′
5 – 0 Ted Hayes 79′
6 – 0 Manuel Poggi sandri 85′
7 – 0 Sepehr Dourandish 87′
1 booking accumulated Joel Gillett 24′
1 booking accumulated Don Wood 78′
 
* Note: Coope.fc is a bot team, I wouldn’t use such an outrageously provocative headline against a fellow manager!
5

Club Hires Official Cartoonist


Sunneva Gunnlaugsdóttir, Spokesperson for Tundra Axle FC

In it’s continuing efforts to reach out to the disgruntled fans, the club today hired Ósvífinn, the famous Icelandic illustrator and satirist, as the club’s official cartoonist. His first job was to draw the team photo, seen above, and Dóra the Driver has copies of the photo on the purple TATA pickup club shop for sale at the very reasonable price of 960 ISK (Icelandic Krona). Ósvífinn, which is Icelandic for cheeky, is the nom de plume of Sigurbjörn Margeirsson, famous for cruel illustrations of Icelandic politicians, bankers, and false prophets. The club hope his amusing portraits will endear the fans to their new team, and are proud to be the first owners of Club 957740 to appoint an official cartoonist. Fans favourite and young team captain Jerguš Lisý said:

I’m not sure he has got my nose quite right, but if it brings in the supporters, I suppose I’ll have to put up with it. I hope they realise that in real life my eyes are both the same size and my hair is strawberry blonde, not bright orange. But from what I’ve heard, no-one gets a complimentary portrait from Ósvífinn. The gaffer isn’t going to be happy!

The club is offering a free replica shirt to the first fan who can correctly identify the line-up in Ósvífinn’s team photo. See Dóra the Driver at Whelm Town market for details.