By Craig “postman” “anderton” Armitt, teacher and stand-up comic.
As the Raiders waited at the bus bleary-eyed at 9am on Friday one man was late holding everyone up… Joe Dawson. Once he finally arrived, the squad and WAGS boarded the big pink bus for the club tour of Cambodia. It was a large squad consisting of a mix of Raiders regulars and some ringers from the local community who adapted quickly to the club’s level of professionalism and telepathic understanding of it’s players on the football pitch.
The first hour was uneventful until the beers were cracked open, then the power ballads were put on (somewhat prematurely some might suggest). As we passed the border the Jager was opened and now the party bus started rocking. With Paddy pouring into his plastic cups, Craig began dishing out the fines. First up were Joe and Seamus for being late. Then Luke for leaving his passport in his bag at the border. Sasha and Angelo for cuddling during a sleep at the back of the bus .
The ringers Christian, Baker and Harry were given a welcome Jager, Anthony was given one for being American and Nico for organising the tour. Vincent was given a double as we began our second attempt at getting him drunk on tour. Bao took one for his girlfriend on her first ever trip out of Vietnam (after the things she has seen it might be the last). Floyd and Seb were given shots for missing an entire Raiders season then turning up for the piss up tours at the end!
After the Jagers there was a definite change on the bus….during a group recital of Bohemian Rapsody Anthony’s mental tendencies surfaced as he obliterated the cool box during the chorus. There was time for more beers and Craig’s sex education before we arrived in Phnom Penh.
Upon arrival at the beautiful hotel (tip of the hat to Nico for that) there was some confusion over the rooms before the Raiders shattered the relaxing calm of the swimming pool (which some couples and families had been enjoying only minutes before) with bombs, head volleyball (9 was still the record) and beers. We had a quick change and some food at the hotel before heading out to see what Cambodia had to offer. Rather than ease us in Nico took us straight to Air Force One where the team were mesmerised by the girl dancing on the bar. After plenty of vodka, beers and Jager we headed on and were treated to the now obligatory sight of Anthony moving strippers out of the way to do his Russian dance on the bar.
After attempting it later in the night I can confirm it’s harder than it looks. Then it was onto Pontoon where the memory gets hazy but it was well and truly every man for himself! (The next day it turned out we had accidentally left Luke in the strip bar with an unpaid bill and he was trapped in there by an angry gang of stippers…..sorry Luke. Although your spider sense should have been tingling a bit earlier)
The next morning, as the team gathered and the local talent was ushered out of the hotel looking lost and bemused , we were waiting on one man. No prizes for guessing who it was…..Paddy. When Craig went to check him his first words were ‘Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, let me tell ya.’ He looked like had been 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. He came down stairs and provided much amusement for the team as he tried to convince everyone he was sober enough to play.
We travelled to the pitch with some new fans added to the bus and almost left without our captain Sascha. Once there the realisation that we were going to have to play 2 hours of football in our present condition began to kick in. It wasn’t helped when the locals started to arrive and one lad had two abdominal muscles that I didn’t even know existed. He had a fucking 8 pack! Paddy was given an assessment by Angelo which involved making a simple pass to Nico. This ended with the Irishman slicing the ball all the way down the stand, as a result he was banished to the left wing where it was felt he would do the least amount of damage. After team photos and a warm up we started the first game against Bayern Wanders.
The match was fairly even with the new players integrating themselves into the team well. The locals had some Africans who where were obviously brought in especially to play against the Raiders given our current form. They scored after a miskicked Angelo clearance was punished superbly with a first time volley-lob which sailed into the net. A great goal which wasn’t bettered all day. Vincent was unlucky not to score after a great run and flicked finish but the ball drifted agonisingly wide. The game ended 1-0 and a loss for the Raiders. Paddy who had previously been the life and soul of the party sat there shell shocked as his hangover began to materialise. The second game was much the same with the Raiders evenly matched by their opposition but the goals wouldn’t come despite creating better chances, with Christian coming close to his first Raiders goal. After this the Raiders conceded a sloppy goal before Christian went to latch onto a long ball and was pushed over for a penalty. Sascha stepped up and with German efficiency (ed – stereotype allowed in this case) stroked it into the bottom corner. It finished 1-1 but was a very winnable game. Onto the 3rd game.
It was while we were warming up for this game that the one man wrecking ball Joe Dawson decided to started taking out our team one at a time. First he smashed into the back of Paddy leaving him in a heap on the floor. Then, whilst performing our famous ‘cross the ball in and everyone tries to head it’ routine, it happened. Two balls were crossed at the same time. Angelo was looking at one of the them. Joe Dawson had eyes on the other. ’JOEYS!!!’ Joe connects with the sweetest volley of his life (anyone who has seen him shoot will know this is a very rare occurrence) and the ball flies like a bullet – first towards Chris Baker who ducks out of the way narrowly avoiding being killed, and eventually smashing into Angelo’s head dropping him to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Stunned silence, then hands over mouths as people tried not to laugh unsuccessfully. As Floyd checked Angleo was alive Joe held his head in his hands in disbelief. As Angelo had birds and stars flying around his head when he came to it was decided Anthony would play in goals for the first time.
I have no memory of this game other than turning Floyd’s boots into a Banh Mi (sorry Floyd) so here it is from Sascha….
Raiders against a Bayon team which featured six Nigerians with Balotelli bodies and we conceded a goal after our guy who looked worst of all in the morning was sleeping on a cross that came in…do I need to be more specific?
Before the final game the Raiders decided to initiate the new players with a shot of Wild Turkey. The liquid fire was poured into each newcomer with the players singing ‘Like a Virgin’. Somehow this then moved on to some kind of mob court where everyone had to have a shot in some elaborate way or with a song about them.
A personal favourite was Luke’s ‘Spiderman Shot’ where he was held upside down by Nico and Craig whilst Floyd poured the Turkey into his mouth and he tried to drink it despite the laws of gravity. Needless to say most of it went up his nose burning them for the remainder of the trip. But worry not he has promised to perform it again at the AGM!
Joe’s open wound from a slide tackle was sterilised with straight Wild Turkey and then the party atmosphere began.
‘Billy give us a wave’ chants began, unfortunately Billy appeared to be deaf and they were forced to continue for a full minute! Then the Raiders classics came out (Ed what, Raaaaaiiiiidddderrrrrsssssss came out?) including the new songs.
Now full of whiskey, which inspired confidence for the final game, Raiders were the better side until we conceded a cheap goal. Craig then had a long range effort that the keeper nearly dropped in, Christian created chances and the midfield of Sascha and Sascha covered both blades of grass in the center circle. Paddy decided to give away a penalty by putting his fingers in the striker’s eyes and pulling him down. Anthony’s dancing around must have put the player off as he rattled his penalty against the crossbar. The game ended 1-0 and another loss. But perhaps due to the beer and turkey there wasn’t too much disappointment. We lined up for a team photos and, as it was felt he needed waking up, the ice box was tipped over Paddy.
We then headed to a local restaurant to continue the theme of ruining people’s evenings and proceeded to sing and bang the tables until pretty much everyone other than us and the Bayon Wanderers had left. Thanks to Billy who put on free beer for us. ‘WE LOVE YOU BILLY, WE DO!’ We were then challenged to a beer race by the Wanderers so naturally we had to win something in Cambodia. Led by a strong first leg from Floyd the team of Nico, Craig and Joe brought it home in style with a man to spare! EASY. Next up the girls. Representing Vietnam Steph, Hop and Ngoc, we felt confident with a German on the home leg but out of nowhere they had a beast of a drinker on their team who smashed the beer in seconds. 1-1.
Back to the hotel and a quick change before heading out to meet the other team. On our way out we were accosted by a Tuk Tuk driver who explained Paddy had passed out in his Tuk Tuk the night before and he had to search him to find where he lived (Ed – Paddy so close to being just another column inch in the Phnom Penh Post). $20 was quickly handed over gratefully. Love bar was rocked by some Seb dancing and more free beer which ensured the Raiders were well and truly smashed by the time they began their second assault on the unsuspecting girls of Platoon. Memory gets a little hazy here but a good time was had by all…
Next morning more waifs and strays were cast out wishing the memory sticks from Men in Black actually existed. Most people were shame faced and simply tried to get them out as quickly as possible but not Harry. ‘I’m a love man, ooooh baby I’m a love man!’ Legend. Seb had all day spare so the late comers had breakfast before we got back on our big pink bus to head back to reality.
It was a great weekend, the new guys all fitted in well. Raiders might not have represented ourselves well on the pitch but off it the singing and friendliness between all the teams left most with a good impression of the club. I think a trip to Phom Penn should definitely be worked into our annual calendar; it was cheap and fun whilst at the same time hopefully convinced some new Raiders to join next year! Thanks again to Nico for organising a great trip. I hate you for doing life better than me, showing us your new Mrs was the final nail in the coffin. Bastard.
Oh and Angelo fucked a dog (Ed – not literally, right?).
Paddy – ‘Do you have any warm beers?’ To some poor street seller trying to give us cold beers on the bus.
Joe – ‘Don’t let him touch you he’s got fucking hand aids!’
Bao – ‘Somebody help me please!’ Bao needs to be substituted
Baker – ‘It was animalistic’
Craig – ‘It’s all about timing and pressure. Don’t slam it in like an amateur.’ Sex ed.
Anthony – ‘Stop the fucking bus! I gotta fucking piss!!! He’s fucking laughing at me!’ Anthony being loud and crass.
‘……………’ the silence as people wonder if Joe has killed Angelo.
Luke M – ‘Seriously I can’t feel the inside of my left nostril anymore.’ The power of Wild Turkey!
Ba ba Bao Bao, Bad a ba ba Bao, Bad a ba ba Bao (to the tune of The Final Countdown)
His name is Angelo/Sascha he comes from Italy/Germany, to save/score a penalty. Angelooooooo/Saschaaaaaaaaa. Whooooooooo.
He’s only 33, but better than John Terry. Paddyyyyyyyy Whoooooo.
He’s wearing a vest! He’s camper than all the rest. He’s camper then anyone, anyone you’ve ever met. It’s Joe Dawsonnnn. (To the tune of Simply the Best)
(Nico assured me he could come up with a better song in 5 minutes…..I’m still waiting Nico.)
He’s a Scot, he’s Hot, he’s Paddy Phillips mate, it’s Laurie Johnston, it’s Laurie Johnston. (Ed – ‘hot’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘mate’. Terrible.)
Sweet like chocolate, whoooo. (Nico)
Well, that’s me signing off. I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend and especially watching Arsenal give Manchester United the guard of honour at the Emirates. They thoroughly deserved the title.
Craig Armitt will be performing at the Hard Rock Cafe Saigon some time soon. Tickets available from firstname.lastname@example.org