During my professional years in the game I have met many people but there are only a select few I would class as friends. Football is strange because you can meet so many people with the same dreams and ambitions as you yet you’re so different in other ways. You can play in the same team as players for years and then all of a sudden one leaves and you never speak again. With others you just have a bond straight away and that continues throughout your career no matter what club you’re at.
The dressing room is a fantastic place to be when your part of a team that is winning football matches. Those days when pranks are being played, lads are just generally messing about and having fun with each other on the training pitch will be hugely missed once my career comes to and end.
But in this I am going to talk about a Whatsapp group that started a few years ago between one of these friends, John Mousinho and another good friend who I met through John who later became my agent Jon Dean. The group is named Super Ten.
In this group each weekend ten fixtures from any sport other than football are selected by one of the members and each player must submit scores for each fixture. There is a point system that lasts the whole season (correct score =3 points, selecting the correct winning team =1 point).
Along with this there is a daily quiz to be played on an app named Sporcle. Failure to submit a score for the quiz in the 12 hour time limit is punished with a court case and some of the strangest video punishments I have witnessed.
At the end of the season the scores are added up and a night out is arranged. First place earns himself a free night but with that comes a series of tasks set by the other two that have to be completed during the night. So, realistically winning isn’t actually a brilliant idea.
This year Moose (John Mousinho) came first so on arrival into London which was the selected venue for this year. This year was a golf themed night so he was sent a video by the other two to pick up a bag from a locker providing him with a golf outfit and plastic clubs with a selection of tasks to be completed before he met us at the hotel. There was also a GoPro to wear as he completed the tasks.
The tasks included a putting competition with a stranger that he had to win, pretend a different stranger was his favourite golfer and get one of his plastic golf balls signed and finally he had to tee off with his plastic driver in the middle of the train station shouting ‘fore’.
Then it became a round of pub golf. Every pub had its own par and that was the amount of attempts it took you to finish your drink. Each pub also had a forfeit for the winner. This year there was phoning ex managers to arrange coffee meetings, texting former team mates asking strange questions, tweeting Las Vegas Lights FC asking for a trial and drink related forfeits.
Other nights have include a themed night based on the film Saw, a night in Nottingham watching a Bastille concert and a Monopoly Board pub crawl.
I still believe the worst part of this group is when you are selected to enter a fake Whatsapp court case after providing late fixtures, not quizzing in time or bringing Super Ten into disrepute. Sometimes you can get away with a slap on the wrist and a points deduction but other times you are made to make videos decided on by the Super Ten court.
There has been dances, raps, busking, re-enacting film scenes and other forms of embarrassing things some of which are in public. The amazing thing about this group is that nobody has ever rejected a punishment. No matter how embarrassing it is the task gets completed.
It is only through football that I would have ever had the chance of meeting both of these friends. Football puts you in a special circle that gives you opportunity to meet these people and its one of the main reasons I love the sport and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to have played it as a professional .