You know what is, unequivocally, the greatest time of any football fan’s life? Every single lunch hour during their schooldays, when lessons were done for the morning and it was time to run over to the playing fields (if they hadn’t been sold off by Thatcher) for the daily sporting battle.
Jumpers for goalposts, an old tattered ball, and the hopes and dreams of every small kid out there in the balance. Would your class finally beat the other class this time? Or would some plucky youngsters from the year below attempt to take you on before being suitably humbled. Whatever happened, it didn’t matter, as you got to do it all again the next lunchtime.
And that sense of 25-a-side everyone-chasing-the-ball footy schooldays was brought rushing back when I saw this amazing clip of what is a New Year’s Eve tradition in Japan: three professional players taking on a giant team of 100 kids, on a full-size pitch.
It’s a weirdly thrilling spectacle, to see that many players on a pitch at one, and to see how the three pros attempt to manoeuvre their way through the swarm of bees that relentlessly come at them.
But, which would win out? Quality, or quantity? Well, we’re not sure on the final result, but there was at least one goal:
Perhaps the tactical shape of the kids needs to be looked at.
What was the formation? At first it seemed a 40-40-20 but then I could see a 30-40-10-20 (with ball) and a 50-30-20 (without ball). Very dynamic.— TeaClub ☕ (@_TeaClub_) December 31, 2017
While at least half the comments referred to a manager who we shall refer to only as ‘M’:
Mourinho would complain he needed 200. These 100 children I've bought are clearly not enough— Gareth Harber (@gharb83) December 31, 2017
Next year: the kids, managed by ‘M’. We’d put our house on a nil-nil.
You want more kids vs pros? Fill your (football) boots: