Football crazy at Furngate Sixes in ‘97

Summer holidays can be awesome, easily the best part of the year – especially when you’re eight or nine.

But let’s face it, they can be a bit long once you’ve played with everything you want to play with, explored everywhere you want to explore and watched enough TV to make your eyes fuzzy.

Cherry Lane under 14s

Cherry Lane under 14s

This is where, year after year, the Furgate Sixes football tournament has been a blessing.

There’s nothing like a good kickabout to shake off the cobwebs and burn off some of that endless energy that comes with being young.

These pictures were taken in 1997 and show some of the diddy David Beckhams, miniature Michael Owens and diminutive Dennis Bergkamps who spent a rather sunny day showing off their blossoming skills.

In the under 8s, the boys of Oakwood were the pick of the bunch, winning four of their seven games – including a 5-0 thrashing of Battlebridge C and conceding only one goal in the entire tournament.

Three Bridges Colts won the under 9B group thanks to their goalie Andrew Stass who, in a sudden death penalty shoot-out actually scored the winning goal.

Another goalie who used his feet to win the game was Gavin Dalton, who played for Thomson Athletic under 15s – the side that pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament.

Crawley Town B had steamrollered their way to the final stages and looked cast iron certs to take the title. Thomson, though, proved they were not there to make up the numbers and took Town to a penalty shoot-out, with young Gavin having the final, decisive word.

It was all Three Bridges again in the under 11s, with Luke Wildy, who was on Brighton’s books, scoring goal after impressive goal.

Football is a team game, though, and young Luke would have had a tough job winning without Kieron Thornton, Scott Falli, William Knight, Mark Fox, Linford White and John Compson.

There was another impressive display in the under 12s. Ben Gillett scored 10 of Gossops Green’s 11 goal – but still only earned a runners-up medal.

The team lost out to Langley Celtic in a match that needed extra time to decide.

Do you recognise any of the football crazy lads in these photos?