Welcome Return - Hosted by our friends at Royal Wootton Bassett
RAFFA Vets vs Royal Wootton Bassett Vets After what seems like an eternity, RAF Vets football is back and it’s back with a bang! We open up or 2021/ 22 season with a double header for the O50s & O35s, hosted by our very good friends Royal Wootton Bassett at their fine Gerard Buxton ground.
The O50s open things up with a 12:00 kick off and will be looking to make some progress after a baptism of fire in their previous fixture vs Wales FA. Manager Craig Gill has been hard at work in getting more players to dust off their Copas and bolster the squad numbers. He has added to his back room staff with the addition of Bob Green as his right hand man, still ably assisted by John McGlasson & Steve Findler.
This game will be played in memory of Brian Johnson who sadly passed away recently after a brave fight with cancer. BJ was a very classy centre half at a time when centre half's were only meant to kick things that moved and anything that didn’t move either! Assured and composed on the ball, he enjoyed a fine playing career both for the service and for civilian clubs particularly in Germany where he was based for a spell. Despite a number of good centre half'sin the mix he still made several appearances for the full RAF representative team.
We are very pleased to have his wife, Di and his two boys, Lewis and JJ with us for the event and they will present the winning team with The Brian Johnson Memorial Trophy. Attendees are coming from all over the UK as well as Spain, Belgium and Qatar which goes to show just how highly BJ was thought of - Rest in Peace player.
The O35s will start their campaign focused towards the 2022 Inter-services and getting their hands back on the trophy they still hold after winning in 2019 and being 50% of the way to retaining last year before the season was curtailed due to the ensuing pandemic.
Competition for places is very healthy as everyone is keen to get going again after being starved of the game for a while now. A number of new faces have come into the squad and will be looking to adjust to vets football quickly and state their case for a starting shirt.
Manager, Matt Beattie & his assistant Darren Robison continue their focus on playing attractive, attacking football at every opportunity and encourage the players to play at a high tempo for as long as they can. Club skipper, Scott Taylor, has been rallying the troops to put in those hard hours getting fitness levels up in preparation to hit the ground running.
The management team are excited about the season ahead and continuing to build on the good work that has gone on before. Honours are fairly even between ourselves and our good friends RWBFC. We have met regularly over the years since we first played this fixture in 2017, we have locked horns at St George’s Park, Wootton Bassett & last time out in Cardiff where we were given a chastening defeat which cost us a kit basket which evidently wasn’t as strong as it looked.
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It promises to be a great day of football, celebrating the life of one of our own. We will also raise a glass or two on the Sunday evening hosted by RWBFC.