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Sunday league football is one of the most popular pub conversations as well as amateur sports in the UK. 100,000's of various shapes and ages force themselves out of bed every Sunday to do battle for their beloved football team. Anyone familiar with this routine will be aware of the patterns that emerge as they take on 'the beautiful game'.
Absolutely no one at Openplay.co.uk will believe you if as a Sunday league player, you cannot relate to the scenario below:
The weekend is set for the biggest game of the season. It's D-Day on the final day of what has been a rainy, muddy, sweaty league season and this time is the local derby. Last time it ended in a nail-biter. It finished 6-4 where you were surely robbed by the referee because 'Big Mozza's' goal definitely wasn't offside and there was a clear 'peno' when 'Crouchy' was dropped in the box by that short, feisty psycho on the other team. To top it all off, the magnitude of this game is huge in terms of the final league standings as you battle it out for 8th vs 9th place, with the winner taking all.
As in the world of high class professional sport, preparation is key. You have been building up to this game all week, running in the mornings, going to the gym after work, holding back on lunch and drinks. Saturday arrives and you are home alone about to prepare a light, high carb meal of pasta and pesto. However you have no pesto. Only one solution - order a takeaway. That way you guarantee those carbs you need, and who cares if it is not that light. After demolishing an extra large 'meat feast' pizza with garlic bread side plus a two litre bottle of Coke and feeling pretty excited about it, you decide to get an early night so you are raring to go for the big game.
At this point, you get a call from the legend that is 'Disco Dave', big time drinker, single, who starts black mailing you to come down to the pub. As much as you know you shouldn't, your life wouldn't be worth living if you don't, so you decide to join them, but only for one quick lemonade and that is it. Inevitably you crack under pressure and have a pint... then another... then another...then a jaegar bomb. Soon without realising, it is 3.30am and you're stumbling out of Tiger Tiger having upset every single person.
Suddenly your alarm rings and it is 7.30 am. Straight away you set it to snooze. You finally get out of bed when it goes off again, head pounding and you realise there is only 45 minutes until kick off. After falling down the stairs and frantically pulling on your kit which you forgot to wash last week, you run to the car. You couldn't find your socks anywhere so you had to go with one white Chelsea FC sock and then a bright pink one bought for a recent stag do.
You finally arrive at the pitch, which due to heavy rain has less grass than the battle grounds of the Sorbonne, where seven of your team mates are already warming up the goalkeeper by simultaneously slamming in shots from various positions on the pitch. Two others are at the other end, one on the shoulders of the other putting the nets up with a mix of duck tape and cable ties. You are told by 'Gaz' that three other members of the team are stuck about a mile away because Leroy's Fiat Cinquecento has overheated.
As you're given this information they turn up, out of breath, having jettisoned their car. With minutes until kick off, you attempt to jog over to the changing rooms and get your boots on. With only three studs on the left boot and a piece of cardboard as a shin pad, you try to hide from the referee who is at least 75 years old. In your mad rush that morning you wolfed down a sausage sandwich which is starting to seriously threaten to resurface.
An inevitably heated match then ensues in which you come back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 courtesy of an inspiring half-time team talk from club veteran Gary who is at least 10 years older than everyone else. With the words 'it's still nil-nil', 'stand him up' and 'put a name on it' ringing in your ears, you try and hide in the 'very cold' showers and then head off to the pub.
You immediately celebrate yet another successful season in which you finished 8th, exactly the same as the previous four years. You then face three months of having to hang out with your family/wives/children/spouses before reuniting for the new season in September, inevitably horrifically unfit and with another stone or two of holiday weight. If you can't relate to this, then you clearly aren't playing Sunday league properly.
If you're looking for a team to play a bit of football or players for your own team, why not try out OpenPlay Connect? Its an easy way to get involved in sport in your local area and can be a great way to prevent those games where your team has to start a player down!