Monday, May 24, 2010

Shambolic footy shenanigans with Mark - and Paul - Watson

NB this is riddled with errors (the worst being a reference to Mark Watson's "23 hour shows") for reasons which become clear in the first proper line of this entry. Huge apologies, and I'll be sure to sort them soon...

I'm writing this on my phone as my housemates watch the last ever Lost. I could go in there and get my laptop, but if someone had blocked my view even for a moment during the Ashes to Ashes finale, someone would have got hurt, so I'm doing the honourable thing.

Trying to write on here is a nightmare - typo per word ratio is currently 1:1 til I go back and edit - so I'll keep this brief. But last night's Mark Watson's Football Shambles, and the cause it was raising modest amounts of money for, is worth a few words. Mark Watson will be known to most of you (through me if not the ads he's appeared in, or through being a superb author and comedian) but he comes from what appears to be a sickeningly talented and uber-motivated family. His brother Paul is, astonishingly, the world's youngest international football manager - the recognised coach of the 'worlds worst football team': Pohnpei.

For him, as it would be for most people (including big bro) it is quite literally a dream come true. But this is not simply a case of a man picking a tiny team through whom he can live out his fantasy - Paul is making real changes at the Micronesian island, including getting formal physical activity on the curriculum in a country where obesity and diabetes are rife, and opportunities are scarce. He's making his players heroes and leaders. The next stage for the team is to get dome funding from Fifa, but in a "them that got are them that gets" type scenario, they need to go to Guam to play a friendly to do so, and that requires funds in the first place.

Which is where Mark comes in, doing what he does best; which is bringing out the very best in people. Like getting someone to pay £50 for a football signed by the Soccer AM team (fiver, tops), or the star of a hit TV show (Simon Bird, The Inbetweeners) to bumble off into the West End in the hope of bringing a professional footballer back (he, along with Jim Rosenthal's son actually found a few). All this occurred at last night's Football Shambles show at the Leicester Square Theatre plus a few actual stand up turns from the likes of Matt Forde and Chris Martin and a rather il thought out attempt to do a live e-Bay auction; if you're wondering how that works, well, it doesn't really. With the challenges and a tiny bit of singing (Three Lions, of couse) it was meant to have the feel of a 23 hour show in a 6th of the time, and that was the case - shambolic yes, but then that was in the title of the show.

I can't imagine masses amounts of money were raised, but it was pretty bizarre and pretty beautiful and it was great to see the two Watsons up there working together to push a shared dream even further, while doing a whole lot of good. You can follow Paul's travels and travails at the link below, and even throw a couple of quid Pohnpei's way should the mood take you.

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