Blues Play The Army Game

Wed 2nd October 2013 | Winsford United
By Ian Templeman

Some of the more adventurous members of Winsford United’s current staff spent the day out at Swynnerton Army Training Camp on Sunday.

While the rest of the squad were tucked up in bed early on Sunday morning, a selection of willing volunteers including players, coaching staff, club officials and representatives of club sponsors E-On ventured out for a day on the electronic shooting range and a stroll around the Assault Course.

Blues Assistant Secretary Steve Wright, explained how the day all came about.

“A couple of months ago the club was contacted by Pte Andrew Sparks of D Company, 4 Battalion Mercian Regiment, who e-mailed to ask if we would be interested in a day out with the army as a PR exercise for them and a team building exercise for us.

“When asked, our manager Eddy Haslam couldn’t say yes quick enough, so I made the arrangements with Andy, and we gathered at the Barton Stadium on Sunday morning, where we were greeted by Lt Stiles of 4 Mercian Regiment and his crew, who then conveyed all of us to Swynnerton Training Camp in Stone.

“Our first stop was the Electronic Firing Range, which these days is the first stop for all new recruits. No more crossing your fingers and hoping the rookies won’t shoot you instead of the targets! The range is used to introduce recruits to the weapons, and instruct them in their use and handling.

“You could get a worst bunch of recruits than us. We had Neil who fired about 70 rounds from a 13 round magazine and others who hardly fired a shot. We all had two scenarios to face and then we split up into teams, the back room staff versus the players. Suffice it to say the players didn’t win. Not even close!

“Once we finished there, we were bussed up to the Assault Course and kitted up for the run. Not so much a high fashion show as a debacle, you just need to have a look at the photos. We were taken around the course first, one obstacle at a time, and then split into teams for a timed run.

“This sorted the men from the boys, but the pleasing thing was that everyone finished the course, without dying. When asked if he enjoyed it, Steve Foden replied, “Uh, Uh, UHHHH”.

"A cup was presented to the winning team on the assault course, and a medal went to the winning team in the shooting. The back room boys took on the players at shooting but it was felt they would be at a disadvantage on the assault course as their average age was about 92! So they rearranged the teams for the assault course.

"In the group picture on the left we have Tom Clarke, Mike Baker from our sponsors E-On, Jack Lane, James Rothwell, manager Eddy Haslam, Andy Hurst, Neil Price from E-On, me and Steve Foden.

"At the back we have Lt Matt Styles, Pte Mottershaw and Pte Andy Sparkes, who organized it all for us.

"The back room boys, shown receiving the medal, were Eddy, Neil and his mate and Steve Foden. I did get the chance to shoot but dropped out for the competition as I didn’t want to show them all up! Plus it evened the teams out.

“After the course, we went into the barracks at Stoke and were treated to a brilliant buffet and a bar that sold cans of beer at £1 a pop. A good time was had by all.

“After saying our goodbyes we were transported back to Winsford with the promise that 4 Mercian would visit us at one of our home games in the near future. All in all it added up to a fantastic day!”

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