Fight to the finish
They fit easily with the self belief of Jess Ennis and Mo Farah on the track, Kath Grainger and Ben Ainslie on water, and Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins on their bikes.
Gold medallists all in this already-great Olympic Games we’re hosting.
On Monday, in another part of London, they applied to football. No, not that football… where England/Team GB (delete as appropriate) crash out in overhyped fashion with a feebly-placed penalty kick.
This is a purer kind of football, set under the gritty arches that prop up the A40, one of the main arteries of London.
Jordan’s words take pride of place on the wall at the Westminster Academy.
And FC Imagination’s team talk echoed them. Needing a single point to capture the Top Corner 6-a-side title in our debut season, skipper Ben Tiffin laid down some truths.
“They are useful, but nothing we can’t handle if we play well. Show number 8 down the channels; the big number 10 can’t be allowed to settle on the ball – give him a little touch; don’t give him time.”
“They” were Sporting Cromwell, in great form and a win away from snatching the title themselves.
But Tiffin and FC Imagination “expected” to deprive them. And so did I.
We had come this far…
Kick-off led to a cagey opening; the pressure of the title weighing heavily on both sides. But gradually the chances came.
Two superb stops by keeper Warwick, one from 8 and one from 10. Tiffin denied at the other end not once but thrice. All signs, including my fingers, pointed to a nail-biter.
Then a breakthrough for Cromwell, their recently arrived sub number 4 tucking home coolly just before the interval.
FC Imagination would need to draw on their resolve again, just as they had in previous table-topping showdowns.
They did not disappoint. Heads held high, a white wave surged forward, Dallender lashing an unstoppable shot into the top right corner.
But not for long. A confusion of a goal put the Madgies on the back foot again, the opposition 10 toe-poking fortuitously into the corner.
Once again, the response came from FC Imagination, Bird and then Stevenson going close; Tiffin going closer only to see his strike ping back from a post.
And then disaster struck. In the form of a delicious lob from Cromwell’s number 4 on a swift break.
Backs against the wall. Time ticking down. Did our Madgies roll over? Did they hell… Back came Bird, with a trick and a turn and net-bulging strike to make it 3-2.
“One more goal lads and the title is ours,” rang out the calls from the bench.
It didn’t come.
After a brilliant debut season, FC Imagination end two points adrift in second place in the Top Corner league.
Congratulations to Sporting Cromwell. They played hard. They believed.
But sincere congratulations also to FC Imagination. The boys, marshalled by manager Aspell and skipper Tiffin, pushed themselves hard all the way. They were a credit to their excellently-designed shirts.
Under the A40, London’s pumping artery, life goes on. The Madgies shuffle out despondently, the dark August drizzle reflecting their mood.
But Jordan looks down from the wall approvingly.
FC Imagination expected great things of themselves and they were the width of a post from delivering. That’s all he asked of them. And there is next season to look forward to.
Not even Jordan won them all…