And just like that, the 2012–2013 UFL season is over! We didn’t win the league this year, sadly. We were this close, though. But that’s football for you: an amazing unpredictable ride! Congratulations to Stallion FC for winning the league. Like I said when we lost in the recent UFL Cup, losing and winning are part of football and part of life, and there is always another trophy to be won.
They say that football has launched a million fantasies and a million stories, but I’m sure every one of us has something to add, bad or good. I, for one, have many, but I don’t even know where to begin. I honestly want to start from the very beginning, but let me just give you my top three memorable experiences (in no particular order) this season.
Having an official supporters club, Global Force, is one of the best things to ever happen to Global. Fans are very important, being the backbone of the club. This year, Global Force has been extra spectacular, and we’re lucky to have an excellent supporters club. They have continued where they left off in the UFL Cup and have consistently and continuously grown in number, stretching beyond the walls of Manila. I’m very thankful to Global Force and will always be, not just for cheering throughout the season at all the games but for showing that fans indeed reflect the club.
There was a time when I thought having local branches of Global Force would be a dream for the club, but surprisingly, this year, I came across Global Force Iloilo and Global Force Cebu. You cannot imagine the joy! Are there more out there?
Despite not being able to go to Cebu, I heard about the rock star reception we received and that Global Force Cebu provided the atmosphere for the President’s Cup. Your devotion to the club is as admirable as what we have in Manila. We are very grateful. Maybe gradually, there will be more recognized branches, and one thing is for sure: Global FC can’t wait to meet you all. Always remember that we are the People’s Club, and everyone is welcome here.
This year, Global has been blessed to participate in the 2013 AFC President’s Cup and 2013 RHB Singapore Cup, both a first for the club. Despite being derailed from the President’s Cup, it was still an unforgettable experience. To play in front of the Cebuanos and witness the existence and enthusiasm of Global Force Cebu was an honor. To represent the country and the UFL in the tournament was a privilege and an achievement that will go down in the annals of Philippine football history. We can always charge losing to experience, as the cliché goes, but the best thing about that experience is that we really learned from what happened. No worries, we can spring back up stronger and better. We always do.
After a month or so, we faced the defending champs of the Singapore Cup in the preliminary round. Defeating the champions was, of course, redemption. Warriors FC is a great team, but in that match, we emerged victorious. Maybe Global somehow possesses the Manchester United spirit: “It is the need to win, the hunger for it, and the ability to find a way.” Don’t let the results of the President’s Cup and the UFL undermine that spirit! Our next match is in July against Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota Football Club (DPMM FC). Cheer with us!
A Friend in Reid
I will say this with as much neutrality as I can muster: Coach Brian Reid is probably one of the best coaches, if not the best, to ever land in the Philippines so far. From the perspective of some spectators, he is the shouting Scot on the sideline, but that, my friends, is what you call coaching. Every note of that “scream” has an impact on the team—orchestrating and influencing the team indirectly, maybe—even though it gets misunderstood or misinterpreted for something else. I wouldn’t question his respect for his players and staff because he has that in abundance. He respects everyone and treats everyone equally. He is very professional, and l like that. Moreover, I love that he trains and plays with the players during training. It’s not just coaching; it’s passion in action.
But being professional doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his fun moments. True, he relishes hard work and practice—who wouldn’t want that?—but we actually have lots of incredible moments together! This season has paved the way for me to learn from him, the fountain of football knowledge, from everything football to life in general. In the words of Brian Reid himself, “You’re always learning. Even when you’re 70, you’re still learning.” This season was never easy; we’ve experienced ups and downs, but at the end of the day, you’re a team—one family, one goal—and you have to stand behind your team no matter what happens. Every game is a learning experience. As you can tell, he gives sound advice, not in a preachy way, but because it’s necessary and in your best interest.
Gary Neville once said, “You might not like the explanation, but at least you’ve been told, to your face.” Some people comment that they don’t understand him, perhaps because of his accent and all, but the trick is to listen and not just hear him. Listening and hearing can be different; in fact, they are, when you think about it. Listening is a skill that requires you to give proper attention to what you are hearing. If you want to understand him and learn from him, you have to listen to him, and believe me, you won’t regret it.
Now that Briad (that’s what I call him!) is the new U-23 coach, the U-23 staff and players are in luck. They have the perfect opportunity to learn from my dear mate as he passes down his knowledge. It’s up to them, of course, if they want to listen to him and suck in the experience. They should.
Well, that would be my top three! What’s yours?