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Shambles Football Team
Peter Snow Cao
86 1388 2266 575
Shamrock Bar and Restaurant
No. 17, 4th Section, Renmin Nan Lu
Chengdu, China

Shambles Team July 2009
Shambles July 2009
Shambles Football Team, Chengdu,China. Cricket and rugby, too.

"Form is temporary. Class is permanent. The Shambles just is (are?)."

Chengdu, Sichuan, China. A club with expats and Chinese players with a variety of levels of skill and athleticism. One or Two 90-minute games every weekend on full size astro-turf or grass pitches, nearly always against local teams. Reasonable standard, with some excellent players, some less excellent.
We welcome new members - no need for a try-out to join us and play football every week! FREE FOOTY at Sichuan Uni: Wednesday 6 to 7:45 pm. Call Joel on 13547914427, or just turn up - on East pitch.

Google Earth locations of pitches:, and click on Chengdu info, Stuff to do in Chengdu and choose Sporty, Active stuff.

The main advantage of membership is having footy games organised for you - you just sign up via email and then turn up to play, and pay 20 Rmb per game to cover the pitch fee. For that lack of hassle, you pay an annual membership fee of just 200 Rmb (discounts for under-18s). Any extra money is saved up to pay for tournaments and tour games.

If you are in the area and like to play football (soccer), then please drop us a line ( or, or pop into the Shamrock in Chengdu ( - directions are there)

If your team wants a game or to take part in tournaments we organise, please get in touch. We also play the occasional game of rugby, cricket and American football. There's an annual golf tournament around Christmas.

If you want to play cricket, the Chengdu Cricket Club plays once in a while.   Call Des on 13981960796 or Mark on 13689009441 for more details.

The Chengdu Rugby Football Club is an active sporting and social club, and will be challenging for the 2010 China Cup.
Get in touch with us, or check out their website on for details.

Vintage Shambles from 2003
view full size

Monday, November 1
Touch and Contact rugby every week in Chengdu

There's physical activity all over the place nowadays.

Here's another reminder that you can do American footy and touch rugby if
you like - all levels of (in)ability welcome.
It's good fun, so give it a go.

If you're interested, contact Simon at

His message was as follows:

We're running midweek non-contact American footie and rugby sessions
regularly now in Sichuan Uni. We've been getting a small but consistent
group of experienced and non-experienced players along... but it'd be better
if we had more.

We play at the single pitch (with the running track) near the lake and in
front of the foreign languages building.

Mondays 5:30 - 6:30 pm - Sprint and Fitness Train

Tuesdays: 6.15-7.30pm - Rugby Skills Training
Thursdays: 6.15-7.30pm - Touch Rugby

Saturdays: Noon - 2pm, Touch and Contact Practice and games

 Call Emily (152 2828 2047) or Peter (1388 2266 575) for more info

Hope to see some more people there (oh, by the way, it's free to play, except Sat!)

Wednesday, June 6
23rd June 2007 - Shambles 4th Annual Festival of Football

Hi there,

so far the players who have signed up to play in the Shambles team for the tournament/Festival of Football, are...

Jim A.
John M.
Mark A.
Mark W.

Please let me know if I've forgotten you.


Saturday, July 29
Members - in, out, shake it all about.

Hello all and everyone,

Fernando, staunch midfielder and party man, is coming to Chengdu from August 10th to August 24th '06 and should be turning up to play for the Shambles again.

Big shame Big Norm is leaving - it is not half as much fun scoring own goals against other goalkeepers. Let's hope a lot of us make it to the pub on Sunday, just to make sure he is actually leaving, ha ha!

Jon Newsham was back recently, and it was great to see him giving some no-nonsense treatment to the opposition, and Franz has returned, nauseatingly tanned and chilled, too. OK, it's good to see him, too.

It's nice that people come back to the warm and welcoming bosom of the Shambles when they are back in town. As long as they don't drink much of the free beer, we don't mind too much.

Also substantial thanks to Mr Wheeler for getting people to go along to the Chengdu Blades. I thought we were sending a technical coaching team, but it seems our guys are just on a scouting mission. We're lucky to have a guy in the club who (a) has a van (b) can drive without killing the passengers, bystanders, or road transport officials (c) is willing to ferry us ungrateful louts around (d) has a calm and relaxed on-field temperament [***delete as appropriate***].

Oh, and thanks to my landlady - she treats our cats nicely.

Tuesday, July 18
Sun 16th July 2pm team, 8-a-side tournament

The team at 2pm was

Mark A
Mark G

Sadly Mike injured his left wrist again. Many temporary Shambles goalkeepers have not bothered using their hands, so it's obvious Mike is a bit classy. Norman, having slammed one emphatic goal in in the first half, then took over the heavy burden of goalkeeping in the 2nd half, when we ended up losing 6-5. We would normally be happy to blame Norman, but since he scored in the first half, and quite a few people could not be bothered to run (something to do with 35 deg C temp and 897% humidity, and 956% unfitness) we can't do it this time.
The good-natured 11-goal thriller came to a close and most of the team stayed on for the second game at 4pm. Yours truly was going to stay, but the wife called and so I strolled off to the swimming pool, much to the disgust of the swimmers.
Joel's last game for a month and he celebrated by (a) playing left back, and (b) losing.

The 8-a-side tournament was pretty successful, given that it was put together in 6 days. The team known as The Kalebs was easily the best for elan, team spirit, that sort of thing, and they had the best support. Needless to say, the Shambles did not win, but we came 3rd, quite astonishing for the ragtag crew that came along (no offence, lads?). The sports students pipped the Nepalese Doctors at the post, winning 2-1, I think. A tiring day for all, but lots of footy played and a good atmosphere. Next one in September, when we hope all teams will remember to bring money with them. Oh, and I might remember to buy trophies next time, too...

Monday, July 3
Shambles non-World Cup, Sun 9th July 2006

Sunday 9th July sees the Shambles non-World Cup!

8 teams : Squads of 10 players each.

8-a-side football, including goalkeepers. Playing on half-pitches.

Each game 20 mins long.

Location: TaiPingSi.

Total time: from 10 am to 5pm (maybe 6 if timing gets a bit sticky)
How to get there: Bikes, cars and taxis : it's not that far.
Meet at the Shamrock at 10 am on Sunday morning.

Cost: Shambles paid-up members: 20 rmb, non-members 40 rmb
Let Joel ( know if you want to play.

What do you get for your time and money?
1. A fun tournament of 8-a-side footy, probably refereed (no, not by Mark)!
2. Water (wow!)
3. A trophy for your team!
4. Injured, perhaps. We hope not, but you never know.
5. Some beers and or soft drinks back at the Shamrock.
It is supposed to be fun, you will get a lot of football, and we can re-use our excuses for not winning last time - what could be better? There might even be some special footy skills competitions just to pep things up a bit.

We need 5 or 6 other teams (it is only 40 rmb for each player, which is a bargain!).

If you know a team that wants to play, ask them to call Joel on 13547914427, or Foxy 13980409390.

Hope to see you there. It should be a good one.

3 teams have signed up already, and we will get more in the next couple of days.

Friday, June 30
Team for 2pm on Sun July 2nd 2006, Sichuan Uni pitch

2pm Team List:
Mark W
Andy P
Mark A
Mark G
Jon Newsham
Kasen Whitehouse

4pm team list to be posted soon!

Saturday, June 24
Teams: Sun 25th

The teams this Sunday, 25th June for the games at Sichuan University...

Mark A
Mark W
Mark G
Andy Pask

Reserve - Mike

Mark A
Mark G

Many thanks to Joel for doing sign-ups, and to Foxy, our long-suffering game arranger!

Wednesday, May 17
Shambolics and Total Shambles - tournament teams

Teams chosen on basis of those members who have signed up for the Shambles...
Please remember the captain and vice captain have control of substitutions. Be nice to them!

SH Eng (Captain)
Kaleb (Vice Captain)
Andy Pasky
Joel Cockney
Mark Guan
Mark W
Rich Barwick

Mark A (Captain)
Andy S
Forest A
Jeff Hu
Julien Le B. - new member!
Lee - Zhang Li Wu
Li Bai
Mike W (goalie!!!) - new member!
Nicholas R - new member!
Pascal H - new member!
Peter SC
Ryan K
Simon D.
Steve M

Monday, May 15
Tournament details - buses etc.

Buses will leave for the tournament as follows:


8.30 AM Shamrock
9:00 AM opposite Xi Nan Cai Jing Bei Da Men (For those who live in the wild west)

Let us know if you will be at the Shamrock or at the other pick-up location (!). We need to know who will be where.

Similarly, please let us know if you are driving there, or are getting a lift there.

Contact numbers for emergencies:
Andy Pask: 13880231914 (if you are being picked up at Xi Nan Cai Jing
Peter 13882266575
Mark 13689009441
Foxy: 13980409390

Shamrock phone number: 85236158
Please bring at least 2 different shirts, each of a different colour.
Bring your Shambles red shirt, white shirt, and a blue T-shirt. Then, whatever opposition we come up against, we should at least look slightly organised.
There is a small shop there (please bring some money), but don't expect there to be a banquet.
To be on the safe side, bring some lunch with you. It's a long day. You will be hungry. If not, give your food to me, please.
Water is provided, but it would still be wise to bring your own bottle of water, just in case it takes a while for the water to be distributed. We will get 16 five-gallon bottles of water (2 drums for each team) and paper cups, as well as 12 cases of little bottles for staff.
There's an astro turf pitch and a grass pitch, so bring football boots and trainers/sneakers, too. If you have large feet and a spare pair of boots/trainers, please bring them along (feet and shoes).
The buses will return to Chengdu after the trophy presentation ceremony. Every team gets a trophy! We won 3 last year, all labelled 'participant'.
SH is captain and Kaleb vice-captain of their team.
Mark Allen is captain of his, and he'll appoint a vice captain on the day, or before (or after?).
The captains and vice-captains will be in charge of substitutions.
Please turn up on time. We have lots of players.
We really are on show (scary thought).
Fox and his school have put an enormous amount of time and effort into this, so any 'dramatic arguments' will not be appreciated. It was great fun last year, good atmosphere etc.
I'll put this info on
Any more questions, contact me on 13689009441 (, or Peter on 13882266575 (
Foxy: 13980409390
Andy Pask: 13880231914
Please bring cameras for lots of pictures of our athletic performances.
There will be a few (lots of) beers in the evening at the Shamrock - more details later.
If you think you can help in any way, or if you need more info, please get in touch.
Do your hair nicely - there's an opening ceremony that is filmed for TV broadcast (Chengdu House of Horrors?)

It should be a fantastic day. Good luck, Shambles!

Mark-Goran Eriksson & Peter Beckenbauer

Monday, May 8
Forget the World Cup, the Shamblathon (-g?) is coming up.

The team captains have been chosen. We have SH and Kaleb as captain and vice-captain, respectively for one team, and Mark Allen as the captain of the second team. The decision was to make an "A" team and a "B" team with the captains choosing from a pool of players. If you wish to play in the tournament on Saturday May 20 (all day), then tell Peter or Mark Allen. Do it as soon as possible, like right now, if you can.

You MUST be a PAID-UP member to participate. Becoming a paid-up member involves paying the membership fee to Peter or Mark A.

If you wish to join and have not paid your dues, see Mark Allen or Peter.

To take part in the tournament, you need to supply the following details: Full name, passport number, job title. These are for insurance purposes.

The teams at the tournament are

Shambles A Team
Shambles B Team
Silver Ferns - Nat's team
Nepalese Student Doctors
Sichuan Foreign Students
Fox's School Teachers
Fox's School Students

Thursday, May 18
More popular than Google

It's May 2006 and the site has just passed 4000 hits, a number almost as large as the number of free beers we've guzzled.
So, there's another dubious reason to celebrate.
Well played.

Wednesday, May 3
Shambles v. Shambles at TaiPingSi, 30th April 2006

Sunday 30th April 2006 saw a bit of a change for the Shambles' Sunday games.
Due to the weekend switch to enable a 7-day working week before a longer holiday, many people were not available to play, in particular opposition teams. So the Shambles, as ever organised by Peter, went out to the grass pitches at TaiPingSi, just south of the 3rd ring road.

Glorious sunshine and the deliciously aromatic waft of open sewage made for a memorable arrival at the pitch. After a bit of a kickaround, demonstrating our awesome crossing and heading ability, the assembled throng was split into two 9-aside teams (probably 9, anyway). The Reds and the non-Reds battled it out, with some great skill shown by some, and some copious amounts of sweat the most notable contribution of others.
Guy's stunning header was the champagne moment - a swift cross was met shudderingly by the amiable Kiwi's head, and the ball powered downwards, crunching into the ground a metre from the goal line, bouncing up in to the back of the net. The goalkeeper had no chance. No, it wasn't an own goal. A fantastic header. We look forward to a repeat performance in the tournament.

Tommy was kind enough to referee for us on the day. The result? Exhaustion, which was at least relieved by the free beer and coca cola at the Shamrock afterwards - a very good turnout at the pitch and at the pub.

Captains for the tournament were chosen, so we hope we get enough players to fill the teams! Many thanks to those who drove out to TaiPingSi - Will, Mark W and Ypes and perhaps someone I've forgotten.

Back to Chuan Da next week.

Thursday, May 4
Current list of members, May 4th 2006
List of members for the year 2006
If your details are wrong, let us know.
Numbers are random - they are ...

Fabulous summer season of sensational soccer

Since June 05 the Shambles have joined a local league, which has considerably raised the level of our game in no way whatsoever. Saturdays now have a new buzz about them, and it's always a pleasure to see the microlite club do their stuff as we put on displays of balletic bewilderment.
We've won a few and lost a few and gained one or two yellow cards. A few keen members have even started practising, a new concept to most of us.
The intense humidity of Chengdu is taking its toll, and our results should improve as things cool down. We hope our excuses will, too.

High scoring fest

Sunday 27th March saw the Shambles faithful gather at Taipingsi grass pitches for an intrateam match. Mark Wheeler got 4 (or more?) but ended up on the losing team. The unlucky Whites did something unheard of or even unseen of for a Shambles team - they were nearly all playing in defensive positions.   Their midfield put together some great moves although poor Norm (Ronaldo for a day) never got the service he expected. The Greens seemed to score at will, with a particularly tasty volley from Toby a bit of a highlight (OK, I can't remember the others).
All good fun, hardly any fouls (except for that handball by Kaleb - honestly, the youth of today has no respect for the rules). The open 'stream' next to the pitch did make it a bit tricky to breathe in one corner of the pitch, too.

From now on it's 200 rmb a year to be a member of the Shambles, and there is a tournament coming up on the weekend of 28th and 29th May 05.

Mark Wheeler has kindly agreed to take over as treasurer, so be nice to him. Nat's working on the design for membership cards.

So in future paid up members will get priority for playing and non-members will have to pay extra to play. There are about 50 people on the mailing list and with improving weather we hope to get even more people involved.

Thanks again to Peter for organising everything.

Coming up...

The tournament is scheduled for 28th and 29th May.
The last one, last May, was great fun, with both Shambles teams doing pretty well. Shambles AA, the drinkers' team, hobbled around and lost 1-0 to tournament winners, and the Shambles A (non-boozy types) didn't lose, and won the plate. They drew too many to go on to the Cup competition - they didn't drink enough, either.
An expat team from Guangzhou came along and won the tournament and 9 other local teams took part. With 12 teams, Saturday was the group stage with 4 groups of 3 teams, so each team got two games on Saturday. Sunday was the Cup and Plate day. The group winners played semi finals and maybe the final for the Cup and the other 8 teams played a knockout tournament for the plate.

Challenging the BBC for website popularity

The Shambles Website in a mere 3 years of athletic existence, has been visited (or hit upon, for the romantics among you) almost 1620 times, which is testament the popularity of the site, and nothing to do with the awkwardness of administering it. People from all over the world have left messages in the Guestbook, some of them legally printable.
The number of website hits has increased since this time last year by, quite literally, quite a few.

21st Feb '04: Fabulous Frenchman Fires Home (or just lucky?)

French Revelation

Sunday 21st February 2004
Sichuan University astro-turf pitch

Shambles v. Local medical students
5 - 3 (1-1 at half time)

Not a game of two halves
To all intents and purposes, this game was
all about the last fifteen minutes. Up to the
beginning of one of the most pleasing
periods of play the team has ever produced,
which included the most telling individual
contribution by a Shambles player, it was a
war of attrition. The Shambles parried
numerous quicksilver forward moves, just
matching the opponents for pace, easily
outdoing them in determination. Yet again
the defence held fairly firm, without a great
deal of help from the attack-minded midfield.

One (plus nine)
The initial centre-field dominance of the
opposition was chiefly down to the imposing
midfield presence of their number 10, eerily
reminiscent of Carlos the Jackal in his full
strutting glory. Built like the proverbial
outside facility, he made restrained use (OK,
not totally like the Jackal) of his muscular
build, parrying potential tacklers with ease,
and sprinkled his performance with moments of
pleasing dexterity, holding up the ball and
releasing his attack force by spreading the
ball wide for the midfielders run forward to
feed their strikers. Towards the end he
faded, but he always posed a real threat.

Oooh! Two!
When the speedy scholars put together a
clever combination to prise open the
obdurate Shambles defence, leaving the
ever improving Matt with little chance of
stopping a firm shot, the small local crowd
beamed smiles of approval. However, in
one-on-one situations, recent form is adding
weight to the confident feeling that he is
going to come out victorious, if injured.

At two-one up, the students were looking
understandably self-assured, even Italian, in
their willingness to sit on their narrow lead.
The team's favourite referee and some niggly
tackles led to one or two slightly more
than footballing confrontations, although it
never reached recent Neville on McManaman
proportions. Mr Lever is thinking of changing
his middle name from "***in' 'ell, ref!" to
"What the fock d'ya fockin' think that was,
you fockin' twat?!" although the inconvenience
of extra-wide business cards may prevent this.
Mr Allen was also a bit rude, although he
maintains he was referring to Kant, the
philosopher and erstwhile pushy defender.

Bon. Oh!
Thierry was playing in his favourite position,
just a few metres behind a classic striker's
position, to enable him both to run with (or
without) the ball at defenders, and to speed
around them to latch onto the occasional pass
that comes his way. Following up a long ball,
he brought it under control with his right,
wrong-footing an otherwise sharp defender.
Allowing the keeper a glance at the regrouping
defence, the bustling Gaul (Getahatrix?)
straightened up and fired with his left from
the edge of the area. The ball shot towards
the inside of the righthand post. The keeper
did well to get his left hand to the rocketing
projectile. Deux-Er was the score now, and
the local crowd had not gone wild.

'Ad 'em
Charity begins at home, and the real locals
combined entertainment with charity much
better than most telethons. The ball was
crossed by Thierry (on this day, who else?)
from a corner, whistled past a Shambles
header attempt, and met the solid boot of a
defender. The hurried clearance's ricochet
off a team-mate's back was a cruel twist, but
hey, that's football! 3-2 to the Shambles.
Merci bien!

Larry Mullen Jr.
The tortured U2 subheading links cannot go
on. A few minutes later, a Norman (Coach)
free kick to Mark soon found its way to
Thierry just past the halfway line on the left.
Never a fan of England, he decided to remind
us of Maradona's finest World Cup (non-manual)
move, rounding five players, looked to cross,
cut in to create a momentary opening. His
right-foot shot caught the keeper by surprise,
although he got a touch with his right hand
near the left post, in a nicely symmetrical
manner. 4-2. Bien joue!

Barbara Ann
The Shambles, whilst not quite swarming
over the opposition, produced better
passing, superior positional play, and
showed their greater willingness to fight,
particularly Udi and Fernando. At least this
game showed that even with superb individual
skill, Udi needs support, too. It was not
long into the game before three men were
marking him. With Roger, scorer of the first
Shambles goal, bustling up front, using his
power and force of will to penetrate the
defensive wall, the right side was proving
most promising, particularly as Udi was using
the full width of the pitch and some crisp,
quick passing.

It's all over now
In spite of the utterly abysmal referee, the
Shambles got another. The rest of us were
going to pop one in, but it seemed only fair
to let Thierry complete a fabulous hat trick,
guillotining opposition hopes. Thierry put on
a fine display of strong running, deft control
and powerful shooting. The whole team
performed well, but were inevitably
overshadowed by this sparkling individual
performance, a savoury combination of
solidity and flair.

From 2-1 down they kept at it and always
believed in themselves, showing that, for
them, it's about going out there and giving
110%. The lads done tremendous.

Team: About 18 of us (11 on the pitch at
any one time).

Frank Lee Desmond, March 2004

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