Representatives of several of European football’s superpowers are coming to the North East this weekend to take on the footballing might of…..Tynedale!
Teams from France, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands and The Czech Republic will be descending on South Shields Football Club on Saturday 29 June for the 15th Annual International Tournament, with England being represented in the seven-a-side competition by two teams from Tynedale’s Have We Got Enough FC.
HWGE FC was formed more than 35 years ago by a group of friends from across the area, some of whom still play every Friday evening at Haydon Bridge Community High School, and is comprised of players aged from 16 right up to 80.
The participating countries take it in turns to host the annual event, which is played in a round robin format. A cup will be awarded to the league winners, while a wooden spoon will go to the least successful team.
The Have We Got Enough team’s European exploits began in 2005 when Tynedale resident and Newcastle University professor Volker Straub, formerly of Hamburg, organised a footballing adventure to Berlin.
Links with other countries were gradually established over the years, culminating in a truly international event being played annually in different European locations.
It’s the first time that the tournament, which is being sponsored by Harlow Printing of South Shields and the Rat Inn at Hexham, has been held in the North East since 2014, with last year’s champions from Madrid looking to retain their trophy against stiff competition.
The international visitors, who hail from Perpignan, Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam and Prague respectively, will also be enjoying a range of non-sporting experiences over their three days in the North East, with an informal gathering on the Friday evening and a dinner with entertainment after the football on the Saturday also on the agenda.
David Thompson, Have We Got Enough FC secretary, says: “Our team name came about because we were sometimes unsure if there were sufficient players for a game, but we’ve maintained a solid core membership over the years that’s still going strong and have seen generations of families coming through the ranks.
“The Tournament is always highly competitive, with no allowance made for those of more advanced age or dubious talent, but it’s played in a great spirit and we’ve developed a lot of firm friendships over the years.
“Around 100 people will be coming to the North East from across Europe, with quite a few of the overseas players bring their wives and children with them for the visit, and it’s a great opportunity for them to get a glimpse of some of the fantastic things that the North East has to offer.
“Have We Got Enough FC has a fairly high proportion of veteran players, but there are enough younger legs in our team to do the running for their more experienced teammates and we’ll all be trying to represent the North East and England as well as we possibly can.”