The inaugural Creative League season last week came to a close, with PushON unfortunately (but deservedly) getting relegated from the league. The Creative League – a 5 a side football league tournament for digital agencies in Manchester – featured 8 teams in the first season, with DFC (a group of digital freelancers) winning in quite impression fashion, taking a maximum of 42 points out of their 14 games played.
We joined the Creative League after having a great time at the Creative Cup in 2010, but our lack of tactics and fitness was very much apparent in our first game, losing 15-4 to would-be champions DFC. The week after, we picked ourselves up well with a 14-10 against Tecmark, but our hopes of establishing a run of form didn’t exactly plan out, as we proceeded to lose the next 9 games in a row.
Embroiled in a bit of a bottom-of-the-table battle with Tecmark for the first half of the season still gave us hope that we would be able to potentially avoid finishing bottom, and perhaps even avoid relegation – but unfortunately this wasn’t to be.
We changed the way we approached things slightly with a handful of games remaining, but our “crunch” re-match against Tecmark resulted in us disappointingly losing 8-7. The thing that did improve was our performances however, and although we continued to lose, the results were much closer – with us eventually showing a culmination of our hard-work pay off with a 9-8 win over KMP.
Thanks to the KMP lads, one of our season’s best goals was caught on video, which can be viewed below (apologies for the pause at the beginning, and moderate quality):
With two games remaining at the end of the season there was still the mathematical possibility that we could avoid relegation (we all like to dream), but unfortunately it seemed destined to be, as we lost our final matches.
We finished the season with a performance that summed up many of our matches, with a very lacklustre display against Building Blocks in which we lost 18-5. We did, however, take some pleasure in spectating in the last few minutes of the other relegation match between Tecmark and CTI, with Jordan starting a number of “you’re going down with the PushON” chants.
At the end of the season we were asked to nominate internal winners for 3 questions that were asked by the Creative League – the results of which can be found below.
Player of the season:
With a total of 8 votes, I (Kieron) was voted our player of the season, which was unexpected but very much appreciated! Roy Wilding (goalkeeper) came in 2nd place after some miracle saves to keep us in numerous games during the season, and started many of our best goals with throws out from the back.
Player with the most potential:
Internally, we weren’t able to split the votes between Dave Sims (forward), Ned Poulter (midfield), and Tom Procter (defense), all of which received 2 votes each. The closeness of the voting is probably testiment to how we played overall as a team, as we consistantly felt we could play better than we were doing – but shown a number of promising signs throughout the season.
Game of the season:
As we only won 2 games in the whole the season – it wasn’t going to be a particularly difficult vote! In the end, the majority of us voted for our 9-8 win over KMP as our favourite game of the season, as it was a performance we were particularly happy with (and the fact that we won was a bonus).
Most improved player:
This wasn’t exactly one of the questions asked by the Creative League, but we misinterpretted the “player with the most potential” question initially, so we ended up running with both.
James Sims (goalkeeper) was voted by the majority as our most improved player for the first Creative League season. James pulled off some ridiculously good saves in the latter half of the season, and helped us keep some of the scorelines a little more respectable than they might well have been.
We had a lot of different players involved throughout our season – but to summarise a few I haven’t particularly mentioned:
Dave Sims (Angry Dave – explained below) was by far our leading goalscorer in the Creative League, scoring 46 goals throughout the season. Just a shame he picked up an injury in the second half of the campaign.
Jordan Wilson improved significantly throughout the season, ending up being one of our best players, pulling the strings in the middle of the park.
Tom Procter probably didn’t get to play as many matches as he would have liked, but his trademark tackling and energy saved many-a-goal during our season.
Sam Rutley was a formidable rock at the heart of our defense until sustaining an injury, which has unfortunately rulled him out for the entirity of our second season too.
Mark Mayne near-burst the ball with long-range goals on a number of occasions, and one Benzema-style run, in which he took on 3 players before scoring in one game, was also particularly impressive.
Ned Poulter – a man who was fit enough to run a 4+ hour marathon in Scotland then return to work the following Monday as if it had never happened; he kept the team’s energy up throughout the season with a series of impressive runs down each of the wings, and scored a couple of great goals to boot.
Moments of the Season
There were a number of “memorable” things that happened during the season, to name a few…
- Angry Dave – It turned out the mild-mannered developer we were used to having in the office was a whole different animal when it came to football. Dave quickly earned the nickname “Angry Dave” after a number of incidents with opposition teams (handbags, mostly ).
- Own Goals – There were a couple of own goals during the season, but none were better than Mark Mayne towards the end of our match against KMP. Defying logic, Mark managed to get his knee on an incoming KMP cross and wrong-foot goalkeeper Roy. The whole moment seemed in slow motion as we gave away our slender lead in the final minutes, all topped off by Jordan from the sidelines bellowing “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO”.
- Dan’s Entrance – Starting the game on the bench, Dan came on to the pitch after about 10 minutes into one of our final matches. Running towards the ball, he tried to stop swiftly to stop an incoming ball, only to proceed to fall over backwards. A great entrance to the game.
- The Face-Save – As the final whistle was coming ever-closer on our Creative League season in our final game, Building Blocks counter attacked once again against us, eventually powering a shot from the left-hand side of the pitch. James, not wanting to be conventional in his goalkeeping, impressively blocked the shot with his face, sending it high over the bar. Ouch.
Final League Standings
At the end of the first season, the league looked like this:
PushON’s Season 1 Results:
A full list of our Creative League results can be found below:
(L) DFC 15 – 4 PushON
(W) PushON 14 – 10 Tecmark
(L) Return on Digital 13 – 12 PushON
(L) PushON 8 – 14 CTI
(L) KMP 21 – 2 PushON
(L) Code 11 – 8 PushON
(L) Building Blocks 22 – 8 PushON
(L) PushON 3 – 19 DFC
(L) Tecmark 8 – 7 PushON
(L) PushON 9 – 10 Return on Digital
(L) CTI 10 – 6 PushON
(W) PushON 9 – 8 KMP
(L) PushON 6 – 19 Code
(L) PushON 5 – 18 Building Blocks
We very much enjoyed both the first Creative Cup, and the first Creative League season – and thankfully round 2 of each is just around the corner.
Unfortunately in the second division this season, PushON will be playing SEONext in our first game of the new season this Wednesday. For those wanting to get involved, the second Creative Cup takes place on the 29th May, and you can still register your team.
We look forward to a (less embarrasing) Creative League season 2!
Follow the action on Twitter with the hashtag: #creativeleague2
Well this turned out a bit longer than expected. Sorry.