EA Sports 5-a-Side Tournament
Monday was a pretty strange day for me. As a huge Manchester United fan (I’m from the south but my Dad’s from Manchester so it’s ok) I had gone through a huge rollercoaster of emotions with the Premier League title being snatched from us by Manchester City’s unbelievable last gasp victory against QPR. It shouldn’t really have bothered me; City were favourites and before the final games kicked off I had no expectations. The problem is when something is within reach, so close you can touch it and then it is ripped away you will always feel pretty empty. So I know all too well how members of EA’s marketing team felt when instead of playing a 5-a-side tournament at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night they were told they need to take part in a planning meeting… gutted!
Well that opened the door for a few of us lucky people to be contacted by Dan Sheridan (@EA_Actionman), captain of team EA at the EA Sports 5-a-side tournament. A plea was put out for members of the EA community to join Captain Sheri to battle for football dominance at Arsenal FC’s 60,000 seater stadium. So to help aid my premier league loss hangover I could revel in the fact that I would be playing on a pitch that not many people would ever get the chance to.
After meeting up with the rest of the squad we made our way into the bowels of the Emirates stadium and into the immaculately kept changing rooms, where we started to survey our competition. Fifteen other teams joined us and only one would come out on top. As we looked around we quickly realised that the EA Community All-Stars were not going to come out on top. As we went into the press conference room ready to receive our briefing from Arsenal legend Martin Keown we noticed that a lot of the teams had come properly repaired with matching kits, had brought there own balls, and were raring to get out on the pitch and slide tackle some people. Thankfully no slide tackles were allowed and as the EA Community All Stars stepped out for their first game wearing N7 Mass Effect 3 t-shirts we knew it would be a long ten minutes.
Sometimes on FIFA I like to play as a one or two star team and try and take on the best of the best online. Usually I fail miserably but the good thing with the team we had – we were having fun. Yes we weren’t the most technically gifted team but we knew that we were playing where hundreds of thousands of football fans would like to play. We didn’t win a game, we lost 2-0 and 4-1 but we did draw a game 0-0 so we didn’t finish the tournament on nil points! After the tournament, and getting naked in the showers, we headed up to the Diamond Lounge (which is where the directors go to on match day), helped ourselves to a few beers, had a picture taken with the Premier League trophy (complete with Man City blue ribbons, I was nearly sick) and had a laugh with the rest of the team.
Did I also mention I got touched on the bum by a giant dinosaur? Or that someone snapped their leg? I didn’t? Well that’s just a couple of little stories I have that will stay with me forever. Just remember this, when your parents say you will achieve nothing with video games, tell them to shove it – I have played football at the Emirates stadium, the third biggest football stadium in the country, so I have achieved something!
A big thank you to Dan Sheridan and EA Sports for the day – it truly was a memorable experience. Next on the list for Ed and I is an 11-a-side Charity game at our home town club, Swindon Town, where I’m sure some more stories will be made, hopefully no broken legs though…