Failing the Football Proficiency Test

At age 11, a young lad from Edmonton was selected for a boys district XI. Well when I say selected to play, he was actually used as the substitute partly due to physique and partly because of a chronic lack of pace. Anyway enough of a failed footballing ‘career’.

The real reason for mentioning this schoolboy honour was that it enabled the lad to gain something he did not earn. Right, the truth will out, I failed my Football Proficiency Test. Yes, I know that sounds a bit odd but in those days, just like the Cycling Proficiency Test there was also a football equivalent.

The bit I couldn’t manage on the day was playing the ball into the net from around the penalty spot from a pass coming directly from the side. Blaming the pitch because it was lumpy, bumpy and encrusted with footmarks, just wouldn’t wash. I was given several attempts but failed on each occasion, the ball skewing wide off various parts of my shin, ankle and occasionally boot.

Because of participation in the above squad, a pass certificate was granted nonetheless. A fact that still winds me up today.

Back to The Arsenal.

Aubameyang’s worst miss on Saturday brought failed Football Proficiency tests back into my mind. In slow motion you can see the ball lift slightly off the floor just as he’s about to hit it. He’s concentrating so hard on which defenders he has to avoid to put the ball in the net, that the 100% concentration required to get his head over the ball, strike it cleanly and down underneath the crossbar is missing. Result, ball ends up in row X and the Gabonese looks an idiot. (I’m sure he calls himself a ‘twat’ as he turns around!)

In contrast Micki’s beautiful left footed strike was all about him concentrating on getting the contact correct on his weaker foot. The beautiful placement was, perhaps, a fortunate by-product of such perfect technique.

Some days they go in off your shin or backside, other days you can’t buy a goal. I’m sure Auba will start hitting the back of the net soon. 🙂




51 Responses to Failing the Football Proficiency Test

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Brilliant Chas

    Like you, I liken my less than successful footballing career to Auba fails 🙂

    Bloke back right: I look like Radford, so I’ll bloody dress like him, and screw the uniform code

  2. chas says:

    Haha, cheers.

  3. Eddie says:

  4. Eddie says:

    chas – which boy is you? top left second?

  5. psoans says:

    I was a keeper in my school days. I fractured my wrist when I kept once.

  6. chas says:


  7. LB says:

    Nice read.

  8. mickydidit89 says:


    In England we have an expression (well, I do at least)…never admit to have been a goal keeper, as it only says one thing: I’m tall and have zero coordination, and when the best two boys were picking teams, you were always last 🙂

    ps good to hear from you and sorry about the wrist

  9. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, that’s a great way to look at Auba’s misses.

    It’s the same as when you drop a catch at cricket … it doesn’t matter how much stick you get from teammates, nothing can make you feel worse than you already do, so there’s no point in going on about it.

    I bet Auba’s had nightmares over those misses … and yes, I agree, he’ll come good … hopefully next game.

  10. jeffrey selwyn says:

    xhaha at left back-not good enough in mid field

  11. mickydidit89 says:


    love that idea. you have a bad game and you get demoted to the defence ROLF 🙂

  12. chas says:

    Bugger – if I’d put ‘Aubameyang – Failing the Football Proficiency Test’ as the post title, it would have pulled in a few more punters.

    Thanks for your indulgence anyway.

  13. chas says:

    Yep, superb idea putting anyone who plays shit into defence.

    Back to picking teams at junior school – liabilities either get put at full back or stuck out on the wing where they could do least damage.

    You were a winger weren’t you, Micky?

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Love the post, not self-indulgence at all.

    I was a rubbish winger but scored a blinding goal in a London Cup Final (on Hackney Marshes) which cemented my reputation as a footballing wizard. Pure luck I was trying to cross, shanked ithe ball and it flew over the GK into the corner of the net.

    Deep Joy for Raddy and a never forgotten moment. Sadly, a one-off.

  15. Big Raddy says:

    The idea of rewarding a player having a crap game with a few games in defence is brilliant … but don’t we do that already? 😀

  16. RC78 says:

    I am hoping that Emery has leaned valuable lessons vs City and Chelsea. I am a bit perplex as I did not see much change from last year’s performances but am hoping that that things will improve shortly.

    What I have learned:
    – Bellerin is pbbly going to be on the bench as soon as a SL is ready
    – Mustafi can be sold and we will not miss him too much
    – Monreal is no Koli
    – Xhaka needs to be play higher up the pitch if played at all
    – Lucas Torreira needs to start asap and so far Guendouzi is playing better than expected
    – Ramsey should play
    – We are more of a threat when Laca and Auba play
    – Miky is hitting form and Ozil may need to be benched

    So here is my squad for this weekend:

    Cech – Lichten, Sokraris, Holding, Monreal – Ramsey, LT, Guendouzi – Miky, Auba – Laca

  17. RC78 says:

    Can’t wait for Kos to come back

  18. RC78 says:

    By the way – how Man Utd is currently struggling with such a squad beats me…
    De Gea – Young, Bailly, Lindelol, Valencia – Matic, Fred – Lingard, Pogba, Sanchez – Lukaku

  19. Red Arnie says:

    ha ha ha, Chas. Nice one. 🙂

    “Blaming the pitch because it was lumpy, bumpy and encrusted with footmarks” Somehow brings back memories of Beckham.

    About Auba, no worries. It will come. 🙂

  20. Red Arnie says:

    you can go and tweak the title even now, no? 🙂

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    Wow Chas I can remember when the professional pitches were in that condition.When I played in one of the district leagues I it was typical to have to clean the pitches of cow shit.

    Not really the good old days.

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    August 20, 1995: Bergkamp makes his debut

  23. jjgsol says:

    I wonder whether some of the players’ concentration is wavering whilst they are having to remember to do all this pressing.

    I also agree that we seem to be more effective if we have both Auba and Laca starting.

    I also feel that a settled defence is better than continuously chopping and changing, so keep them as they are but play Torreiria from the start to protect them.

  24. LBG says:

    Good one, Chas. Such pitches were why I was always happier with oval balls!
    And old one – ” Xhaka left back in the changing rooms”.

  25. chas says:

    We used to go to Torquay on summer holiday around this time!

  26. chas says:

  27. fred1266 says:

    Hey everyone had a question since Saturday game torreira came on for granit did he make much of a difference

    What time your guys opinion

  28. fred1266 says:

    Valencia mstic and sanchez injured

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    Fred, he was very steady and has a knack of being in the right place at the right time. I feel he will start in the next game and then will become a mainstay of our midfield.

  30. RC78 says:

    LT did make a difference and got the ball back a few times
    Xhaka was really poor saturday and Bellerin was equally useless

    Miky is looking in fine form so maybe we should play him slightly deeper along Guendounzi – LT – Miky and we can let Ramsey and Ozil behind Auba.

  31. RC78 says:

    LT tried to get the ball back a few times sorry – He tracks back

    I think he will do OK with Guendouzi (got the ball 5 times)

    If Emery keeps his 4-2-3-1

    LT – Guendouzi
    Miky- Ozil-Auba

    LT, Guendouzi
    Ram, Ozil, Miky

  32. LBG says:

    Brings back great memories for me Torquay. Including one geezer who tried to jump the bus queue at the end of the day ahead of a weary Vines family. Found himself flying backwards as our, not small, Dad showed him the error of his ways!

  33. chas says:

  34. chas says:

  35. LB says:

    “Who are we playing this weekend Dad?”

    Is there any sweeter use of the first person plural?

  36. chas says:

    Lovely, LB. 😊

  37. chas says:

  38. RC78 says:

    Bellerin was utter crap – he can only deliver in a system with 3 CBs it seems. What a disappointment so far!

  39. chas says:

  40. GoonerB says:

    Cheers Chas. Still working out which one in the photo you are. Very difficult but I would go with what Eddie said, 2nd from the left at the back, the eyes look shiftily familiar 🙂

    RC, Once again I kind of agree and disagree with you in equal measure. Your 11.45 is a very good shout for a side. I have felt for a while that bell needs a spell away from the 1st 11 while someone works on his 1-1 defensive understanding. After this I would like us to try with Aube and Laca in the starting line up together.

    I, however, would plump for Micki as the player behind the strikers and play either of Ramsey or Ozil in a deeper more B2B role with 2 HM’s. Micki looks a better goal-scorer than the other 2, and has a better understanding of how to play the deeper link striker role with Aube,

    I also feel that we shouldn’t have Micki, Ozil and Ramsey in the same side and at most it should be 2 from 3, so if he persists with 1 striker we need to get that area between the 2 HM’s and the striker balanced better.

    As pointed out we seem to be suffering in playing a high defensive line to allow us to squeeze for the pressing game. Like others I hope Emery has learnt from these 2 games. To be fair we have suffered against 2 top sides with top players that can really expose a high line if your CD’s aren’t of the highest calibre.

    Guardiola also had some issues with it at first so I wouldn’t want Emery to deviate from his vision too much. The longer term rewards outweigh a couple of losses to teams like City and Chelsea away. I feel we may need 1 top CD to make it work better though. One of those rare elusive ones that are both quick on the turn but also powerful and commanding like Kompany or a Sol Campbell.

    The other option against the better sides at present is to go to a back 3 playing a higher defensive line. You get 1 extra CD body in there that can hopefully read the danger and cover quicker if the other 2 are engaged with nearby opposition players. The 2 WB’s can press higher in alignment with LT and MG and offer overlaps in offence, and you still have 3 to pick for your central offensive department. That could still be Laca and Aube with Micki tucked in behind.

  41. Big Raddy says:

    What did you think of Ian Wright saying he wouldn’t mind us finishing 8th if one could see a change in the philosophy and organisation of the team?

    My thoughts were “8th? Really, 8th” No way, if we are 8th at season’s end I would be looking for a new manager.

  42. chas says:

    I reckon Wright became a Wenger hater, so he’s just happy for there to be something different, literally anything really.


    Quality chas

    I share your pain man. I had the exact same footballing test but since watching Brian Talbot have suffered from a chronic fear of sideways motion.

    Knowing I was doomed to fail, I got a ringer to replace me. He knocked them all in, and despite some questions as to why I was blond and six inches taller, my explanation that in the morning I bumped my head and instantly started speaking Swedish leading to a part In some film about a geezer murdered on a cross border bridge, worked, so I was selected.

    In the first game my fear of sideways head movements cost me. During a corner I was asked to mark there striker so I tried to pick him up with the aid of a mirror.

    I was immediately subbed and walked off to a barrage of ignominy and abuse, cries of “face us you bastard” ringing in my ears. I couldn’t, I had dropped the mirror.

    Seen enough of Aubemeyang now to realise he can’t really shoot, dribble, tackle, or head a ball, but is a very good player? This is a man who makes up for his inability to play by using a footballing intelligence know only to other shit players who were brilliant, e.g. Linekar and Rush

    If Aubameyang has borrowed my mirror, we would have won that game.

  44. LBG says:

    Gary Neville yet again impressed me.
    BR – amazed at your “8th……look for a new Manager”!!

  45. Red Arnie says:

    LBG: ha ha ha 🙂 “Found himself flying backwards as our, not small, Dad showed him the error of his ways” Vines Sr would have been a good trainer for Monreal. 🙂

  46. Red Arnie says:

    FGG. Agree.

  47. LB says:

    Fine comment Slim

  48. fred1266 says:

  49. chas says:

    I’ve taken FGG’s fine comment to use as a post. Hope that’s OK.

  50. chas says:


  51. gequiziftbl says:

    Great read mate! Why not have a look at my views on van Dijk?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: