Clumsy oafs and hopeless enthusiasts - it’s the return of five-a-side football

Monday is reboot day for the abbreviated version of the beautiful game
Field of dreams: The Power League five-a-side pitches at Portobello in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPLField of dreams: The Power League five-a-side pitches at Portobello in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL
Field of dreams: The Power League five-a-side pitches at Portobello in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL

It seems strange to think that at the same time as those outwith the Premiership are being allowed to start training – or, in Hearts’ case, resume it – hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hopeless enthusiasts will be wheezing back to action as well.

Yes, Monday is five-a-side reboot day. It’s something to celebrate. A way of life for many has returned.

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It’s definitely good news for those who have piled on the pounds during lockdown. It’s not such wonderful news for the chumps charged with the Astroturf equivalent of herding cats – getting ten players to the local fives complex every week, preferably with a fiver (preferably not in loose change).

Actually, that last wish is no longer relevant. Spraying coins around the front desk and risking pulling something before even kicking-off while bending down to retrieve a runaway fifty pence piece is a redundant concept.

According to the list of guidelines issued by Powerleague – other five-a-side emporia are available – online payment is now mandatory. So good luck to the poor sod charged with gathering everyone’s bank details.

Other new policies to reflect the changing times includes goalposts being sanitised on a daily basis. The kickboards around the courts are also to be rigorously cleaned, which will be comforting to know when being splattered against said boards by the resident clumsy oaf, whose presence in these games seems obligatory.

On the whole, though, observing social distancing guidelines should be straightforward. Maintaining a distance of two metres from the nearest person will not present a problem; chances are we are all a yard or two slower from where we left off earlier this year.

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