Barnsley footballers descend on Leeds
BARNSLEY are one of over 70 teams of football supporters from all over Scotland and England that will descend on the playing fields of Leeds University to battle it out for the IFA Cup and Plate at the WorldNET tournament this weekend.
As well as the English and Scottish participants, teams are also coming from RC Lens in France and there will be a contingent of Arsenal fans from Nigeria.
Reds' organiser and manager Allen Cooper explained: 'This is the pinnacle of our season along with every other supporters` team in the competition. It`s like our World Cup if you like. We`ve been looking forward to it for months and now it`s finally upon us."
The main tournament takes the form of 16 groups of four teams on Saturday, with the top two sides from each group forming the Cup on the Sunday, and the bottom two taking their place in the Plate. It is then a straight knock out, with the winners having to triumph in five half hour games on the Sunday to get the hands on the trophy.
"This is our fifth time in the competition and definitely the one I`m most excited about." enthused Cooper.
"We have a squad of around 20 this time around, which is by far the strongest we`ve ever had, and after winning the National Football Museum Trophy last month we`re hopeful of our best ever tournament."
That would be at least one victory in Sunday`s Cup, should Barnsley qualify in the top two from their group which comprises Arsenal, Tranmere and Motherwell.
"As with any football tournament, you can have one bad game and be out, so you can never make too many drastic predictions, but we know that we`ll give everybody a good game and I can guarantee that every one of my lads will put in a hundred per cent effort with that Barnsley shirt on."
Tournament organiser, John Boocock explained how the tournament began and what it stands for:
'We have been bringing supporters from opposing football teams together for 12 years now and each year the tournament gets bigger and better. The Internet Football Association was formed at the time of Euro 96 when the FA's Graham Kelly stated that English football fans would not get on with either each other or with visiting fans.
'We are living proof that this is not the case and week in week out our teams meet up before the big match to play in our league and our cup competitions.
'WorldNET is the culmination of the season and is looked forward to by all. Internet football is not just about winning. It's about taking part and building bridges between rival sets of supporters. We play real games with real results, the best of which is the friendship built up between those who love of the beautiful game.'
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