The Thursday Testimony 2 of 4

2. November 2013

7th November 2013

This week the Thursday Testimony brings you an EXCLUSIVE interview with A Team Manager and Modern Man Robert Panting.

But before that here is a quick round up of the week gone by and a look to the week ahead.

On Saturday the Firsts scrapped for a point at home to Stonesfield. With both sides being tight at the back it was no surprise that the game finished goalless. Freeland A picked up their first points of the season away at local rivals Hanborough, but after a host of missed chances will feel disappointed not to have taken all the points away from their fellow Division 1 strugglers. Freeland Yeoman picked up a famous win against Oxford Sports & Social Club on Sunday, beating last seasons Premier Division champions in the Sam Waters Cup, the reward for a fine victory was a home tie in the next round against JET FC.

This weekend sees the Firsts host Horspath at The Simon Hole Memorial Ground, and we here at The Thursday Testimony want you to get behind DT1Sat – surely it is time for him to start netting and we feel a Twitter campaign coming on - so let us all #Pray4DT1Sat and get the Firsts some goals to go with their awesome defence!!

The Reserves face a long trip to Rotherfield United in the second round of the Intermediate Cup; will Gerken Goals be inspired by the exciting news of a new sponsorship deal with S.A.S Scaffolding and fire the Ressies into the hat for the third round? It is all about the cups this weekend, and the A’s welcome Spartan Rangers to Elms Road as they look to continue their run in the Fred Ford Cup. Freeland Yeoman also host a cup game of their own, entertaining old adversaries AFC Valley in the Hedley Toms/Michael Brown Trophy.

In other news the club has signed a new deal with S.A.S Scaffolding to sponsor additional tracksuits and an away kit, and we look forward to a long and prosperous partnership with them along with current sponsors O&O Electrical, Oxford Welding Supplies, Witney Trophy Centre and Lamps Ltd.

You may have noticed a recent couple of messages for the Club Cashback page, are you getting online to do some early Christmas shopping or looking to get away as the summer becomes a distant memory (although if you are a player then there should be no holidaying in the season!) then please take a look at the link below. You can raise money for the club at no extra cost to you, and it is as simple as two extra clicks before you make your purchase.

We cannot keep you waiting any longer, so without further ado may I introduce the man, the legend that is RTB as we introduce The Thursday Testimonies EXCLUSIVE, warts and all interview with Rob Panting:

You have been likened to Bobby Moore throughout your career, how have you coped with such pressure?

Reasonably well I'd like to think! My tally of two league championships, a promotion, four cup finals, a couple of players' player of year awards, a manager's player of the award and a 95% Opta pass ratio shows I have coped with it quite well I reckon!

What makes a modern man in today's world?

Ha - a good question! Where do I start?!

Okay - for me, manners cost nothing - there's never any real reason to be rude, so don't be. Be sensitive, be charming, be caring, be generous and show affection. Listen to what people have to say and respect their opinion even if you don't like it. Be responsible, but live life to the full - the odd risk here and there is part of life.

Don't be fearful. What's the worst that can happen? If you are unsure about anything, go with your heart - if you change your mind later, so what, we all make mistakes. I've made enough of them!

If you really want something bad enough, don't be afraid to go for it. Live for today as you never know what tomorrow will hold.

Protect those you love the most and never forget who your friends are. Share a laugh and share a tear - it's what life is about.

Oh and I suppose a killer Zippy/Billy Connolly/Grandpa Simpson impression and a sharp Gary Barlow haircut gets you reasonably far in life too!

How are you handling the pressure of what appears to be a relegation battle? Can the A’s get themselves up the table?

In reality, we could have won almost every game this season. We have only lost one game by more than one goal which is very frustrating. However - I think when we have our strongest side out; we are capable of beating anyone in our division. We managed to beat Hailey in the cup - a team in the top division - which showed what we can do.

What is it like managing a side full of Spanish flair?

It's "mucho bueno!" I say this to the Spanish lads when they do something good - they haven't left yet the club yet so they must like my style of management!

Pablo also laughs at my Rafa Benitez impression, so I must be doing okay I guess.

What is the Robert Panting football philosophy?

I think it was Brian Clough that said: 'If football was supposed be played in the air, God wouldn't have created grass' - I think that says it all.

Who are your three dream dinner guests?

I'd have to go for Bobby Moore as I still think he's the best ever English footballer and fought his illness with dignity. Neil Armstrong - I'd love to know whether or not the moon landings were real or not. And I suppose Freddie Mercury could come along too for a bit of karaoke with me at the end of the night!

Bobby Robson, John Cleese, Freddie Flintoff, Bob Geldof, Tom Hanks, Martin Luther King and Brian May would all be on the reserve list.

Which person in football do you admire the most?

Probably John Spooner - my old teacher at primary school. From a young age he always encouraged us to get the ball down and pass it, even if you made mistakes. I try to encourage everyone at the club to do this as it's the most enjoyable way of playing football.

Don't forget to Tweet using #Testimony and let us know anything or anyone you would like covered in this weekly article and support our campaign to get DT back in the goals - #Pray4DT1Sat. Good luck to all the sides this weekend.

We will be back, same day next week.

One love!

The Thursday Testimony Team

14th November 2013

This week the Thursday Testimony delves into the life of a classy central defender who loves a beanie, a pint or two and Freeland Football Club. Our WORLD EXCLUSIVE interview covering the rise and rise of Sam Symonds will follow the weekly round-up of news.

The weekend just gone saw our campaign bear fruit, DT1Sat is dead, long live DT3Sat – well only until Saturday anyway!! DT helped fire the Firsts to a fine 6-1 win over Horspath, braces from Glastonbury, Gilkes and Taylor did the damage – some of you may know that Mr. Taylor scored an overhead kick – and you can live the moment again and again in the video section on this website – if goals aren’t your thing you can also see a fine penalty save by Joe White.

Freeland Reserves earned themselves a home tie against Hellenic League side Hook Norton Reserves after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win after a long trip to Rotherfield United. The man that can do no wrong Daz Kianzad slotted home the winning penalty after a three all draw. Gerken and Perkin goals netted along with Lord Simlett after a Hardy assists assist!

The A’s had no such luck though and were knocked out of the Fred Ford Cup, in the story of their season so far it was another one goal defeat for them as they lost out to Spartan Rangers – surely these slim defeats will be turned in to wins soon enough?

The Yeoman continued their stunning start to the season by getting themselves through to the next round of the Hedley Toms/Michael Brown Trophy – Simlett was even allowed the luxury of resting star striker Tom Gerken as the side in Claret & Blue scrapped their way to a 2-1 victory. It wasn’t all smiles though, as Andy White saw red to cap off a disappointing weekend for the Real Worldy White – his lead at the top of Fantasy Football has been reduced to only the slimmest of margins as the battle for OWS Cup hots up. You can check out all the players and their points at the bottom of this article and also by checking out Fantasy Football tab on the homepage.

Before we check out the weekend ahead it is time for a brief advertising message:

Don’t forget to check out the Club Cashback page – are you getting online to do some early Christmas shopping or looking to get away to warmer climes then please take a look at the link below. You can raise money for the club at no extra cost to you, and it is as simple as two extra clicks before you make your purchase.

So to the weekend ahead, and it looks like being an exciting one. The Firsts welcome Carteton Town to Freeland in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup in one of the biggest games The Simon Hole Memorial Ground has ever hosted whilst the Ressies travel to Marston Saints looking to continue their run and keep up with the leading pack at the top of Division 2. Freeland A go on the hunt for points as they play FC Nomads at Elms Road and Freeland Yeoman travel to Grove in a tasty looking fixture against The Tree.

Now for our World Exclusive interview with Freeland’s Sam Symonds, hold on to your beanies…

You are the current holder of the Brian Heaney Memorial Trophy – how did you feel picking up such a prestigious award?

It was a great honour to receive such an award, to be recognised by your fellow committee members for the work you do behind the scenes (which can go unnoticed) was very nice. Also to be among the names of previous winners such as Steve O'Hara, Jon Langford and some clown called Matt hardy is an absolute honour!!

What is it like to play alongside someone like Simon Hole?

Interesting to say the least. The games are never dull when Si plays!! Although he does love a moan (especially at me), it's not so bad as he's not a bad player!!

Rumours were you were less than pleased to be on the bench earlier this season? How did you manage to force your way back into the side?

Haha... of course I wasn't happy, nobody is ever happy at getting dropped, but no one in all four of our sides has a God given right to start every game – apart from Nobzie of course!! I’d like to think that my form got me back in the side, but it does help being mates with the managers!

Ben Sadler mentioned only the other week in his interview that you were the man to ask about taking the perfect set piece – so how do you take the perfect set piece?

Oh I don't know about that, I like to think I'm pretty decent at dead ball situations, although I'd imagine after Perks scored a free kick the Saturday just gone I will probably be off them for the time being!! In regards to taking the perfect set piece it depends on how far out you are, the main things to remember though are: always work the goalie; get it up and down over the wall soonish; and finally, and most importantly of all, always remember - you will NEVER be as good as Ben Sadler!!

If you were in the heart of a four man defence from footballers past and present who would you like in the back four with you?

Cor... toughy... I will give you two!! Freeland: Lee Hyatt, Simon Stapleton, me and Neil Howe! Pros: Jamie Carragher, me, Stuart Pearce and Sami Hyypia!!

It is very rare to find a one club man these days, but you are one such person. What has kept you at the club so long and what is the main thing you love about Freeland Football Club?

You're right in this day and age it's extremely rare, especially in local football! I've been at the club since I was seven when Les Hole started up a boys side. I just love everything about the club, it's really well run and been very successful in recent years!! And things are looking very, very promising for the future under the new management teams!!

You are often seen in a hat and it has become something of a trademark – how many do you actually own?

Well all the cool kids have their own trademark - you've got Nath Langford with his shaped eyebrows, Nobzie with his dodgy Limp and thumb ring and Si Hole with his general grumpiness!! I do only wear them though because I can't be bothered to do my hair though, it takes too long to do!!

Who are your three dream dinner guests?

I'd have to go for Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan (as Alan Partridge) both two of the funniest blokes ever!! And Nicole Scherzinger, for obvious reasons - FIT!!

Which person in football do you admire the most?

Stevie Gerrard all day long. An absolute footballing legend!! The consummate professional on and off the pitch, an excellent captain for club and country, leads by example and that is what you need from your skipper!!

Any other business?

Thanks for featuring me in this and I look forward to the next one!!


And there we have it, another week at Freeland Football Club is complete, next week we feature the man of the moment and see how The Lord has led the Yeoman to the top of the table in his debut season in charge of the Sunday side.

Don't forget to Tweet @Freeland_FC using #Testimony and let us know anything or anyone you would like covered in this weekly article and another thank you for supporting our campaign to get DT back in the goals. Good luck to all the sides this weekend.

We will be back, same day next week.

One love!

The Thursday Testimony Team

21st November 2013

What is it like to live the life of a Lord? You can find out in this week’s Thursday Testimony as we delve into the mind of Ethan Simlett. But first a round-up of the week’s news.

On Saturday it was a vintage day for the Firsts, beating Uhlsport Hellenic League side Carteton Town in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup. The win, whilst fantastic in itself, takes the Firsts further than they have ever been in the competition before and has set up a tasty away tie at Thame United in their new £3million pound stadium. The tie will be played on the 14th December 2013 and is £5 entry – make a note in your diary.

Freeland Reserves continued their recent good form on Saturday also, beating Marston Saints in a close encounter at Boults Lane. The win sees the Reserves climb the table up to third and puts them four points off first placed Middleton Cheney. Freeland A are still having a torrid time in the league as they went down to FC Nomads 6-2, even an #MB3 goal couldn’t lighten the mood.

Freeland Yeoman continued to romp their way through Division 1 as they made it a magnificent seven wins out of seven in the league after getting their biggest scare of the season so far against The Tree. Three goals down and staring at defeat, Simlett brought himself on for Gerken and the Yeoman rattled in the goals to eventually record a 5-4 victory – their lead at the top of the table is now a humungous nine points. If you want to check out some action from the game why not visit

Before we check out the weekend ahead it is time for a brief advertising message:

Don’t forget to check out the Club Cashback page – are you getting online to do some early Christmas shopping or looking to get away to warmer climes then please take a look at the link below. You can raise money for the club at no extra cost to you, and it is as simple as two extra clicks before you make your purchase.

Please try and use this if you can as it will help the club raise a lot of money!

In other news Worldy White had a better week in OWS Fantasy Football, and Clifton Park FC have shocked the footballing World by leading the November table, two weeks to go and it is all to play for.

The Thursday Testimony can also exclusively reveal another date for your diary, we will be having a club night out in Oxford on the 21st December 2013 after the Firsts game at Garsington.

This weekend sees the Firsts make the long trip to Adderbury, will Ben Sadler net another? Freeland Reserves travel to Stonesfield hoping to keep up with their recent good form and Freeland A finally get the chance to sample the new changing rooms as they host Carteton Pumas at The Simon Hole Memorial Ground. Top play bottom on Sunday as Freeland Yeoman are entertained by Rutherford.

Now is the moment you have all been waiting for, the life of a Lord revealed for the first time ever in our in depth interview with Ethan Simlett.

How have you settled into the job as Manager of Freeland Yeoman and how have you coped with the pressure of replacing such a fans favourite in Matthew Hardy?

It’s not always easy to replace a fan favourite, especially when they’re the club chairman. The fact that Matt was such a nice bloke while he was in charge also makes it a bit tougher for me because I adopt a slightly more cutthroat approach. Not everyone has taken kindly to this method but you can’t please them all. So far though, the results are speaking for themselves and long may that continue.

The Yeoman have made a rather decent start to the season, can they do the unthinkable and become The Yeo Invincibles?

If we carry on playing like we have so far this season (excluding this weekend, which was a woeful showing), I have every faith that the Claret & Blue Army can become invincible. I want a 100% record though, not just invincibility!

What are your aims for Freeland Yeoman?

My main priority when I took over the reins was to guide us to the Premier Division and we are well on our way to achieving that already! Having seen what the boys are capable of, which includes beating the Premier Division holders, I would like to think we can mount a strong challenge for the Sam Waters Trophy as well. While we’re at it, who says we can’t win the Hedley Toms too? A treble in my first season wouldn’t be bad, ay?

Some people have likened the Simlett/Flood partnership to that of Clough and Taylor, Wenger and Rice and Torvill and Dean, how have you achieved this partnership and made it work straight away?

I wouldn’t really call it a partnership. Jamie is a yes-man – he sits in the background, chips in with the odd suggestion now and then and is good for debt collecting. He knows that he could talk football to me all day if he wanted but I only value about 1% of what he says anyway! As long as he continues to accept that then we’ll get on just fine.

Do you ever take any influence from past Yeoman Managers – Law, Buckingham, Perkin, Hardy?

If I was influenced by any of them then there’s no way the Yeoman would be top of the league with a 100% record! I’m very much a manager with my own views and visions and you’re not likely to change them.

Many people have questioned your playboy lifestyle, is it really like the press reports it and how do you juggle that with one of the biggest jobs in football?

I like to think that I’m pretty organised. Some days my focus is on football and other days it’s on the ladies. I have to make sure my players know not to be late when meeting on a Sunday morning as I don’t always have time to go and drag people out of bed (Ben & Jake) if I’ve been on a scouting mission in Lava the night before!

What is the Lord Simlett football philosophy?

My philosophy is very much based on outscoring the opposition. I’m not worried if we concede 4 when we can score 5! Obviously it’s nice to be solid at the back but I’m very much a manager that likes to please the crowds – you won’t see any 0-0 or 1-0 bore-fest’s under my tenure!

Left back, wing back, holding midfielder, attacking midfielder, striker, what actually is your best position?

Obviously I am Mr. Versatile and in truth I don’t mind playing in any of these positions. My preferred role now would probably be as an attacking midfielder – seeing plenty of the ball and creating lots of chances #assists! I do still enjoy a role as a striker, but the service to me has got to be as good as the service I would provide, otherwise I get frustrated. If the supply is that good then there is only one outcome… #goals!

What is a day in the life of a Lord like?

It’s a wonderful life to live. People are in awe of your intelligence and capabilities. You even get a parody twitter account made of you – what more could you ask for? Oh, and The Lord has round to his manor who the Lord wants round to his manor and you even get a waiting service thrown in for good measure.

Who are your three dream dinner guests?

Thierry Henry – my favourite player of all time and the reason I’ve worn the number 14 shirt since I could kick a ball. A classy bloke on and off the field.

Johnny Depp – An incredibly interesting and eccentric character. I have met and spoke with him before and he was very pleasurable then.

Mark Wright – absolute don, laps it up, reminds me of myself.

Which person in football do you admire the most?

It has to be Arsène Wenger. He is one of the most successful managers in the modern era and he has managed to be competitive working with, at times, a tight budget when compared to the other powerhouses in the division. His main focus has always been on youth development too (albeit not necessarily British), which is vital if the game is to move forward. His footballing philosophy is very similar to mine as well - or should I say my footballing philosophy is very similar to his? Attack, attack, attack!

Any other business?

‘I wouldn't say I am the best manager in the business. But I am in the top one.'

You’ll get your chance one day, Nobzie!

Don't forget to Tweet @Freeland_FC using #Testimony and let us know anything or anyone you would like covered in this weekly article. Good luck to all the sides this weekend.

We will be back, same day next week.

One love!

The Thursday Testimony Team

28th November 2013

Who wants a lesson in goals? Is being a scaffolding hero your aim in life? If so keep reading for our exclusive interview with Tom ‘TG21’ Gerken.

But first a round-up of the goings on at the club. This Saturday saw the Firsts pick up another win at Adderbury, this time Ben Sadler was not needed as they powered their way to a 4-1 win, Taylor, Gilkes, Lambert and Calley got the goals which saw them move within touching distance off the coveted top four. Freeland Reserves also had some joy with the same score line, beating Stonesfield 4-1 with braces each for Gerken and Perkin – the win saw the Ressies into second place.

It wasn’t such good news for Freeland A though as they were thumped 7-0 at the home of football, Carteton Pumas were the side which did the damage. The Yeoman continued to win despite their loss of the Lord for a week, cruising to a 4-0 win against bottom of the table Rutherford, the win puts the Yeoman 11 (eleven) points clear at the top of the table.

Before we check out the weekend ahead it is time for a brief advertising message:

Don’t forget to check out the Club Cashback page – are you getting online to do some early Christmas shopping or looking to get away to warmer climes then please take a look at the link below. You can raise money for the club at no extra cost to you, and it is as simple as two extra clicks before you make your purchase.

Why not get on Amazon and order yourself a Christmas jumper for our club night out on the 21st December? You can look great whilst raising money for us. Please try and use this if you can as it will help the club raise a lot of money!

This Saturday evening also sees the hugely anticipated return of Phil Panting’s Sporting Year Quiz, the quiz starts at 19:45 in the Yeoman and is £2 to enter. Can you beat the best? Can you win the famous Phil Panting Penalty Shoot-Out? Get yourself involved and find out!

Talking of Panting, he leads the way in the November dog fight for the monthly manager of the month prize. This Saturday sees the final batch of games for the month as we reach a thrilling conclusion in the race for the monthly prize of £40. You can check out how your players have been doing at the bottom of the page on the attached documents.

This Saturday sees the Firsts at home to Bletchingdon, looking to do the double over the visitors after a 2-0 win at their place earlier in the season. The Reserves will be looking to get revenge for their 4-3 loss in the league as they make the short trip across the A40 to Eynsham. Freeland A face a tricky task as they look to get their season going with a trip to high flying Brize Norton.

On Sunday it is all about the magic of the cup, can Lord Simlett’s men reach the Quarter Final of the Sam Waters Cup for the first time in the clubs history – they play JET FC at The Simon Hole Memorial Ground.

Get your poles at the ready, it is time for our in depth interview with Tom Gerken and find out more about the man behind the goals.

You have made the move across the A40 that doesn’t go down well with many, how have you managed to handle the abuse?

It was a challenge for me to move across the A40 but I have relished it ever since, I have had certain threats from silly individuals but playing for Freeland has taken my mind off this and I am absolutely loving every minute of it. One love!

What do you hope to achieve in your Freeland career?

Goals, goals, yellows, yellows, cups, cups and assists, assists (maybe?!). I am hoping to win Division 2 with the Ressies and the Sam Waters Cup and Division 1 for the Yeo. Just playing at a decent club is an achievement for me.

How have you settled into Freeland life? Enjoying it?

I am already loving life at Freeland, TG21 says it all for me!! Playing with better players, incredible bants, great kit, great facilities – Freeland has it all!!

What do you prefer – fouls, holes, goals or scaffolding poles?

Goals come first obviously! If I don’t score in a game I love a tasty foul but usually put one of those in anyway. Holes come after goals and fouls because it is always footy first, then scaffolding poles, just love scaffolding.

A question a lot of people at the club have already been asking – how do you score so many goals?

People have been saying that it is luck and unbelievable that such a static and slow striker that covers 0.14 miles a game can score so many. This may be so, but all good strikers are in the right place at the right time. I also feel that experience and reading of the game are important in netting. DT is also a help and very happy to set up 55% of my goals – love DT!! But on a serious note, playing with better players has helped me massively.

DT22 scores overhead kicks and flicks, TG21 scores tap-ins – care?

Don’t you remember my left foot screamer into the top bin against OUP?!?! Yes, I will agree the other 20 are tap-ins and poaches but me and DT are very different players and his goals have been worldy and I love that he does it and hopefully keeps doing it for Freeland. Same for me, to keep doing it and bring great success to Freeland. Currently caring!

How do you become an S.A.S don?

To become an S.A.S don you basically need some, if not all, of the below:

  • Have a criminal record
  • Be an alcoholic
  • Deal and take drugs
  • Have terrible tattoos
  • No GCSE’s
  • A scar or two
  • No English literature whatsoever

I actually have none of these, neither has the leader Joffe Gerken, but we have magically become S.A.S dons!!!

You have been tasked, with my good self, to make a legendary playlist for a Ressies home game this season (if we can get the iPod off Sodders), what top ten beauties shall we pick to get the lads going?

We will call our playlist Goals & Care by Wing Wizardry and Gerken Goals and it will be as follows:

1. Lessons In Goals (Love) – Level 42
2. Call Me – Go West
3. Running In The Family – Level 42
4. Measure Of The Man – Elton John
5. Gold (Goals) – Spandau Ballet
6. Kyrie – Mr. Mister
7. Panic – The Smiths
8. Call Me Al – Paul Simon
9. Material Girl – Madonna
10. Friday I’m In Love (The Yeo) – The Cure

What is the Gerken Goals football philosophy?

My philosophy is to obviously firstly enjoy the game. To play with determination and the will to win. There is no better feeling than coming off the pitch winning, caring and then drinking and hating Lava after!!

Who are your three dream dinner guests?

Stone Cold Steve Austin – One of my all time heroes and I love the stunner, unbelievable bloke.

Andy Gray – A great mind in football and he has some inspirational words from the gantry.

Tim Lovejoy – Used to absolutely love this bloke on Soccer AM and would love to share a fillet steak with this man!!

Which person in football do you admire the most?

Wing Wizardry, this guy is a managerial genius and is magic on the wing, he only loves scoring bullets and loves Gerken as the lone striker. Also DT (I let him have two as he named me and has just brought me a pint) because he scores so many goals and runs about 10 miles per game.

Any other business?

I want to say a big thank you to Freeland for sticking with me and giving me the chance to play at a club that is worldy. One love, currently care, cheers cheers!!

Don't forget to Tweet @Freeland_FC using #Testimony and let us know anything or anyone you would like covered in this weekly article. Good luck to all the sides this weekend.

We will be back, same day next week.

One love!

The Thursday Testimony Team