Welcome to the virtual home of the Tynedale Have We Got Enough?s—so-called because, generally, they haven’t*. For the last twenty-five years or more the HWGE?s have been running (well, 25 years ago it was running) up and down a (half-) pitch on Friday nights from September to June, in their own version of the [ahem] Beautiful Game.
It’s a clue to the difference between their version and other versions—the Brazilian, for example—that their founder-member, Adrian Kevan, was a rugby player, who in those early days knew of football only by hearsay. Adrian is still playing—knees permitting—and still knows of football every bit as much as he did then. There are a couple of other survivors from those early days. One is Mike Broadey who—his back permitting—fishes. Another, the most unusual of the HWGE?s, is John Wells who—his right calf and the soles of both feet permitting—does (or rather did) play football. He now plays in goal and collects till receipts from Tesco and Waitrose recording the bargains he has got there.
There have been two great advances in the development of the HWGE?s. For fifteen years or so—while they retained some reminders of youth, and their wives valued their company—they played only every other Friday. For ten or so of these years, Jook—who is the oldest and whose wife had been correspondingly quickest to spot the advantages of having every Friday night to herself–had urged them to play every week but without success. But—HWÆT!—at last the day did come—as, in marriage, such days tend to—when the great majority of the wives of our heroes made the discovery that, yes, they could, after all, spare their husbands every Friday night. This—after their founding—was the first great leap forward in the HWGE?s’ history.
The second was the arrival from Germany via America of Volka the Professor (but not of football). Adrian had already given the HWGE?s a taste for foreign travel by once almost arranging a trip to Dublin; after which they took not only to planning where else they would go but to reminiscing about where they had never been. Volka—as yet still too young to look forward to an imaginary past—took at face value all the talk of heroics performed on foreign fields and offered to arrange a game in Berlin, where, he had the impression, they had not yet been. The HWGE?s—no more understanding that Volka was talking about the real world than he that they were talking about an imaginary one—unanimously expressed their enthusiasm and urged him on. And thus it came about that our by now, for the most part, rather elderly heroes did at last–like Tennyson’s Ulysses—in April 2005, go abroad to play, in Berlin in fact and not in imagination and had the Berliners back to Tynedale a year later in fact; and have been to Madrid in fact (photographic evidence) and, together with the Berliners and the Madriders, to Prague in fact (Killing Power FC) … where they won the competition for the prettiest shirt. This June (God willing) they will be back in Berlin, in fact. Old habits dying hard, they are already reminiscing about the marvellous time they will have in Perpignan later this year and, perhaps, in Seville next.
And how long will they go on (will the bonehouse last)? And how far will they get (along the whaleroad), while the long day’s still a-waning (but not done yet)? Who can say? All we know is …
Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre,
mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað.
(Mind shall be harder, heart the keener,
Mood the deeper, as our might lessens.)
(The Battle of Maldon, ll.312-313)
*There have been other developments since this was written. The main one is that the club is now mis-named. It ought to be W(e)H(ave)G(ot)T(oo)M(any)A(gain). Instead of struggling to get 8 on Friday nights, we now struggle to get fewer than 14. Once we got 20. As the WHGTMAs, like the HWGE?s, play on a 5-a-side pitch, this can be inconvenient (not as inconvenient as it would be to a football team but inconvenient nonetheless). To make matters worse, some of the new recruits–having inherited the right to play from their grandfathers–are in their twenties. Fortunately, (a) they have–for the most part–inherited their grandfathers’ abilities as well as their rights and (b) the HWGE?s style of play is contagious. In this we out-Jesuit the Jesuits. Give us an athletic, fit, young and skillful footballer in September and, by the January transfer window, we will have him playing … just like us.