IÃ¢ÂÂve heard some great excuses off players for being late, but the following takes the biscuit.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs from Jorge Garcia, the former captain of Belize, who turned up at half-time last week when the score was 2-2 against Metropolitan, the 2006 BIFL champions. Manchester eventually won 5-3Ã¢ÂÂ¦
Ã¢ÂÂI was ready to leave home for the game and for a change I was going to be early,Ã¢ÂÂ says Jorge. Ã¢ÂÂThen I heard cooing and lots of feathers falling off the roof of the house. I looked up and there were about 20 pigeons, all painted different colours. I started throwing stones at them, but they would not leave."
Ã¢ÂÂI was afraid they were going to roost and we would not be able to get rid of them so I went inside and told my wife. She told me that I was not to leave until I got rid of all the pigeons. I threw whatever I could find at them, but to no avail. I even hit one right on the head with a stone and the pigeon just looked at me and continued like nothing had happened."
Ã¢ÂÂI finally got the water hose and started swinging it at them. That's when I heard a car park right outside the house and the driver shouted: Ã¢ÂÂThose are our pigeons.Ã¢ÂÂ
Manchester La Fianna (Jorge Garcia front row, third from left)
Ã¢ÂÂHe called on his walkie-talkie saying he had found the pigeons and gave directions to our place. A few seconds later, about 15 cars were parked right outside our gate. Luckily, the water pressure on the hose was low and they didn't catch me spraying their pigeons."
Ã¢ÂÂThe man explained that this was a pigeon competition and asked if we would allow the referee to come into our yard to score. The referee came inside and tried to explain to my wife and I what the competition was all about. I cannot recall everything he told us except that pigeons came from all over the world (including two from Argentina - he recognised my wifeÃ¢ÂÂs accent) to compete."
Ã¢ÂÂThey let loose a female pigeon and all the coloured male pigeons chased her around the treetops and the referee keeps track of all their movements and scores.
Then the female pigeon decided to roost on our roof, which meant a further delay.
The referee had to wait for what seemed like an eternity while he scored the pigeons. Finally, he climbed on the roof and took the female pigeon. All the male pigeons then flew down, where they were placed in their individual cages by their owners. In a few minutes, all the cars and pigeons were gone. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs why I was late.Ã¢ÂÂ
Jorge wonÃ¢ÂÂt be able to use that one again and certainly not tomorrow when Manchester La Fianna play West Ham, who are managed by a HammersÃ¢ÂÂ expat fan Nick Simons. He started the league in 1992, continuing a tradition of Englishmen influencing Spanish football.
West HamÃ¢ÂÂs squad is largely made up of Catalans and Simons gets them singing Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm forever blowing bubblesÃ¢ÂÂ after each game. They are all going to watch West Ham soon in London.
WeÃ¢ÂÂre second in the league, theyÃ¢ÂÂre sixth, and given that I hold Simons personally responsible for West Ham beating Manchester United in December, weÃ¢ÂÂre in a vengeful mood.