This free, ticketed event was held at Princes Park, home of Dartford FC on Tuesday 5 February. England C is made up of under 23 non-league players. The England C team (formerly known as the England Semi-Pro team) took on their counterparts from Turkey in the International Challenge Trophy semi final.
The England Manager, Paul Fairclough, has named a 16-man squad for the forthcoming International Challenge Trophy semi-final against Turkey – the first time the teams have played each other.
The England C team is made up of U23 players from below the Football League structure.
- Preston Edwards – Ebbsfleet United FC
- Sam Mott – Welling United FC
- Ryan Jackson – Macclesfield Town FC
- Aswad Thomas – Grimsby Town FC
- Jamie Turley – Forest Green Rovers FC
- Eddie Oshodi – Forest Green Rovers FC
- Simon Ainge – Luton Town FC
- Lindon Meikle – Mansfield Town FC
- Josh Gillies – Gateshead FC
- Kenny Davis – Braintree Town FC
- Keiron Forbes – Forest Green Rovers FC
- James Vincent – Kidderminster Harriers FC
- Sam Wedgbury – Macclesfield Town FC
- Scott Spencer – Hyde FC
- Andre Gray – Luton Town FC
- Christian Jolley – Newport County FC
With squad members from local teams – Ebbsfleet, Welling and Braintree, there is going to be a lot of local interest. I’m looking forward to recording some of the excitement of this major event for Dartford FC.
More than one person has said “Dartford will be a great venue for the England C match, it would be great if some Dartford players were included in the team”.
- Ertigrul Taskiran
- Salih Dursun
- Aykut Demir
- Mahmut Tekdemir
- Aydn Yilmaz
- Sefa Yilmaz
- Cenk Tosun
- Emre Golak
- Tefik Kose
- Soner Aydogdu
- Murat Duruer
- Ramazan Kose
- Ziya Erdal
- Eren Gungor
- Omer Bayram
- Serdar Gurler
The Referee was Espen Eskas, with Assistants Tom Harald Gronevik and Oskar Iskasen (all from Norway) Fourth official, Carl Berry (England).
The Turkey team came with a loud and enormously boisterous crowd of UltrAslan supporters. I had to find out what that meant. UltrAslan is a fan group of Turkish football team Galatasaray SK. Founded in 2001, it is one of the biggest football fan organizations in Turkey. The lion is the symbol of Galatasaray, and you’ve no doubt read about or seen Aslan the Lion in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Aslanar are ‘lions’. UltrAslan is an Independent Fan Association supporting Galatasaray, especially since that team’s defeat of Arsenal in the UEFA Cup in 2000. (Aside: in writing this ‘Galatasaray’ is picked up by the spellchecker. It wants to substitute ‘Taramasalata’ – go figure).
I was tasked with capturing not just the football action, but the atmosphere of the game as well. That was made easy by the UltrAslan fans and the others supporting Turkey, which by my guess, accounted for about 60-70% of the stadium. The England fans were there, but less obvious. They didn’t come with face paint or many scarves or flags. They were also less vocal. Which was a shame. It was a cold and wet evening match, and most of the England fans were wearing dark waterproofs, hoods and hats. They were a little lost against the bright reds and yellow of the Turkey supporters. I heard later that most of the kebab and fast food outlets in Dartford were closed for the evening and I hope the lads and ladies were able to get tickets.
The match started with the customary ritual of large flags held by some local children to adorn the pitch, and the two teams lining up with a mascot each. Then the National Anthems of each team, and then the time-honoured shaking of hands, not only of the opposite team, but also the FA Officials.
By this time, the rain was coming down, and at times began to feel like sleet. It didn’t dampen the atmosphere one bit. Apart from the one goal for Turkey towards the very end of the match, the play was somewhat even, with lots of attempts at scoring – all thwarted by the opposing team. However, Turkey won through, to the delight of their supporters. The damp and cold conditions got to the young kids acting as ‘ball boys’ around the pitch. There isn’t much need for them, once the ball is in the crowd its easy for it to be thrown back. In the second half they started to huddle together rather than be isolated around the pitch. They didn’t have anything to sit on except the cold, damp ground.
Here’s a link to my photos from the game. I have to say I enjoyed it immensely, despite the wet and cold. I think it may be a long time before we have such a colourful and spirited event at Princes Park.