UNIONIST United FC Captain Nigel Dodds MP has said he will “never play in the five-a-side league.”
His comments come amid speculation that his 11 man Unionist side may be somewhat reduced after the December 12 Westminster Vote Final play offs.
Initially things looked good for Unionist Utd, facing four teams, most of whom could hardly put a five-a-side team together, Republican Utd, Nationalist Utd, Alliance Utd and Green Utd.
But the emergence of a single Remain Utd team now poses a potentially formidable opposition, with relegation a possibility.
Unionist Utd’s North Down’s central defender Lady Sylvia Herman has already walked off the pitch after years of been told by she wasn’t a proper member of the team.
“Those other 10 never accepted me,” she said, “though I gave my heart and soul to the team.”
Un-phased is North Antrim’s centre forward Ian Paisley, a brilliant scorer, as his recent hat-trick of own goals proves.
Unionist Utd have traditionally fielded two attacking right wingers East Londonderry’s Gregory Campbell and East Antrim’s Sammy Wilson.
Moves to coax Gregory leftward to balance the team have as yet proved fruitless, but both men should be safe enough regardless.
Right of midfield, Upper Bann’s David Simpson, has stepped down, after becoming too fond of playing away from home.
It is conceivable that the team may use the opportunity to select a left midfielder instead, but not likely.
The team’s second right midfielder, East Belfast’s Gavin Robinson, looks in reasonable shape, but it could be tight, as he faces the speed and formidable dribbling skills of Remain Utd’s Naomi Long.
Earlier today team Manager Arlene Foster and Captain, North Belfast’s Nigel Dodds faced questions from school children while electioneering in Rathcoole.
“Why have we no players on the left side of the pitch,” observed eight year old Sammy Blair to a chorus of agreement from his classmates, “shur Remain Utd can run down and score loads of goals.”
Foster declined to answer, patting wee Sammy on the head instead, but this looks exactly what will happen to right defender South Belfast’s Emma Little Pengelly.
The most vulnerable player in the team, it seems certain she will be outplayed by Remain Utd’s hacking Claires, Hanna and Bailey, strolling down the left of the park.
The other two right defenders Strangford’s Jim Shannon and South Antrim’s Paul Girvan, like central defender Sir Geoffrey Donaldson look solid enough.
But overall it is certain that goalie, Captain Dodds will be a very busy man against Remain Utd’s tribal John Finucane.
It is unlikely he will keep a clean slate even if Paisley can be persuaded to score at the other end of the pitch.
Remain Utd’s Naomi Long has quipped that she would be happy to welcome Unionist Utd to the five-a-side league in the New Year.
“Unionist Utd will never play five-a-side,” Nigel replied curtly.