PLAYING in the UK’s smallest football division earns its own place in history, but being David Beckham’s body double brings a whole new level of fame.
In the Isles of Scilly Football League, Woolpack Wanderers meet the Garrison Gunners 17 times each season.
The island’s league fame quickly saw a number of big stars arrive on the island in 2007, including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Patrick Vieira, Anderson Daniele De Rossi and Michael Ballack.
The group had arrived on the island for a training session with a young footballer before kicking back on the beach with fish and chips.
But when the press arrived, Beckham and co were soon forced to leave, leading to league chairman Anthony Gibbons’ unique claim to fame.
In an interview with the BBC, Gibbons said: “A guy from St Martin’s called the press to say Beckham was here, so a helicopter load came by and he had to go.
“They needed one last shot across the bay so I filled in for Beckham.”
Will Lethbridge, who grew up on the island and is a veteran player in the league, added: “Someone messaged the production company to see if they wanted to revisit recently but I don’t think they have gave an answer.”
“Weird things happen to us and we usually find some time for it because it’s a lot of fun and it’s good for Scilly because the Isles depend on tourism and want people to come here and visit us so any exposure helps that.”
The League’s uniqueness is hard to beat, and with the island’s small population, emergencies sometimes take precedence.
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A game was even lost because of COWS.
Gibbons explained: “There’s a guy called Dave Mumford – or Chuffer – who’s a farmer and a couple of years ago his phone started ringing halfway through and they said ‘Oi your cows escaped’ so he had to run off to get them to find .
“At that point we were 2-0 up and had to go down to 10 men so we ended up losing 3-2. In the end it turned out it wasn’t even his cows.”
The league itself has kept the same format since 1920, but with two annual cup competitions there are plenty of chances for respective teams to win silver.
The two teams are never the same either, as players are literally chosen by a coin toss.
But the island even hosts a biannual match against Penzance amateur side Dynamo Choughs for the Lyonesse Trophy.
The trophy in question caught the attention of Fifa, who wanted to display it in their official museum in Zurich, as it is said to be the smallest trophy in the world.
Gibbons added: “We started playing Dynamo Choughs on our football tours in the early 2000s and one of their players is a metal worker so he decided to make the smallest trophy he could.
“When Fifa came over and said it would be great in their museum, he made a replica and they have it at the moment.
“Even though it’s only about an inch tall, people still tried to put beer in it when they won it, but it’s not a big drink.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7683616/uk-smallest-league-beckham-body-double/ I play in Britain’s lowest division football – I filled in as Beckham’s body double and we lost a game to runaway cows