By Chris Wright
Birmingham Deaf FC endured a truly torrid season over in the Birmingham AFA Saturday League, breaking record after record while losing all but one of their fixtures on the way to finishing bottom of their division on -6 points.
BDFC lost 25 of their 26 games and finished bottom of the fifth division, conceding an impressive 164 goals in the process – though they do have a rather good excuse.
For you see; as their name suggests, all of their players are profoundly deaf – meaning that the entire squad were largely unable to hear the referee’s whistles.
The club apparently pleaded with the league that officials use flags to signal fouls during their games but that their pleas
fell on deaf ears were ignored.
Club secretary Guy Whieldon, who is also deaf, told the Birmingham Mail:
“Most lads feel officials are not geared-up for a deaf team due to communication breakdowns, which cause difficulty.
“The referees are supposed to wave flags while, at the same time, blowing a whistle.
“Most referees forget to wave or simply don’t want to use a flag.”
According to a player from league opponents Sutton United, who racked up a fairly convincing 20-0 aggregate victory over BDFC in their two games, told the Mail: “The ref would blow for a stoppage and they would continue to play.”
It gets worse. The Birmingham AFA Saturday League deducted nine points from their end-of-season total after BDFC failed to turn up for three games (we suppose alarm clocks are a bit redundant to deaf people) and now look set to relegate the team two whole divisions down to the seventh (and bottom) flight due to their poor results to boot.
However, club secretary Guy, 26, has remained magnanimous in the face of such ineptitude and refused to blame the Brum AFA for their actions, adding:
“I can’t fault the AFA. It was due to poor commitment from our lads as the average age of the team was 22 and our oldest player is 30.
“We wanted to start in division seven and learn, but the AFA decided to put us in division five.
“Also, we have 36 players on our books. Half came to play and the side was different for every fixture.”
“We played in the Birmingham AFA to raise our standards for deaf fixtures (BDFC also compete in a specialised deaf league and cup competition).
“Currently, I have no idea if we’ll continue in the league, that depends on the lads.”
Not that we wish to piddle on your parade, Guy, but we think we may already know the answer to that one!
The real question we’re all dying to know the answer to is: who were the one team they managed to beat?
(Image via Birmingham Mail)