With the new premiership football season in full swing it was time for the football giants of the tax world to dust off their boots and compete for the bragging rights to football supremacy (well until 2012 anyway!) in the annual Brewer Morris five a side football tournament.
2011 was the fourth year of the competition and again it attracted more applicants than the 20 places on offer. As ever it paid to get an application in early!
Returning in 2011 were a few familiar faces. HW Fisher were out in force hoping that their 2010 placing was an aberration and that a return to winning ways was on the cards. Sadly for their “Gaffer” 2011 was to prove even more difficult with a group stage exit. (They still remain the record holders with most titles (two) to their name)
After their debut performance and victory in 2010 CMS Cameron McKenna were the early favourites having sent out another strong team. Simmons Gainsford were also back and looking to avenge their defeat in last years final. Other competitors included, Grant Thornton, Goodman Jones, BDO Stoy Hayward, Slaughter and May and Gazprom’s in-house tax team.
Without a plate cup on offer it was all or nothing with the group winners from each group playing a runner up from another in a series of quarter finals, with the winners from each quarter final going on to play in the semi finals before the big decider.
As ever the group games were hotly contested. (Simmons Gainsford made it through to the quarter finals on goal difference after 3 teams finished on the same points in one group!) The quarter finals were similarly close and the final four teams standing were Grant Thornton who faced off against Goodman Jones in the last four and in a replay of last years final CMS Cameron McKenna met Simmons Gainsford.
Unfortunately for Simmons Gainsford there was no fairytale ending as they lost out on penalties to CMS whilst Grant Thornton also made it to the finals after defeating a very strong Goodman Jones team who once again just missed out in a closely contested semi final.
And so to the final! In a comeback reminiscent of Liverpool’s victory against Milan in 2005 Grant Thornton pulled back to level the scores 3-3 in normal time which meant a penalty shoot out to decide the winners for the first time in the cups auspicious history. After a tense shoot out Phil Barrett slotted home the deciding penalty to give the title to Grant Thornton for the first time.
Tax Aid will benefit from the money raised in the afternoon and the money raised will go towards helping people on low incomes with their tax affairs.
The 2012 tournament promises to be an exciting one!