Geoff Brice Newsletter discussion

Foosball chat / key issues and discussion
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Real Name: Neil Morrison
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Post by nfm24 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:20 pm

leaks wrote:we need to be proactive and go do stuff to promote the game.

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The Mongoose
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Real Name: Geoff Brice
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Post by The Mongoose » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:27 am

The following post is entirely irrelevant to this thread. I hope, however, that BFA moderators will agree I should have the right to reply to Richard Thomson’s not one, but three attempts at character assassination.

If anyone thought Richard’s posts contained a grain of truth, I hope you will find the time to read my reply. If you did not, ignore this and spend the time you would have spent reading it on promoting world peace.

I would be very grateful if all current BFA committee members read it. If the events of the last 5 years are clearly understood by all parties they can then be finally buried, and we can all look forward to moving on with no skeletons left in the cupboard.

Firstly, Richard, many thanks. My 13 year-old daughter thinks it ‘dead cool’ that I have been called a “disillusioned mad genius.” My status has thus been raised considerably in her eyes, and that is worth much more to me than your insults.

But I am not as easy to impress as a 13 year-old, and neither will most of those reading this (!?). Richard’s posts lead me to believe he thinks the wounds he inflicted on me 5 years ago had healed, and it was now safe for him to return and give the knife another twist. He was very much mistaken. I now have no alternative but to have my own “DP moment.”

It has been difficult to put a reply together to Richards posts, as he keeps stating his concerns, then moves on to a different topic - only to return to an earlier complaint to add little bits on. It is interesting, however, to note how he felt it necessary to rush out a third effort immediately after I said I would be replying to his first two. He evidently realised (unfortunately too late), what a load of drivel they were and thought he’d better ‘beef them up’ before I posted. I was therefore surprised to discover his third post was even more ridiculous than the first two. Although I am frustrated at having to spend so much time on showing that Richard’s accusations are completely groundless, it will be a relief to ‘set the record straight’ - especially about the Reading incident, the significance of which he still continues to misrepresent.

But first the boring bits. After spending much time trying to piece together a cohesive reply to Richard’s ramblings, I think his complaints fall loosely into three categories, as follows…

Richard has stated on three separate occasions in his posts that his main problem with me is that I became disengaged from the BFA following my participation in the 2002 AGM. Fortunately (for me) it is extremely easy for me to prove beyond any doubt that the support I gave to the BFA did, in fact, considerably increase after the above event.

Richard has also spent much energy explaining how he spent 20+ hours trying to get me to ‘reengage’ with the BFA. As I will point out when I show how my engagement with the BFA was, and is, ongoing, he is simply too arrogant to have realised that I was reluctant to reengage with him, and not the BFA. This I freely admit, and will show it was eminently sensible for me to do so, both from a personal and business standpoint.

Finally, Richard puts great store on how he continued to support telescopic-rod events after the ‘Reading incident,” severely criticising me in the process for not supporting them. I will show that I did indeed support such events, and the fact that none of my foosers attended them was due entirely to his actions at Reading, which made my Bath players state emphatically that they wished to have nothing further to do with me or the BFA. Richard had, quite simply, driven them all away.

I have been asked to explain in more detail exactly what did happen at Reading, and why it had such a disastrous effect on me personally, and literally wiped out the competitive element of my Bath foosers overnight. I am more than happy to do so, especially as Richard has again completely misunderstood the significance of his actions there, preferring instead to believe my animosity was somehow related to the fact that he thought I was unsuccessfully trying to intimidate BFA officials into catering solely for my foosers. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I will again show.

The importance of the Reading event needs to be put into perspective in order for its significance to be fully appreciated. At the time Bath was the driving force behind my estate of FT’s, and I operated 65 models within a 15 - mile radius of the city. I had run competitions there since 1990, and attendances exceeded 1000 in total. Many foosers had attended every one of the tournaments, and 315 different faces appeared over the years. Firm friendships evolved, and I was often invited to birthday parties etc. in Bath, and many spent weekends with me in Hereford. I don’t think it would be maudlin to say we were a close-knit community of foosers.

They were fiercely competitive, of course, and at least 20 of them were capable of beating Matt Cogburn and Clegg Tassell, who at the time were ranked No.1 on telescopic Garlando. The BFA invited themselves into this cosy little scene in 1999, I think. Although I was relieved that the burden of running competitions was lifted, I nevertheless quickly began to wonder if I had done the right thing. My Bath/Hereford/Stroud foosers began to complain that they did not like the new rules/format etc., and the fact that the fun seemed to have gone out of the events. I even arrived at the Hat and Feather on one occasion to find a note had been pinned above the table with “sign here if you want Geoff to run his own competitions again,” written on it. There were only 8 names on it, but the landlord said the note had only gone up the previous night. I never did discover what the final tally was – at the time I did not want to encourage them because I did not want to go back to all the hassle running a competition entails. I was also a bit suspicious of their motives myself, and wondered whether it was just sour grapes because ‘ the BFA were pinching all the prize money’

Feelings became decidedly frosty after a particularly bad tempered game featuring the top players from Hereford – Clegg and Matt - and a pair closely connected with the BFA hierarchy. I cannot recall Matt and Clegg playing together competitively again, as they were totally gutted by the antics of their opponents on that day. Indeed, Matt Cogburn never played in another competition, despite being a regular at my tournaments for many years. The pair also won the English leg of the 1998 J & B Whisky Rare World Cup tournament. Following this tournament, a marked ‘them and us’ feeling became entrenched.

I continued to ignore the growing complaints of my foosers, and by the time of the Reading competition I had already been accused of ‘selling my soul to the BFA.’ Given the above, when Boris asked me to get as many of my foosers to attend the competition as I could, I was very wary. Boris continued (this is not a pop at Boris – he was probably unaware of my foosers ill-feeling towards the BFA) to stress that it was a ‘biggy’with the highest turnout for many years expected. I decided to stick my neck out and I gave the event my full support.

Having set the scene for Reading, this is what followed. My account will differ from Richards, of course, and he has already accused me of memory failure in his posts. I can assure him that whilst the intervening years have indeed dulled his memory of that day, being wrongly accused of lying by many old friends has a way of burning events deeply into the mind. Fortunately, there is no need for anyone to take sides, in any case. I have been able to persuade one of my disaffected Bath foosers to bury the hatchet, and am using Sarah’s party this Saturday to build bridges. He remembers the events as stated here, and will be only too happy to confirm them at the party for any doubters remaining.

My first problem with the Reading competition surfaced before it had even began. I had assumed, reasonably, that the format would be the same as for the events the BFA had earlier ran for my Bath competitions. I had not in my wildest dreams have expected a new type of rod to be used…


I do not know whose decision it was to keep me in the dark. I only learned of this much later – again by accident – when a BFA member apologised for the deceit. He  had assumed I was already aware. He told me that ‘certain individuals’ were concerned that if I had been aware of the changed format, I might ‘uninvite’ my foosers, or they may just decide to give the event a miss anyway. It seems the main priority was to maximise the attendance at the competition, and this took precedence over any problems the deception may cause me. In subsequent conversations with BFA officials, I was even told that perhaps I was being ungrateful, and should have been pleased that my foosers were given the opportunity to play in the first ever UK Garlando competition to feature the through-rods!

I wonder what Rob Davey would have done if he had been invited to a tournament at the Floatel, where Tornado’s are always used, only to discover a sea of telescopic rods in front of him? That would have been bad enough, but then imagine his mood on later discovering that he was deliberately not told of the rod change because the organisers thought he may not attend after all - and they were keen to have a good turnout? Then try to picture his mood if he had invited some old die-hard Tornado playing friends to the competition, and they became convinced he was part of the plot to hoodwink them into attending because he had done a deal with the organisers to ensure the turnout was as big as they could possibly make it. I think it safe to say the author of the deception would not live to tell the tale. Incidentally, Rob, if you are reading this (small chance, I suppose) I really would like to know what you would have thought/done if you had been on the end of the above.

Back to the competition. I discovered – again accidentally - that the through-rods were to be used just two days before kick-off, when I enquired about accommodation around the venue. It was too late for me to contact most of my foosers, and when they arrived at the tournament and tried the new rods they were not impressed. Even I was surprised at their total dislike of the tables, but the predominant style of play in Bath at the time was similar to Martyn’s, with considerable lateral movement of the rod used for most three-bar shots. I have often noted that this style of play is more difficult to adapt to on the heavier rods. Anyway, 4 of the 13 had even taken a day off work to attend the event and their mood was black. I had told them in all innocence that it would be like my old Hat/Bell/Pig-and-Fiddle competitions they all enjoyed.

Most had attended all of my Bath competitions and, as they were unaware of any other competitions being held elsewhere in the country, considered that I was still a driving force behind foosball. Already believing I was devoting more of my time to the BFA than them, they were understandably suspicious when I told them I had no idea the format would be so different. In addition to the above, of course, this was their first exposure to the snake, which added to their woes.

I was furious that I had unwittingly invited them to an event that they were so unhappy with, and set about trying to ascertain from the BFA why I had not been informed the new rods were to be used well in advance. Richard and another BFA committee member appeared to be running the event, but both professed ignorance of any deception. Both, however, were absolutely clear on one point and categorically assured me that…


I cannot stress the importance of the above enough. It was the use of the word ‘categorical’ that caused all of the subsequent problems between myself and my Bath foosers. I relayed the above assurances to them, promising them that the following competitions would be on ‘their’ table types. This did little to pacify them, but it was a start.

More tournaments were soon held on the through- rods, however, and the destruction of my reputation was sealed. Although some telescopic-rod events were later held it was, of course, far to late. My Bath foosers wanted nothing further to do with me or the BFA. I cannot blame them, I would probably have felt the same under the circumstances. They were now thoroughly convinced I had sacrificed them - and turned my back on all the support they had given me over the past 10 years – to ‘get into bed with the BFA’ as one colourfully described my actions.

Now, if Richard and his colleague had simply said “Geoff, it looks like these rods are going to be the future of foosball – they use them for European competitions and we want to be able to compete with them on equal terms…” etc. etc. I would have fully understood this, and I would have told my foosers the score. They may not have been very happy, but a lot of the subsequent bitterness and recriminations would have been avoided.
Somehow, all of the above has been summarised in Richard’s first post, “He thinks players/organisers should not be allowed to put their time and effort into promoting tables that he does not like (ie Reading).”    (Richard’s brackets).

If anyone reading this feels Richard’s version is the most credible, ask yourself two questions.
1. If the events were not as described by me, why are some of my old Bath friends bitter to this day?

2. If my objection was based on the fact that I “did not like” the model used, why did I promptly buy one of the tables used in the competition? Sorry, Boris, you are going to have to tell Richard. I was personally not nearly as miffed as my Bath foosers with the model, and intended to give it a test alongside my telescopic models to assess which my foosers preferred. The FT went straight into Bristol Grammar School, where they had requested the model to enable them to practice the snake, and is still there. I subsequently bought five more. I prefer telescopic rods, but will play on any model as my fairly recent appearance in competitions using through-rod models of both types will confirm. I even won one of Tich’s Tornado events – amateur or novice of course, but I gave it a go. More recently I took a game off Martyn at Mase,s Tornado bash in Hereford, although I expect he let me win.

What Richard has catastrophically failed to understand  (and this is what we spent a lot of the time on that he has stated he spent trying to “get Geoff to get some sort of balance into the game” is that it was the deception used to lure my foosers to the competition (and I have never accused Richard of that, although I remain suspicious), together with the categorical statements (which he most definitely did make) that the use of the through rods was a “one-off,” that led my Bath foosers to subsequently conclude I must have lied to them. His statement that the above events seem somehow to prove I felt the BFA should not be allowed to put their time and effort into promoting tables I did not like is so ridiculous that I cannot begin to understand why he made it.

Despite the above deeply affecting me, I did not air my grievances in a public forum. I kept quite and continued to support the BFA with their many requests for help – as I have detailed later. But Richard felt he had to turn the knife one more time, apparently because he had been “gratuitously flamed.” I had been meticulous in my newsletter article to only name two people who demonstrated a point I wished to make, knowing their opinion represented the majority view, and that readers’sympathies would therefore be with them, and not me.

So I spent several hours poring carefully over the newsletter and the subsequent replies to see if I had inadvertently named Richard as being involved in the Reading fiasco. I had not. I did come across one - and only one – reference to him, however, posted by none other than Boris on 1/8 at 4:27pm.

“re any assurances given at Reading 2003 re use of block-foot tables…Richard…then chairman…was speaking for himself rather than the then committee as a whole.”

Oh dear.

I can emphatically assure Richard that this is the only reference to him in the newsletter and everything that followed up to his first post. Just thought I’d clear that up.

The main thrust of Richard’s other complaints about me seem to concern his perception that he spent….
“20+ hours trying to get me to reengage with the national scene.” And,

“It seems one spat with Boris/Rhys (or whoever) was enough that he never wanted anything to do with the BFA and that has continued ever since.” ( sorry Rhys, by the way, I really didn’t want to have your name mentioned – it seems Richard and Boris are quite adept at the ‘flaming’ business themselves).

Let me enlighten Richard of the many occasions I have given the BFA my assistance since the Tamworth meeting, all of which carried no personal benefit to me, my foosers, or my business. It will soon become obvious that far from ‘disengaging’ with the BFA after Tamworth, I have considerably increased the support I have given them since.

The most recent occasion when I assisted the BFA was about 18 months ago when they requested my help in finding a fooser under the age of 14 because TV channel 4 were doing a feature on the game. I have a school in Coventry that has 6 of my FT’s spread around their ‘house’ system, where access to the FT’s is available to all ages. I duly explained to each housemaster about the scheme and, of course, the lads were excited about their chance to be on the telly. Each house organised their own competition, and the winners played-off to select who would have their 15 minutes of fame. Sadly, I never heard another word from the BFA, and was left with a VERY disappointed lad on my hands, and 6 disgruntled housemasters to boot. Mase can confirm the above, as he was with me when I spoke to the housemasters – and I want to emphasise he was in no way responsible for my lad’s disappointment.
NOTE: BFA Committee. I am happy to assist with events like the above, but please remember to bear in mind, it is my reputation that is tarnished if you do not ‘deliver.’ I can hardly wail to my disappointed lad and the housemasters, “it wasn’t my fault, it was the BFA!”

My newsletter piece on the competitions I held in the 1990s should have left nobody in any doubt that I did not want to hold any more. My 2006 competition was entirely at the request of a BFA committee member, who also persuaded me to throw it open to BFA members. Incidentally, the decision to ban the snake was not the original intention at all, and only came after I had consulted my foosers on what they wanted from the event.

Remember the BFA Cup? Having been asked by the BFA to get my foosers involved, I spent many hours obtaining feedback, and some of my sites got quite enthusiastic about participating. I never did discover why it died a death. For up to a year after I had to parry their requests for updates, etc. until they finally gave up. Very embarrassing.
NOTE: BFA Committee. I am not having another pop at you, but would appreciate being kept in the frame when I help with your plans – again it is me that is left with egg on my face, not you!

When John Worthington asked for my help with the Walsall competition in 2004, I think, I was happy to oblige, and brought along a spare table. I advertised it locally and my biggest site in the area, Wolverhampton College (6 FT,s 14,000 students) were fully engaged,with the SU promising a minibus to transport those interested. Sadly, no students actually attended, but I did my best. The SU rep is a permanent employee of the college, and is still there now. Feel free to contact her if you think I am embellishing facts. Bronach Mcnally-Grewal…01902 317655.

Note the ridiculous lengths I have been driven to, so that I can show Richard’s accusations are totally groundless.

I have helped out with Oxford competitions, and Dan Gallon can confirm I have brought extra tables along and repaired many coin-mech’s whilst there. I have requested competition fliers from OUTFS officials to distribute to my sites on more than one occasion.

Ditto Cambridge, where I remember some of the coin-mech’s had been incorrectly assembled, making it impossible to release the balls. I think it fair to say my input at that event went a long way towards saving the day.
NOTE: Richard has stated in his third post re the ‘blocky tour’ “there was one event in Oxford and one in Cambridge. Where was your support here” Read the above again Richard. I was there. I played with Clegg at Oxford and bought along another team from Hereford. I couldn’t invite any of my Bath foosers to either event though, because your actions at Reading had ensured most wanted nothing more to do with me, or the BFA.

And, of course, there was the Reading competition – which came soon after the Tamworth meeting which you think so disaffected me  “he never wanted anything to do with the BFA (after it) and that has continued ever since.” So why did I stick my neck out and invite – at the BFA’s specific request – my Bath foosers along, knowing I was taking a risk, as some already thought I was devoting more time to the BFA than them?

I have given 7 examples to show Richards accusations that I had somehow become disengaged from the BFA could not be further from the truth. Indeed, I have continued to offer my help even after doing so has left me with a considerable amount of egg on my face.

I hope I have now made it quite clear that I did not fail to reengage with the BFA because I never disengaged from them in the first place. Richard cannot seem to see the huge difference between a failure to reengage with the BFA and a failure to reengage with him – which I freely admit.

Anyway, 7 examples of how I have helped the BFA - and what have I asked for in return?


Richard has also stated “Geoff suffers from being a businessman….”etc., with its inevitable implications. I have already stated elsewhere that my business has been more of a hobby for many years now. Richard should be aware of this. I remember him phoning me to say, “Geoff, I think you should charge 40p for a game.” This was another of the conversations which are a part of the huge amount of time he says he spent trying to get me to ‘reengage with the BFA ’ (ie to agree with him). I remember it very well, as I was very cross by this – it was a blatant attempt to interfere in my affairs, and I felt what I charged for a game was none of the BFA’s business. In fact, several of my larger schools and probably all of my colleges could sustain a 40p or even 50p charge with little, if any, reduction in the number of games played. I could increase my takings by up to 30% overnight if I wished, but I do not operate The Table Football Centre to maximise profit. The above should show this beyond any doubt whatsoever.

Richard also states, “He thinks the BFA should cater for him not the BFA’s own members.”

Let me state again in no uncertain terms,


There would be no point. Richard has seen to it that the hub of my competitive scene wants nothing to do with the BFA. Don’t take my word for it. I understand some foosers are intending to come early to Sarah’s party and hope to have a few games down the Barrels on Friday. Great. I will introduce them to long-term players there who, they will find, will only talk of the BFA in harsh tones. They will also find my Barrels foosers who were playing during the early 2000’s believe my allowing the then BFA to control my Bath competitions in the late 1990’s / early 2000’s was a big mistake. Clegg Tassell’s opinion should definitely be sought!

So, with my pub empire effectively dead as far as competitions were concerned, and my students seemingly preferring to have a tooth pulled rather than attend one – on any model - what possible need could I have for the BFA to “cater for (me) and not the BFA’s own members?” What utter drivel. If I had wanted to hold any more competitions, I could have used the spare tables I have (currently 26), and as I have been forced to reveal in response to earlier posts, I do not need sponsorship of any kind.

In fact, given the disastrous effects of the Reading fiasco, and my foosers wishing I had never got involved with the BFA, I am at a complete loss to begin to imagine why Richard somehow thinks I feel the BFA should ‘cater for me.’ I expect there is not a single person left reading this who does not believe I would be foolish to let the BFA within 100 miles of any of my FT’s. And yet I still helped whenever I could, as I hope I have clearly demonstrated. More fool me.

If I can deal with some more mundane things. In paragraph 2 of his first post, Richard asserts that the decline in foosball has nothing to do with the snake and that it is being used as a scapegoat to explain the games woes. I have by now shown the shot’s detrimental effect in my schools, and all I said with regard to pubs is that any ban may enable the game to survive a ‘little bit longer.’My views on the snake have now been mis-represented on 6 occasions..

Richard then went on to state (para 3) “Geoff’s ‘solution’ to the wider problem, by converting tables to slippy glass/blocky feet will just alienate the last remnants of a foos community.” This is so risible I am annoyed at having to spend my time on it. I am not doing anything against the wider community. They are not able to play in my schools or colleges. My plans will most certainly make the game more popular in my schools, though, and I would certainly like to know how this will affect anyone in the ‘wider foosball community,’ let alone its last remnants. In fact, it is quite possible that the last remnants of our game will be kept alive by my school foosers, and any initiative I can use to maximise foosballs popularity in them should, I think, be viewed more positively.

The “world peace” bit is a tad wacky, I suppose. As I mentioned in my piece, It was only my research for the 2006 competition that convinced me the snake was such a bad influence in the game – especially in schools. Perhaps maths is not Richards strong point.

In his second post, Richard seems to think my ‘spat’ with (Boris/Rhys ), was sufficient to ensure - as I mentioned above, but is worth repeating, -  “that he never wanted anything to do with the BFA, and that has continued ever since.” I did not even mention my thoughts to them at the Tamworth meeting, and the two committee members phone calls to me shortly after came completely out of the blue. In fact, I found the whole affair amusing. The episode did not cause me to disengage from the BFA in any way whatsoever –as I have shown – I simply decided I did not want to give up an entire day to discuss rankings.

Richard has made a particular point of the fact that he had left 4 messages on my answerphone over some weeks, and that I had failed to return his calls deliberately. He is quite right, and my actions did me no credit. But there were two reasons for my failure to return his calls…

I had just had a particularly bruising encounter with one of the Bath foosers who was at least still speaking to me. He lectured me about loyalty and reminded me that he and the other Bath foosers had “probably shovelled thousands of pounds into your tables over the years.” I was unable to defend myself as he immediately added, “and PLEASE don’t insult my intelligence again with all that crap about you not knowing what they were up to.” His stance was so understandable, and I felt so gutted. I confess at this point I really did not want to talk to Richard.

Although I could not fault his enthusiasm, I thought most of Richard’s suggestions either would not work, or were totally out of order. The 40p a game advice springs to mind again. To quote a phrase he is fond of, “how DARE he advise me on what I should charge my punters for a game.” I was also a little miffed that with all my experience, he seemed to think he understood the game better than.

I tried to explain all this to Richard, and that this was the reason I felt I just could not face talking to him at that time, but he was so convinced I had abandoned the BFA for other reasons I became exasperated and gave up. I dreaded his phone calls during this period. He was quite right when he said in his post that I was “really glad that we had spoken and that it had straightened lots of things out.” I remember being relieved that I thought he finally understood the extent of the anguish he had caused me on that day in Reading, and was at last accepting some responsibility for his actions. How wrong I was.

Again, completely missing the cause of my discontent post Reading, Richard continued to accuse me of “criticising people for putting the effort into running competitions” etc. etc. – part of all that “how DARE you” stuff. Having run 14 or 15 competitions of my own I certainly would not do so, of course. I think (although I confess I am thoroughly confused as I do not recognise so much of his piece as remotely to do with me) he is again referring to the Reading event, still refusing (or maybe in denial) to accept or understand that my grief had absolutely nothing to do with the FT’s used, and everything to do with deception/false promises etc. Is this really so difficult to understand?

This seems to be linked with the other “how DARE you,” in which Richard states I have criticised people for doing what they think is right etc. If Richard thinks it is acceptable to indulge in deception to ensure a healthy turnout at competitions, and to then make false promises to some participants, then I am guilty as charged. This was my ONLY criticism, and yes Richard, I am as frustrated as you that we haven’t moved on from this point in all of the intervening years. Again, I have admitted I don’t know who deceived me, but Richard definitely gave me “categorical assertions” (I have laboured the phrase because it was the actual one used) that the use of the through-rods was a “one-off (again, the actual words used.)

John Worthington made the very reasonable comment in his newsletter reply that he didn’t think I would have been deliberately misled at Reading. I have considered this, but Richard’s subsequent arrogance over the matter has made it difficult for me to give him the benefit of the doubt. I made no secret at Reading as to how furious I was at being deceived, and that the people I had invited were giving me a very hard time. It was against this background that his categorical assurances were given.  

Given the potential time-bomb he created, would it have been too much to ask that when the next through-rod competition was being arranged, that he could have at least phoned me and told me that whilst his assurances at Reading had been made in good faith (giving you and your colleague the benefit of the doubt again), there had been a change of plan etc.etc and the majority of foosers now wanted to play on through-rods. I would have perfectly understood this, and fully agree that the BFA must follow the majority verdict. It would still have been difficult for me to explain my position to my Bath foosers, but it would have been so much better than them finding out soon after Reading - from a visiting BFA player at the Hat – that the next tourney was going to use the through-rods. By the time of my next visit to Bath I was being blanked and unable to explain events. Even if Richard was not involved in the next competition, passing the details to someone who was would have made SO much difference.

Yes, I’m bored with all this too, but remember Richard has savaged my reputation before, and has now returned to twist the knife again.

Three final points to put events from my perspective..

1. Richard makes a great virtue of the fact that he spent 20+ fruitless hours “trying to get me to reengage in the national scene.” I have already given seven examples of how I continued to assist with BFA initiatives - even after my doing so left me considerably embarrassed on occasions. When we were having our conversations - mentioned above - I had been involved with foosball for 35 years, 15 of which were as an operator, with over 6 million games already having been played on my FT’s. But still Richard thought I should ignore my misgivings and follow his lead – as with the “40p” idea, for example. Again, I did not fail to reengage with the BFA, I failed to reengage with him, a difference he is still unable to comprehend. In the circumstances, I think my ‘failure’ was very sensible.

What is your contribution to the game, other than your time, Richard? I know you have sponsored competitions, but just how much have you put on the line where it hurts….

Adding up the money I have spent on buying FT,s, prize money for competitions and things like sponsoring Louise and Sarah so that they can compete abroad -  and even fly the flag for team GB (almost £5,000), I have put…

£186,476 into the game.

Let me spell it out for you, that’s.


And no, I haven’t done it for profit. I have been financially independent from my football tables since 1998, as I have said.
And my investment comes with the heart - stopping moment in every Budget when I wait to see if the UK’s VAT laws on amusement machines, together with an imposition of duty on football tables, will be brought into line with the rest of the EU. Either will wipe out my enterprise overnight.

I have no doubt that you have given many hours of your time to BFA matters. But how many games do you think your initiatives have created, Richard?
I have just completed my accounts for 07/08 and can confirm the number of games played on my football tables now stands at…


Let me spell it out for you again…


You have challenged me in your tirades to take more interest in “actually doing and not spewing.” Well, Richard, whilst you have evidently spent a great deal of time ‘spewing’ recently, here is what I have been ‘doing.’

During the last two weeks alone I have managed to:

Get two FT’s into Newport University,
Get a FT into Ridgeway School (near Swindon). Sixth form head Andy Wareham (07825 288285) will confirm,
Get a further FT into a new annexe at Wolverhampton College. (Details given earlier),
Liased with Luke Ashley and promised my support for the next Holywell competition. (I had, in fact, been trying to get local foosers from my sites to attend them before this snake debate surfaced). See my post of 9/8/08 7:39pm.

My efforts over the past two weeks alone will ensure at least 17,000 students will have access to a football table, probably for the first time.

You seem very adept at spewing and not doing yourself, Richard. Would it be rude of me to enquire just how many “bums on seats” you’ve achieved in the last two weeks?

It can now be seen that it was your arrogance all along that allowed a situation to develop which you could not possibly believe was your fault, preferring instead to create all sorts of weird and wonderful scenarios in which I could be seen to be the villain. You were simply unable to accept responsibility for your actions in Reading, and unable to believe that my failure to embrace your ideas on the development of foosball was because they were simply unworkable at best, and downright ridiculous at worst. It was so much easier, wasn’t it, to believe I had “failed to reengage with the BFA,” instead.

Whatever else you have done, Richard, you have taken arrogance to new levels. Regrettably, you have forced me to lay yours bare for all to see.

You successfully destroyed my reputation once. I’m dammed if I will let you do it again.


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Post by Rob Davey » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:02 pm

Geoff quick post from me - I don't know why you would assume I would not read your post - you really can't judge me as a person on my opinions or what I post - but anyway mate to answer your question.

I would have walked out from the event after telling the organisor(s) exactly what I thought (in Rob Davey fashion)  :D and vowed never to return again unless it was guaranteed Tornado.


PS Now back to the rest of your post.

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Post by The Mongoose » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:13 pm

Sorry, Rob,

I really wasn't having another pop or being sarcastic, I thought after the newsletter affair that you were probably so cross with me that you wouldn't want to read any more of my stuff.

Still not to late to come to the party.

PPS You could pick cannonballguy up on the way!


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Post by Rob Davey » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:42 pm

Geoff thanks for the reply and the invite.

Sorry I really did try to make it but I have my young one for the weekend.

Just for the record I don't hold anythig you say against you or take it personally.  You are entitled to your own opinion as is everyone.

Have a great weekend


PS Actually if you have a spare bed and can get canonballguy there I may be persuaded to make the journey for the night  :wink:  maybe we could have a foursome mac and I and you and young Colin  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

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Post by Jonathan may » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:13 pm

I don't really know what to say in response here. I fully support Geoff for defending himself. I can't and won't comment on factual content, as this was almost all well beyond my time. But frankly, from my own experiences I know who I would believe if there is doubt in these matters.

Geoff, I'm glad you posted this. I just find it monumentally disappointing that you were forced to.
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Post by Cotty » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:55 pm

I didn't read it cos it was too long, could someone post the highlights for me?
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Post by Messiah » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:49 pm

Cotty wrote:I didn't read it cos it was too long, could someone post the highlights for me?
Thomson bad. BFA bad. (but Mase not bad). Geoff good.
Still going....

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Post by sparky » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:43 pm

The Mongoose wrote:I hope it is not against the rules to do two posts so close together. I have just spent a day away with my family and hadn't realised how dangerous it would be (to spend a day away from the computer that is, not spend a day away with my family -although they come close)

Luke Ashley.
I have been meaning to reply to your post of Aug 5, but got bogged down trying to defend myself from one thing and another. Sorry If I appeared rude.

Ref your kind offer to run a 'no snake' event at the next Holwell bash. I have got a very popular FT in a sixth form annex to North Leamington School & Arts College. It is the nearest site I have to the Holywell, I think. The students literally play the FT all day without a break, and because of this it is under threat of removal. Students are forever being dragged of it by irate teachers. Sensibly, they believe their time is better spent playing foosball than attending lectures.

I have invited them to previous Holywell events as Sarah can confirm, and - as some of them are now quite tasty - I find it frustrating that none have yet appeared. I also have a very lively scene in Coventry, which is within reasonable travelling distance, but again most students seem quite happy to confine their expertise to the common room.

I shall try again when the new academic year starts in September.

Thanks again for the suggestion.

Cheers Geoff - no worries about the late reply. I'm now replying late myself cos I was on holiday!

Its good to hear that you'd mention the Holywell tournament to some of your players, obviously the more people that turn up to no-snake events the more likely it'll be more will get run! The tournament won't be until November though so there's plenty of time yet.


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Post by Boris » Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:00 pm


I know I appear to have grown horns over the years, and Richard may have been a bit intemperate, but please be aware that the 'BFA' is not some disembodied power-base 'up there' but a democratic organisation with a constitutional structure accountable to all its members.

As mentioned earlier (or elsewhere as I have lost track) the rules of commercial interests have been relaxed so operators can now become members of the committee, if elected.  The committee is elected at the AGM so if any member disagrees with BFA policies they are free to stand for election.

My memories of the 2003 Reading tournament (in 2002 there was the Purple Turtle on FAS, in 2003 was the first pin-foot Garlando tournament, and 2004 was the UK Open with both table types available (block-foot being used for the amateur events)) - was that Bill Donne and I did 90% of the organisation, I remember shifting the tables and running the charts with a Channel 4 TV crew following my every move.  

I have no idea what, if any, information you were given by Richard or others prior to the tournament, but I would not have attempted to decieve you as to the nature of the tables used then or in the future as I genuinely felt the new Garlandos were the potential future of UK foosball - if the event had flopped then we may never have seen those tables again.  

In the event the turnout (96 entries in OS) was the highest we had ever had in the BFA era up to that point (and the first tournament to encourage more than a handful of players to cross the T-G divide).  Also, it was run on paper charts without the benefit of tournament software, and as a result the formats had to be reduced to a minimum in a vain attempt to get the tournament finished on the day - in the event we finishished around 2.30am - you of course, were still there at the bitter end for the final as evidenced by the C4 'Grudge Match' footage.

However the game has now gone beyond simple table rivalries into a multi-table age, with official tournaments having been held on both types of Garlando, Tornado, Roberto-Sport, Bonzini and Eurosoccer since that Reading tourney.  My personal opinion is that the new Garlando is far superior to the telescopic block-foot table but I respect the contrary opinions of yourself and the majority of your players, and further respect your willingness to conduct 'market research' and its findings, which have given us all considerable food for thought.

I just wish we could all stop trying to justify ourselves and criticise others who all have the interests of the game at heart - at least from their own perspectives - and try to work together in the future to provide brighter prospects for all.

I am just genuinely saddened by all the bitterness this discussion seems to have evoked.


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Post by Chaz » Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:33 pm


If anyone wishes to discuss something beyond the scope of this thread please start a new thread since this one is plenty full enough with its own posts.

This thread has now been cleaned by 3 different mods. I think everyone is happier when we're not involved...

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Post by The Mongoose » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:02 pm

Guy’s, Please don’t let this degenerate into a competition between me and Richard as to who has done the most for foosball.

For my part, I felt I had to be harder than I would have liked to Richard in my desperation to clear my name.

I was therefore pleased that a lot of the effort he has put into foosball has been properly recognised – a lot of newcomers may have been unaware of his contribution.

I have now had the opportunity to dust - off a few skeletons in my cupboard, and Richard’s work for the BFA has been duly recognised.

It seems to me honour has been satisfied all round, and I for one am happy to forget the whole affair.

Remember, I shall do what I think is in the best interests of my foosers, whatever the outcome of this thread. I do not expect to compete again, and it does not seem that Richard is in any hurry to, either. We are probably the only contributors to this thread who have little, if any, interest in the outcome.

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Post by Richard » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:31 pm

I can only say "i was not involved in organising tables for Reading 2002" so many times but never mind. At least you have finally had the decency to come out and state who you have a problem with, and make your thoughts public, after years of just moaning to others behind my back about these historic events, and then using the "The BFA did this, the BFA did that" smokescreen.

I was also not engaging in a characted assassination, but rather highlighting that there were two sides to the infamous bustup. On reflection I am not really surprised you cannot see both sides to this as it is in keeping with the years of misdirected bitterness.

If you want to win an argument about who has contributed the most, you would probably win. I lost about £100 on the original 4 garlandos, have funded 4 of the current ones at just over £1000 and have contributed about £800 sponsorship to events over the years. So yes you win by a large factor. I also spent 4 years trying to make the BFA more professional, organised, and improving the standard of tournaments (probably about 20 hours a week for at least first 2 of these years, but clearly this does not compete with your job), although admittedly probably about 75% of my time was spent trying to calm the various warring factions. But in the end the people who did see the work seem to have forgotten, those who had the disagreements at the start seem to still hate me, and generally i am better out staying away despite the occasional request to get involved again.  

As i said above - if you are more than just talk then it is up to you to engaging in the youth championships. Dont worry i will not be involved so no more excuses.

Well OK, all duly aired and we can both walk away safe in the knowledge we will never have to talk to each other again.

Jon - of course we all know who you would believe... The person you have frequently and publically clashed with or Geoff. It is a bit like Bush being backed up by Cheney - not hugely illuminating, is it.

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Post by Jonathan may » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:13 pm

Richard wrote:Jon - of course we all know who you would believe... The person you have frequently and publically clashed with or Geoff. It is a bit like Bush being backed up by Cheney - not hugely illuminating, is it.
I'm not interested in making any enemies.

If you look at Geoff's post, there's actually a lot of room for understanding.

I don't hate or resent you, we've had our disagreements in the past, and I expect we'll have them in the future. I just don't agree with a lot of your opinions - and when I disagree, in the past it has rapidly turned personal and nasty.
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Post by robmoss2k » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:58 pm

Geoff/Richard, it seems that six years of sitting on a bust-up has led to some quite serious bitterness, which is a shame as I have a great deal of respect for you both.

I was on the committee when Richard was BFA Chairman and the amount of time he dedicated to foosball in this country, despite him working longer hours and doing more outside work than I, was quite astonishing and vastly eclipsed anything I could manage. He pretty much single-handedly crafted every policy, every point on the constitution, every working group, everything we have at our disposal to help tournament organisers, basically everything that makes the BFA what it is today. There have been some minor refinements since he stepped back but they are few and far between and Richard's legacy will live on within the confines of the BFA for as long as the BFA still exists.

Being a good friend of the Brice family I've also been heavily exposed to Geoff's side of things, and you can pick holes all you want in the things he says but you're all wrong. Trust me on that or ridicule me, I don't really care. I'm not going to explain why because you'll just pick pointless holes in it. Geoff cares for the game, for his players, for his own reputation. Noble things, in my humble opinion, not least because his reputation is something necessary for him to grow the game. And he's a really nice guy until you say "BFA" to him - which given what the BFA have done to him and his reputation and indeed the state of the game where he operates is entirely understandable. I would be equally livid, if not more so.

However, therein lies the crux of the problem, as both beginning and end. The BFA has historically been Richard plus six relatively clueless idiots. No offence but I've been one of them myself and we just aren't up to the same standard. And yes, that includes you, Tom. Anything that the BFA got wrong in Geoff's eyes - and things did go wrong, in some cases badly, in certain cases even appearing to be malicious although in all honesty it was probably a mere lack of foresight - will obviously be pinned to Richard in the long run as he was the figurehead. And whilst we members of the BFA can nitpick to our heart's content because we don't really have a lot to shout about with our hundred or so players who all know each other, Geoff has a bigger picture to look at, where the consequences of actions, however carefully considered, have a real and genuine impact; it is made worse by the fact that these important issues are discarded in favour of a discussion about petty rubbish, as this thread evidences very well indeed.

Perhaps it's time for us all to take a step back and see things from everyone else's point of view and take a good long hard look at the bigger picture. In the end we all want the same thing, really - a thriving UK foosball scene with hundreds or even thousands of strong players playing regularly, an inclusive foosball society with a professional infrastructure that caters for the beginners as well as the world championship players, thousands upon thousands of pounds being pumped into tables all across the country every week. That kind of thing. We want table football to be a big thing like it is in Europe rather than the minority pub/school common room/garage/spare room game we have over here. Let's just put aside our differences and work towards that.

Let's actually do something, rather than arguing, for a change.

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Post by Mogwai » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:27 pm

A nice ending from Rob, maybe this is a good time to lock this thread?

It seems to have done it's job of raising some extremely important issues, airing a few grievances and giving us some important history lessons. Proportionally I don't think there have been too many productive posts in the last few days so maybe it is time to move onto the solutions.

I think we should start moving towards on some of the other threads which focus on ideas of what we CAN do now. Practical suggestions/commitments on how we can possibly begin to integrate the tournament and grass root player bases etc

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Post by Rob Davey » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:28 pm

Rob Davey wrote:
The opportunity here is for the BFA to join forces with Geoff and hold qualifying tounaments for a UK Junior Championships.

The qualifying teams from each venue will win prizes and trophies on the day and also travel expenses (a coach pick up point with several coaches laid on) to the Junior UK Championships held in central England - possibly a football ground.  TV will love this I'm sure (enter sponsors). This should be paid for by the BFA.

At some point during the UK event you can have expert challenge/demos to show these kids how tournament foos is really played and how easy the snake is to learn - giving them a potent 3 bar.

Those kids are your future UK foos. They cannot afford to travel around the UK to tournaments but once they are hooked!!!!!


PS Mod please feel free to paste this into the other thread.