How I stumbled across the Futsal World Record
Before I knew about the Guinness Futsal World Record attempt, I met Mike Knight at the trials for the first Tranmere Rovers Futsal National League team. I remember him from that first moment and had him wearing all navy, footballer, very fit, worked hard, good movement off the ball and always hungry to get on the ball and create, with the energy to inspire and uplift others.
A few weeks later he’d make the wider preseason squad. Ahead of the first match we got the players to vote anonymously for their choice of captain. Some had played in Spain all their lives, up to the 2B level and on the cusp of professional futsal. Mike had been playing a few weeks because he heard it on the radio and loved his club so came down for a kick.
I won’t forget the look on his face when Damon announced the vote and named him captain before the first match. I made sure to watch his reaction as Damon announced it and it was complete surprise and humility. He didn’t expect or want it. Always the team first.
What makes a great futsal captain?
Mike has all the characteristics of a leader. But I think his strongest attribute is his integrity and humility. I saw it clearly in the first few weeks with an action I’ve seen nothing like before.
It was early in the season, probably just after the first match. The club media team came to training to get some quotes, video and content to review the historic first match. Naturally, they wanted the captain.
Mike refused to be interviewed.
He didn’t want to be above the team or be the one in the limelight.
This is someone who grew up adoring this club; Tranmere Rovers is central to his very existence. To be featured on the website, Youtube and with a 100k + social media following …he must have craved it so much. But his first reaction would be to selflessly turn it down.
Thankfully, he would later be convinced.
The Lee Knight Foundation
I would later learn about Mike’s brother, Lee Knight. About a year before I met Mike, Lee sadly passed away, too young.
Lee is the reason for the first World Record 5-a-side football match in 2015, and of course the current futsal world record attempt. He was chairman of the Disabled Supporters Association for Tranmere, campaigning and facilitating better support and facilities for disabled supporters at the club.
Two years after his death, his legacy continues.
With the selfless efforts of Andy Doyle who is coordinating everything (a huge job with endless administration to satisfy GWR), Mike and others, the Lee Knight Foundation continues to work and provide for the disabled supporters at Tranmere Rovers.
The World Record Longest Futsal Match
And so, to the challenge, in the name of the Lee Knight Foundation. What better way to honour someone than in the Guinness Book of World Records?
There is a group of supporters, friends of Lee and Mike, club staff, national league futsal players, ladies team players. A complete cross section of the club from the staffroom to the fans.
The co-operation and unity of all these people is why I love this club. It shows their love for the club and how highly they regard Lee and Mike.
It’s a proper club, a people’s club, and nobody is above it.
We’re going to attempt the longest ever futsal game, which was broken just a few weeks ago in Canada. They played for 43 hours. Like in a regulation match there will be 12 players in each squad; five on the court with rolling subs.
But no halftime.
Food, drink, sleeping bags and tents will be on the subs bench to keep people going.
My personal challenge
For me, this challenge has come at the best time. I’ve been injured more in the last 12 months than the rest of my life combined. I pulled my calf on a coaching course putting me out for four months. Once back playing I did my MCL which hurt me more internally than externally.
But I was inspired by Samu’s response to his career-threatening injury and worked hard every single day on my exercises – no cardio was allowed and no weights for the first six weeks. That was really hard, I felt helpless.
I returned to play after less than four months, instead of the expected six.
And then was the invite to join training that I realised.
I wasn’t making the most of life and enjoying what I had.
With work and coaching and driving between two cities, I forgot about my love for playing too. But between commitments and life I forgot to enjoy the movement and joy of playing myself.
But playing was my intro to the game and how I fell in love with it!
Lee, Mike and the challenge for everyone
From what I’ve heard. Lee was determined to make a difference to the club, and all supporters. He did it with a smile on his face and a cheeky sense of humour. Sounds like someone to look up to for me.
From what I know. Mike trained harder and had a more professional lifestyle than anyone in the futsal team. And dare I say it, better than some in the professional football team I’m sure.
At the end of the match he knew hand on heart he gave it everything, through the week and in training. Not many can. Sounds like a good way to live for me.
So in honour of Mike and his brother Lee I have to do the same. I have to make full use of what I have and get fit again. I’m young, but my commitments for the last 12-18 months have got in the way of living fully.
At the end of June, it will be my greatest honour and privilege in the game to play should to shoulder with Mike in the name of Lee Knight, and break the world record for the longest futsal match.
To make a contribution, please, please donate to the great work of the Lee Knight Foundation here.
And if you’re not happy with something in your life, or stopped doing something you love, make a change today.
Because life is for living with purpose and a smile on your face.
Don’t let life get in the way of living.