A group of friends travel back to their home town every year to host their own World Cup tournament on PLAYSTATION – complete with an opening ceremony.
James Whitley, 31, hosts the 14-hour event along with his seven pals taking part in the computer game competition.
Dotted around the UK, one of the group even travels 400 miles from Dublin just to take part in their annual tradition in Maidstone, Kent – which this year was their tenth.
The event planned months in advance starts with each member of the group drawing out a team and purchasing a football top in dedication.
The winner of the knockout competition takes home a £30 engraved trophy, and a bottle of champagne – as well as bragging rights for the next year.
James said: “We’ve all moved to different parts of the country and FIFA has always kept us together.
“We’ve been playing together since I can remember and doing the tournament gives us an excuse to meet.”
Competitors Aaron Theaker, 25, Joe Bradshaw, 30, Chris Duffy, 31, Rob Hutchings, 30, and 28-year-olds Adam Ford, Matt De La Mare and Chris Jebb gathered at James’ house for the PlayStation tournament.
A live league table is projected onto a wall and the battles commence on two televisions.
Tournament packs, containing player profiles, fixtures, rules and FIFA controls, are issued to each player on arrival and players must not practice on the game the night before the event.
Each player wears their team’s kit and must always buy a new footie top as part of the on-going tradition.
James said: “We get very competitive. I’m sure my neighbours dread the annual game, but it’s all banter and laughter.
“Our opening ceremony gets us into the spirit and really sets the tone of the day.
“After a gruelling 14 hours, the winner has to do an acceptance speech and then drink from the trophy.
“It’s a great laugh and something we look forward to every year.”
Prior to the tournament, the lads each have voting cards to determine: best player, most entertaining player, team of the tournament and most boring player.
This year saw Aaron win the league and take home the trophy.
James said: “Each year it just seems to get bigger and crazier. We love doing it and I love hosting it.
“At the end of the day we are a bunch of mates all fighting to win.
“Aaron beat me to the trophy this year, but next year I’ll come back fighting.”
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