Strongbow turns the tables

Foosball, futsal, kicker or table football, as UK aficionados of the game know it, has been played in pubs around the world by fans of all ages for decades. But, while table football is enthusiastically enjoyed by players of both genders, the teams that traditionally line up on the table have always been depicted as male players.

Thanks to Strongbow cider, all that changed when former semi-pro footballer and TOWIE star Mark Wright went head-to-head with former Made in Chelsea star Caggie Dunlop on the world’s first ‘Boys v Girls’ football table at the Sports Bar & Grill in London’s Marylebone Station.

The unique table, which features hand crafted male and female figures, was specially created to celebrate this year’s Strongbow ‘EARN IT. Challenge’, which saw an amateur men’s five-a-side football team represent the leading UK cider brand in a unique match against Vasco, one of Brazil’s finest professional women’s football teams, in Rio de Janeiro.

Under the watchful eyes of team manager Chris Kamara and assistant manager Mark Wright, the five men from Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Portsmouth were whittled down from almost 900 five-a-side hopefuls to compete in the latest Strongbow 'EARN IT. Rio Challenge'.

The winning quintet, along with three substitute players from other areas of the UK who were also selected from the trials day, flew out to Rio de Janeiro, where they went through a rigorous week of training in the Brazilian capital before taking on the mighty Vasco, one of the leading football clubs in Brazil.

Commenting on the revolutionary new table, Mark Wright, said: “Playing table football down the pub with your mates, is what everyone does isn't it? My family are all football mad and my mum and sisters always get involved if we go out together. That’s why it was so good to be one of the first people to play on the world’s first mixed sex football table as part of the Strongbow Rio challenge.

Caggie Dunlop added: “It was great to play on the first Girls v Boys table football. My friends and I always play if we’re in a pub with a table and it’s good that women footballers have finally been recognised in this way.”