Mind games begin ahead of inaugural PR Cup

There was some fighting talk and even a poem from PR footballers after the groups were drawn ahead of the inaugural PR Cup tournament this week.

While every squad has been sold into PRWeek as looking good on paper, teams will have to give a 110 per cent if they are to lift the coveted trophy.

The 16-team five-a-side tournament kicks off at 1pm this Friday (July 12) at Powerleague Nine Elms in Vauxhall. 

As well as finding the next Cruyff of comms and PR Pogba, the event will help raise funds and awareness for the Taylor Bennett Foundation, an organisation that addresses the need for greater diversity in the industry by encouraging black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) graduates to pursue a career in communications.

Mixed squads of up to 10 players will enter a group stage that will consist of three 14-minute matches, before the winners of each move into the knockout phase where an extra yard of pace might make all the difference.

On Friday (July 5) veteran commentator Ian 'Moose' Abrahams drew the 16 teams into four groups (see below), describing the tournament as the only "real event" this summer.

Mischief captain Vishal Rana was quick to cool talk about a 'Group of Death'. "You may think being in the so-called ‘group of death’ is a bad thing, but to be the best you need to beat the best," he said.

Kelvin Morgan, of Madano’s Technology, was unsure what team would turn up on the day but drew inspiration from the Tangerines, and that other Oranje team that lost to the USA on Sunday.

"We’re wearing the iconic Dutch orange, but it may well be a Blackpool-esque performance," he said. "Our rivals should be warned – we do have former academy players on our books, but like the rest of us, they’ve been plagued with injuries."

He added: "Diversity is such an important topic and I’m pleased that the industry is hosting more events like the PR Cup to address the challenges we face."

Hope&Glory skipper Seb Dilleyston described his outfit as "football’s forgotten men and women, with years of no training".

He added: "We know Ready10, Pitch and Taylor Herring will likely bring ringers, but we don’t play like that. Yes, we have the numbers of  Cantona, Giroud, Henry, Seaman, Odemwingie and even Kamara on speed dial, but we play fair. 

"We want to apologise in advance for our previous disciplinary issues (just ask the Press Association team), but we’ve been getting help and can confirm we’re in a much better place."

PrettyGreen Stormers captain George Burkett ratcheted-up the bullshit-o-meter a notch in an attempt to sharpen refereeing attention against one of the event organisers: "We play football like we do PR – less ordinary and loud and proud. We know all the teams well and have beaten a few in the past, but our main concern is the conscious or unconscious bias that Ready10 as organisers may use to their advantage."

Account manager at Ready10 Dan Mason added: "If we do bring the PR Cup back to our Highbury office, it would be a fantastic achievement for the agency. Especially as the clubs from this part of London haven’t seen a trophy in a while."

PRWeek chief whistleblower Arvind 'red mist' Hickman warned that such accusations of bias would not go unpunished on the day.

"I'd urge teams to do their talking on the pitch – but not too much talking, because [fellow strict official] Delahunty and I will be vying for the Golden Red Card trophy. Plus, we know this industry likes to talk the talk, but we see through spin. Friday is about actions, not words – but not knee-high actions."

The CIPR's star goalkeeper Koray Camgoz took a more official 'signed off' line in talking up his team's chances.

"We have a proud tradition of promoting excellence and raising standards in our industry and we’re confident of translating those values on to the pitch. We’ve been handed a tough group, but we’ll stick to our philosophy, even if it means sacrificing results – or an early trip to the pub."

Mitch Kaye, a double left-footed all-courter at The Academy, let it be known that football was not his only talent.

"So many jokes, so many beers
But all those oh-so-nears
Wear you down, through the years
But I still see that tackle by Dan
And that corner from Sam
Kieran risking a ban
And Arnie dancing
One brain on the shirt
Danny Rogers refereeing
Five years of hurt
Never stopped us dreaming"

The tournament has been organised by the Taylor Bennett Foundation and Ready10, is sponsored by Markettiers and supported by PRWeek.

Every penny raised will go towards the Taylor Bennett Foundation. Read more about their programmes here.

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