2017 Bird & Bird Football Tournament Highlights

As Roll on Friday makes very clear, Bird & Bird is well renowned for the importance it places on the social side of the firm, and rightly so. This is perhaps best evidenced at the annual inter-office football tour. Every year a different European office plays host to the rest of the firm; in 2016 Budapest was the chosen city, with this year’s host being The Hague. Given that total football and everything tiki-taka was born in The Netherlands, this was sure to be a memorable year.

The tour has been running since 2005, and is really aimed at associates, trainees and business support staff. This isn’t to say that partners aren’t invited, but that’s the general understanding! England has the most impressive track record on the men’s side, with the stiffest competition usually coming from Germany and Scandinavia. 2016 saw Germany beat England on penalties in the final (you can’t write this stuff) so the England team, captained by yours truly, had been in intense training for months to right this wrong. Now when I say “intense training”, I mean that we play in a fairly average 5-a-side corporate league on Mondays, and when I say I was captain, I was actually injured and therefore taking the Mourinho role on the side-line.

England ladies were equally keen to vanquish their narrow loss to the Danes in the 2016 final. With a strong uptake in the ladies’ Wednesday 5-a-side league, a natural born-winner in captain Emma Vertigen (NQ) and of course a steely determination to show up the men, the ladies went into the tournament with a lot of expectation.

Now, whilst everyone does of course want to win (we’re lawyers, competitiveness is in our blood), this is a relaxed weekend with a bit of football thrown in, as opposed to the Champions League. Most trainees and junior associates attend, but playing football is by no means a pre-requisite; it is entirely up to you if you want to play or just spectate with some beers in the sun. This year we had three men’s teams, and one ladies’ team.

So, what happened on the weekend?

Most took a half-day on Friday before flying off to Amsterdam. Once we got to our accommodation, (I should point out at this stage that all we had to pay for were flights and a nominal contribution to the beer/food fund), we headed to the beach where we were greeted with a spectacular spread of food, before partying into the evening with our European colleagues. It really is an amazing opportunity to get an idea of what life is like at Bird & Bird offices outside of London, as well as meet people from the London office that you wouldn’t otherwise see in your day-to-day life at Bird & Bird.

With many a weary head, those who were playing in the tournament had a fairly early rise the next morning. The sun was shining, and England’s men and women stormed through all of their matches to reach the finals. The men cruised to a fairly easy victory in the final against Sweden/Finland (a combined team), whilst the ladies narrowly lost to Denmark. The ladies were of course gutted to go out in the same fashion as the year before, but these emotions soon faded away as we looked forward to the evening’s entertainment.

With a fair few rouge foreheads, all of the countries joined together for what can only be described as a feast in the centre of The Hague, followed by a large night on the town a civilised few drinks.

People were left to their own devices on Sunday. Most of the trainees stayed around to enjoy The Hague, flying back to London early evening, eager to get back to work on Monday!

Jonathan Robb, Trainee Solicitor

View all the highlights from the 2017 Bird & Bird football tournament weekend below!

Tournament Day 1:

Tournament Day 2:

Closing Party Highlights: