The INAS-FID European Championship was a major event in the England calendar in 2008.
The INAS-FID European Championship was a major event in the England calendar in 2008 with the eight best teams on the continent descending on the North West.
Six venues in the Manchester area played host to 20 games during the end of July and early August, with Oldham Athletic's Boundary Park staging the Final.
Alan Gillett's Three Lions were one of the tournament favourites, but knew that holders Netherlands, who had beaten them in a friendly in April, would be a major obstacle in their way.
And so it proved. Both nations cruised through their groups winning all three games, scoring 47 goals between them and shipping just four. Their successes meant they would avoid each other in the Semi-Finals where England beat Poland and the Dutch saw off Hungary.
In the showdown in Oldham, Holland were helped by the 18th-minute dismissal of England's Scott Curley, despite going a goal down seven minutes later.
Midway through the second half, however, Holland's possession finally told. Three late strikes put the game to bed and handed the Dutch their third successive title.
Gillett was optimistic after the game. "When we went 1-0 up I thought it was going to be a big ask because I always thought the Dutch were the best side in the competition.
"The red card spoilt it for me because we'd had the lion's share of the game and that changed the way they were playing for us.
"The players have done terrifically being away from home for two weeks. I think the way forward now is to develop the younger players like Royce Greenidge, who have done brilliantly."
In October, a new manager was named for the Cerebral Palsy team with the experienced Lyndon Lynch taking charge ahead of next year’s European and World Championship campaign.
Lynch is no stranger to Disability Football having been in charge of the England Learning Disability side that beat Holland 2-1 to win the World Cup in Yokohama six years ago.
And the PE teacher was also in charge of this year’s Great Britain Cerebral Palsy side that competed at the Paralympic Games in Beijing.
"It was a fantastic experience for everyone involved and a lot of the players in that side will be in the England CP team, so hopefully we can build on that for our own 2009 campaign," said Lynch.
Great Britain finished seventh out of eight competing nations in Beijing in the seven-a-side
tournament where Ukraine retained first place won four years previously in Greece.
Meanwhile, GB had another side competing in China. The Blind team took part in the five-a-side
competition where, after playing six matches, they finished fifth overall as Brazil took the gold medals.
The England Women’s Deaf Squad finished third at the first Deaf World Cup in Greece in July with a resounding victory over South Africa having narrowly lost their Semi-Final to eventual champions, Russia, in extra-time.
The men's side didn't have so much joy. Having missed out on a Quarter-Final spot in Patras, they met Holland for eleventh place and came away 4-2 victors.
Reflecting back the World Championship campaign, Head Coach, Richard Horner said: "The future for England looks bright if performances like this continue. Plans are now in place to take us forward into 2009."