THE SUNDAY LEAGUE TEAM WHO HAVE BEEN
PROFESSIONALLY FILMING ALL THEIR MATCHES SINCE 1990 !

ARCHIVE OF PREVIOUS SEASONS SEASON 2019-2020 Site Designed & Maintained by Laurence Hughes (Club Secretary, Chairman & Cameraman !) e-mail: laurence_hughes@yahoo.co.uk  © 2021  Laurence Hughes

APPEARANCES

APPEARANCES & GOALSCORERS SEASON 2019-2020 (INCLUDES PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES)

MATCH REPORTS

MATCH REPORTS SEASON 2019-2020

CHAIRMANSBLOG

CHAIRMAN’S BLOGS SEASON 2019-2020

TEAM PHOTO


Back Row (L-R): Aiden Kavanagh, James Phillips, Ian Whitmore, Lexton Harrison, Sam Woolley, Ayo Matthews, Rashaan Fenton-West, Harold Ofori, Tony McKay (Manager), Roderick Bennett (Asst. Manager)

Front Row (L-R): Ciaran Nolan, Subomi Kushanu, Antonio Fusco, Keiran Kavanagh, Josh Baptiste, Mustafa Farhan, Leon McKenzie-McKay, Laurence Hughes (Chairman/Secretary)

CLICK HERE
FOR LEAGUE TABLES FROM ALL DIVISIONS OF THE BARNET SUNDAY LEAGUE
AT THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS ENDING THE SEASON (16th March 2020)

FINAL BARNET SUNDAY LEAGUE DIVISION ONE TABLE
(ALL RESULTS EXPUNGED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS)

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

Garad ABDI

1


Tarique JONES

1


Anton ADAMS

1


Lorenzo JULIEN

1


Henry AKINSANMI

13

1

Aiden KAVANAGH

17

3

Edward ALLAN (GK)

1


Connor KAVANAGH

2


Stephan ARTHUR

1


Keiran KAVANAGH

10

3

Curtis BAALAM

5


Antwan KERR

1


Grant BAKER (GK)

2


Subomi KUSHANU

10


Jack BANGS

6

2

Ayo MATTHEWS

12

2

Josh BAPTISTE

7


Eben MBONA

2

7

Kieran BELL

1


Khaheem McKENZIE

2


Leon BERNARD

1


Leon McKENZIE-McKAY

15

6

Eni BEZATI

6

1

Ben MENSAH

3


Taurean BRYAN

4


Ciaran NOLAN

12


Daniel CASCOE

12


Sean NOLAN

1


Ruairi COLES

4

1

Nana NSIAH BOADI

1


Kamarni COLLINGTON

5

3

Nana OBENG

5

1

Martin CRUICKSHANK

3


Harold OFORI

10


David DAIRO

1

1

Jean Emile OMANGA

2


Daniel DALEY

3


Liam PEARCE

2


Nick DANIEL

3


Carlo PERNICE

7

3

Nigel DaSILVA

1


Tyronne PETRIE

9


Omar EL ISSAOUI

6

1

James PHILLIPS

5

1

Dahir FARAH

1


Michael ROBB (GK)

2


Mustafa FARHAN

17

1

Marcus SIMON

8

3

Rashaan FENTON-WEST

8


Carlos TARRAGONA-TURU

1


Joel FERREIRA

1


Emmanuel TEDEKU

4


Antonio FUSCO

5


Oshade WATSON

3


Sedat GEORGE

2


Ian WHITMORE (GK)

12


Richard HARRIS

4


Kiran WILLER

3


Lexton HARRISON

6


Macorlie WOOD

1


Solomon HENRY

1


Sam WOOLLEY

14


CLICK ON THE OPPONENTS' NAME TO VIEW A MATCH REPORT & THE YOU TUBE LINK TO VIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Date of Match

Opponents

 

Competition

Result

You Tube

Sunday 4th August

MUSWELL HILL

Away

Pre-Season Friendly

Lost 2-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 11th August

CSM LONDON

Away

Pre-Season Friendly

Lost 1-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 18th August

NORTH LONDON ATHLETIC

Home

Pre-Season Friendly

Won 2-1

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 25th August

CONTINENTAL

Home

Pre-Season Friendly

Lost 1-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 1st September

TAKERS

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 2-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 8th September

ENFIELD UNITED

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 0-2

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 15th September

THE WRONGENS

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Won 5-2

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 22nd September

NORTHUMBERLAND PARK RANGERS

Home

Barnet Sunday League Challenge Cup, 1st Round

Lost 2-3

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 29th September

TAKERS

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 0-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 6th October

BELMONT ATHLETIC

Home

London FA Sunday Challenge Trophy, 2nd Round

Lost 2-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 13th October

PAT RICE & PEAS

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 0-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 20th October

NO MATCH ARRANGED

Sunday 27th October

TRABZONSPOR UK

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 0-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 3rd November

AC FINCHLEY

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 2-7

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 10th November

GTFA

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 17th November

GRANGE PARK

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Won 4-0

Match Not Filmed

Sunday 24th November

ENFIELD UNITED

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 0-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 1st December

PAT RICE & PEAS

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 8th December

GTFA

Home

Barnet Sunday League Intermediate Cup, 2nd Rd.

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 15th December

AC FINCHLEY

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 22nd December

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Xmas Break)

Sunday 29th December

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Xmas Break)

Sunday 5th January

GTFA

Home

Barnet Sunday League Intermediate Cup, 2nd Rd.

Drew 1-1 (Won 4-2 Pens.)

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 12th January

FC LOKOMOTIV THUNDER

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 3-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 19th January

GTFA

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Won 7-3

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 26th January

TRABZONSPOR UK

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 0-3

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 2nd February

AC UNITED

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 9th February

GTFA

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

POSTPONED (Dangerous Winds)

Sunday 16th February

NO MATCH ARRANGED (All matches called off waterlogged pitch anyway)

Sunday 23rd February

THE WRONGENS

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

Lost 2-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 1st March

AC FINCHLEY

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 8th March

AC UNITED

Home

Barnet League Intermediate Cup, Quarter-Final

Won 5-1

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 15th March

GRANGE PARK

Home

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

POSTPONED BY OPPONENTS (Coronavirus)

ALL REMAINING FIXTURES WERE DECLARED ‘NULL & VOID’ BY THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION DUE TO CORONAVIRUS


CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Tuesday 24th December 2019

This is my first Chairman’s Blog since April last season, not because of any disillusionment with the club. Far from it, as I am always positive about the club’s future despite a number of disappointing things that have happened over the past eight months which I will get to shortly. The reason for the lack of updates to the club website is because I am now the Barnet Sunday League Fixture Secretary, Fines Secretary, and also an unofficial League General Secretary (due to the sudden enforced absences of others on the Committee). With the League expanding rapidly all the time thanks to the use of social media with 19 new clubs joining this season and every club in the League having to be individually shown how to use the F.A.’s Whole Game System during the Summer in order to register their club officials and all their players online themselves, it was a massive amount of work that I had to undertake in creating various manuals and screenshots for them all, otherwise the League would have been in a right mess and we as a club could have found ourselves as members of a third League in a row that was having to fold. Hopefully the League can find somebody else to permanently take on the Fines and General Secretary roles after Christmas though, which will then give me more time to concentrate on Rovers again, which I am now finally doing during the League’s two-week Christmas break.

Where I left off last April with my last Chairman’s Blog was that despite several season-ending injuries for a large number of our players, because Division One was so tight between all the teams apart from runaway Champions Zenit St. Whetstone, we were actually in a position going into our final three games of the season whereby we could finish as Runners-Up if we won all those matches and other results went our way. We got off to a good start with a 3-2 Home win against bottom team New Barnet thanks to an ‘Added-On-Time’ winner from Arron Sebastian, but then two weeks later we faced mid-table FC Lokomotiv Thunder at Enfield Playing Fields, which was their Home game on a pitch which they had to hire due to their normal ground at Highgate Woods being too ‘churned up’. Typically, numerous defenders/defensive-minded players then let us down on the day with one or two not playing for ‘personal reasons’, in other words basically not getting on with one or two of their team-mates, which was something that had been festering all season, undoubtedly because of frustration that due to all the injuries we had suffered and teams in Division One being much stronger, we simply couldn’t reproduce the sort of form we had managed back in 2016-2017 when we won the Division Two title without losing a game. With too many players in their mid/late-30’s (and even early-40’s) all having to start the game, that saw us lose 10-1 to FC Lokomotiv Thunder, which was our heaviest defeat for eleven years. That saw a mass walk-out of players on the final whistle, forcing us to concede our final match of the season as it was against League leaders Zenit St. Whetstone, meaning a possible threat to our all-time heaviest-ever defeat of 29-0 if we had attempted to play that particular game.

The fine for doing that was of course very damaging and it meant no trophies could be bought for our club AGM, not that there were any players left with the club who were in contention to win an award anyway. In fact only six players bothered turning up to the AGM, but thankfully we were not at ‘rock bottom’ at that point as we knew we already had a whole new group of young players joining us in Aiden Kavanagh’s younger brother Keiran and 12 of his mates who had all now finished University and were all keen to attend Pre-Season Training. When those Pre-Season Training sessions started in July at Enfield Playing Fields, these new players plus one or two other trialists from other sources all attended regularly whereas our existing players from the previous season only turned up occasionally, so Keiran not surprisingly asked that his players should all be given preference for a place in the starting line-up once our matches started. However Manager Tony McKay could see straight away that not all of them would be good enough to play in Division One…which we were still stuck in for the coming season instead of getting relegated, so he wanted to mix the new players in with the best of any players who were still remaining from the previous season. We did just that for our four Pre-Season Friendlies, three of which we lost, but two of those were against Premier Division teams and another was against a very good CSM London side run by our ex-player Anees Ikramullah, so we were not too concerned at that point. However, we then went and lost seven of our first eight League & Cup games with this mixture of old and new and it all came to a head in our 5-0 Away defeat to Trabzonspor UK in late October when with Tony away on holiday and players taking it upon themselves to play where they liked, there were arguments galore afterwards and it all ended with Keiran and the others he had brought along all walking out en-masse. We then re-signed a number of former players for the following week’s Home match against AC Finchley together with some new ones from other sources but we still ended up losing 7-2, and since then it has been a really difficult job to get players motivated as the weather took a hold with game after game postponed because of heavy rain right up until the Christmas break. We did actually manage a 4-0 win Away to fellow strugglers Grange Park in mid-November though, but we then followed that up with a 5-0 defeat to Enfield United the following week despite fielding more-or-less the same team.

The problem we have in Division One this season is that out of the eleven participating teams, five of them are new teams to the League who should be in the Premier Division but have to serve their time in Division One first because it is ‘unfair’ to relegate others to make way for them, then there is Enfield United, who are also good enough for the top division whenever they get their full-strength side out, which they always do against us (because they want to look good on You Tube), but not against others as their policy is to give all their squad members a fair runout. We are therefore one of five other teams who are basically in our own mini-League for 7th place and just aiming to avoid relegation, so not surprisingly all five of us…FC Lokomotiv Thunder, The Wrongens, Grange Park & GTFA being the other four…are now finding our players becoming very disillusioned and for most, it is a real struggle to field a side, especially with constant postponements for bad weather not helping. In our case, we have been losing our matches by four or five clear goals to the top six sides, but we haven’t actually been playing all that badly in those games. The difference has been in the finishing ability, which has been quite unbelievable at times. Normally at our level of the game, goals from our opponents come about from our players making blatantly obvious individual mistakes, but that actually hasn’t happened too often so far this season and teams have been scoring ‘worldies’ against us instead. In addition to that, we have only played two matches so far this season against the other four teams in the bottom half of the table and we won them both comfortably. With the likes of Curtis Baalam, Daniel Daley, Nassir Ali, Marlon Bennett, Richard Harris & Nana Obeng all hoping to return in the New Year and recent signings Sedat George and Marcus Simon looking very useful in attack, we could easily go on a good run and maybe even get a result against one or two of the top six as long as we have a proper goalkeeper and a reasonably settled side. However there is one big problem we face at the moment that could well destroy all our hopes and that is a lack of money in the club’s funds. We have paid our Home pitch fees for the season, so no problem there. But we cannot afford to pay for any other invoices that are going to come our way, including training pitch fees (now that we have re-started Wednesday night training sessions) and player registration fees. The Barnet Sunday League charge £5.00 per player for that, which is tough for us as we now have 60 players registered this season ! 13 of those are players from Herts Senior County League side New River Athletic, who are run by Daniel Daley’s cousin Marce Collington, while three others are from Haringey 6th Form College. The reason Tony McKay has joined us up with these two sources of players at training on Wednesday evenings on the 3G pitch at Enfield Playing Fields is because they are all young (predominantly aged 16-21) and they have the potential fitness and ability to compete with the top six teams in our division whereas a number of our longer-serving players do not… as basically, time has caught up with them. Tony is also not happy with some of our existing players not being prepared to attend training, constantly turning up late to matches, not communicating with him to let him know if they are available or not, and only making themselves available for one or two matches a month and then expecting to walk into the starting line-up whenever they can play. For the first match after we registered these new players for us, Tony put six of them in the squad (ahead of players who had not bothered to confirm their availability as usual and seem to expect him to contact them), and they all turned up at the ground at the time he asked…well before any of our existing players. Unfortunately that match (at Home to GTFA) was postponed as soon as they arrived because of a waterlogged pitch, but it was certainly an eye-opener and food for thought.

The problem with doing all this though is money. Namely payment of subs. Because that just doesn’t happen in the Herts Senior County League as the players all play for free and are quite often paid expenses as well. Add in the fact that the large majority of these players are students, meaning they are all going to have to play for free for us as well, as that is a condition laid down by Marce to Tony when he decided to sign them. That is because we are effectively now New River Athletic’s Reserve Team in that respect, but playing on a Sunday. That’s unless our existing players all knuckle down, pay their subs, turn up to training and make themselves available for matches on a regular basis where they can then be picked ahead of the youngsters who are training with us. However, as they owe over £1,000 in subs between them, that is probably not going to happen, so we are now at a point where most of our registered players (new and old) are holding us to ransom where we either find sponsors to pay the bills or the players will just leave and find another club who have the necessary sponsorship to let them play for free. As I mentioned in my last Chairman’s Blog, this is the way that Sunday League football is going thanks to the success of the You Tube teams, and as it was me who started the craze back in 2009 when we became the first Sunday League You Tube team, I don’t think we can really grumble.

So what do we do now ? Well, there is nothing to stop our older players who have good jobs from sponsoring us themselves…as indeed Tyronne Petrie did for our rain jackets. The sponsorship can either be paying subs per match as normal anyway, paying for a set of training balls or match balls, or even paying to subsidise training sessions. I will of course try and keep the website (and Twitter) up-to-date where sponsorships can be publicised, in addition to putting logos and mentions on the You Tube match highlights, but the key to our future could well be Instagram. In the Barnet Sunday League, pretty much every team has an Instagram account and they are all dab hands at using it…unlike myself as I am way too old to learn how to converse in smileys and street slang ! In fact a heck of a lot of teams use Instagram for all their admin in naming their line-ups & goalscorers and doing match reports instead of following the League rules by using proper triplicate match forms and their Full-Time logins. They don’t seem bothered if they receive a big fine as presumably the sponsorship they get from using Instagram to the max will easily pay those fines anyway. We of course will not be ignoring the League rules as that would be rather embarrassing for me personally, but I will be handing over the club Instagram account to our Captain Aiden Kavanagh for him to get us going on social media with a much higher profile from now on, so let’s see what happens.

0

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Tuesday 17th March 2020

As we approached the Christmas break at the time of my last Chairman’s Blog in early December, we had just suffered our third postponement of the season due to a waterlogged pitch at Home to GTFA for a Division One match, but that situation was not really that unusual going by other recent seasons where heavy rain had put paid to our fixtures three or four times a season on average. However, our game Away to AC Finchley the following week was then also called off waterlogged, meaning we ended up not playing for five weeks in a row (including the Christmas break) before we took on GTFA at Home in the Second Round of the League Intermediate Cup on the 5th January. In my previous Chairman’s Blog, I had looked forward to the return of key players such as Curtis Baalam, Daniel Daley, Khaheem McKenzie, Nassir Ali, Marlon Bennett, Richard Harris & Nana Obeng after injuries and/or work commitments had ruled them all out so far, and also seeing pre-Christmas signings Sedat George & Marcus Simon playing regularly alongside those players to give us a really strong squad going into the second half of the season. However, only Curtis managed to play more than two games in the six post-Christmas matches we have played, while Nassir & Marlon’s comebacks were put completely on hold and Sedat decided to stay in his native Gambia throughout January, February & early March because the weather over here had become increasingly worse and it was pointless coming back here to play football with so many games getting called off. That persistent bad weather then resulted in four more postponements for waterlogged pitches or dangerous storm-force winds, while most of the six matches we did manage to play went ahead on badly churned-up or quagmire surfaces that didn’t enable us to pass the ball around in midfield like we normally would. With our pre-Christmas midweek training session partnership with Herts Senior County League side New River Athletic and their Coach Marcè Collington still intact though and a large number of their players registered for us by now, we were able to give four of them their debuts in the starting line-up for that GTFA Cup match on the 5th January including 19-year-old goalkeeper Michael Robb and two 16-year-olds in central defender Nana Nsiah Boadi and Marcè’s son Kamarni, an attacking player. Also making his debut at right-back was Omar El Issaoui, an 18-year-old from Haringey 6th Form College, which was another option we were exploring in getting 16-21 year-olds along to midweek training sessions. With so many new players playing though, we didn’t play well as a team and we really rode our luck to gain a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. However, in the ensuing penalty shoot-out, new keeper Robb was the hero with two great saves to see us through to the Quarter-Finals, which delighted our goalkeeping coach Bob Cleary, who was now looking forward to working with somebody who would hopefully be committed for the rest of the season, unlike others in recent seasons who had not lasted long and somewhat left us in the lurch.
However, for our next match the following week Away to mid-table FC Lokomotiv Thunder on a ridiculously unplayable mudbath pitch at Highgate Woods, Marcè had pulled all his players out of the squad after a disagreement regarding who was going to be funding them playing for us, so that left us without a goalkeeper again with outfield squad player Josh Baptiste then volunteering to take over instead of sitting on the bench. Of course like many other players in our long history, Josh said ‘Yeah, I have played in goal before’, but after we found ourselves 5-1 down at Half-Time from finishes that invariably caught him badly-positioned, it then became evident that what he meant was only at 5-a-side, not 11-a-side. With FC Lokomotiv Thunder having beaten us 10-1 the last time we played them, we were hoping the Referee would then abandon the game because of the state of the pitch…and indeed he took 10 minutes thinking about it while on the phone to somebody for advice, but with Henry Akinsanmi having turned up by then after family commitments and youngsters Omar El Issaoui and Garad Abdi (for his debut) also on the bench, the introduction of Henry and Omar at Half-Time for the badly unfit Khaheem McKenzie & Daniel Daley saw us dominate the Second Half and play our best football of the season so far, but we squandered numerous chances and ended up losing 5-3 when we could easily have won the game in the end. This match also saw Manager Tony McKay run out of patience with Jack Bangs and Daniel Cascoe, both long-serving (and very good) players for us, but both so laid-back that they yet again strolled along to this match just before the kick-off in the hope of avoiding the warm-up but still be picked to start, which was ‘typical Sunday League football’ many years ago, but not at the level we and most other teams in our League aspire to nowadays. With us having four substitutes named on the teamsheet already, we therefore had to leave both of them out, so off home they went and that was the last we saw of them (apart from attending the odd midweek training session here and there).
Our Second Half performance at Highgate Woods gave us confidence though, and with Marcè’s players back in the fold for the following Sunday’s Home League match against GTFA on the 19th January after things had been patched up with Tony during the week, we fielded 12 players (including Mustafa Farhan as a substitute) who were all of proven quality, they were all fit, and they were all able to ‘click’ as a team. With 21-year-old forward Eben Mbona making his debut and scoring a hat-trick in a 7-3 win and Curtis ‘The Quarterback’ Baalam pulling the strings in midfield in setting up most of our chances, our players really enjoyed themselves and the team spirit was excellent. However, our match the following Sunday was against one of the title challengers in the division in Trabzonspor UK, and typical of us we had numerous key players making themselves unavailable, leaving us with just a bare eleven including new signing Macorlie Wood, a player who had e-mailed asking to join after moving down from Leeds, but whom none of us had ever seen play before. To make matters worse, goalkeeper Michael Robb had dropped out with a back injury with his chiropractor advising him not to play again this season, while Curtis Baalam had to drop out through illness and the previous week’s hat-trick hero Eben Mbona was also unavailable. New signing Wood therefore had to be thrown in at the deep end up front alongside the worryingly unfit and off-form Ayo Matthews and we just didn’t look like scoring at all with ‘Woody’ clearly not good enough against a team packed with current or former Semi-Pros. Defensively though we were excellent in the First Half with Sam Woolley and Henry Akinsanmi both playing well as a makeshift centre-back pairing. However, Manager McKay didn’t see that as he had driven off to pick up another player in New River Athletic defender Jean Emile Omanga, who was waiting at Edmonton Green station for a lift. They both arrived at the ground during the Half-Time interval with us only losing 1-0 and somewhat undeservedly too, but with Tony assuming Sam and Henry would want to play in their normal positions for the Second Half, Jean was brought on to play as a central defender instead of Henry and we were nowhere near as solid defensively thereafter because none of our players had even met him before. Predictably, Trabzonspor then went on to score another couple of goals for a comfortable 3-0 win with us having no other substitutes and it was a really frustrating and depressing day for us.
That was made even more so when we were then left without a match for three Sundays in a row due to more waterlogged pitches caused by heavy rain every Saturday night without fail, while even dangerous storm-force winds caused the postponement of another match. We did finally manage to play a Home League match against mid-table The Wrongens on the 23rd February though, and with us having beaten them 5-2 back in September, we were confident of another victory…until it became clear that we were not going to be able to find a proper goalkeeper from anywhere. That saw attacking midfielder Eni Bezati making himself available to play a rare game as a makeshift keeper, but with us losing 2-1 at Half-Time and himself being at fault for at least one of those goals, he refused to stay in goal for the Second Half, meaning Oshade Watson having to take over while Eni had a runout at left-back. Oshade understandably wasn’t great in goal either though and we ended up losing 4-2 mainly for that reason, but as we did in the FC Lokomotiv Thunder match, we squandered numerous chances and really should have won the game. That was despite us fielding four more new players in Stephan Arthur, Tarique Jones, Joel Ferreira and substitute Dahir Farah, all of whom had been attending training having been brought along by one source or another. They all played either in attack or as attacking midfielders in this match without scoring though and following that result they have not played or turned up to training since, so it was quite possibly yet another example of players not being prepared to put up with the stick they get from their mates watching them playing for a losing team on You Tube, which is something that has plagued us for years with players only playing one match (or maybe two if we are lucky) and then disappearing.
We did have a boost for that match against The Wrongens with the temporary return of midfielder Connor Kavanagh though. Like his twin brother Aiden and a number of other players who are still playing for us, Connor was a key member of our 2016-2017 Division Two title-winning squad in our first season in the Barnet Sunday League, but he moved to live and work in China once that season had ended and has been working there ever since. However, he was now back over here for a six-week holiday, and although having not kicked a ball for three
years, he still turned out to be very influential against The Wrongens and managed a whole 90 minutes.

For our next fixture two weeks later though (after yet another waterlogged pitch postponement), we were playing at Home to AC United in the League Intermediate Cup Quarter-Final, which was a much harder match on paper with our opponents having only lost one match in all competitions so far this season and that only by a narrow 2-1 margin to Division One leaders Takers. They had also reached the London FA Sunday Challenge Trophy Final, which certainly takes some doing, and they were many people’s favourites for the Division One title. With us still lying second from bottom in the Division One table and in erratic form, nobody gave us a chance and we really didn’t expect too much ourselves, but Marcè was able to get Eben Mbona to play again and with Marcè now having folded New River Athletic and joined Step 5 club London Colney as a Coach, he was also able to get their 18-year-old first-choice goalkeeper Eddie Allan to sign up for this match as well. So that was our biggest two problems (finishing and goalkeeping) solved and we managed to produce a major shock result with a 5-1 win with Eben scoring four and Eddie looking safe and solid in goal, not that he had much to do as AC United clearly underestimated us and left four or five of their better players out of their squad. However, we were missing a similar number of good players ourselves, and when we looked at the squad that was now at our disposal for the rest of the season, it was clear that we now had a team as good as anybody else in the League, Premier Division included…if they would all be able to commit themselves. Yes, sponsorship and the payment of subs was still an issue, but that was being temporarily dealt with and we planned to just concentrate on playing and winning for now and then looking at things financially during the summer where success on the pitch would give us more of a chance of gaining sponsorship.

However, then CORONAVIRUS struck. Firstly with Sunday Leagues being allowed to continue but with individual clubs able to opt out of playing…which was what our opponents Grange Park chose to do for our Home League game against them on the 15th March when we probably would have been fielding arguably the strongest squad of 16 we had put out since our Waltham Sunday League Premier Division days 20 years ago. Then this week (as I write this latest blog), we have now been told by the Football Association and indeed the government to cease all activities and not play any fixtures until further notice. Yes, ‘further notice’ could just be for the 22nd & 29th March with fixtures resuming on Sunday 5th April, but it could be for several months, wiping out the rest of the season completely and even threatening the whole of next season as well. Who knows ?...at the moment.

Quite rightly, nobody from our club or indeed any other club in the Barnet Sunday League is complaining when lives are at stake, but obviously for ourselves as a club, thoughts are inevitably turning to what will happen to the remainder of the season and indeed whether we are going to be able to survive because of the financial impact this is going to have. We at Sunday League level are affected just the same as those in the professional and Semi-Professional game, particularly regarding the following options that have already been mentioned frequently in the media concerning all levels of football…

A) Reschedule all remaining fixtures and carry on as normal if the ban is lifted from the 5th April onwards.
B) Void the season completely (if the ban is ongoing throughout April and into May).
C) Suspend the season as it stands at the moment and carry on in September with the same current standings.
D) Cancel the rest of this season NOW and finish with the current standings.
E) Cancel the rest of this season now and produce final League tables using an average points per game method.
Those above suggestions are for League matches only of course. For the four Barnet Sunday League
Cup competitions, none of which have had the Semi-Finals played yet…nor indeed all of the Quarter-Finals in three of them…, the only way they can be saved is to play the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Finals in August or September even if we can continue playing after the 5th April. That is because the stadiums for the Finals have already been booked for the 3rd & 10th of May and it will be impossible to fit all the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals in before then when Sunday 12th April is Easter Day and certain teams haven’t even completed their pre-Quarter-Final round matches yet after refusing to play on the 15th March due to their own Coronavirus fears. If the two grounds that the League have hired for those Finals (at Potters Bar Town FC and Wingate & Finchley FC) agree for them be played at the end of May instead, then that would work if fixtures can resume on the 5th April, but that has not been discussed with them yet as far as I am aware. The problem with playing this season’s Cup Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Finals in August & September (assuming the nationwide ban is lifted by then) is that player registrations and eligibility could be complicated, while some of the teams involved may even have folded due to players leaving because of boredom from not being able to play or from being unable to pay certain bills. However, I would think that they are only minor issues compared to making a decision on what happens with the remaining League fixtures this season. The problem with Option A (if matches and events are allowed to resume in April) is that the goalposts will have to come down at Enfield Playing Fields in early May as normal for the annual Enfield Pageant of Motoring Show, while the cricket season is not going to be cancelled for football to take it’s place at shared venues elsewhere as that will be ‘unfair’ on that particular sport. Yes there will be 3G pitches available to use in May and possibly June if the FA allow Sunday League seasons to be extended past the current end date of 31st May, but many teams will still struggle to field a side for the afternoon or evening kick-offs that will have to be played at those venues in order to fit all the fixtures in. Many teams will not be able to field a side for midweek evening matches either. In fact some teams in the League have already given up and told me (as the League Fixture Secretary) that they will not be bothering to field a side if the League resumes because they have nothing left to play for. They are of course assuming that they will not get fined for deliberately conceding matches though, but that will be a matter for the League Management Committee to discuss. However, I would still expect the majority of teams in the League to make every effort to resume playing from the 5th April onwards if they are allowed to, and we will most certainly be one of those teams.
Regarding Option B…Voiding the season from the records completely if the ban continues into May…This would of course be harsh on any team who are currently in with a chance of winning a League title, but this is where if the Football Association advise all Leagues to do it, then the Barnet League should probably do it. However, this (and indeed all the other remaining options) could kill us off as a club because we have to pay Norsemen FC for 16 matches upfront to hire one of their pitches for the season at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club and it is in those terms and conditions that we cannot be given a refund if we do not use the pitch 16 times before the 31st May. At the moment, we still have five games to play there this season, so at £100 per game we will effectively be throwing £500 of the club’s money down the drain. I very much doubt if Norsemen will be able to give us a £500 credit off our invoice for next season as Coronavirus is not
their fault…unlike a waterlogged pitch where their outside contractor groundstaff maybe could have done a better job and Norsemen have then had to call the pitches off themselves. When that happens though, we just play the match on another date later in the same season anyway. The ‘credit’ doesn’t carry on into next season. But with a Coronavirus ban continuing, there won’t BE another date. If Norsemen/the Edmonton Sports & Social Club give us (and indeed Continental’s two teams who also hire the pitches off them) a £500 ‘credit’/refund, they may well have to lay off their bar staff and even close the whole place down…unless Enfield Council give them some sort of business tax relief of course, which is by no means certain at the moment. No other club in the Barnet Sunday League faces that situation. They all use pitches where they are either given a credit/refund ‘whatever’ if they are not used, or they only pay for their pitches on a monthly or even a match-by-match basis.
Regarding Option C…Suspending the season as it stands at the moment and then continuing in September with the same standings…The problem with this idea will be that a number of teams will undoubtedly be folding during the Summer, so that would have to mean a lot of matches being awarded or even previous results being expunged if those teams dropping out had not completed 75% of their fixtures. As with the Cup competitions from this season being played in September, player registrations would be complicated, and if a large number of players had left clubs during the Summer and new players were not allowed to be used, some clubs would not be able to field a team, thereby making a mockery of the League up until when the new season can start (in October ?) when those new players could then be used. However, the idea of continuing the season in September is certainly workable, and it will more likely result in teams who are currently top of the table (or near the top) winning the League titles that they deserve, which cannot be a bad thing. From our point of view, I am fairly confident that most of our current squad (including Marce’s players) will stay with us for next season, meaning we would then have a good chance of some wins in September which would take us clear of the relegation places.
Regarding Option D…Cancel the rest of this season now and finish with the current standings (in terms of awarding League titles, promotion and relegation)….I suspect this decision may well be made by the F.A. ahead of Option A if Leagues were instructed to extend the ban into April and May, although Option E (average points per game played) would probably be better and I would expect a campaign from most other Leagues at all levels of the game for the F.A. to instruct everybody to use that option so that the 2020-2021 Season can start in September as normal and the logistics of setting up the Whole Game System and Full-Time will therefore easy to manage….which it certainly won’t be if part of the 2019-2020 Season is being played at that time. However, that would probably have to involve the scrapping of all Cup competitions from this season so far, one of which we are of course still involved in !
So there you have it. In my 44 years of running Edmonton Rovers and being involved in Sunday League football, there has certainly been no other disastrous season anything like this one. Not just the Coronavirus issue but all the postponements for bad weather before it. But in the months ahead where I am likely to be stuck indoors with no paid match filming work on the horizon, I will carry on with ideas to promote the club and I will make sure that we will still survive. Just stay strong everybody !

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CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Thursday 23rd April 2020

It is just over a month ago now that we were told by the Football Association and indeed the government to cease all activities (including training sessions) and not play any fixtures until further notice due to the current coronavirus (or Covid-19) pandemic. At that time we had no idea how long it would last for, and indeed there was even a possibility that it would only be a two-week break, but obviously things have since turned out to be a lot more serious and a definite date for a resumption in activities is currently nowhere in sight.
The F.A. have already declared that Season 2019-2020 is over for Leagues at our level in terms of playing any more League matches, as April, May & June have already been declared as months where we are either going to be continuing on full lockdown or will not be allowed to gather for any sort of team sports. However, playing remaining League Cup & County Cup matches will be allowed as Pre-Season fixtures for whenever Season 2020-2021 is able to start. That is if Leagues themselves choose to do so for their own Cups …and at the moment it looks as if the Barnet Sunday League will be doing just that, meaning our first match back (whenever that is) will be our League Intermediate Cup Semi-Final against Enfield United. Obviously if the government decide that football at our level is only safe to resume once an effective vaccine is freely available though, that could mean August 2021 as opposed to August 2020, by which time a large number of players may no longer be able to play for one reason or another and clubs themselves may have folded either from a lack of money to be able to re-start or they may have suffered bereavements of key officials due to Covid-19, which is something that is already happening a lot at Saturday Non-League level, although many club officials there are a lot older than the four 60-somethings in myself, Tony, Roderick & Bob who run our club on a match-day. Although us four do keep ourselves fit and healthy, it will be very worrying for us at our age if we are put in a position where the F.A. allow football to re-commence pre-vaccination if we want to take a risk by utilising social distancing guidelines in players only using the changing rooms one at a time, not shaking hands with anybody and using sanitiser at every opportunity. I suspect that the F.A. will only allow that to happen if Covid-19 testing equipment was freely available by then for football teams at our level to use though, but even though the clubhouse bar would still probably not be allowed to open at our Home ground, I would think that most of our players would be happy to take risks and play again as soon as they get the chance, and I know that is most certainly the case with the large majority of other teams in our League.

As for what will happen with the final League tables from Season 2019-2020, obviously at professional level they are just going to finish the rest of the season (probably behind closed doors) when they can, which was something that a lot of Non-League (Saturdays) supporters and Club officials wanted to do as well. However, the FA somewhat controversially decided to treat the Non-League Pyramid the same as us Sunday Leagues and make the rest of the season’s fixtures ‘null & void’, thereby giving them a choice of either implementing the average points per game played system (to enable promotion and relegation from those final standings to be considered for Season 2020-2021) or just expunging all results from the season completely and keeping every team in the same divisions/Leagues for Season 2020-2021. With some Semi-Pro Saturday Leagues choosing to expunge all results though, that has resulted in uproar from clubs who had budgeted for and spent money on gaining promotion, but at Sunday League level, expunging all results is actually not a bad thing as promotion and relegation is never ‘top two / bottom two’-automatic anyway due to teams folding every year and new teams joining from other Leagues who need to go straight into the top two or three divisions. Sunday Leagues like ours also get a lot of mid-table teams voluntarily requesting relegation because they are no longer good enough to compete for titles and want to re-group at a lower level, and indeed from what I am hearing at the moment, because of that, Division One of the Barnet Sunday League will be looking very different whenever the new season starts.

As for the average points per game idea in publishing final League tables from the matches played so far, personally I am not in favour of that at our level because there are a lot of technical issues involved with it from a League Committee viewpoint (which I won’t go into), although I can see the argument from teams who were clearly going to win their divisions anyway and would then not be able to lift a trophy if this option wasn’t chosen. However, if we were in that position ourselves, it really wouldn’t bother me to miss out on a trophy when less than 75% of our matches had been completed anyway and there were more serious things going on in the world.

So…what could the Barnet Sunday League (and indeed Sunday League football in general) look like once we are allowed to start playing again ?...which I think could well be in August/September this year if the necessary sanitisation precautions are adhered to. Obviously a lack of money for a lot of teams is going to be a problem. Yes, I suspect that Leagues and County FA’s will all waive or greatly reduce their affiliation and League/Cup entry fees and probably reduce other expenses such as player registration fees for clubs as well. But private grounds and local Councils are going to be cash-strapped and are unlikely to be able to reduce pitch fees. In fact those fees are more likely to go up…by quite a way !, albeit giving credits for unused pitches from this season first though, which will certainly help clubs to survive. Referees are certainly not going to be willing or able to take a pay cut from their current £40 per match fees as many of them may well have lost their jobs either permanently or like myself, temporarily for a number of months. However, I actually think most clubs at our level will survive…and even thrive ! The reason I say that is because I think a lot of clubs in the Saturday Non-League Pyramid, particularly at Step 5-7 level, will either go to the wall completely or be in a position where they can no longer pay their players expenses (which are invariably £100+ per match) due to their clubhouses having to be shut for months. Most clubs at that level rely on social activities in their clubhouses far more for their overall income than the minimal amount of spectators they get through the gate. Players at that level will not continue to travel all the way round the M25 every Saturday, Tuesday and (for training) Thursday if they are not going to be paid to play, particularly if they have lost their day job because of Covid-19. They will then either just give up the game or get another job/work extended hours instead. If they love the (11-a-side) game and still want to play, they will play Saturday AFA football or Sunday League, as many players from Step 5-7 have done for years once work & family commitments start interfering with their Semi-Pro lifestyle. The problem with that for Sunday League clubs such as ourselves though is that these players will not want to pay to play for us. They will expect to play free of charge or they will not play at all. As I have already mentioned in previous Chairman’s Blogs, that is the way that Sunday League football is going now due to the success of SE Dons, Palmers, Rising Ballers, Takers and the like, and we most definitely need to aim to follow the same path in attracting the same levels of sponsorship that these clubs get. If the F.A. allow Sunday League football to re-commence in August/September well before allowing Non-League football to resume though…because Non-League football has mass gatherings of supporters at matches whereas we don’t… then what I can see happening is a massive surge of interest in our level of the game. Not just from players wanting to play, but people wanting to watch…on You Tube ! Cue more Leagues like the Essex Sunday Corinthian League thinking ‘outside of the box’ and purchasing a VEO camera system to film a selected match every Sunday…and even live stream it ! Cue more clubs filming their matches themselves anyway. Cue more of the massively-popular urfreshtvsport-style Sunday League Instagram chat shows covering the whole of London instead of just the South-East London Sunday Leagues like urfreshtvsport do. With all of that (and more) going on, there will be potential sponsors clamouring to get involved with forward-thinking clubs like ourselves because people will be trying to rebuild their businesses post-lockdown and we will be a much cheaper option than sponsoring a professional or top Semi-Pro club…who probably won’t be able to play anyway. If thousands of people in this country are prepared to watch the Belarus professional League while there is no other football being broadcast for them to watch, then surely they will be prepared to watch something closer to home and a bit more ‘identifiable’ ?

The only problem to all this when play is ready to resume is that the grass might be two-foot long on some pitches, but I did walk past our Home pitch recently and at least it looked like somebody has been doing some good work over there during the lockdown !

So stay safe everyone….and in the meantime, check out the rest of this website for loads of new updates on the Videos pages and in the Archive section. They are jobs I have been meaning to do for years, but now I can catch up…for the time being.

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