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

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

APPEARANCES

MATCH REPORTS

CHAIRMANSBLOG

CHAIRMAN’S BLOGS SEASON 2020-2021

FINAL BARNET SUNDAY LEAGUE DIVISION ONE TABLE

CLICK HERE FOR LEAGUE TABLES FROM ALL DIVISIONS OF THE BARNET SUNDAY LEAGUE FOR SEASON 2020-2021

APPEARANCES & GOALSCORERS SEASON 2020-2021 (INCLUDES PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES)

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

Tem ADIL

5


Kaya INGRAM

2


Johan AHIPEAUD

1


Simon JACKSON (GK)

7


Chris AKINRELE

3


Rafiel JOHNSON

2


Henry AKINSANMI

2


George JONES

4


Curtis BAALAM

2

1

Aiden KAVANAGH

3


Jack BANGS

6

1

Andreas KRITICOS

1


Josh BAPTISTE

4


Chris LUE

3


Joseph BROWN

1

1

Khaheem McKENZIE

2


Daniel CASCOE

5


Leon McKENZIE-McKAY

5

2

Jaydon CHILDS

4


Miles McTAGGART

3


Daniel DALEY

1


Nana OBENG

1


Alfie DELLER

2


Tyronne PETRIE

2


Kelvin ESHUN

1


George PLEASANTS

1


Anthony FRANCIS

1


William RAIOLA

4


Josh FRANCIS

5


Andrew THEOFANOUS

3


Sedat GEORGE

5

1

Oshade WATSON

7


Lexton HARRISON

1


Troy WILLIAMS

1


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 6th September

ESTUDIANTES (LONDON)

Home

Pre-Season Friendly

Lost 2-10

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 13th September

ENFIELD UNITED

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division One

Lost 0-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 20th September

PEKUNSPOR

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division One

Drew 2-2

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 27th September

FC LOKOMOTIV THUNDER

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division One

Lost 2-3

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 4th October

NORTH LONDON RAIDERS

Away

London FA Sunday Challenge Trophy, 1st Round

Lost 0-15

 GOALS ONLY

Sunday 11th October

AFC OAKWOOD

Away

Barnet Sunday League, Division One

NON-FULFILMENT OF FIXTURE (By ourselves)

Sunday 18th October

NO MATCH ARRANGED (To help us find new players)

Sunday 25th October

THE WRONGENS

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division One

Lost 0-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 1st November

AFC OAKWOOD

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division One

Lost 1-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 8th November

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Covid Lockdown)

Sunday 15th November

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Covid Lockdown)

Sunday 22nd November

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Covid Lockdown)

Sunday 29th November

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Covid Lockdown)

Sunday 6th December

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Due to positive Covid tests & Self-Isolation for ourselves)

NO FURTHER MATCHES WERE ARRANGED UNTIL APRIL 2021 DUE TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT COVID LOCKDOWN, BUT WE DECLINED TO TAKE PART IN THE RE-START.
FULL DETAILS OF THOSE REASONS FOR OUR WITHDRAWAL CAN BE FOUND HERE IN THIS PDF STATEMENT


MATCH REPORTS SEASON 2020-2021

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Wednesday 19th August 2020

My last Chairman’s Blog back in April was written at a time when there was a lot of uncertainty as to how long the lockdown from Covid-19 and the subsequent suspension of football at our level would last, but on Friday 17th July it was finally announced by the Government and the F.A. that we could start full training again with immediate effect, then also play Friendly matches from the 1st August and start the new League season in the first week of September as normal. However, numerous inconvenient health & safety guidelines were imposed that we have to adhere to for the foreseeable future, all of which I predicted in an online message to our You Tube subscribers (and anybody else who was interested) back in June. For Pre-Season Training, that was for all balls, cones, hurdles & flagpoles, etc. to be wiped down at every opportunity with proper sanitising fluid and for bibs not to be swapped around between players during the actual sessions. Players were also instructed to keep their social distancing as much as possible with coaches organising drills that would make that easier, while bibs actually had to be washed after each session when traditionally at Sunday League level they just get left in a plastic bag for mould to grow on them, thereby creating a terrible smell when they are pulled out for the next session !

With Manager Tony McKay deciding to step down from his role this Summer after four years in charge…more on that later…, the training equipment is all now being left for various long-serving players to look after, as I do not attend training myself as I am too old to take part nowadays and I have no wish to do any coaching either. Whether any of those Player-Coaches are going to bother with those sanitisation instructions is debatable though. There is no indication at the moment that any other adult mens Sunday teams in our League are going to such extremes to ‘stay safe’. They seem to be just carrying on as they normally would in Pre-Season. After all, changing rooms and showers are never used anyway when we can train at Enfield Playing Fields on the grass for free, while not wearing masks and having to get a lift off a player who drives are still the norm for most teams, despite the Government & FA’s strict advice for people from different households not to share cars. In fact, each adult Sunday League club, no matter how small the club is in only having one team, are supposed to appoint a ‘Covid-19 Officer’ who has to carry out a ‘Risk Assessment’ for the authorities should they come along to randomly check up on a training session or a Pre-Season Friendly, but who the hell from a one-team non-Charter Standard mens Sunday League club is going to volunteer to read and fill in the massively-detailed 22-page document that all FA-affiliated clubs have been issued with when all we want to do is a simple Pre-Season ‘kickabout’ session with approximately 16-20 players ? Not that we got 16-20 players attending our first two Pre-Season Training sessions on Sundays 9th & 16th August though. In fact we only had six ‘players’ turn up to each one, while the others in attendance were older players who now want to Coach or Manage. Other teams in our League, and particularly our main rivals in Division One, Enfield United, were absolutely raring to go as soon as they were given the 17th July go-ahead, with everybody turning up to their Pre-Season training sessions and subsequent Friendlies, all of which have been won by convincing scorelines after fielding squads of around 18 for each, but we are unlikely to be in a position to arrange any Pre-Season Friendlies in August ourselves because we have had a mass walk-out of players since we played our last match on the 8th March when we gained that highly impressive 5-1 League Intermediate Cup Quarter-Final win against a highly-rated AC United side. Indeed only four players from the squad of 14 that we fielded for that match are going to be playing for us this season, and that will be only three if Connor Kavanagh is suddenly allowed to travel back to live & work in China again.

As to why that walkout has happened, much of it is going to have to be guesswork on my part, as most of the players who have not re-surfaced for Pre-Season are refusing to say anything. One reason that we do know for players leaving though is the departure of Coach Marce Collington to re-form his New River Athletic side, who will be going straight into the Premier Division of the Barnet Sunday League. Whether any of the 20 players that we registered from New River Athletic last season (after they folded up their Herts Senior County League team) are going to be playing for Marce on Sundays in the Barnet League this season, we don’t know at the moment, but they are highly unlikely to be playing for us...which is their choice, not ours. One of them, forward Eben Mbona, who scored seven goals in just two matches for us, including four in that match against AC United, has now formed his own new team anyway, namely ‘Noir FC’. They will be playing in one of the lower divisions of our League and arguably our most consistent player from last season, midfielder Mustafa Farhan, will also be joining them as he went to school with Eben (and presumably the other players in their squad ?). They are one of a number of new teams in various different Leagues in and around London who have formed this Summer with Black Lives Matter-themed names, logos and social media statements, the idea behind that being a chance for young black people to be in charge of an organisation themselves, whereas obviously with us that has never been the case. I have no problem with Eben (and any of Marce’s other players if they are joining him) leaving us to do that, and if he needs any advice on how to run a club in terms of admin, etc., then I am more than happy to help him. We are one of a number of clubs in our League who chose not to plaster their social media platforms with Black Lives Matter messages though. Most of those clubs probably didn’t do it because they have older people like myself in charge who are not adept at using social media or because they don’t have any black players playing for them, but in our case, it was because we don’t want to get involved in any political arguments when we are a completely multi-racial club that has given black players (and Managers) equal opportunities without any problems whatsoever for the last 44 years. However, if our players choose to ‘take the knee’ before the kick-off once we start playing matches, I will certainly not be stopping them if they feel it is necessary. Obviously there is always the possibility that some of our players from last season who are politically-minded are upset at my ‘white silence’ on social media, hence their non-attendance for Pre-Season, but if that is the case and they would rather play for a Black Lives Matter team than a non-political multi-racial team who in their eyes do not do enough for the (Marxist ?) cause, then that is just something we will have to live with.

When Marce and his players joined us back in December, the deal that myself and then-Manager Tony McKay arranged with them was that the club and/or Tony himself would pay their signing-on fees (‘Annual Subs’) and their match subs because we were very short of players after Keiran Kavanagh’s squad of 22-year-olds that started the season for us had all left after a number of poor results and various arguments regarding tactics…mainly with myself. As Marce’s players had all been playing at Step 7 level on a Saturday without having to pay to play, it was (quite rightly) felt that it would be unfair for them to now have to do so when they didn’t actually ask to join us. We were specifically asking them to help us out (after we had been training alongside them in midweek). That arrangement all worked well until the March lockdown, but none of our own players paid any subs in February and March either once they realised what was going on. With a lot of our players having since lost their jobs either permanently or temporarily because of the Covid lockdown, it means they now have no money to pay what they owe and they will probably struggle to pay this season’s £40 Annual Subs as well, so the club is now in a situation where we have no money at all because we cannot find any sponsors. That means we have therefore had no choice but to part company with Marce and his players as we can only survive now if players are prepared to pay to play and have the money to do so. Most other ‘old school’ Sunday League clubs in this situation either rely on the Team Manager or the Club Secretary to pay all the bills…which include pitch fees of around £1,500. But Tony put enough money into the club already last season, while I have no money myself because all the Cup Finals & ‘special event’ matches that I normally film during March, April, May & June were all cancelled due to the lockdown.

For the coming season there are 26 new teams joining the Barnet Sunday League, creating two extra divisions. A similar scenario is also playing out in other Sunday Leagues in the London area, and the main reason for that is the highly knowledgeable use of social media by people under the age of 30 who are forming these new teams. Unlike myself and other middle-aged people who have been running Sunday League teams for years, the younger generation have all been brought up on how to create fancy graphics for Twitter, Instagram and You Tube and it makes a massive difference in attracting both sponsorship and players from Saturday Semi-Pro football, many of whom (as I mentioned in my last Chairman’s Blog) are now ‘having to’ give up at that level as they are no longer going to get paid as much (if at all) due to the lockdown decimating the profits of Non-League clubs. One newly-formed club joining the Essex Sunday Corinthian League this season, FC Ballr, have some particularly outstanding graphics showcasing all their new signings, all of whom are top-quality Semi-Pros…and they are not even in that League’s top division ! There is no way that those players will be paying to play for them, so they must have some top-quality sponsorship as well.

Worries about catching coronavirus may well be a factor for us as well in players showing little interest since the lockdown, particularly as we are a currently a predominantly black team and BAME communities are statistically more affected by the virus than others. At least one of our players has admitted that he is staying away for now for fear of passing it on to his elderly relatives if he catches it, as those elderly relatives live in the same house.

The danger of catching coronavirus is indeed one of the reasons that Tony McKay has stepped down as Manager after a four-year spell which of course included our first trophy win for 29 years when we won the Barnet Sunday League Division Two title in his first year in charge. Tony, like myself, Assistant Manager Roderick Bennett and our Goalkeeping Coach/Club Linesman Bob Cleary, is in his early-60’s now and it is a worry for all of us. But the Manager will always have more contact with the players, therefore leaving Tony more vulnerable. He was also let down by a lot of players last season who in addition to not paying their subs, had a poor attitude in turning up late to matches or were not bothering to get in touch to confirm their availability, so when we realised we were unable to continue funding Marce’s players and were left with very few players of our own, Tony felt it was the right time to let a younger Management Team have a go. That team will be long-serving player Lexton Harrison (as Manager) with the equally long-serving Daniel Daley as his Assistant, while players such as Daniel Cascoe, Jack Bangs, Tem Adil, Hal Ozkan, Johan Ahipeaud, Chris Akinrele and even 45-year-old goalkeeper (and former Manager) Simon Jackson will all be involved again in new spells for the club.

Tony’s resignation may be another factor in players losing interest during the lockdown and not getting in touch, but players needing to work on Sundays now to catch up on lost earnings, still being off work and not having any money, and not being willing to travel long distances to play when they cannot use changing rooms and showers after matches will most definitely be major reasons for not wanting to play at the moment, especially when the majority of the players we are left with now are in their 30’s and have social or family commitments straight after the match. Most other teams in our League, particularly the newly-formed teams, are all in their late-teens and early 20’s and they are not worried about things like that. They also all live locally and can walk or cycle to most matches if they do not drive. We still have players intending playing for us this season who live in Whyteleafe (Surrey), Dartford, Ware, Romford, Uxbridge and various other places that are nowhere near the Borough of Enfield.

There is no question that because of the Covid-19 guidelines that are now in place, we simply have to start finding more players who live within walking distance (or a cycle or e-scooter ride) of our Home ground at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club and they need to be working and therefore able to pay their subs. Ideally we also need one of them to be prepared to do some voluntary social media work for the club (if they are as clued up on that as other clubs are).

As for what is going on in the Barnet Sunday League, further to my last Chairman’s Blog back in April, the decision in the end was to write off all results from last season as ‘Null & Void’, so there were no final placings and the constitution for this season has been drafted simply by asking each club what division they feel they should be in based on the players they will have playing for them. Most of the newly-formed teams joining the League will be in the bottom two divisions irrespective of ability because they have been unable to play Pre-Season Friendlies and show their worth, so all our opponents in Division One this season will be teams that have been in the League for some while, apart from Pekunspor, who have joined from the Turkish Community Football Federation. There are 10 teams in Division One with Enfield United and Highgate Albion Reserves likely to be the two strongest teams. We will only be able to compete with them if we can find a Semi-Pro-quality goalkeeper, a couple of big strong and mobile central defenders and somebody to replace Eben Mbona as a goalscorer. At the moment, we are the clear favourites to finish bottom of the table because of the players we have lost, the lack of fitness of some of the players who are returning to play, and the lowly positions we finished in for each of the past three seasons. (We were second from bottom at the time last season was suspended). The onus is now strongly on Lexton Harrison and Daniel Daley to get our recruitment right and somehow turn things around. Being Edmonton Rovers Team Manager is probably the hardest job in Sunday League football when we are there to be shot at on You Tube !
Thankfully, it appears that the remaining matches from the League Cup competitions last season have now all been scrapped due to the predictable logistical problems with getting them re-arranged while the following season is just about to start, but I am not entirely sure what is going on there as I had to resign from the League Committee back in June in order to concentrate on somehow finding paid work again with no income this Summer as I normally would have. I simply couldn’t continue doing so much voluntary work for hours on end when I was already doing a huge amount of voluntary work for Edmonton Rovers in updating this website and filming, editing & producing our match highlights. As it happened, I was only doing the League Fixtures and League Fines jobs last season because nobody else on the Committee was available to do them who knew how to use the F.A.’s Whole Game and Full-Time systems. A Club Secretary should not be doing the League Fixtures job anyway in case of accusations of bias, which was what I got from one particular club, but apart from that I really enjoyed the challenge and every other Club Secretary was excellent and helped me enormously. When I joined the Barnet Sunday League Committee in 2016 (when our club joined the League), my whole aim was to help modernise the League’s procedures using new technology, as I had seen first hand what happened to the Waltham Sunday League when they failed to do that by ignoring the wishes of the clubs and ended up going from five divisions to folding completely in a very short space of time. Yes, myself and my two main allies, Alex Clayton & Rob Brassett certainly upset some of the Barnet League Committee’s ‘old guard’ by making these changes happen in terms of Whole Game & Full-Time integration for player registrations & fixtures and triplicate carbonated teamsheets for matches, but it has since resulted in the League expanding by another four divisions in the space of just three years, and with new General Secretary John Eager and a new younger Committee joining Rob on board for this season, the League will undoubtedly continue to go from strength to strength thanks to John’s knowledgeable use of social media and publicity. I am therefore very satisfied to have played my part in ensuring that a good strong League is there for Edmonton Rovers to play in for many more years to come. All we need now is some players !

0

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Monday 7th December 2020

At the time of my last Chairman’s Blog back in August, we had just been given the go-ahead by the F.A. to start playing again after a five-month Covid-19 lockdown, so we were hoping to play a few Pre-Season Friendlies before the League season started on the 6th September. However, the mass walk-out of players (as mentioned in my last Blog) during the Summer and a lack of interest from remaining players in attending Pre-Season Training put paid to that idea as far as August was concerned and we ended up playing just the one Friendly on the 6th September itself as we took on Haringey 6th Form College’s Estudiantes London side at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club in a match arranged at very short notice. The idea behind this particular game was that Haringey 6th Form College Sports teacher & Estudiantes Coach Darren Wiltshire had agreed to become our Club Welfare Officer for this season with a view to some of his 16-18-year-old players playing for us on Sundays as a first taste of adults football for them, so it was more like a trials match than a Pre-Season Friendly and six of the 14 players we had playing for our team in this game were also showing us what they could do for the first time. Unfortunately though, those six had all been brought along (by Jack Bangs) from just random 5-a-side kickabouts and they had either never played 11-a-side before or were badly out of shape…and in some cases both ! With the rest of our line-up featuring six players who hadn’t played for a year or more and only Aiden Kavanagh & Leon McKenzie-McKay remaining from our last match back in March, we found ourselves 7-0 down at Half-Time as Darren’s players were all young, fit, properly coached and played as a team…whereas we didn’t, while at least two of them had already been approached by professional clubs for trials. We were therefore embarrassingly out-classed and we were thankful that Darren gave weaker players a game in the Second Half, resulting in us ‘only’ losing 10-2 in the end !

With other new or returning players joining us in time for our first League match of the season Away to Enfield United the following week, our new Management Committee ‘think-tank’ of myself, Lexton Harrison, Daniel Daley & Simon Jackson decided not to bring in any of Darren’s players just yet and to give our own players a chance to show us what they could do first, especially as we had a squad of 16 available including a large number who had not played in that 10-2 defeat. Unfortunately though, Lexton was now stranded in Jamaica for a couple of months due to Covid quarantine measures, so Daley had to step in as Manager for our first four competitive matches with ‘Jacko’ as his Assistant. It was also clear already that Jacko was going to be our regular goalkeeper this season at the age of 45, although he had already started a major fitness drive during the lockdown and is still impressively keeping that up as I write this, so until a proper reliable goalkeeper comes along to take his place…which will more than likely be his son Patrick in a couple of years time as we are unlikely to find anybody else !…it is likely that Jacko will continue for us in the role of regular goalkeeper/fitness trainer/coach for the rest of this season at least. As usual, Enfield United went on to beat us very comfortably with 4-0 being the final score on this occasion as our players were generally just not fit enough to compete, leaving Jacko to save us from an even heavier defeat with a string of excellent saves.

Fortunately for our next game at Home to ex-Turkish Community Football Federation side Pekunspor, although we were missing skipper Aiden Kavanagh, we actually fielded a half-decent side with the likes of Johan Ahipeaud, Henry Akinsanmi, Chris Akinrele and Sedat George all making themselves available at the same time and with Chris Lue…another big strong player…also making a comeback as one of the substitutes. That saw us gain our only point of the season so far with a 2-2 draw, but it was pretty obvious to anybody watching the game that here were the two worst sides in the division playing each other already with Pekunspor fielding a number of players who were equally as slow and unfit as ours !

We then faced another team the following week in FC Lokomotiv Thunder who we knew going into the game were not much better than ourselves in terms of their players getting old and not being able to compete with the numerous new teams in our division who are full of Semi-Pros. Thankfully FC Loko had changed their Home ground this season from the quagmire and car park-less Highgate Woods to Winchmore Hill FC…just half a mile away from our own Home ground…so again for this match we didn’t have a problem finding enough players to play. The problem this time though was Johan, Henry, Chris Akinrele & Aiden all making themselves unavailable and Chris Lue, Jack Bangs & Leon McKenzie-McKay all suffering injuries during the match, therefore resulting in a 3-2 defeat for us as we just didn’t have enough good players left on the pitch as the Second Half wore on.

At least we hadn’t been thrashed in any of our three competitive games played so far though, but we knew that was likely to change on the 4th October as we travelled to the Ark Academy’s 3G pitch at Wembley Park to take on top Maccabi Sunday League side North London Raiders in the First Round of the London FA Sunday Challenge Trophy. For this game we had no less than 10 first-choice players unavailable, while new signing Dennis Emeh (a friend of Nana Obeng’s) dropped out on the morning of the match, leaving us with only two substitutes, both of whom were badly unfit and could hardly run. Our starting line-up had only two players in Nana Obeng and Sedat George who could be remotely classed as being good enough and/or fit enough to play against opponents of the calibre we were up against as everybody else who had to play were either the same mates of Jack Bangs who were outclassed in the 10-2 Pre-Season defeat to Estudiantes London or players who had been bombed out by previous Rovers managers for not being fit enough, committed enough or for blaming everybody else apart from themselves for our regular defeats. With Daniel Cascoe and Tem Adil having to go off injured and suffering from a migraine respectively half-way through the First Half, that saw us down to a bare eleven and most of our players just gave up as soon as the goals started to go in. We found ourselves 11-0 down at Half-Time and then 15-0 down once it got to the 70-minute mark…at which point the Referee decided to blow the whistle for Full-Time (as per the minimum time allowed to constitute a full match) to save ourselves from further embarrassment. Had it been a League game of course, our opponents probably would have complained and insisted on playing the full 90 minutes because they would have missed out on boosting their goal difference with a 30-0 win, but it was still our heaviest defeat since we lost 17-2 to Enfield Supporters in an Edmonton Sunday League Division 8 match way back in March 1978 !!!

With most of the 10 first-choice players who made themselves unavailable for this match having taken a ‘protest’ stance of refusing to play alongside players who were clearly not good enough (physically or mentally) for the standard we currently find ourselves in, our four-man ‘Team Selection Sub-Committee’ therefore had no option but to throw a number of those sub-standard players out of the club immediately after this match in an effort to get those 10 quality players back on board because we knew that continual 15-0+ defeats would soon result in the death of the club otherwise. In doing so, we had to concede our League match Away to AFC Oakwood the following week and then ask the League for another week off after that to give us time to re-group with more new players, although at the moment it looks as if AFC Oakwood would rather have that match re-arranged so they can beat us by a double-figure score instead of the ‘0-0 win’ that would happen if the match was only awarded to them.

Thankfully we managed to find a squad of 16 for our first match back after that two-week break Away to undefeated side The Wrongens on the 25th October including more ‘fringe’ players from previous seasons coming back to help us out, together with new signing Alfie Deller, who finally became the first son of an ex-Rovers player to turn out for us after 44 years of waiting for such a thing to happen, with Alfie’s father Terry having played regularly for our Reserve Team back in Seasons 2003-2004 & 2004-2005. This was something we had always been very keen to do in an effort to keep the club alive, and with Alfie (a defender) producing a man-of-the-match performance on his debut, it was all highly encouraging. Unfortunately though, we still had too many good players missing through injury and too many others having to play who were not fit enough and we ended up suffering our second 4-0 defeat of the season in the League, leaving us firmly rooted to the bottom of the Division One table.

With the Prime Minister announcing another one-month National Covid lockdown the day before our next match on Sunday 1st November, that resulted in a large number of our players just totally losing interest in playing at Home to title favourites AFC Oakwood when they knew they were going to be unable to play again for another month thereafter, so with AFC Oakwood fielding a team including several Step 3 or 4 Semi-Pros, it wasn’t surprising that we lost yet again, this time by a 5-1 margin as we ended the game with only 10 men due to yet more injuries.

Since then, we have heard very little from most of our players, with the only posts from them in our club WhatsApp Group being well-wishes to myself after I tested positive for Covid-19 in late-November. Thankfully I am now finally recovering, but being a 61-year-old I caught it quite badly and it really knocked me out for a couple of weeks where I was simply too ill to publicise the club and find new players and sponsors amongst other things. Having caught the virus, I can now see why our former Manager Tony McKay and indeed some of our players are staying well away. The virus is horrible, it lasts three times longer than normal flu and it can be life-threatening for sure. The worst thing is that at football matches, wearing a mask makes no difference whatsoever. You simply cannot stop people shouting loudly and angrily at players, whether it be their own team-mates in giving them instructions or hurling abuse at opposing players. It is all part of the game and it is impossible to try and stop it as part of ‘Covid safety guidelines’. The spit and bile still gets through the mask and will infect you from someone standing a yard away…as they do. That was how I caught it. Filming for Ebbsfleet United on Saturdays in a ‘behind closed doors match’, but the players, coaching staff, groundstaff, analysts and club admin staff watching the game all still shout because they want to encourage their team. I was wearing a mask, but to be able to see through the viewfinder without it misting up, I have to lower the mask down from my nose. There was absolutely nothing I could do about it. This all resulted in us having to call off any planned first match back on Sunday 6th December post ‘Lockdown Two’ because myself (and indeed some of our other players) were either still in self-isolation or in my case just far too weak. In addition to that, we had our centre-forward Sedat George stranded at home because he lives in a Tier Three area (in Kent) and was unable to travel. That meant we were the only team in the whole League without a game on this first date back and it put us even further behind with our fixtures and left us rooted even further to the bottom of the table. We will now be re-starting on the 13th December at Home to The Wrongens, but we currently have no idea which players are going to be willing and motivated to play. Some may still be injured for all we know. However, we do have plenty of prospective new players asking to join us, including some from Haringey 6th Form College/Estudiantes and with the College’s new 3G 5-a-side pitch booked for training on Friday evenings starting from the 11th December, hopefully we will find some good players there who we can sign up in time.

Looking at the players we have actually got registered for us this season already though…several of whom have only played one-off games so far…, if they all turned up and played on the same day, we would actually be fielding a stronger side than for any game we played during the successful 2016-2017 Season when we won the Division Two title and we would even be able to compete on level terms with most teams in the Premier Division, not just Division One ! All it needs is more commitment from everybody and one good result against a good side and it could make a massive difference to our season.

The other alternative is for us to just go through the motions and not really bother for the rest of the season in the knowledge that we have more sons of ex-players lined up to join us next season when they turn 16/17/18. Then (assuming we finish bottom of Division One this season) we would ask to go down several divisions…quite possibly to the bottom one…and basically start all over again. We do have a sponsorship now courtesy of Daniel Cascoe’s plumbing & heating firm phdmSolutions (Plumbing, Heating, Drainage, Maintenance) which is helping to pay some of our bills though, and if we start doing well on the pitch (and particularly on You Tube), then more sponsorship from that line of work amongst Cascoe’s associates will follow and better players will join the club.

As I mentioned in my previous Chairman’s Blog, we do still need to publicise ourselves more on social media though, but we were certainly up against it when somebody on Twitter calling themselves ‘The Content Regulator’ (@LockieMarcus) did a review of all the ‘You Tube Teams’ productions during the latest lockdown by giving their match highlights a mark out of 10. He only gave our last game ONE out of 10 because…
a)
The MATCH was filmed properly (ABOVE the spectators heads) using a tripod.
b)
We had no commentary. (Which was because we can’t afford to hire Barry Swain at the moment).
c)
We didn’t throw the camera up in the air and start ‘whooping & hollering’ when we scored a goal.
d)
We didn’t have a looped Grime beat playing throughout in the background.
e)
We didn’t have anybody running on the pitch to celebrate when we scored a goal.
f)
We didn’t film the game from BEHIND the spectators backs. (Other teams WANT them to get in the way !)
g)
We don’t have anybody rapping/talking in Street Slang in front of the camera whatsoever. No ‘characters’.
h)
We didn’t show (and highlight) any of our players doing a flip-flap or a ‘no-look’ trick….Which is of course because they are incapable of doing one !

So there you go. Evidently that is what Sunday League football is all about at the moment.

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CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Friday 12th March 2021

At the time of my last Chairman’s Blog, we were anticipating being able to play on Sunday 13th December with a full programme of Barnet Sunday League fixtures still going ahead despite the dangers of players catching Covid. However, we once again had to ask the League not to give us a fixture as we simply didn’t have enough registered players getting in touch to confirm they could play. Although we had plenty of prospective new players asking to join us from various sources, there was little point in signing them up at that stage as it was obvious that another Covid lockdown was imminent, and indeed all Sunday League football was then subsequently banned by the Government thereafter until the 29th March 2021.

We then had a situation where as soon as the Prime Minister made his announcement for that 29th March return date, the Barnet Sunday League decided (without asking each club individually and confidentially for their views first) to re-start the season as soon as possible in April while announcing that all remaining fixtures would definitely be played during a three-month period until the end of June, with all teams having to be prepared to play mass Double-Headers, Sunday afternoon kick-offs and midweek matches on any given evening to fit all their games in if their normal Home pitches were not available…obviously assuming that most clubs would have no qualms about paying extra money for pitch hires in order to do this because their players would be so desperate to get back to playing again. Indeed a League crusade to become a much-publicised leader on social media platforms in improving mens mental health by organising this ‘complete’ return to football before anybody else was very much the idea here irrespective of any more-or-less impossible logistics with pitch unavailability due to cricket or local Councils having laid off whoever normally cuts the grass and marks the pitches out !

The League did however give clubs the option to withdraw for the rest of the season (and re-start again next season) without being fined, providing they were notified before a deadline of the 12th March, so we therefore arranged a club Management Committee Meeting via Zoom on Monday 8th March to discuss that (and our plans for Season 2021-2022), and after a two-hour debate we eventually came to a unanimous decision to opt out of competing in the Barnet Sunday League for the remainder of this season.

There were many reasons for our decision including our Home pitch at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club not being available in May & June, but the main one was financial. Although we now have our long-serving midfielder Daniel Cascoe sponsoring the club through his phdm Solutions plumbing & heating firm and his associates in that industry, that will only be for equipment purchases and the cost of midweek training sessions next season, so we would still be relying on players to pay their subs if we had stayed in the League to play out the rest of this season. With nobody having made any attempt to pay any subs for months though, we simply couldn’t risk playing in case they still refused to pay. The main reason why our players had got into that habit was because of the agreement that myself and previous Manager Tony McKay had made with Marce Collington’s squad of Semi-Pros and Darren Wiltshire’s Haringey 6th Form/Estudiantes London professionally-scouted players half-way through last season to allow them to play free of charge (with donations from Tony and potential sponsorship from elsewhere paying their subs for them). The idea back then…which I fully supported…was that we try and compete with the likes of Rising Ballers, Highgate Albion and Takers by bringing in these Semi-Pro quality players to boost our squad in an effort to become one of the best Sunday teams in London. It worked when we beat highly-rated London FA Sunday Intermediate (Trophy) finalists AC United 5-1 in a Division One match on the last Sunday before a Covid lockdown halted the 2019-2020 Season, but we couldn’t keep those players on for the start of this season as we simply didn’t have enough money with none/very few of our ‘own’ players wanting to pay to play when they saw Marce and Darren’s players playing for free.

The Barnet Sunday League didn’t know this of course, and in an attempt to keep us going this season they have been putting more Saturday Semi-Pro players and management teams our way (who are attracted by the free professional filming of their players which will help them sell those players on), with the idea that they would play for us en-masse in April, May & June and then become our First Team next season while the rest of us (and any new players of our own) drop down a few divisions to become our Reserve Team…or just retire from playing or join other clubs. Although we would not be able to use another pitch at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club for a second team anyway (due to Norsemen Youth having priority), the main reason I no longer want to go down this route (which would have been subject to attracting the necessary sponsorship) is because I recently watched a urfreshtvsport interview with a highly-rated Semi-Pro coach who had taken over as Manager for a team in our League at the start of this season. In that interview he came across as a way-too-serious win-at-all-costs ‘bully boy’, and for me, that is just taking things too far at our level of the game. Throughout our 45-year history, we have always had a sense of humour and enjoyment above all else, but since my brother Trevor (our long-serving and very successful ex-Manager during a 23-year period) emigrated to Cyprus in 2014, apart from our 2016-2017 Division Two title-winning season under Tony McKay, it has been a real struggle with various different Managers having a go and being let down by groups of players forming their own ‘cliques’ and not getting on with each other, simply because they were either from different age groups, different cultures and mentalities, and basically didn’t know each other from school, Youth teams or the same work-places, unlike our successful team of the 1990’s and early-2000’s.  

We therefore decided at our Zoom meeting to turn down any offers of further integration from the Semi-Pro game for the rest of this season and beyond, but to also reluctantly say goodbye to the handful of current players who were available to play regularly and still wanted to play for us at Division One level…and are obviously still good enough. We feel it is now time to finally go back to how the club began 45 years ago by starting afresh next season with just one team in the lowest division that we are allowed to play in, utilising a new squad of 16-19-year-olds that include the sons of both our all-time record appearance holder Stuart Dorward and our current Team Manager Lexton Harrison amongst others. The rest of next season’s squad will be long-serving over-35’s only, namely goalkeeper Simon Jackson and attacking midfielder Leon McKenzie-McKay, who will both continue to supervise fitness sessions and pre-match warm-ups, and our club sponsor Daniel Cascoe, who will help out subject to work commitments. Stuart, Lexton and Assistant Manager Daniel Daley will also register as players to play in emergencies, as will other over-35’s if their sons are playing for us. We cannot keep any currently registered players under the age of 35 anyway as the League may not allow us to drop to the lower divisions, which we will need to do for the benefit of the new 16-19 year-olds who will be joining us.

Another major reason for our decision to go with a new younger squad for next season is the sheer number of players we currently have (or have had in recent seasons) who live nowhere near the Borough of Enfield and therefore cannot attend midweek training sessions. All the 16-19 year-olds who will be playing for us next season live locally and will be able to attend training. That will make a huge difference for us in terms of team spirit and being able to progress with a settled and well-organised side, which is something we have not had for the past four seasons. We are very much aware of how well this has worked for other teams in our League and we do not wish to be continually left behind. Most other teams players all go out clubbing and pubbing together (when Covid restrictions allow) because they are all the same age and in most cases live in the same area and went to school or college together. The last club tour we had (to Prague) was way back in 2001. That is another thing that we can finally hope to resurrect.

Plans for a pre-season starting in June are being worked on already and the Management Committee I have put together for next season are all really looking forward to creating a new team that can grow together in the same way that we did in the late 70’s & early-80’s and then again to an even higher standard in the 90’s and early-2000’s.
Full details of those previously successful eras in the club’s history can of course be found in the Archive Section.

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OUR PLAYING RECORD FOR SEASON 2020-2021 WAS EXPUNGED FROM THE ABOVE DIVISION ONE TABLE
FULL DETAILS OF THE REASONS FOR OUR DECISION TO WITHDRAW CAN BE FOUND HERE IN THIS PDF STATEMENT