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

LEAGUETABLE

ARCHIVE OF PREVIOUS SEASONS SEASON 2022-2023 Site Designed & Maintained by Laurence Hughes (Club Secretary, Chairman & Cameraman !) e-mail: laurence_hughes@yahoo.co.uk  © 2024  Laurence Hughes

APPEARANCES

MATCH REPORTS

CHAIRMANSBLOG

CHAIRMAN’S BLOGS SEASON 2022-2023 MATCH REPORTS SEASON 2022-2023

FINAL BARNET SUNDAY LEAGUE DIVISION FIVE TABLE

CLICK HERE FOR LEAGUE TABLES FROM ALL DIVISIONS OF THE BARNET SUNDAY LEAGUE FOR SEASON 2022-2023

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

Dapo ALAOYE

6


Tre MAXWELL

7

5

Harvey ANTONIOU

20

5

Leon McKENZIE-McKAY

15

8

Roderick BENNETT (GK)

3


Tyler MEADER (GK)

1


Rashawn BENNETT-DYER

6


Max MIR

17

2

Teddy CARTER-LEAY (GK)

1


Isaac NESS

5


Lenny CHARLES

18


Nana OBENG

10

2

Tobi CHARLES

20

1

Natan PAWLACZYK

16

1

Bob CLEARY (GK)

1


Sam PRITCHETT

2

1

Eddie COX

1


Richard REDGRAVE (GK)

2


Gianni DIPO

19

5

Keith SAVAGE

1


Harry DORWARD

19

1

Sonny SCHRODER

1


Stuart DORWARD

7


Daniel SCHWARTZ-GEE

18


Christian ELLIS

14

6

Roshan SHAH

5


Tairique HARRISON

20

4

Josh WAKEFORD

21

4

Rafiel JOHNSON

2


Tim WAKEFORD (GK)

1


Chris JORDANOU

9


Ben WHITING (GK)

1


Myreon KEANE

22

3




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 24th July

ESTUDIANTES (LONDON)

Away

Pre-Season Friendly

Lost 3-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 4th September

NORTH WEST WOLVES

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 0-2

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 11th September

NORTH ATHLETICO

Away

Roger Jones Senior Challenge Cup, First Round

POSTPONED BY F.A. (In Respect For The Queen)

Sunday 18th September

N.L.R.

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 0-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 25th September

ROVING REPORTERS

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 2-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 2nd October

NORTH ATHLETICO

Away

Roger Jones Senior Challenge Cup, First Round

Lost 3-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 9th October

ARMENIAN YOUTH ASSOCIATION

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 1-15

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 16th October

NEW BARNET

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Won 3-2

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 23rd October

ELEVER ELEVEN

Away

London FA Sunday Junior Cup, Second Round

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 30th October

ELEVER ELEVEN

Away

London FA Sunday Junior Cup, Second Round

Lost 4-7

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 6th November

ENFIELD ALBION

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 13th November

COLNEY HATCH ATHLETIC

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 3-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 20th November

NORTH LONDON PANTHERS

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 4-7

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 27th November

N.L.R.

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 2-3

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 4th December

NORTH WEST WOLVES

Away

Barnet Sunday League Shield, First Round

Lost 4-7

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 11th December

NORTH LONDON PANTHERS

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

POSTPONED (Frozen Pitch)

Sunday 18th December

NORTH ATHLETICO

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

POSTPONED (Snow)

Sunday 25th December

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Xmas Day)

Sunday 1st January

NO MATCH ARRANGED (New Year’s Day)

Sunday 8th January

NORTH LONDON PANTHERS

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Won 6-2

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 15th January

ENFIELD ALBION

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

POSTPONED (Waterlogged Pitch)

Sunday 22nd January

NORTH ATHLETICO

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

POSTPONED (Frozen Pitch)

Sunday 29th January

NO MATCH ARRANGED

Sunday 5th February

RADLETT TOWN

Home

League Junior Challenge Cup, Second Round

Lost 2-6

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 12th February

COLNEY HATCH ATHLETIC

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Won 3-1

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 19th February

NORTH ATHLETICO

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

NON-FULFILMENT BY OPPONENTS

Sunday 26th February

NEW BARNET

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 0-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 5th March

CAMDEN TOWN ATHLETIC

Away *

Richard Martin Memorial Cup, Quarter-Final

Lost 1-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 12th March

ENFIELD ALBION

Away

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 0-5

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 19th March

ROVING REPORTERS

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 2-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 26th March

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Waterlogged Pitches anyway)

Sunday 2nd April

ENFIELD ALBION

Home **

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Won 5-4

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)

Sunday 9th April

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Easter Day)

Sunday 16th April

NORTH WEST WOLVES

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 0-21

PRIVATE ONLY

Sunday 23rd April

NO MATCH ARRANGED

Sunday 30th April

NO MATCH ARRANGED

Sunday 7th May

ARMENIAN YOUTH ASSOCIATION

Home

Barnet Sunday League Division 5

Lost 1-8

 HIGHLIGHTS (HD)


* Away fixture played on our Home pitch at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club.          ** Home fixture played at the Away Team’s ground.


CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Saturday 3rd September 2022

On Friday 1st July we had our Annual General Meeting & Presentation Night at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club with a decent turnout of 24 club members present. It was a good positive meeting where we celebrated our achievements in improving massively as a team as the season had gone on, and indeed watching a 50-minute compilation video I had put together of our best moments from the season was great for team spirit while everybody chomped away on their (very expensive !) pizzas as they watched it.

Before that, we had awarded both the Players and the Supporters Player Of The Year trophies to midfielder Dapo Alaoye (pictured below alongside myself & Manager Tony McKay), while Tobi Charles won the Most Improved Player award, Myreon Keane the Top Goalscorer award and Keith & Tracey Charles the Clubman Award, all of which were richly deserved.

The club’s finances had to be discussed at the meeting though, with the lack of sponsorship last season being a concern as we ended up losing a lot of money from hiring the AIM Academy for our midweek training sessions and not being able to find a team to share the cost with us by using the other half of the pitch on a regular basis. Although more of an effort will be made this season to improve our social media output and attract sponsorship with one of our ‘Greats Of The Past’ from the 1980’s in Gareth John having already re-designed our club badge for us, we may have to accept that sponsors could now be difficult to find due to the war in Ukraine and the subsequent ‘Cost Of Living Crisis’ as a result, and that each regular player/squad member may well have to pay a minimum of 4 x £100 instalments for their subs this season (instead of the 4 x £45 they paid last season) in order for us to pay off debts from the AIM Academy training sessions and to cope with an increase in pitch fees, Referees fees and League affiliation fees for this season.

Another problem we had to contend with that was discussed at the A.G.M. was the F.A.’s new rules this season that all adult teams with 16 & 17-year-olds playing for them had to bring in a Club Welfare Officer and also ensure all the team’s Management had an in-date DBS qualification and had been on an online ‘Safeguarding For All’ course. This all had to be sorted out before we played our first League match of the season on the 4th September, but thanks to my younger sister Hilary Carey volunteering to do the Club Welfare Officer role, we have managed to complete all those tasks in time. Whether other adult mens Sunday teams with 16 & 17-year-olds registered to play for them have got that sorted out remains to be seen though. Presumably the F.A.’s Whole Game System/Club Portal & Full-Time automatically blocks them from playing, with matches being awarded to their opponents if they haven’t ?!


Due to a large number of players going away on holiday during August, we decided to play only one Pre-Season Friendly this Summer which was in late-July against our now-regular Friendly opponents Estudiantes London at their C.O.N.E.L. 3G pitch in Enfield. Although it was a good close game which we narrowly lost 4-3, we were only able to name three substitutes for that match and we could have done with at least a couple more due to niggling injuries that players had to play through. We had no new players to look at, and in fact the limited size of our squad has been a bit of a worry over the past couple of months as a number of our players are now starting to take on part-time, work experience or apprenticeship jobs which has stopped them from attending our 6.00 pm midweek Pre-Season Training sessions at Enfield Playing Fields, where coupled with player holidays it has invariably resulted in only 7 or 8 players turning up. Although those 7 or 8 players (which included some new and/or returning ones) seemed to have enjoyed the sessions that Manager Tony McKay has put on for them, one or two others have been training with other clubs instead who are using expensive 3G pitches, they have 18-20 players turning up to every session, and they have young dynamic EUFA ‘B’-qualified coaches who have access to performance analysis equipment and all sorts of enhancements that are way ahead of what we are ever likely to provide. Needless to say, these clubs are now trying to sign up our best players, but when its to go back down to playing Under-18’s Youth football, that is very much a backwards step as far as we are concerned. There was no way Jude Bellingham was going to go back down to play for England Under-18’s after being called up to the (Senior Adults) First Team as a 17-year-old, so why shouldn’t our players be the same ? What we WILL be looking to encourage though is our players training with Saturday Semi-Pro club First & Reserve Team squads, as our own Charlie Savage (who played three games for us towards the end of last season) is now doing for Spartan South Midlands League Step 5 side Cockfosters having been their Under-18’s Captain in the Eastern Junior Alliance Youth League on Sundays last season. If more of our players end up doing that this season or cannot attend our own midweek training sessions due to work commitments, then we may well cancel our own training sessions for the whole season if we are likely to have less than 10 there each week as it simply won’t be financially viable. We would then hope that the Semi-Pro clubs that our players train with in midweek would still allow them to play for us on Sundays, particularly if they have not played a full 90 minutes for their First or Reserve Teams the day before. Indeed that is how half the clubs in the Barnet Sunday League’s higher divisions already operate and it is how we have operated ourselves at various times in the past. It is not ideal, but it can work well as long as our current players do not leave to join another Sunday club…and why should they when we have more things going for us than most other clubs in our League (except for flashy social media graphics !).

These problems with half our players being unavailable in July & August because they are still at an age where they go away on family holidays at the same time once the school term has broken up was the reason I did not commit to arranging Pre-Season Friendlies when numerous clubs were pestering us to do so as early as April & May for a date in August. Like many other teams have done in the past few weeks, too many of our remaining players would have cried off at short notice because of the record 40˚C heat, pitches as hard as concrete, and dangerous cracks in the ground that forced our Home ground (amongst many others) to close down for several weeks so that the grass could recover for the start of the season. Teams who had booked pitches months ago have since been left frantically advertising for last-minute replacement opponents, invariably without success and losing a lot of money in the process. In my opinion, it is crazy to organise Pre-Season Friendlies more than a couple of weeks in advance for this time of year.


With some of our regular players from last season not having attended our Pre-Season Training sessions in August and seemingly having disappeared, our former Manager Trevor Hughes decided to send a simple WhatsApp message to the father of one of them to find out where they had been…the father being one of our ex-players who Trevor had coached many years ago. The message from Trevor was just ‘When can I give you a call ?’ and the father replied back straight away with a certain time later on that evening. In the hour-long telephone conversation that followed, the father told Trevor that he hadn’t been in touch because the messages I post in the club WhatsApp groups are ‘too long’, so he never reads them…very much like these Chairman’s Blogs, except nowhere near as bad of course. He told Trevor that he will only read and reply if I send him a short personal WhatsApp message. Other people nowadays similarly would rather listen to a voice message with the necessary info/instructions in instead of reading messages as they can do that with their earbuds in while walking down the street/sitting on a train whereas it’s hard to concentrate on reading lengthy and numerous WhatsApp messages that follow on from each other because of all the noise going on around you (from music or radio programmes in your earbuds, looking after noisy kids, or the TV blaring out in the background). Also, instead of reading through manuals/instruction books, most people just go on You Tube and watch a demo video instead. Basically, most people have done away with reading nowadays. Unless it’s just a one-line post with a very brief message in it. Like ‘next match is a 12.30 KO.’ And that’s it. Then if anybody wants to know more details they can reply to that. Then I reply back with another one liner with just the ground address and postcode. Don’t even need to post who we are playing against. Unless anybody asks. It’s up to them to look on the website or Full-Time if they want to know that. So since we last heard from him 8 months ago, although it indicates with two blue ticks that the father in question had read all the WhatsApp messages I had posted in the group chats during that time, he hadn’t actually read the text in the messages and therefore had no idea what had been going on. If he had been able to listen to voice messages or I had messaged him asking for a phone conversation, then he would have made sure his son (and nephew who also plays for us) would have turned up or at least let us know that they were unavailable. But here’s the problem with that. In the Barnet Sunday League’s Club Admin group, the League Secretary was previously posting voice notes in the group because that is what most people prefer nowadays and it saves a lot of time. However, you have no idea what the subject matter is for each voice note because there is no way of labelling it and then being able to search back in the chat for it. So Club Secretaries therefore couldn’t remember what instructions they had been given in the messages, and as they were unable to scroll back through written instructions in the group, they therefore had to bombard the League Secretary with private texts and phone calls to find out how to do things/what was going on because the League’s Club Admin group has to be Admins-only posting in there. Of course those private calls and messages then would have wasted far more of the League Secretary’s time than ever before because he was having to repeat himself over and over again to several different people, while others would obviously start chatting on the phone about other things. So he (and other very competent and articulate Officers that the League are fortunate to have on their Committee now compared to others from previous seasons who were anything but !) now presumably posts lengthy typed messages ONLY in the League’s Club Admin group because he has no choice. It’s exactly why I do that as well for OUR WhatsApp Groups. In my case I can’t speak to our club members at matches to let them all know about relatively minor but still interesting things because I’m filming the game and most of our parents/club members/supporters go home before I have turned the camera off. So I post all that background info as text messages in WhatsApp instead…which most people hate. But what else can I do ? At the time of writing this, our two previously missing players have both confirmed their availability for our first League match of the season, and if the Father/Uncle of them brings them along, then hopefully we can have a chat (at Half-Time ?) and find the best solution regarding communication.

Club Secretaries & Managers not reading instructions, rules & regulations in the Barnet Sunday League’s Club Admin WhatsApp Group because the posts from League officials in there are too frequent & lengthy is probably one of the main reasons why so many clubs are folding at the end of each season. They are getting fined too much as a result of finding reading ‘boring’ !

But I enjoy reading and writing, so our club never get fined !


Another thing that the Barnet Sunday League’s new Committee have been doing in preparation for the new season is resurrecting the League website, which had been placed on hold for the last two seasons due to Covid and other problems. In order to do this, the League have been trying to get all clubs to fill in an online Google form with the necessary details required for the Club Directory, but only 12 out of 80 teams did it before the deadline…those 12 including us of course…because most clubs would rather just use Instagram for everything and contact each other that way, even though the person running a club Instagram account is often just a faceless player or supporter who answers to ‘Hi mate’. If you are a young Club Secretary, you just don’t use e-mail or online documents any more. Most will not have a Google account and login anyway unless they have their own You Tube channel.

At least the League are giving WhatsApp a try in a big way in terms of confirming match arrangements, a replacement for filling in paper teamsheets and reporting results though, all of which I think are great ideas…as long as all Club Secretaries/Managers understand and follow the instructions. What the League are going to try and do this season in addition to fining clubs £150.00 per match if they do not give each other access to their downloadable player-ID photo Squad List from the Whole Game System’s Club Portal before the kick-off, is to use Line-Up 11 or a similar graphic app to post their starting line-ups & subs in the WhatsApp mini-group that the Home team has to set up for the match, with the Referee also being able to see the line-up graphic in the group chat, therefore enabling him to write down the correct names for yellow & red cards, etc., while both teams can also check each other’s line-ups with the downloaded PDF squad lists to find out if ringers are being played. The League have asked for first names & surnames of players to be posted on the line-up graphic, presumably with their shirt numbers as well, which is no problem for us as we already do that on our match video highlights anyway, but I suspect there will be a heck of a lot of the newer (younger-run) teams in our League using their players Instagram-handle names like ‘@mcgangsta’ or whatever on the graphic, while we already know that half the teams in our division don’t bother wearing shirt numbers or they have three or four players wearing the same shirt number. Some Team Managers (who will be using Line-Up 11 or similar instead of the Club Secretary in the WhatsApp Group) probably don’t even know their players real names that they are registered under by the Secretary in the Club Portal and what they display as on Full-Time. We don’t know at the moment whether the League will be fining teams for using Instagram-handle names or not, but the idea is still a heck of a lot better than having each player from both teams filling in and signing the same teamsheet before the kick-off so that signatures could be studied in the hunt for ringers…as was the case just five years ago. Unbelievably, some Sunday Leagues in the London area still do that. But modern technology to make life much simpler for the players has really moved on rapidly in the last couple of years and it is great to see our League using it.


As for the London F.A.’s Sunday Cup draws though, the same old controversies remain. We are in the London Sunday Junior Cup once again this season where in the First Round on the 25th September we have been drawn Away to a team (New World) who appear to play in a pirate League which only publishes it’s League Tables and Results to the registered players in that League via a password instead of using the publicly-viewable Full-Time website…which they cannot use because they are not an F.A.-affiliated League. So how unfair is that when they can view our League Tables and current form when we cannot view theirs ? (Apart from what they post on Instagram).

The biggest complaint with the draw is coming from the Southern Sunday League in South-West London though where all their teams have been drawn against each other in the First Round ‘because there are no other Sunday Leagues in South-West London’. But what’s wrong with them travelling East along the A205 South Circular to play teams from South-East London in a similar way that we will be doing North of the River along the A406 to get to Acton ? Because of this, the Southern Sunday League are now demanding that the Cup is re-drawn and broadcast live on Facebook or whatever so that there is transparency for the clubs, but at the time of writing, I have heard nothing since.

Indeed regarding transparency of Cup draws, a week or so ago the Barnet Sunday League held an online SGM at which they did their Cup draws at the end of the meeting using a clever piece of software which was shown on screen to everybody sitting at home. The entrants for the particular Cup being drawn were clearly visible, then a button was tapped on by the League Secretary and the whole draw appeared in front of everybody's eyes within seconds. It was excellent. So why can't the London FA do that ? 


Finally, it was great to watch England’s Womens Team win the Euros back in July, creating a big surge of interest in women and girls wanting to play the game at grassroots level. I have never wanted our club to go into Youth football or Semi-Pro Saturday football and I am very reluctant to re-start a Reserve Team again when our last attempt nearly 20 years ago only lasted two seasons, but an adults Womens team (who traditionally play at 2.00 pm on Sunday afternoons) is one thing I would consider adding to the club if we had enough volunteers to run it and if our current club members knew any potential players who could then bring friends and relatives along. However, as no doubt most newly-formed Womens teams in the London area are now finding out, where exactly are there any pitches they can play on (apart from expensive 3G cages) that have not already been played on that same Sunday morning…and in some cases twice already on the same day at 10.00 am & 12:00 pm ? Any pitches unused by adult mens Sunday teams from a lack of interest up until a few years ago were quickly snapped up by property developers or had wetlands built over them, so there’s no getting those pitches back. The only answer will be to force adult mens teams to fold, therefore freeing up the number of pitches available by limiting the number of teams that can join a League each season. But how unfair is that ? Unfortunately there is no easy answer.

0

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Friday 23rd December 2022

Our squad of young players began their competitive matches for the current Barnet Sunday League season on the 4th September with them all a year older as 17-year-olds who will be turning 18 during the course of the campaign. Our main expectation was that they would quickly become physically stronger, therefore enabling us to turn the closely-fought matches we had towards the end of last season into wins that would see us push for further promotion or at least a top-half-of-the-table finish. Although we had gone up a division, the promotion for this season was only because the bottom division (Division 6) was now only for newly-formed teams joining the League, so apart from last season’s Division 6 winners and runners-up, our opponents in Division 5 for 2022-2023 were all mainly the same and all of them were considered to be beatable.


One of those familiar opponents for our first game of the season was North West Wolves, who we faced in a 12.30 pm Kick-Off at their new Home ground up in Cheshunt, and with us fielding a squad of 16 and having beaten them 6-5 in a memorable match the last time we played them, we fancied our chances again. However, the absence of last season’s Player Of The Year Dapo Alaoye and another regular in Lenny Charles saw us suffer a 2-0 defeat that was primarily down to us only having played one Pre-Season Friendly while our opponents had signed up a number of good new young players from a higher level of Youth football than ours had come from, and they had also played numerous Pre-Season matches to bed them all in. Indeed North West Wolves have since gone on to top the table at Christmas with a 100% record, which has certainly shown us that we can’t stand still in this division and we need to constantly bring in better players if at all possible if we want to get anywhere.


One interesting aspect of that first League match was the Referee continuing to officiate as ‘a foul’s a foul’, in other words using the directives that had been in place for several seasons whereby free-kicks are given for slight pushes or ankle ‘taps’ that knock a player off-balance, causing them to lose possession of the ball. However, the Premier League season had already started a few weeks earlier (watched by all Sunday League players & Managers on TV of course) where new directives are now being followed in an effort to stop players ‘going down too easily to win cheap free-kicks’ and that fouls will now only seemingly be given if a player is ‘obviously clattered’. Needless to say, our players and Manager Tony McKay expected those directives to be the same for Sunday League football as well, thereby causing all sorts of arguments when the Referee awarded numerous free-kicks against us for minor infringements instead of letting the game flow. This is the fault of both the County FA’s and individual Sunday League Referee Secretaries though and it has been going on for years. Referees at our level are never told to follow Premier League directives when anything changes, particularly when it concerns handball decisions and the offside laws. Some of them do and some of them don’t…depending on whether they watch the Premier League or not, and indeed that is what we have since found out in our eleven matches played so far.


Since that North West Wolves defeat on the opening day of the season, we have played ten further matches, losing nine of them and only gaining one win…by a narrow 3-2 margin Away to second-from-bottom New Barnet. That victory came after a nightmare 15-1 defeat Away to the Armenian Youth Association the week before in which we threw debutant goalkeeper Ben Whiting in at the deep end without having seen him play before. As it turned out, he had only previously played in kickabouts,  so he hadn’t been coached how to come off his line and narrow the angle on a full-size 11-a-side pitch, thereby allowing our opponents to set themselves and get 27 of their 28 shots on goal on target, 15 of which they scored from easily as they had too much of the goal to aim at. The reason for the Armenians forwards finding themselves clean through on goal every time though was because our former Manager Trevor Hughes (who was over here from Cyprus for the match) continued to insist that 4-4-2 was the right formation for our youngsters to play in learning the game at this level so that they could defend deep and ‘tuck in’ in two banks of four. However, as in the three previous matches to this one (which we lost 0-4, 2-5 and 3-5 against teams we were hoping to beat), they simply refused to do it (because they were all ‘too fit’ and wanted to play a pressing game onto the opposing full-backs), so we ended up playing 4-2-4 with a high line at the back which the Armenian’s experienced players exploited with quality passing from midfield as their 4-3-3 formation (which every other team in the division now plays…because most Premier League & World Cup teams are) outnumbered us in the centre of the pitch.


Although the win against New Barnet the following week was primarily down to Josh Wakeford’s Dad Tim (an ex-St. Albans City goalkeeper) signing up to go in goal at the age of 49 and making a huge difference just from organising the defenders in front of him, a 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation was soon chosen to replace the 4-4-2 going forward anyway, as after all, with Burnley now gone from the Premier League, our players simply do not watch any professional teams playing a 4-4-2 system and they are only familiar with 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1, so it makes sense for us to do what they see on TV (and presumably play on their computers ?).


As for the five matches we have played (and lost) since that New Barnet match though, the main problem has been having to field vastly different starting line-ups from week to week due to injuries, family commitments, player disillusionment (because all our opponents turn up with a full-strength side against us to get themselves on You Tube) and not being able to play in the many afternoon kick-offs we have been given, but probably most of all, the expectancy from some of our older Management Committee members that our players should be physically strong enough by now to ‘get stuck in’, ‘show more effort’ and win 50/50 challenges, when unfortunately only Gianni Dipo and Harvey Antoniou are currently of the same height and build as our opponents...and they are both struggling with fitness issues themselves. The rest of our players (who are generally leaner, fitter and quicker) are being urged to get tight on players, but then they just get easily ‘rolled’ because they don’t have the necessary upper body strength yet, therefore leaving forwards clean through on goal…and that is exactly how we have lost three of our last five matches by the same 4-7 scoreline and conceded seven further goals in the other two defeats.

The absence of Manager Tony McKay since late September due to a major operation and subsequent long recovery has undoubtedly been a major blow, while having five of our matches postponed already because of the weather and (in early September) being forced by the F.A. to grieve at home for Her Majesty instead of playing and being able to pay our respects as a team with a minute’s silence before the kick-off hasn’t helped either when last season saw no postponements whatsoever until the end of February. There is no doubt that had we got off to a good start like we did in Season 2016-2017 and been playing every Sunday, then we would have been fielding far more of a settled side with players making more of an effort to play every week.


Because of postponements due to a frozen pitch and then some snow, Sunday 4th December’s 4-7 defeat turned out to be our final game before the Christmas break as we played Away to North West Wolves again, but this time in the First Round of the Barnet Sunday League Shield, which is the Cup for the bottom two divisions. It was just our luck to get drawn Away to the unbeaten Division 5 leaders in that and once again having to kick-off at 12.30 pm, which is Enfield & Barnet Councils fault for shutting so many of their grounds to build wetlands, cemetery extensions and housing on over the past few seasons, thereby forcing the League to double-up fixtures on the same grass pitches at 10.30 am & 12.30 pm to cater for the suddenly increasing number of adult mens teams that are starting up thanks to the You Tube and social media phenomenon which the League’s young Committee now fully embrace. Indeed the League have even gone as far as to hire Aylands Open Space (a venue of four pitches) from Enfield Council for 4 x 10.30 am and 4 x 1.00 pm Kick-Offs every Sunday with the deal being that the League find their own personnel to maintain and open up the changing rooms, cut the grass, mark out the lines and put all eight goalnets up as if it is a private venue. The League then charge Home teams £100 per match to play there which pays for the manpower that Enfield Council cannot afford, while the teams themselves are happy to pay that (instead of the £55 that Enfield Council charge for an inferior pitch at Enfield Playing Fields and for hiring Aylands Open Space without changing rooms and goalnets) because they are raking in sponsorship money from using Evoleze or York’s for their social media graphics.

There is no doubt that teams who play all their Home games at 12.30 pm or later have an advantage as they will have recruited a squad who can play at that time whereas teams who have been running for a few years like ourselves have players (and officials like our own Bob Cleary) who joined us specifically to play Sunday MORNING football and therefore cannot attend afternoon matches at all. Subsequently we were only able to field 10 men for that most recent match on the 4th December with veterans Stuart Dorward and Leon McKenzie-McKay both having to play a full 90 minutes, and we simply cannot continue like that when we re-start after the Christmas break. The squad will have to be boosted with further signings as we will undoubtedly have more afternoon kick-offs as the season goes on.


There are still loads of positives for us though. Daniel Schwartz-Gee & Christian Ellis are both very good new signings in the 16-17 age group that we have made since the start of the season, while 27-year-old Tre Maxwell and 22-year-old Nana Obeng have both returned to help us out recently in attacking positions and give us a bit more experience, which is a big reason as to why we have started scoring a lot more goals. Nana is hoping to play regularly in the New Year, we should have Harry Dorward back from injury after a long spell out, and we are hoping to have defender Chris Jordanou back after an extended break as well. Last season we improved massively after Christmas and there is no reason why we cannot do so again and start winning matches on a regular basis as long as our whole squad get their enthusiasm back and make themselves available more regularly.

In addition to that, we have just made a lot of money for the club from fund-raising thanks to donations of unwanted presents from my own family members and our club First-Aider Sarah Dorward’s expertise on e-Bay, so that will make it more affordable for our players to pay their subs and encourage them to play.

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CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - August 2023

After a five-week break due to the Christmas period and a now-rare period of snow & ice in the weeks before that, we faced mid-table North London Panthers at Aylands Open Space on the Enfield/Waltham Cross border in our first game of 2023 on the 8th January with a decent squad of 14, despite it being a horrible overcast day with periods of very heavy rain throughout the match. This was the first time our loyal band of supporters and parents had had to endure weather like that since our ‘Project Re-Start’ the season before, but despite ending up getting drenched they had a really enjoyable match to watch as we ran out 6-2 winners thanks to our opponents gifting us some really soft goals with some comical defending whilst Josh Wakeford produced another Man-Of-The-Match performance for us in goal at the other end to ensure the three points despite us being beaten in the ‘shots count’.


That North London Panthers result actually took us off the bottom of the Division 5 table, but we then had another three weeks in a row without a game as waterlogged or frozen pitches and having no game arranged saw a number of our players become frustrated and find better things to do on Sundays for the rest of the season, as is always the case in adults Sunday League football when playing for a team who are not in contention to win a trophy and who lose most of their matches.

We then ended up playing Division Six bottom side Radlett Town in the League Junior Challenge Cup on the 5th February having played only one match in 8 weeks whilst our opponents had been fortunate enough to have fixtures on playable pitches and had played for several weeks in a row. Radlett also turned up with the strongest side they had put out all season because of the novelty of playing on You Tube for them and we ended up being totally outplayed by a much stronger side physically, although it didn’t help that stand-in keeper Tim Wakeford made a couple of very uncharacteristic mistakes that gifted our opponents more goals than they deserved in a 6-2 victory.


Tim then decided not to risk it any more (at the age of 50) after that game, despite helping us to our only other win so far this season when we beat New Barnet 3-2 back in October with him in goal, but for our next match against ‘jinx’ side Colney Hatch Athletic we were fortunate enough to have 34-year-old Ritchie Redgrave available to make his debut for us in that position with Josh Wakeford needed as a sweeper in an experimental back three with numerous regular defenders unavailable. With experienced outfield players Leon McKenzie-McKay, Nana Obeng & substitute Tre Maxwell all making themselves available as well, we then produced arguably our most memorable performance of the season when Ritchie saved a penalty in the 80th minute to stop us going 2-0 down, with Tre then equalising on the break directly from that save ! Further goals from Tairique Harrison and Max Mir in the 90th & 91st minutes then saw even more manic celebrations from our players and supporters as we notched a 3-1 victory and it made a nice change for ourselves to be able to bathe in the glory on You Tube rather than most of the opponents we face.


Unfortunately though, our momentum was disrupted once again the following Sunday by North Athletico dropping out of the League to leave us without a match, and we then went on a run of four heavy defeats in a row after that, all against teams who we would have had a chance of beating had certain players and Management Committee members been available. We were particularly badly hit when Leon had to call it a day for the rest of the season after that Colney Hatch Athletic win due to family commitments, while his father Tony McKay had resigned as Manager by then for the same reasons, but Tony’s replacement Stuart Dorward was by now having increasing work commitments himself and couldn’t make every game either. Thankfully we still had former Assistant Manager Roderick Bennett attending most of our matches to come and watch his Grandson Harvey Antoniou play, despite Roderick having moved to live in Braintree in Essex, while Club Linesman Bob Cleary was still around as well, therefore meaning I could still concentrate on filming every game without having to do all the ‘Caretaker Manager’ duties myself. Fortunately though, we were able to sign up a couple more good young players in Rashawn Bennett-Dyer and Sam Pritchett as we moved towards the end of the season and they were both involved in a 5-4 win against Enfield Albion on the 2nd April which ensured we finished the season second-from-bottom, which was at least an improvement on the season before !


We managed to field a full squad of 16 for that Enfield Albion match where a 3-4-1-2 system worked well, and it included a goal scored straight from the start of the Second Half kick-off where for 60 seconds we put 15 passes together using the width of the pitch, knocking it around at the back without our opponents getting a touch of the ball until they picked it out of the back of the net from Christian Ellis’s finish. We were therefore looking forward to continuing with that style of play and formation for our remaining two matches, which were both against teams challenging for the Division 5 title, but the first of those two games at Home to North West Wolves on a bowling green of a pitch at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club saw us only able to field seven players with mid-60-year-olds Roderick Bennett & Bob Cleary both having to play to make the numbers up to nine. Although a couple more players turned up later, we never had more than 10 on the pitch at any one time, and with Roderick & Bob understandably both ‘passengers’, we only really played with 8 for most of the match. The eventual 21-0 scoreline was the club’s heaviest-ever defeat in adults football stretching back for 46 years and therefore very embarrassing, but we simply couldn’t afford to pay the League’s very hefty fine had we conceded the match. Some of our players who turned out for us in this game actually thought we HAD conceded the match and were playing it as a Friendly though ! However, unknown to them, those ‘conceded 3-0 defeat’ rules that they were used to in Youth football does not apply in adults football. If you are prepared to play the game as a Friendly, then it counts as a League match with all goals scored being allowed to stand.


Thankfully for our last match of the season at Home to Armenian Youth Association on the 7th May, we managed to get eleven decent players there for the kick-off, while Manager Stuart Dorward was also available this time. Despite still having a heck of a lot of good players making themselves unavailable…probably because of the result of our previous match and the fear of seeing themselves on You Tube suffering a similar heavy defeat…we actually played really well in the First Half and were the better side against opponents who needed to win to mathematically clinch the Division 5 title. We found ourselves 4-1 down at Half-Time though thanks to some uncharacteristic mistakes in goal by Josh Wakeford and some bad luck in front of goal ourselves, but the lack of substitutes hit us hard in the Second Half and we ended up losing 8-1 with most of our players shooting off home on the final whistle as soon as they could while our opponents celebrated with their divisional winners shield in front of our camera…which is not the first time in the club’s history that we have had to endure that scenario after a heavy beating in our last game of a disappointing season.


Since then we had to cancel our end-of-season Presentation Night at the end of June due to a lack of numbers from players finishing their ‘A’ Levels at the same time and going away together on two-week rite-of-passage holidays abroad…from which they then came back with either flu, Covid or a stomach bug, missing Pre-Season Training as a result…, while Norsemen FC (who we have hired a pitch from at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club since 2015) hit us with a bombshell at the same time by ‘kicking us out’ for the coming 2023-2024 Season due to an expansion of their Sunday Youth section, therefore leaving us temporarily homeless. Thankfully we were then lucky enough to be given Pitch 3 at Enfield Playing Fields by Enfield Council for a Home pitch instead, but there is a vast difference between that conker, leaf & twig-strewn surface to that of which we have been used to at the Edmonton Sports & Social Club for the past 8 years. The main difference of course is that our players will now have to put goalnets up themselves for the first time, but hopefully a planned filmed demo by myself for You Tube will show them how to do it properly…unlike the net on the pitch behind us when we played Enfield Albion in April ! (See picture above).

There are a couple of advantages with having Enfield Playing Fields as a Home pitch from now on though. Firstly it is more central to where our current players live and it is easier to find a parking space for those who like to turn up within 30 minutes of the kick-off, and secondly it is also much cheaper and we will get a credit for any unused weeks out of the 16 we have to pay for in advance. We will only be paying £71.50 per match whereas Norsemen would have been charging us £132.00 per match for the 2023-2024 Season and not giving us any refunds or credits for unused weeks whatsoever.


We have also had another financial boost in making over £1,300.00 for the club from fund-raising thanks to our first-aider Sarah Dorward selling unwanted donated possessions from my disabled younger brother Gerald on e-Bay. This means we will be able to charge our players just a £50.00 Annual Membership/Signing-On Fee for 2023-2024 (before they play in a match) with hopefully no further payments to be made at all, although that may well depend on further fund-raising and sponsorship.

Indeed from speaking to some other Barnet Sunday League Club Secretaries recently, including at the League’s Presentation Night when we were awarded with a Sportsmanship Trophy for all 8 divisions as a result of high marks from Referees and opposing teams, most teams in the League now operate in a similar fashion where players are only charged a minimal amount thanks to multiple sponsorships of around £250.00 per sponsor for the season. However, these sponsors are attracted by teams who have somebody who knows what they are doing on Instagram and Tik-Tok in being able to publicise them. We don’t currently have that as I am in my mid-60’s and so are most of our other Committee members, so this is where we now need volunteers from our team of 17 & 18-year-olds to start getting involved in helping to run and publicise the club.

In fact with Stuart Dorward having to quit as Manager for the coming Season due to increasing work commitments, we are now looking at the possibility of getting our young players to manage & coach themselves like myself, Dave Ashton, Gary Cooper, my brother Trevor and the late Glenn Weaver all did on our own back in 1976 when we ourselves were teenagers if we cannot find anybody suitable from outside the club. Adverts we have placed for a new Manager/Head Coach have had a few responses, but they have either been from people who live too far away from Enfield and don’t drive or Managers from teams who have just folded but who want to bring maybe too many of their remaining players with them. As we have tried mergers twice in the past six seasons with two equal groups of players of different age groups who do not know each other, leading to arguments and failures on both occasions, we will need to make sure that the Manager and his players are the right fit for us this time if we decide to go down that route again.


As for our squad for the coming season, although we will most likely be losing quite a few players to University, family commitments or to disillusionment, we have a lot of very good young players in the 16-21 age group who are apparently keen to join us, all of whom are already known to our current players. With a lot of them on holiday in late-July and early/mid-August though, we probably won’t be able to arrange a Pre-Season Friendly until the 20th August, but hopefully we can fit in one or two training sessions before then where we can get to meet up with these new players first. Communication between Management and players needs to improve for that to happen though, as for the second part of last season and the current Pre-Season so far we have been using the Polls facility in our WhatsApp Player Availability Group to check for availability, but a large number of players (and even Committee members) often do not check the box for ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or even ‘Don’t Know Yet’, which suggests they may have read the message when they have been driving or working/studying at school and have therefore not been in a position to send a reply straight away. As there is then no further automatic reminder for them to do so, they then completely forget about it. They also almost certainly don’t have the club News & Info or Player Availability groups pinned in the app to appear at the top of their chat lists either, then they will invariably receive another 50-100 different messages from numerous friends, family & work colleagues throughout the rest of the day, so any messages I send them in those two club groups just get ‘lost’ way down the list ! Most of our players do not use WhatsApp as their normal communication method anyway. They use Snapchat instead. But for me, I only know how to use WhatsApp and I often go for several days without receiving a single message from anybody as I have no friends or family apart from my younger brother Trevor (our former Team Manager from the 90’s & 00’s) and my sister Hilary, who is currently our Club Welfare Officer for the 16-18 year-olds that we have playing for us. Both Trevor & Hilary are in our club News & Info WhatsApp Group anyway. In fact it’s very common that the only WhatsApp messages I receive during the course of a week are from opposing club Managers…invariably from teams we have already played numerous times…desperately wanting to play us in a Friendly so that they can get on You Tube for free…again !

However, I have been guilty myself of ignoring messages lately…but only the numerous private direct messages we are getting on Instagram every week from prospective random players (with usernames that invariably include the ‘word’ skillz) who have seen us losing on You Tube and therefore think they will definitely get a game with us when other clubs have bombed them out for not being able to control (or save) the ball in the first place, let alone pass it or shoot. This is nothing new of course, as when we first started putting our Video Clip Of The Week on the club website in the early 2000’s before You Tube and other social media came along, we used to receive countless e-mails from players living somewhere in Africa wanting to join us thinking we were a professional club happy to give them a trail trial. Most of these e-mails would include the wording ‘I wanna be a superstar in your club’ and we still get these sort of messages now, but on Instagram instead.

Having said that, we have had the occasional success story over the years after taking on random players who have contacted us asking to join without knowing anybody. Kieran McGregor, Tony Tombling, Danny Hagan, George Stahlmann, Curtis Baalam & Nana Obeng all being the best examples of that. Our ex-Manager (and still Assistant Coach when he is able to attend) Tony McKay actually takes that even further by seemingly asking anyone he meets for the first time ‘Do you play football ?’ as long as they look the part. Invariably that sees those players only last one match though…as we found out on a couple of occasions this season and a few other times before that in the pre-Covid period.


Another alternative to using WhatsApp for communicating with players is of course the F.A.’s apparently ‘improved’ Matchday app…which they still persist in ‘plugging’ to all clubs as an essential tool.

Well that would be OK if it didn’t ask for each player’s e-mail address as their username for them to login and use the app…because most young players these days rarely use e-mail for anything and don’t have a regular e-mail address anyway. Some have two or three different e-mail addresses which belong to schools, colleges and workplaces that they have previously been at, but those e-mail addresses no longer work and flash up on the Matchday app and the F.A.’s Club Portal as ‘Invalid e-mail address’ because they have since left those institutions. One of those e-mail addresses will have been used by a Club Secretary to register them as a player on the F.A.’s Whole Game System, so that e-mail address is therefore the one that has to be used for the Matchday app. But it can’t be changed…so they are then completely stuck, as they can’t login to their profile to change their username e-mail address to a (more sensible) Google, Yahoo or iCloud webmail address that they can keep forever and use for everything. If the Club Secretary tries registering the player as a ‘New Player’ using a new e-mail address, the Whole Game System (now known as Club Portal) blocks it and displays a warning ‘This player already has an e-mail address associated with his registration’…or words to that effect. This also means that a player’s ID photo (which our League requires) cannot be uploaded, as only the player himself can login and do that. But they can no longer login because their e-mail address no longer works ! Most Club Secretaries therefore ‘have to’ register the player under a false/slightly different name with a newly-created webmail e-mail address to get round that and even alter the players date of birth and their postcode as well, but I am not prepared to do that. For me, the F.A. need to somehow find a way of allowing players to update their e-mail addresses themselves. Why should that be so difficult ?


Finally, sometime in the next couple of years, I will be moving somewhere ‘up North’ to ‘retire’ once I start receiving my state pension, and at some stage it will probably be too far for me to keep travelling down every Sunday to continue filming Rovers matches. I will then be hoping somebody else can continue to voluntarily film, edit & produce the games in a similar way to what I do, although I know at least one club member thinks that using a VEO (artificial intelligence mast camera) would be a better option to what I do anyway as the footage is private, much better for tactical analysis (with a wide angle downward view of the pitch), and we would have no more trolls posting comments on You Tube that force our players to leave…as has happened several times over the past few seasons. However, matches like the 3-1 win against Colney Hatch Athletic just wouldn’t have been the same without me filming it as a VEO stays focused on the ball in the net (or kicked back downfield) and doesn’t capture goalscorer celebrations, while for all the trolls on You Tube, there are far more comments from my near-1,000 subscribers praising our players and willing them to progress in the game. Most importantly though, if we are winning games on You Tube, sponsorship offers will then start flooding in, especially as we have ex-England Womens International Claire Rafferty now helping to publicise the club. We cannot publicise VEO footage as it looks awful on Instagram and Tik-Tok.
Hopefully we will therefore still have a lot to look forward to during the coming season.

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SEASON 2022-2023 HIGHLIGHTS COMPILATION