Hendon captain Ari Last crowned off a fantastic season for record-breaking Hendon A when he was voted Player of the Year at the end-of-season awards night.
The skipper of the treble winners picked up his accolade on Monday night and said: “I honestly wasn’t expecting to win this. I thought there were so many contenders from our team. Obviously you hope, I had a good period during the year, but there were other times when I was off the boil. I think there were six or seven other players in the Hendon team who could have won it and they would have deserved it.”
But delighted to have won it nevertheless, he said: “It feels great to be voted Player of the Year. I’ve been playing in this League for absolute ages so it kind of feels like a definite pinnacle of my Sunday League career, and it’s nice to be voted for this by all the players, especially in a year when this team have got so many fantastic players, equally who are just as deserving of this award as me.
“It is a cliché to say it’s a team game, but from Russell at the back, Greg and Yoav Lebens, who joined this year, they all could have won this award and I think what’s really nice and why we’ve been successful is that everyone’s pitched in at different moments of the season, people have come into form when others have had off days, we’re not a team of stars and that’s why we get on very well and do very well.”
And speaking on a personal note as to what it means to him, he said: “I think this has been the best season of my career. We lost our captain Josh Lipman when he went to Israel in February, so I stepped to be the captain just at the right time, to collect all the trophies, as they say it’s all about timing!
“I think that gave me extra personal motivation to raise my game and that helped me as well. I play very differently know, am a different player to as I was as a kid, but am still enjoying in nonetheless.”
And looking back on a fantastic trophy-winning season for Hendon, the 29-year-old is now looking ahead to next.
“We’ve got to try and do the same again next season,” he says. “We’re a close knit team, made up of a few families – it sounds like a Mafioso! – but we’re all friends. But at the same time we’re super competitive too. I know some teams have that conflict, keeping the friend and competitive side going, but we’ve been very fortunate that we’re all competitive and take our game very seriously, we have great camaraderie in the team, players don’t show if they’re upset if they don’t make the team, and that’s a huge contribution to the team.
“Last year when we didn’t win anything was because we didn’t have the squad, players coming off the bench, stepping in at vital moments, we had that this year and that was the difference.”
The Young Player of the Year award went to Los Blancos’ Jono Gaon. The 19-year-old striker was the second highest scorer in the League this season, and said: “It was a massive surprise, I wasn’t expecting it. There’s a lot of competition round but I think my hard work paid off. I tried my best this season and with the help of my teammates, I think I was able to achieve this award.
“I’m very happy, I don’t know if I deserved it but am very happy the committee voted me to win in. Next season I’m in Israel, I would like to continue my football there and hope to return to Los Blancos after that.”
Reflecting back on the season, League Chairman David Wolff said: “I’m happy with how the season went, the only problem was with the weather, but generally it went very well. I think the standard is excellent for Jewish football.
“Hendon are unquestionably deserving of all the accolades they get, and Norstar London Raiders are a superb outfit as well. It’s great to see all the young talent coming through and that all bodes well for the future of Jewish football.”
FULL ROLL OF HONOUR:
Winners: Norstar London Raiders B
Runners-up: Hendon United B
Winners: Norstar London Raiders
25 year’s service to MGBSFL:
Leading League Goalscorer:
40 goals – Richard Fogelman (L’Equipe)
24 goals – Jono Gaon (Los Blancos)
23 goals – Mitch Hahn (Woodford Wanderers)
Team Secretary of the Year:
Anthony Cohen (AC Whetstone)
Referee of the Year:
Goalkeeper of the Year:
Jake Doffman (Norstar London Raiders A)
Team Manager of the Year:
David Garbacz (Hendon United A)
Sport turnout of the Year:
13.90 points – AC Whetstone
13.39 points – Norstar London Raiders A
13.33 points – Norstar London Raiders C
13.19 points – Boca Jewniors
13.13 points – Hendon United A
13.11 points – Norstar London Raiders B
13.10 points – Hendon United C
Winners: Norstar London Raiders C
Winners: Norstar London Raiders C
Runners-Up: Redbridge B
Winners: Woodford Wanderers
Runners-Up: North West Neasden
Winners: Hendon United A
Runners-Up: Norstar London Raiders A
Division Three Player of the Year:
Richard Fogelman (L’Equipe)
Division Two Player of the Year:
Nathan Sollosi (Redbridge B)
Division One Player of the Year:
Mitch Hahn (Woodford Wanderers)
Young Player of the Year:
Jono Gaon (Los Blancos)
Player of the Year:
Ari Last (Hendon United A)