Maccabi London Lions have announced that their new 200-seater stand will be called ‘The Alan Mattey Stand’, in honour of our late former player, and friend to so many at Rowley Lane.
Alan wore the club’s colours with pride for a number of years before sadly passing away in 2006 after a battle with cancer. He made his debut for Maccabi London Lions (then called MALEX) on 6th September 1995 in a 0-0 draw with Kimpton Rovers in what was our first season playing on the English FA’s ‘football pyramid’, competing in the Herts County Senior League.
Alan thrived in the combative nature of non-Jewish Saturday football and was once described as having ‘the looks of Paolo Maldini, with the playing style of Vinny Jones’. His tough-tackling central midfield style was always paired with an infectious smile.
Memorably, his winning goal and Man-of-the-Match performance in the semi-final of the Peter Morrison Trophy at Armyfields was a key step on the way to the club clinching the national cup competition in 1996, when he picked up a winners’ medal. He also represented Great Britain’s Over-35s at the World Maccabiah Games in 2001.
Both of Alan’s sons have also represented Lions; Daniel played for a number of years before heading to University in 2012, and Jack is currently starring for the Under 15 Whites.
The Mattey family have been incredible supporters of the club for a number of years, and are shirt sponsors for all 34 Lions youth teams. Alex Barnett, a life-long friend of Alan’s, has been instrumental in advising the Mattey family, and has made his own commitment to this project. The new stand cements a permanent commitment to the club, and significantly helps us in achieving our goals.
Club Chairman Andy Landesberg said: ‘The relationship with Leanne, Daniel and the Mattey family goes far beyond just a financial commitment. Alan, Daniel and Jack are Lions boys through and through. When I went to see Leanne and Alex about the new sponsorship of the Youth teams for the coming season, they made their decision with the pride of knowing what Alan would have wanted. We then discussed what was happening and I explained what we wanted to achieve over the next two years (the new stand and floodlight project), and immediately Alex and Leanne said they would like to help. Within a week they came back to me and it was as straight forward as that.”
“I know how proud Leanne and Daniel are to be able to be part of this, and they know how much pride and pleasure Alan would have received from this. They have made their commitment based on exactly what Alan would have done had he been alive today. I’m not sure I can really find the words of thanks on behalf of Maccabi London Lions, but I do know how much it means to Leanne, Daniel and Alex to secure the memory of Alan Mattey; a great friend, a great father, a great husband and a great man’.
Leanne Mattey said: “It has been my pleasure to support Maccabi London Lions over the years. Alan was a keen sportsman, and he talked about the opening ceremony of the Israel Maccabiah as being one of the most wonderful experiences in his life. He made his friends playing football, met many of his business colleagues on the pitch and always believed that children should be encouraged to enjoy sport and all it offered them by being part of a team”.
“I believe sport is a wonderful coming together for our Jewish community – teaching positive attitudes and team spirit.” Further contributions towards other parts of the ground including the floodlighting have been generously made by the Kyte and Landesberg families, as well as the FA’s Football Stadium improvement fund.
Maccabi London Lions are excited to unveil an indicative image of the new Alan Mattey Stand – set to grace Rowley Lane’s main pitch in the coming months. Contractors are due to be appointed imminently and construction will get under way as soon as the season finishes in early May. Completion is expected during late August and we will share images of the progress over the summer.
The club has also announced that the stand will now be an all-seater for up to 200 spectators, rather than the original plan for 100 seats and 100 covered standing spaces. As well as the stand, there will be new floodlights, upgraded changing rooms, along with new walkways, barriers and perimeter fencing. This will enable Rowley Lane to meet a high standard; allowing Lions to play up to Step 5 in the FA ‘football pyramid’ as well as any future FA Cup and FA Vase games.
Club President David Kyte said: ‘I remember in 2002 when we first purchased Rowley Lane, I took Alan Mattey down to see what we’d bought. Even in its then run-down state, he saw the possibilities that are now a reality and I vividly remember his excitement. This spirit and enthusiasm that Alan had for our club is what drives us on.
“Building a stand and having all our teams playing at one home from Under 7s to non-league football has always been our aim. This will be a first-class facility for Maccabi London Lions, the wider community; League Rep Teams, Cup Finals and more. It is something I hope we’ll all be very proud of.”