In the second of our three-part preview ahead of the start of the new MGBSFL season, we next focus on those sides who be competing in Division One…
This season’s Division One campaign promises to be intriguing, despite only two teams laying claim to the title.
FC Team B player-manager Mitch Young says anything other than a top-two finish will be a disappointment for him. “We know how hard Division One is going to be, having been promoted out of it a few years ago”, he says. “It’s now been made even tougher by the number of teams in the division. Saying that, we’re well-equipped and have enough experience and talent to challenge for the title.”
Having been back in training since July, he says the squad are hungry for more success having won the league and cup double last season. Believing his side have the best attack in the division, he’s re-signed James Korn, long-term injury absentees Jake Weiner and Gideon Moss return to the squad, while he says he’s also working on one more surprise signing.
Brady player-manager Josh Dagul also has realistic aims for his side, saying: “We want to win the title.” Happy with how pre-season has gone, he says: “Fundamental to our preparations was to rejuvenate the squad and bring in some new faces and I feel like we have done that excellently.”
And saying he wants his side to entertain, he says: “Football is about entertaining the fans and that’s exactly what we do.”
Los Blancos’ Joel Minsky wants to kick-on from mid-table finishes over the past couple of seasons, saying: “Our targets would have to be a promotion push, but with the division expanding and last season’s top two not taking promotion, we know it won’t be easy.” Conceding the side have had a poor pre-season, the 2014 Young Player of the Year Jono Gaon returns to the squad, and are also hoping to sign James Belchak, Ben Annis and Josh Hirshowitz.
Jeremy Brown hopes last season’s Division Three champions, London Rovers, can establish themselves in the Division, staying as close as possible to the top half of the table. He said: “Due to the restructure of the league this season, we find ourselves playing in a more advanced division than expected. We had a fantastic season last year and as a new team we were hoping to go through the gears as standard. Division One has some very good experienced teams who play an advanced brand of football and we now have to make sure we are able to compete with that. Our aim initially has to be to establish ourselves in that division and make sure we stay as close to the top half of the table as possible.”
Adding a couple of new signings, he says the team’s strengths are their team spirit and the balance they have between youth and experience.
Real Sosobad manager Daniel Shafron also wants his side to cement a top-half place in the table as they look to build on their debut season in the League. He said: “Our aim is to put 100 percent effort in to every game we play. We’ll be looking to build on a very positive debut season and show that we’re worthy of being in this division.” Saying the balance they have in their squad is their main strength, he’s happy with players he has at his disposal, saying: “Last season there were some excellent individual performances but we finished in a good position because we played well as a team. I maintain that we are a team and the only key name to look out for is Real Sosobad, not any one individual.”
Oakwood B manager Jason Stein is another boss who’s looking for a mid-table finish, saying they can achieve that if they cut out ‘the stupid mistakes that cost us in big games last year’. Hiring a coach has benefitted the team, as be believes will be their pace in attack. Bringing in eleven players to hopefully boost their side, he says: “We’re relentless going forward, when we hit our stride last year we were capable of scoring half a dozen goals and we need more of that this year.”
Redbridge B’s Richard Bronzite isn’t setting any targets for his side. “We don’t know what to expect yet,” he says. “With the division getting bigger and the changes that have happened here, anything is possible, so it’s literally a one game at a time job” Pre-season has gone well under new manager Jason Goldstein, with him citing the unity at the club as being their main strength. “We’re a huge club, our resources are probably one of the best in the leagues.” And as for key additions to the squad over the summer? He says: “The whole team is the addition so all the boys are key players!”
SPEC player-manager Ricky Lawrence is hoping his side can improve on their seventh place last season, saying: “It’s going to be a really tough season given the quality in the division but I’m hopeful that if we start well then we can finish higher.” Familiarity between teammates won’t be an issue as they’ve all played together for quite a while, with their stand-out signings to date being the Roth brothers – Sam and Simon.
Brixton Old Boys, Faithfold B, North London Raiders B and Woodford Wanderers complete the line-up.