Title tilts, promotion challenges and improving on last season’s performance are the wishes of the 12 Division Two managers this season…
FC Team player-manager Mitch Young says his side are aiming to both challenge for the title and enjoy a good cup run.
Describing how pre-season has “gone well”, he says “The experience of playing together for so many years is our main strength, while we have also added Marc Hecht in defence and 18-year-old Bradley Jacobs so he will bring down the average age!”
Brandon Hamme wants to see his Mill Hill Dons side challenge for promotion, saying: “We have made some impressive additions to the squad over the summer, which I believe could take us to the next step and see us improve on our sixth place finish last season.
“I believe that there is some really strong competition in the league this season, so we know it won’t be easy for us but on our day I feel like we can beat anyone in this league.”
Talking about the strengths of his side, he says: “We are a very technical side with probably some of the best players on the ball in the league. Going forward when on form we can be deadly, with our player of the year Zach Cohen leading the attack, he is bound to cause some defences some nightmares again this season.”
Saying how happy he is with his team, he added: “I believe we have a really good group of lads with a real good team morale. Last year we had the youngest team in the league, so our squad is full of potential. A late signing last season, Jamie Nagioff, is one to watch out for, he brings in a wealth of experience and has now joined the club on a full-time basis.Skipper Nick Phillips really came into his own at the end of last season, becoming a driving force in the middle of the park and a real leader on the pitch, definitely one to look out for. Adam Isaacs had a very impressive season for the Dons last year, his pace caused many full backs across the league issues all year long, he is bound to play a crucial role in any success we may have this season.”
Catford & Bromley player-manager Jeff Gotch says his three-year-plan is coming to an end, meaning he needs to deliver! He said: “This year we aim to stay competitive until the end – I had a three-year plan and now is year three so the chairman insists I must deliver.”
Happy with how pre-season went, he said: “Our strengths are a mix of youth and experience and togetherness that we have gained over last couple seasons as a squad. We’ve made few signings and kept most from last year – Mitch green is a key addition.”
Martin Smulovitch is hoping his Real Hendon side can enjoy some cup success this year. He says: “We have a mix of experience and youth, which should bode well for a strong league campaign – and an outside chance of cup success!”
Describing their pre-season preparations has having been “sparse but positive”, he says the team unity, experience and plenty of self-belief are the key strengths, while believing Chaim Gothold, being free from managerial responsibility, will be a handful for all defenders, plus Motty Korman, who seems to be improving with age.”
Sam Rose is hoping to see improvement from his North London Raiders C side, saying: “We want to improve on our seventh place finish last season, we want to hit the ground running and hope to be looking down the table rather than up it this season!
“Our pre-season prep has gone well as we look to improve on everyone’s fitness and blend our new players into the squad. I’m really pleased with the attitude of the guys over our pre-season games and the style of football we’ve been playing and look forward to this translating into positive results once the season begins.”
Happy with his acquisitions over the summer, he said: “We’ve definitely strengthened our team in the centre-back position alongside Raiders stalwart Adam Leveson, so I expect to see a much more solidified defence this season. Alongside this, our midfield should really pack a punch this season as we look to push on in search of goals up top.”
Saying how “very happy” he is with the squad, he adds: “I think we identified early on in the summer break where we needed to improve and got our transfer business done early. There was some initial transfer buzz as there always is, but no tangible offers came our way.
“Look out for new signing Sam Roth this season in defence – if pre-season is anything to go by, I look forward to writing the phrase ‘marauding defender’ many times in my match reports. Keep an eye out for the deadly duo of Liam Stein and Alex Elf up top – they mean business this season.”
Hertswood Vale’s Jacob Emanuel is also looking to improve on last season, calling it an “extremely disappointing campaign and that anything else would be better!
“I’m not aiming high, but taking each game as it comes. A cup run would be great for the club’s funds but we’re putting our focus into making our way up the league table this season.”
Saying how pre-season has been jam-packed, they’ve shored up their side on the back of Hendon B’s demise. “We took their former captain and manager James Neidle whose experience and ability to put his head onto anything in the air will be invaluable throughout the season,” he says. “Whilst our defence has been strengthened, we’ve also added to our attacking options with the signings Edan Dodi, Gal Alkalay and Harry Marlow, formerly of London Lions. We’re still confident of pulling off a major coup with another striker from the MGBSFL before the season kicks off.”
Looking ahead to this season, he says: “We’ve learnt from our mistakes last season, creating a more balanced squad for the season ahead. Special mentions go to our new goalkeeper Joni Hirschowitz, who will provide a solid last line of defence for the Vale. Ben Chiltern a.k.a. the Jewish Kante is another to watch, adding another major cog to our engine in the middle of the park. Meanwhile, Josh Cohen, James Millet and Elio Elia will be hungry to add to the 25 goals they scored between themselves last season.
Of the new teams entering the League this season, Fairlop FC manager Aaron Dias has the loftiest ambitions. He says: “Our target is promotion, but we’d love to win the title and believe we have a squad good enough to achieve that.
“Apart from a few injuries, pre-season has gone well, with us training twice a week since the beginning of June.”
Saying their strengths are going forwards, he says: “We’ve got goals from all over the pitch and expect to rack up a quite a few this season. We have two attacking full-backs who love to get forward and chip in with goals and assists.
“I’m delighted with our squad, Joel Russell, is one-to-watch, an ex-Arsenal Academy player, who’s had a few years out with serious injury, but is now raring to go.”
Bayern Mincha manager Daniel Holder is also looking at promotion, saying: “Our aim for the season is promotion, there is a lot of quality in the squad.”
Saying pre-season has been a “mixed bag”, he says: “A lot of players have been away and have yet to play for the club. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do with a full-strength team.
“Our main strengths are going forward, and in players like Adam Ellis and Sam Leader, you can get 30+ goals between them quite easily. We also have a lot of pace in the side with the likes of Josh Levy and Harry Salter.
“I’m very happy with squad. Watch out for: Adam Ellis, Sam Leader, Jake Dayan and Rafi Terespolsky.”
Straw Hat Pirates manager Elliot Cukier says he’s looking for a mid-table finish and solid cup run this season, and with pre-season having gone as well as could have been expected, is now looking forward to the start of the season.
He says: “Our strengths are passion and commitment. We think and shoot from outside the box. There’s still a bit more recruiting to do, but overall I’m very happy with the squad. Everyone is very excited to get going. Key players to look out for are Aron Gale, Jono Nesbitt and Ben Mandell. Plus we have an FA Cup goalscorer turning out for us for a couple of games!”
Darren Zitren is hoping his Temple Fortune B side can surprise a few this season, saying: “We pretty much have an entirely new squad this season and a mix of players (previously playing across all MGBSFL divisions and Northern equivalents).
“The players have started to gel nicely in training, it’s early days but we have the makings of a good team. We have a decent bunch of lads both on and off the pitch and hopefully this will be the key to any success this season.”
Still assessing his squad, he said: “With a new team, it is hard to definitively articulate how we will play and what we will bring to the MGBSFL this season. That said, there are two character traits we have drummed into our boys which will be evident every time they step onto the pitch; teamwork and commitment.
“As our Assistant Manager, Steven Black, wrote in his pre-season note to the squad: “If it is the joy of winning, we celebrate together. If it is the heartache of a team-mate scoring an own goal to lose the game, we support that player together. If it is an opponent squaring up to one of our own for no reason, we protect them together. Whatever it is, we do it together… Every moment on that pitch, we battle together. It will be what defines us this season”.
Citing Steven Black, Zach Goodman, Josh Klepper – labelled as The Northern show – as the key men to watch, he added: “I’m extremely happy with the way we are shaping up!”
Boca Jewniors and Faithfold B complete the line-up.