MGBSFL Division Two preview

MGBSFL Division Two preview

The first part of our three-week preview to the start of the new Jewish football season looks at the league's new teams and the sides hoping to contest the Division Two title...

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Real Hendon will once more come up against North London Raiders C in Division Two next season
Real Hendon will once more come up against North London Raiders C in Division Two next season

Catford & Bromley player-manager Jeff Gotch insists his side are going for top spot. He said: “Nothing else will do. We’ve a mix of youth and experience and will be looking to take it to opposition from the start. We’ve signed seven new players who have a wealth of Premier Division experience –Joel Lassman, Jason Shoffman , Richard Winton and Lozy Bloom will bring experience and class to the team.”

L’Equipe manager Nicholas Stern is hoping the club can celebrate their tenth anniversary by being crowned champions in May. He says: “Our aims are the league title. We’ve made some fantastic signings and with this being our tenth year, it’s time we added some silverware to the cabinet.”

Very happy with their preparations ahead of the big kick-off, he said: “This off season was all about recruitment and we’ve managed to pull off a number of signings.”

Claiming the side’s togetherness can help them achieve their aims, he says: “You won’t find a tighter knitted group than our one, we all put our bodies on the line for each other week in week out and even more surprising is that we don’t even argue as a team!”

FC Team B have appointed Ben Gilbey as their new manager and he, according to the club’s Michael Myers, will hopefully see them to promotion. He said: “The main aim is to win promotion, we’ve appointed Ben as manager and with someone as tactically astute as him, having managed in Europe, I have no doubt we could go all the way. If we win, I will be dancing on the ceiling.”

A mixed bag of results from their pre-season games, he says: “It’s hardly been Club Tropicana. The friendly games have been mixed there have been some thrillers, but I have to say time after time, consistency is always the key, not the secret.”

Describing the strengths of the side, he says: “That’s how good we are going to look in our new kits. Apart from that, we have a great team morale, which has always been central to FC Team.”

In terms of additions to the squad, he adds: “There have been some new additions and some old faces returning to the team, I can’t mention names as I don’t want to give our top secrets away!”

North London Raiders C’s joint-manager David Domb is expecting a tough tussle, but hopes to see his side finish in a promotion place. He said: “There’ll be 12 teams in this division who’ll be eyeing a place in the top two, so we know it’ll once again be a difficult division to get out of. Raiders just missed out last term, but we certainly aim to be near the top pushing for promotion once again.”

Having begun pre-season with a 4-0 win against a mixed FC Team side, he said: “We’re delighted that Joel Levitt looks set to re-join the club, and there also a few more names in the pipeline.

You know what to expect from a Raiders team – that’s playing the game in the right way.

Real Hendon finished last season in fourth, and this time round, joint-manager Motty Korman will be happy with top-five. He said: “That’s what we’re aiming for, with several new young teams in the Division, we know that will be tough, but that’s what we are aiming for.

“Pre-season’s always tough for an older team like us with all our other commitments but it’s gone well so far and hopefully players are working on the fitness themselves.”

Citing the side’s main strengths, he says: “That’s our experience with the majority of our squad having played in the MSFL for more than 10 years! And we’ve a few signed a few young players to add to the wealth of experience. Benni Sluckis, Yossi Hoffman and Dov Owen have been brought in, while key players will be Martin Smulovitch, Chaim Strom and – if signed – Rafi and Ben Kon.

Temple Fortune have brought in former Blizzard Storm boss Simon Linden as their new manager, and club chairman Nigel Kyte says: “After enduring three difficult seasons in a row, we are hoping for a much improved campaign. A finish in the top half of the division would be a welcomed start, a promotion challenge a real bonus. But realistically, with several new teams joining, it’s hard to access how well we will do – so we will see.”

Hoping Linden will bring in players to help them emulate their goals, Kyte says: “If all those on Simon’s ‘A’ list sign up, then we will have a much improved squad. Some experienced new players mixed with some dedicated TFFC stalwarts. We’re still a few weeks away from the start but, if we sign up all those Simon has been eyeing up, our 41st MGBSFL campaign could be the start of promising times at TFFC!”

One of four new teams entering the League is RC UK FC, and their chairman and captain Jake Lewis has only one target. “Our aims for this season are very clear”, he says, “the minimum is to win the title and have a good cup run.”

Saying how preparations have been “steady”, he says: “We’ve had mixed results, but for a new side, it was all about gaining fitness and gelling as a team. The spine of our team, especially our midfield is very strong and we’ve proven very hard to break down in pre-season.”Avi Markiewcz, Aron Luftig and Dovi Vogel will be key to any success they enjoy.

Mill Hill Dons manager Brandon Hamme says he’s looking for his side to challenge for promotion. He says: “It’s hard to judge ourselves against the other teams in the league at the moment, but I believe we have a strong squad which should be able to challenge.” Saying pre-season preparations have gone well, he adds: “I feel our main strength is our midfield, we’ve many different top quality options to choose from, which is bound to cause me some selection headaches. We have a well-rounded squad, with many good players, which makes it hard to pick out key ones.  However, I believe Nick Phillips, Jono Gaon and Sammy Hakimian will cause problems for opposition defenders all season.”

Jack Shulman says the aim of Hertswood Vale is to be “competitive”. The joint-manager said: “There are a number of teams in the league who have been playing together a long time, but we are going to work hard and are looking at a top-four finish, asserting ourselves this season and building upon that from here.”

Despite picking up a number of injuries in pre-season, he said: “The team is starting to build some connections and it’s beginning to show in our friendlies. It’s been a solid start and we’re confident in what we’re doing.” Saying the club’s strengths are its focus, vision and energy, he adds our big names are Elio Elia, so good they pretty much named him twice and Josh Gorb, who has an unbelievable left foot.

• Faithfold B, North London Rangers and Redbridge C complete the line-up.

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