Another busy season provided the usual mixture of highs and lows for SMFC teams. The U10s scorched a path in their first season, winning 19 of their 22 games and losing only once. They also gave a very good account of themselves in the prestigious Club Langley tournament in Beckenham and will be returning for the pre-season tournament on 6 September much the wiser and more confident.
‘Well, what can I say about the U10s? We started our first season with a group of unknown children and grew into a very tight-knit unit playing some very attractive football. From Edward, our very reliable goalkeeper, to Jermaine, our very gifted wing back; Micah, playing right back; a midfield dominated by Jahnyah, our club captain, Kaylum, our top assist creator and Emmanuel, our top goal scorer. Our strikers rotated between Jaden & Faheem. There were other contributions to our season through Malcolm, who had to leave mid-season for France, William and Rylei who both missed huge chunks of the season due to broken legs.
The season overall was very successful and I am hoping to build on this next season when we go to 9 a side. I would also like to thank the parents for their great support throughout the season and Chris Borck for all his help throughout when needed.’ Ricky Jordan, Manager.
The U11s had a tougher time of things but managed some great victories against the top sides and finished a credible 5th. It was great to see the whole team bar one player stay on from U10s and perform so well for a new manager.
‘It’s been a fantastic year working with the U11s, getting to know them and seeing them grow and develop. The season had its ups and downs on the pitch with some fantastic wins and some losses. It has been great to see all the players develop their skills and become comfortable on the ball. Players have developed partnerships in all positions on the field, with a real team spirit emerging. I started to name a few players that I have been especially proud of but by the end I had listed the whole team. So well done boys, you are a pleasure to work with and I look forward to next season.’ James Alexander, Manager.
The U13s had a shortened season with only 7 teams in their division, finishing in 3rd place. At one point they went 7 weeks without a game, which made it very hard to keep the players enthused and motivated. The league have promised stronger divisions for next season. The U15s ended up with only 5 teams in their division, which saw runaway champions Brunswick from west London win 8 out of 8 games and SMFC and two other teams winning 3 apiece. There are no guarantees however that the league will be able to fill an U16s division next season.
The U16s had a fantastic season, finishing runners-up in the league and losing 1-0 in the London F.A Cup final. Had they beaten eventual league champions Westside at Brockwell Park in March instead of drawing 1-1, they would have ended up as champions. Apparently, they had not done their calculations on the day! The cup final at Thamesmead Town F.C’s ground against Young Hackney was a great day out for the boys, despite the result. There was no shame in such a narrow defeat either as Young Hackney were effectively a borough representative side drawn from a number of teams across Hackney due to the lack of any league there, and backed by Olympic Legacy funding.
The SMP are proud to maintain our ethos of inclusion and keep our teams open to mixed ability players from the local community, not just the very best from far and wide. Of course, with an increasing number of youth football clubs now being run as businesses, with their main selling point the ‘promise’ of linking players up to professional clubs, it is hard for community clubs like ourselves to compete on level terms. We have recently witnessed results in our league where teams have been beaten 16-0 and even 23-0. Just who exactly benefits from this is hard to see, and you have to question the motives and mentality of any so-called adult who encourages his players to rack up 23 goals without reply when goal difference doesn’t even count in youth football. We will be working closely with the league and F.A to try ensure youth football remains a viable, fun and competitive activity, not just a means for some to act as unlicensed agents lining their own pockets.
Finally, we’d like to thank our kit sponsors McEvoy Maintenance and Mears, especially the CEO of McEvoy Maintenance, Richard McEvoy, for his attendance at numerous U16s games, both home and away, and providing the mini-bus for the LFA Cup final.