Gold ready to put the pride back into Lions

By Danny Caro, June 19, 2014
Tont Gold

Tont Gold

Tony Gold insists he can help London Lions restore their reputation as the community's top team after returning to Rowley Lane.

Having guided the club into the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division for the first time, Gold left Lions last October after five successful seasons – where he took the team to its highest level.

Andy Landesberg took over the reins, but the standard proved too strong for the players who suffered some heavy defeats and were relegated after finishing bottom of the table.

"The club is in my blood, it's part of me and I'm delighted to be back," said Gold, who will co-manage with Landesberg.

"For me, the ethics and values of the club have been lost in recent seasons and I'm keen to bring them back.

"I believe Steve Grenfell, Darren Yarlett and I were victims of our own success as there was a massive gap with the junior section. That's now been identified so the plan is to consolidate and rebuild the foundations and structure."

Gold had a brief spell as manager of Takeley FC after leaving Lions and he also coaches at the Charlton Athletic academy. One of the main attractions for the return of Gold was his appointment as Head of Coaching for the entire club, which now includes 33 youth teams, from the ages of seven to 18 years old, three Maccabi Sunday teams, as well as sides in the Maccabi Masters and Garston Veterans leagues. This will be in addition to his role with the Saturday 1st team. Steve Grenfell has also returned to the club.

"In the past we had players with agendas, but the emphasis won't be on winning this time, it will be to get some stability, feel-good-factor and enjoyment back," said Gold. "It's about the players wearing the shirt with pride again and understanding what they is part of. It might take us six months or a year, but we'll get there."

Gold believes things will be tougher second time around. "The group of boys who won promotion were unique. That generation has gone now and society has changed in recent times," he said.

"Now it's about finding the individuals that may not be as technically strong, but have something to offer. We have to bridge the gap between the youngsters and seniors and we'll be trying to develop the players who have the drive to improve.

"I doubt we'll win league this season, but if we can find the youngsters for our level, then it's job done."

A group of 40-plus players have been invited to pre-season which begins on June 28, with friendlies lined up against Enfield, Barkingside and Tiptree & Malden.

The Lions have confirmed they will not run a Reserve team next season and Gold says he and Landesberg are now working with a limited pool of talent.

"The club used 114 players for its first team last season. We're now looking for players with a certain personality. From what I've seen there are not a great deal of Jewish boys with the desire or hunger needed to really test themselves at this level. We want players prepared to play in the best level of football available to a Jewish club."

Landesberg, who is also Director of Football at Lions, believes exciting times lie ahead. "We're beginning a new cycle now and I am delighted that Tony is back," he said. "Last season was tough and uncomfortable, so one of the main attractions for Tony was his involvement moving forward across the whole club.

"We're ready to go again, with a spring in our step."

Last updated: 4:15pm, June 19 2014