East London rivals on collision course
The pride of Essex will be up for grabs when the Division Four campaign gets under way with three new teams among the 11 battling it out for honours.
Woodford Wanderers, known as Leytonstone Victoria and Athletico Woodford in their AJY days, have resurfaced with a strong squad confident of taking the league by storm.
Managed by Alex Aviram, new signings include former Southend starlet Mitch Hahn, Jerome Marks from Glenthorne A, Chigwell boys Andy Levy, Daryl Green, Elliott Gold, Darren Ezekiel and Daryl Kay.
"When you look at the quality of signings, it is no surprise to see that we have been tipped for the title," said Aviram.
"The acquisition of strikers Mitch Hahn and Darryl Green plus Chigwell A's Andy Levy and Glenthorne's Jerome Marks is likely to mean the rest of the division will do well to keep pace until Chanukah. This is a team that is clearly going places and they might well cause an upset or two in the cups along the way."
Under the inspirational James Ryan, East London Knights will have a say in where the title goes. The former FC Team and Chigwell Athletic striker has been in top form in pre-season and signed a number of players from Chigwell Athletic. Mike Konzon and Zach Forrest join from the East London club while Michael Marks has followed Ryan from FC Team.
The Knights made their intentions clear with a 4-2 pre-season friendly win over second division Faithfold C with Ryan scoring all four.
He said: "When establishing the Knights I said to myself, I would only enter a team in the league if I think the players I have are good enough. I can now say that I am very happy with the squad I have. We have quality players in all positions. My aim for the season is to win Division Four and to get to the final of the Minor Cup."
Michael Winehouse, cousin of singer Amy, joined this week.
Glenthorne United B, managed by Paul Silver, were dealt a cruel blow when his hard-tackling son, Craig, suffered a broken wrist in pre-season. Silver snr, who has managed at Glenthorne and Redbridge Jewish Care, is confident that the likes of skipper Josh Hambling, Ashley Stanton, Adam Kantor, Ashley Stanton and Elliott Coulton can help them keep pace with their rivals. Keeper Bradley Grant returns to the club following a short spell with Glenthorne A.
The all-French team of FC Marylebone are preparing for their second season in the MSFL. The club has established itself as one of the most sporting teams in the league and players enjoyed their debut campaign. On reflection, results were disappointing given the quality in the squad. Jon Davody and Marc Touboul will continue to run the club and experienced striker Mikael Benguigui has been appointed team captain.
Davody said: "Several changes have been made over the summer to put results at the top of the club's priorities for this season. We now have more competition in all positions and all the players have worked hard on their fitness levels. Given the quality of our players, promotion is a must this season and we will settle for nothing less than a top three finish."
Hendon United D prove that size matters after the club unveiled a fourth string. Managed by stalwart Marc Lewis, the squad features several players new to the league.
After a difficult first season, Pinner JFC are aiming to make a big improvement as they aim to get out of the basement division.
"Last season was a steep learning curve," said boss Les Conway. "We have strengthened the squad significantly. The foundations of a settled side were only found midway through last season with the late arrival of Sam Cramer, Ashley Levy, Alex Sherr and Paul Wolfson. This complemented the exiting base of Marc Benamram, Nick Collins, Richard Daniels, Vivian Emanuel, Gideon Josephs, Robert Mindell, Toby Morris, Josh Sasto and Daniel Wigman, who have had their contracts extended."
Notable new signings include Avi Azizoff and David Grossman from Montana Boca United, Josh Tiano from London Maccabi Lions and Joe Newton, who has returned from university.
Team JLGB have secured the signature of Steven Weller on a three-year contract. Paul Black and Steve Howard have also joined while Joe Proops returns from a long-term injury.
Top-scorer Neil Lux said: "JLGB will look to start the season as they finished the last. We have struggled at the wrong end of the table for the past three seasons but if we get a good start anything is possible.
Having been relegated on the last game of last season, UJIA learnt that they must kill off games in order to succeed.
They are looking to bounce back with a vengeance. New player-manager Darren Rolfe is determined to win some silverware and his 20-man is fronted by striker Gil Jennings. Ben Rosenheim, Nick Simmons, and captain Matt Radstone have given the team a real buzz. The old heads like Paul Rodin, Simon Stebbing and Olly Olsen will nurture our youngsters with discipline and guile.
Real Life and UJS Norstar complete Division Five.