MSFL preview: Division Three
Just watch us go
Last season’s Division Four champions Woodford Wanderers will be the team to beat in Division Three, although UJS Norstar A, Montana Boca United B and Catford & Bromley Maccabi will have a thing or two to say about that.
Holding on to Team GB Maccabiah star Mitch Hahn has been priority for Woodford boss Alex Aviram.
Hahn scored in every game he played last season and was prolific for Team GB in the pre-Maccabiah friendlies.
Aviram said: “The conquest of the new footballing empire has begun. After tasting success last season I have no doubt that my boys will be going for the same prize at the top this season.
We’re on a title roll, say promoted Woodford
“Our goals for this year will be to have as much fun as we did last year, continue our fantastic form from last season and become even stronger than the year before. Winning two league titles in our first two years as a club will be a big accomplishment and I know we have the power and depth to do it again in the same fashion.”
Aviram has been looking into signing a flamboyant winger from the Premier Division and hopes to have him in place for the big kick off on September 6.
“Pre-season is a good chance for me to see some new talent and play about with different formations and
tactics,” he added.
Runners-up to Woodford last term, UJS Norstar A have reinforced their squad with some quality signings. New names include Josh Green from Faithfold and Jonny Kay from Bafana Bafana. Manager Phil Peters said: “We have now got great squad depth with our B team as well.”
Having raided Faithfold over the summer, Montana must be considered dark horses. Yoni Raeburn, Andy Bord and Darren Bloom are three of six additions from their north London rivals while young striker Mark Simons has joined from North West Neasden.
Manager Nick Goodmaker said: “We finished on a high last season, staying clear of relegation by a long way in the end. With this squad of players we should be challenging at the top.
“With the right attitude and commitment, coupled with a better level of fitness, this squad can be as successful as they want.”
“It’s the title or nothing,” for Catford boss Lester Conway. “We want the championship and a decent cup run just for a change,” he said.
Watch out for goal-a-game Yonni Bord. He returns in late November after serving two years in the Israeli Army.
Defender Andre Lewis is another returnee following a stint on the south coast. Mark Kleinman, Sky TV’s new business anchorman, is also expected to be available for Sunday mornings
Jacobs warned: “Joel Isaacs will look to carry on where he left off last season with 19 goals. The Keller brothers John ‘Killer’ and Stevie ‘Special K’ are the best pair of midfielders outside MSFL’s top flight.”
The gaffer expects his Cats to be “pretty solid in defence and energetic in midfield”.
With long-time manager Oliver Manson taking a back-seat role due to work commitments, Gideon Chain has taken charge of L’Equipe.
Chain has made his intentions clear, saying: “We are completely relaunching as a club this season. Our squad is stronger and better than ever. We have players of immense quality in every position and the bond between the team, on and off the pitch, gives us huge team spirit.
“Our sights and expectations for this season are high and we will settle for nothing less than top-place
Having finished sixth last season, Chain has been busy over the summer, bringing in Lee Greenfield, Daniel
Cordell, Matt Gillbery and Adam Baron.
The club pulled out all the stops to keep top-scorer Jason Miller, who netted 19 goals in the league campaign, in a L’Equipe shirt. Mark Singer will continue captaining the side with David Prager as his vice-captain.
After several seasons of mid-table obscurity, Zig Zag boss DJ Neal Cohen has freshened up his squad with several new faces.
Golden oldies Phil Silver and Nigel Conway have joined from Masters football with Cohen hoping that experience will help his team stay the distance.
The addition of Mancunians Adam Malach and Alex Golembeck will add some steel while Cohen believes
that Adam Landes “has got the lot”, promising a “ball-winning, goal-scoring midfielder”.
The evergreen Martin Leslie and Jason Rich ensure an experienced spine while Neil Marcus has been looking sharp in pre-season. Richard Winton is the only player to have left the squad over the summer, returning to Brady.
Cohen said: “With the squad I am assembling, I think we are in with a serious shout of the title.”
FC Marylebone benefited from the numbers game to climb a division, despite finishing outside the automatic promotion places. Offering a continental flavour and plenty of flair, the team’s primary objective is to consolidate.
However, joint-manager Jon Davody has big aspirations. “Since we have a well-improved squad, a top half finish seems to be a realistic target.
“Although two to three teams are expected to dominate the division, it should be quite open and we believe we can surprise many observers this season if we perform consistently.
“We will also focus on improving our disappointing record in the cups with a view to going through at least a couple of rounds.”
The Frenchmen have “worked hard to keep our best players and add some more quality and depth in the squad”.
Dimitri Fischler has signed a permanent deal while ex-East London Knights player Matt West and former Lions man Jonathan “JJ” Marrache have joined. There are also new faces from the French and Belgian communities, including Sidney Hasson, Yann Besseyre and Olivier Halimi.
Alex Gold and Yaniv Ohana are expected to be the danger men, given their form towards the end of last season.
Consistent performers such as Eddy Bensalem and Armand Benslous are also expected to play a key part.
AC Cricklewood, Faithfold C, FC Heath, Hendon United C and South Manx B complete the division.