MSFL preview: Premier Division

Neasden and Redbridge set to slug it out


By Danny Caro, September 3, 2009
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Rebdridge's Steve Summers

Rebdridge's Steve Summers

Targeting a third consecutive Premier Division title, North West Neasden A start the campaign as favourites.

The addition of Maccabiah star James Gershfield and Mancunian Kyle Bentwood means they should not be hard-hit by the loss of Ricky Kennet and Lee Bibring, who have returned to London Maccabi Lions A after one season.

Such is Neasden’s strength in depth, that managers Jamie Cole and Daniel Fox are confident of maintaining a treble challenge. Last season they won the MSFL crown, the Peter Morrison Trophy, finished runners-up in the League Cup and reached the semi-finals of the London Sunday Intermediate Cup.

Cole said:
“What may be even more impressive than taking home the two trophies is the manner in which we won. This season, as a result of our successes over the past two seasons, we will be eligible to contend for five pieces of silverware. Aside from League, two Jewish cups and LSIC, we have qualified for the Sunday Senior FA Cup and will be competing against the strongest amateur teams in the country.

“Some believe that Kyle Bentwood’s deft control will make him a far more lethal player in the centre of midfield. James Gershfield will be signed as a squad player. We are also looking to bring in one other big name and are in discussions currently.”

Spirit and unity have been major factors in the team’s success in recent times. Defensive lynchpin Johnny Ellis has been installed as captain, taking over from Lee Cash. Cole said: “John epitomises everything in a leader. He played in last year’s Cyril Anekstein cup final for 70 minutes with a broken bone in his back. He’s Neasden’s very own John Terry.”

And what of Neasden’s rivals? The fact that Redbridge Jewish Care now have 71 players registered puts the A team in a strong position. Having pooled together the cream of footballing talent in East London, manager Greg Bookman has set his sights high.

“Being brutally honest, I think we can win it. To go out with any other mindset is a waste of time. We’ve worked hard over the summer to bring in new players to boost an already excellent squad and as a unit, we’re pushing to become the first team from this side of London to lift the Champions trophy and have three very good cup runs.

“We narrowly missed out last year but didn’t deserve to win it. Neasden were far and away the best team in the league and the whole of Jewish football last year. To come runners-up was an achievement.

“We have signed several new players over the summer and managed to hold on to all but one of the squad from last year, which is fantastic.”

Lewis Walker, James Rubin and Alex Lishak have joined from Glenthorne while former Brady striker Mitch Lassman and Neasden front man Adam Stolerman have crossed from north to east London. Bookman also predicts big things from Samuel van Gelder.

At Hendon United A David Garbacz replaced Benjy Wreschner as manager. Garbacz has a proven track record. He took Hillgar Athletic in the 1990s from Division Five to Premier league champions in six seasons.

He said: “We have kept the same squad but are looking to add two or three new signings before the season begins. Hendon’s main strength has always been our team spirit and although that dwindled a little bit last year especially in a disappointing league challenge, there is a renewed feel about the team this year.”

Dovid Korman and Yishai Last have looked sharp in pre-season while left-sided midfielder Greg Corin is at the peak of his fitness having recently returned from the Maccabiah. Fitness coach Anthony Limerick has put the squad through their paces with Garbacz predicting: “We will be the fittest team in the league this season”.

Last season was a frustrating one for everyone involved at London Maccabi Lions A, but the return of Eilon Kennet as manager, together with some familiar faces on the field, is sure to make them a force once more.

Kennet has been brought back to restore pride and ambition. He said: “It won’t return just because we all turn up expecting it to. Ultimately, it may appear spontaneous, but it will only be the result 
of hard work on the training pitch, and even more hard work on match 
days.”

The return of Ricky Kennet and Lee Bibring brings with it the promise of more goals from midfield while the versatility of Motti Colman and Sam Rosenthal will benefit the squad.

David Goldberg, 
James Stanley and Yoav Lebens are three youthful faces the manager hopes to see pushing for a place in the team.

Two heads are better than one at London Maccabi Lions B, so it seems following the appointment of Hadley Silver, to work alongside Gavin Stollar.

The Lions pack will have an experienced look and feel about it with some of the club’s Saturday players, including Warren Leader, helping the youth players make the step up.

Faithfold A featured several players in the Over 35 Masters squad at the Maccabiah. Paul Lenchner, Daryl Phillips, Richard Baum and Danny Piler came home with bronze but manager Zuriel Solomon proved a hard task-master as he did not allow them an extended rest.

Goalkeeper Ben Law recently joined from Montana Boca United A and he will be all the better with a year’s experience in the top flight under his belt. A rep team call-up surely awaits.

A resounding pre-season win over Lions A tells you everything you need to know about South Manx A who return to the top-flight. Linked with Neasden defenders Scott Shindler and Jake Gottlieb over the summer, manager Jon Nitka has been scouring the markets to freshen up his squad.

Bafana Bafana came close to folding over the summer but with Adam Gishen taking over the reigns, they have made some reinforcements. Having kept hold of South African utility player Anthony Jaff, they will need to hit the ground running to avoid another testing campaign. Glenthorne United A endured problems towards the end of last season but with Steve Reiterbund and Mickey Collins in charge, they hope to make the headlines for the right reasons. The loss of Lewis Walker and Steve Faye will certainly have an impact.

Newly promoted Hendon United B finished runners-up in Division One. With strikers Gav Noe and Chaim Gothold leading the line, the Hornets hope to benefit from an influx of players with possibly one or two coming down from the As.

Danny Caro's tips for the top
Premier Division: North West Neasden A
Division One: Brady Maccabi
Division Two: Chigwell Athletic
Division Three: Woodford Wanderers
Division Four: Blizzard Storm

David Wolff's tips for the top
Premier Division: North West Neasden A
Division One: Southgate Harmen A
Division Two: FC Team A
Division Three: Woodford Wanderers
Division Four: Blizzard Storm

Last updated: 10:33am, September 4 2009