Bentley will be Oakwood's driving force


Some of you may recall when I broke the news about MSFL Player of the Year Daran Bern leaving Redbridge Jewish Care, just days after they had won the double.

Exactly 12 months later, another big story making the news is that Josh Bentley has left Hendon United Sports Club for Division One champions Oakwood.

I thought that Josh would stay at Hendon United Sports Club for life and indeed, had to investigate to ensure that this was no wind-up, especially as the champagne stains had only just dried on Hendon's treble celebrations.

The midfield powerhouse remains one of the best in the business and the fact that he is relishing a new challenge can only be good news for an ambitious Oakwood team. It really is something of a coup.

Commenting on the move, Bentley told me: "I have had some great times at Hendon which was capped off last season by winning the treble.
"I am now looking for a new challenge and I believe Oakwood are a really strong team. They are a great bunch of lads and I'm hoping that I can help them achieve success in their first season in the Premier League."
Oakwood joint-manager Ric Blank could not hide his delight at signing the former Player of the Year. "His ability, experience and leadership will be invaluable to us and we're really looking forward to getting him involved.

"His winning mentality was a key reason for Hendon's success over the years and we are confident his will to win will be of huge value to Oakwood."
Paying tribute to Bentley, Hendon boss David Garbacz said: "Josh has been an unbelievable player for Hendon over the years . He has seen it all and won it all and enjoyed the pleasure of lifting three trophies last year as our captain . As he approaches 30, he decided that he wanted a new challenge with a new up-and-coming team and Oakwood fitted the bill perfectly . He remains one of the toughest midfielders around and we are all going to miss him terribly - not only on the pitch but off the pitch as well where he is mates with everyone and very popular. We wish him all the best for next season and I’m sure he’ll be a big success with his new club." "Hopefully we’ll meet up in a repeat of this year’s Morrison final. Every team has to make changes each year and we will be making three or four close-season signings like last season which will only make us stronger in our quest to retain some trophies. Josh Lipman takes over as club captain."

The acquisition of Bentley is Oakwood's first piece of business in the transfer window as they look to bolster before their Premier League adventure. Blank said: "We also have a couple of irons in the fire that we're confident about."

It's clear the club is going places and next season, they will add a B team, led by Ian Tussie and Ben Polak. Blank went on to say: "The boys are out scouting the far reaches of Europe as we speak. Last season was great, but this season promises new challenges and even more excitement."

* Redbridge Jewish Care will be dropping a team next season. Eilon Kennet will continue to run the side in the Premier Division, while Jon Jacobs has been installed as the new boss of the B's.

Jacobs is currently putting together a "dynamic" squad that will combine youth and experience, with several members of the club's under-16 side making the step up into men's football.

He will oversee the club's football programme, with Adam Hakimi, Lee Silver and Richard Bronzite assisting.

* Another club who have lost a team are North West Neasden. It's the end of an era for the club's star-studded A-team, with London Maccabi Lions A rumoured to be in the market for star striker Lee Cash, while Bradley Sharp looks set to join Brady Maccabi.

* Having missed out on promotion for the past few seasons, ambitious Chigwell Athletic have made a big statement to boost their Division One credentials with Richard Baum, the former Wingate & Finchley player, close to signing. He could definitely be the missing link and help them step up a level.

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