BGTF pen pics: meet Los Blancos


Formed in the summer of 2010 by Josh Cohen, Marc Benamram and Joel Minsky, and as per the team name, Los Blancos "stupidly" decided to play in white. Five seasons and a fair few tubs of Vanish later, LB are embarking on their first trip to The Harry Abrahams Stadium.

Los Blancos were close to making the short trip to Wingate & Finchley at the end of their debut season, unexpectedly reaching the semi-finals, but ultimately falling short going down 4-1 to Hendon A. The stand out result of the cup run was a sensational 3-2 victory over Premier Division North West Neasden.

Despite the spirited cup run, the club’s debut season – after a promising start – tailed off, with Los Blancos having to settle for a sixth place finish. Fortunately, LB still ended up getting promoted, and started the 2011/12 season in Division 3. That season followed a similar formula; LB came flying out the blocks only to have a poor second half of the season – ending in fifth place.

Once again however, the club found themselves moving up the divisions, and began their third season as a club in Division 2. The 2012/13 season, from a league perspective, was Los Blancos’ strongest to date, and for the first time in their history legitimately earned promotion as they finished the campaign in second place.

For the past two seasons, Los Blancos have held their own in Division 1, with two mid-table finishes. Bucking the trend of the early days where LB would come flying out the blocks, only to fade – Blancos have recovered impressively from poor starts for the last two campaigns.

Whilst disappointed to not improve on their league position this season, the squad are encouraged by an incredible start to 2015 which has seen them finish just six points off the runner-up position, and in their first-ever cup final.

Whilst the playing staff of Los Blancos has changed dramatically over the years – with Adam Hersh being the only regular still playing from our 2010/11 squad – the club have continued to instil in all those who have put on the white shirt a positive attitude towards the opposition, referee and the league.

At the end of the 2012/13 season, the club were awarded the Ron Saunders Sportsmanship & Turnout Trophy. In the same season, founder Josh Cohen won the Jack Wolff Memorial Trophy (Team Secretary of the Year). Jono Gaon is the current holder of the Jack & Ann Wolff Memorial Trophy (Young Player of the Year) having finished the season as the league’s 2nd Top Goalscorer with 24 goals – all whilst at the tender age of 18.


Club Manager; Jonathan Ison
Chairman/Secretary/Treasurer; Joel Minsky
Kit Manager; Rozi Minsky
Club Captain; Darren Russell
Club Vice Captain; Adam Waters
Leading Goalscorer for the Season; Simon Moses (28)
Leading All time Goalscorer; Adam Hersh (72)
Leading All Time Appearances; Adam Hersh (100)



JONNY ISON (Player-manager) – around since the start, Ison started his trade as a player and after learning the craft from Hersh and Minsky, took the managerial reins mid way through last season, guiding Blancos to their first cup final since its creation five years ago. Scored a belter on his, and the club’s, debut in 2010. Unfortunately this wasn’t a sign of things to come. LB Appearances; 62. LB Goals; 2

JOEL MINSKY (Chairman/Founder/Secretary/Treasurer) – Los Blancos through and through, and if you cut him he’ll bleed white (unless he’s at The Emirates of course). He runs Los Blancos like a well-oiled machine, and they squad doesn’t know what they’d do without him (and that is not purely because he takes the kits home every week!) Joel is LB’s lucky charm as the club have won every game he’s appeared in this season (one). LB Appearances; 13. LB Goals; 0

NICK GROSSE (Goalkeeper) - had big hands to fill (literally) after taking the no. 1 jersey from Josh Cohen two seasons ago, but has had an excellent season between the sticks and looks to continue that form today. The BGT final will be Nick’s last chance to keep his first clean sheet of the season – however that is purely down the club’s mantra of “we’re gonna score one more than you” than through any fault of the goalie! Mr Grosse hates nothing more than warming up before a game. LB Appearances; 36. LB Goals; 0

ALEX LEWIS (Left-back) - ater spending the opening months of the season developing his talents in Amsterdam, Lewis and his trusted left foot have returned, and it’s like he’s never been away. He’s the team’s Duracell Bunny, and, despite his appearance, is as hard as nails – evidenced when he left Benjy Israel squirming on the floor after a clash of heads earlier this season. Talking about finals, Alex is in the middle of his Uni exams and probably shouldn’t be at Wingate! LB Appearances; 12. LB Goals; 0

DANNY STEEL (Full-back) - after playing 120 minutes in the quarters, he wasn’t sure he’d ever fully recover, but one week and a convincing semi-final performance later, he is ready and raring to go. Danny is one of the elder statesmen of the team, having spent most of his career honing his talents with Hendon. His experience and composure have come in handy during the cup run. LB Appearances; 8. LB Goals; 1

SAM CRAMER (Full-back) has been an incredibly solid and consistent full-back for LB since joining the club last season – well, when he’s not walking around topless showing off his washboard abs! The only fault to his game is his lack of faith in the team – he booked a holiday to Marbella thinking that we had no chance of making it to Wingate. LB Appearances; 35. LB Goals; 0

MATT KESTON (Right-back) - has proved himself this year and turns into a better full-back each game he plays. When he can be bothered to turn up, Matt brings a passion for the game along like no other, so much so that his antics have nearly got him sent off whilst on the sidelines. LB Appearances; 20. LB Goals; 0

JOEL BARNETT (Centre back) – in his debut season for Blancos, Joel has become a centre back and performed his duties like a seasoned professional. Despite being convinced his best position is in midfield – Barnett’s movement to the back four has led to an upturn in LB’s form. Has been labelled the club’s worst dressed player. LB Appearances; 16. LB Goals; 0

BENJY ISRAEL (Centre back) - one of Blancos’ longest serving players, has been a model of consistency over the years and his commanding presence at the back is vital. Is one of the club’s most committed players and no one ever recalls seeing him duck out of a challenge. LB Appearances; 57. LB Goals; 6.

SVI FREEDMAN (CB/RM/CM/LM/AM) – as is probably evident already, Svi’s main attribute is his versatility, having played in every position across the midfield, and more recently shoring up the defence at centre half. Despite not being the club’s tallest player, Svi is one of the strongest players LB have ever had in the air, adding another dimension to his game. At the time of going to print, Svi has only given himself a 35% chance of being fit for the final, having strained his ligaments during the early stages of the Quarter Final. LB Appearances; 16. LB Goals; 3

JAMES JOSEPH (Centre-back/attacking midfield) – JJ has missed most the second half of the season through injury, but it is a massive boost to have him back. Always calm on the ball and winning his duels, he is a big game player. Another player who has excelled at centre back but is convinced he should be playing further forward. LB Appearances; 30. LB Goals; 4

DARREN RUSSELL Centre midfield) - Captain – The captain is LB's Mr. Motivator. He puts his all into every game and looks to get the best out of those around him too. Darren was last year’s Chairman’s Player of the Year, and his dedication to the club has been unparalleled. Not only has he not missed a single game since joining the club in 2013, Darren has chosen to get married on a Thursday to ensure it doesn’t clash with one of LB’s pre-season friendlies. LB Appearances; 44. LB Goals; 7

JOE DAVIS (Centre midfield) – in Joe’s debut season, he has showcased his quality on the ball, calmness when in possession and awareness of those around him. His distribution is excellent and always looks to get the ball to feet and be an option – he is the dream teammate. He pots a ball almost as well as his more illustrious namesake. LB Appearances; 16. LB Goals; 1

TIM HEYNES (Right-midfield) – another debut season, it took a while to find Heynes’ true position, but once he went out to the wing, it was obvious that was his calling (as it gives him more time to run his hands through his hair). Before relocating to the sunnier climes of London, Tim used to be up at 5am each Sunday to travel in from Cambridge. LB Appearances; 10. LB Goals; 2

JEFF GROSS (Right-midfield) – super-sub Jeff scored the stoppage-time winner in the semi-final, and what a goal it was. As one of the elders of the squad, Jeff is a great presence and always gives 110 per cent. Jeff is Dublin born and bred, and forms 100 per cent of the foreign contingent of the LB changing room. LB Appearances; 35. LB Goals; 3

ADAM WATERS (LM/CM/AM) – twinkle-toes Waters dances around opposing players for fun and is virtually impossible to tackle when on one of his famous mazy runs. From making just one appearance in the club’s first season (where he happened to score after dribbling half the pitch from left back), Adam has become a Blancos’ stalwart and skippered the team to a respectable mid table position in our first season in Division One last year. LB Appearances; 62. LB Goals; 17

JOEL KUTNER (LM/ST) - joined the club from local rivals Blizzard Storm in 2011, and proceeded to score a hat-trick against them on his debut and then another hat-trick on his second game for the club. Kutner has moved from goal-scorer to goal provider over the years as he’s taken to the left wing, but hasn’t lost his killer instinct when in the area. LB Appearances; 79. LB Goals; 29

ADAM HERSH – AM/LM – Hersh has been around since the beginning, and much like Ison scored on his and the clubs debut in 2010, and had a spell as manager. Hersh is the clubs all-time top scorer with 72 goals, and his appetite for the game is only increasing as the years roll on. Hersh’s commitment can never be called into question as he’s barely missed a game since completing the treble becoming a father to triplets last January. LB Appearances; 100. LB Goals; 72

SIMON MOSES (Striker) – Moses, what a hero. He turned up half way through the season and transformed our luck. Struggling for goals before Simon’s arrival, but since then Blancos have not looked back. Simon has scored 28 goals in 16 appearances this season, including a hat-trick of penalties in the quarter-finals. Moses spent half a season with LB in 2010, which was not quite as prolific – the time away has clearly done him well! LB Appearances; 21. LB Goals; 29

JOSH GAON (CB/RB/RM/CM) - LB's very own Rory Delap, founder of the LBLBA (Los Blancos Long Ball Association), virtually all his assists have come from throws, and what a weapon it is. It would be a disservice to talk purely about Josh's throws, as he always puts in a solid performance, regardless of where on the pitch he is playing! Josh has been honing his skills in Bournemouth much of this season, and we look forward to having him back full time - whenever that may be! Appearances: 40 Goals: 9




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