Lions have toughened up, but still play football the right way

It’s been a week of highs and lows in the world of Jewish sport, but we should start with the good news.


London Lions deserve all the plaudits they get following a memorable few days. Their success in the Herts Centenary Trophy was followed by lifting the league title. It has been a pretty faultless campaign from Andy Landesberg’s men who have only lost two matches all season, one of those was in the FA Vase.

The efforts of Steve Grenfell, Darren Yarlett and manager Landesberg have been rewarded in some style and it was great to see Chipperfield Corinthians give them a much-deserved guard of honour before kick-off on Tuesday night.

The Lions have been fitter, sharper and hungrier than all their opponents. Striker James Gershfield has broken goal-scoring records, while captain Josh Kennet and Austin Lipman have been on a different level. They really have a special group of players – a group capable of playing at a higher level.

The facilities have long been in place at Rowley Lane. Now they have a team to match them. The future looks incredibly bright.

* As a former player, it’s been heartbreaking to watch Faithfold – the club – capitulate. Once the benchmark for Maccabi League football, they have collapsed faster than a deck of cards.

Chairman Ben Lewis and B-team player-manager David Garson are now the last two founder members still involved with the club, who remain the only Jewish outfit to have lifted the London FA Sunday Intermediate Cup. No one can ever take that away from them.

It’s hard to believe they had four teams only a couple of years ago, but they are not the only club to have suffered.

FC Team recently lost two sides, leaving Redbridge Jewish Care and North London Raiders as the MGBSFL’s only representatives with three teams. With 30 sides left in the league, some major restructuring looks necessary over the summer.

* My latest MGBSFL Player of the Month award goes to one of the most unlikely candidates – Lee Fegan.

Lee has been converted from a tough-tackling defender into a goalkeeper extraordinaire.

Stoppers rarely get recognised for their efforts and achievements at the best of times, but Lee has now kept five consecutive clean sheets.

He is toasting a win-double after securing the Temple Fortune top player accolade after a real purple patch between the sticks.

Fortune boss Simon Linden commented: “Four games, four wins and four clean sheets. It’s been a fantastic month.

“Lee has been outstanding – his save against Boca Jewniors at Silver Jubliee Park was brilliant, but the one he pulled off at Chase Lodge was worthy of Save of the Week, Month, Season and arguably lifetime of Temple Fortune.

“Lee is a great character within the club and deserves to enjoy his record.”

Now, if only all players were as committed …

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