Premier Division preview: Will Oakwood be the team to beat again?

Dan Kristall is targeting more silverware ahead of the new MGBSFL season, which gets under way on Sunday.


Having led Oakwood A to the Premier Division title, along with Ric Blank, Kristall is part of a three-pronged management team, which features Adam Levine and David Cohen. who will be challenging for silverware on four fronts.

"Our aim is to retain the title and go much further in both the Cyril Anekstein Cup and Peter Morrison Trophy. We are also looking forward to testing ourselves in the County Cup.

Oakwood have added Tom Cantor, Toby Levy, Josh Cuby and goalkeeper Joe Botchin to their squad, with Guy Helman departing.

Botchin has joined from free from Leeds Maccabi, while Kristall described Levy as a "huge addition" and an "excellent player" after agreeing terms from South Manchester. Cantor, the brother of striker Sam, "has had an excellent pre-season and will add some much needed cover at the back".

"We will need to dig deep into our squad again. Being the best defence in the league the last two years has given us the platform to succeed. We will aim to continue where we left off last season."


Hendon United Sports A have brought in some top-quality reinforcements in a bid to return to the glory trail following a season without silverware.

Having won a hat-trick of Peter Morrison Trophies under manager David Garbacz, the reds finished last season empty-handed in his final season in charge.

Greg Corin stepped into the hot-seat during the summer and he bolstered the squad with the return of brothers Josh and Paul Bentley, along with midfield maestro Ben Lauffer.

Larry Cohen, Mordi Weiler and Dudi Edreyi will ensure Hendon have strength in depth and competition for places.

Hendon, who are captained by Ari Last, will push for honours on four fronts, looking to impress in the London Sunday Challenge Cup as well.

Goalkeeper Russ Corin, who represented Team Maccabi GB in over-35 Masters football at the Maccabiah Games, remarked: “Our target is to compete in all competitions and win some silverware after a disappointing return last year.”

He went on to say his brother, Greg, Corin will lead the team “until David Garbacz gets bored of breakfast with the missus and walking the dog on a Sunday morning.”

Dan Shafron “hopes to bring in two transfers” targets ahead of the big kick-off as North London Raiders A make their bid for the title.

Having entered the London FA Sunday Challenge Cup on top of the three Jewish competitions, NLR “have strengthened where necessary,” according to Shafron, although the departure of goalkeeper Jake Doffman, Nick Lewis and Jono Rochwerger has left them with notable gaps to plug.

Shafron, however, is excited by the return of Ben Joseph, who “was a huge miss last season and is a welcome return after nearly 16 months out. Josh Pistol was also a massive miss last year and is great to have him back”.

Big things are expected from a revamped Maccabi London Lions White under new boss James Gershfield.

“We’re looking to continue our tradition from last year and win more silverware. I’m aiming high and want to compete at the top on all fronts.”

Gershfield is confident new recruits Andrei Grayson, Jordan Levy, Jamie Cohen, Declan Green will gel with youngsters Akiva Levin, Sam Hamerton and Max Mizrahi, who have all been promoted from the club’s academy. Familiar faces in the shape of Maccabiah veterans Alex Levack, Adam Myeroff, Tony Gold and Matty Kleinman will offer experience and a winning mentality across the team.

Gershfield is proud to express “no players have left the squad as no-one wants to leave what promises to be an exciting journey. I want to bring the glory days of Sunday Lions’ dominance back to Jewish football”. 

The manager pinpointed Levin and Mattey as players to watch. He commented: “They are both fully deserving of their call-up to men’s football. They are very technical and will dance their way past defenders – the Bale and Ronaldo of Jewish football.” 

He believes the presence of “many leaders” will bring the best out of the youthful players. “Having won three trophies myself last year with the Lions first team my aim is to win another three trophies this year with my Sunday side. If I fail to prepare I will have to prepare to fail and I don't like failure. 

Jon Jacobs insists Redbridge Jewish Care A are over their title heartache of last season and they are ready to go again.

The departure of Player of the Year Ryan Cole came as an obvious blow, but he has challenged his squad to step up and go toe to toe with the cream of north-west London. 

Having finished runners-up behind Oakwood, after slipping up on the final weekend of the season, Jacobs said: “Our target is to compete at the top table but have more fun this time round.

“The last month of last season were a major disappointment for RJC but it is also a reminder that we are only playing Sunday football so whilst it is competitive, the boys and management are going to enjoy themselves this time round. There will be more of an emphasis on the strength and unity of the squad this season.”

Jacobs welcomes Charlie Laderman, Pat Laderman, Harrison Grant and Adam Shafron to his squad. Daryl Rubin and Matt Berkley have joined Cole at Fairlop, while Zac Neiman was expected to join North London Raiders. Top-scorer Dean Nyman has retired from MGBSFL football.

Jacobs tipped Daniel Garfinkle “to come to the fore” this season. “This will be the breakout year for the fastest player in the league. He will be the main man and aiming to score 30 goals”.

Craig Sandford and Danny Hakimi will assist Jacobs in a new set-up. Jacobs said: “I will utilise their experience and know-how - they are also true club legends who can bring that fun and motivation to the club that has been missing and also bring some balance to the dug-out.

Redbridge will look to the leadership qualities of captain Danny Berg on the pitch. “Bergy will captain the side again but with more emphasis on lieutenants all round the pitch to keep our discipline and support of the younger boys”.

What improvements is Jacobs looking to make? “Proper utilisation of the roll-on/roll-off rule and making sure that we keep the squad together.

“We will win or lose as a squad and not just a team. We will be tough to beat and still have pace and experience up front to beat anyone.”

Brady Maccabi bosses Josh Dagul, Eli Dagul and Joel Nathan are targeting success in one of the cup competitions, as well as being “more competitive in the league”.

With Rob Cohen and Jordan Nathan returning from University, Harry Fine, Stanley Offord and Zac Skry has joined the ranks, while former skipper James Joseph returns from a loan spell in Chicago. 

Skipper Daniel Harrod has gone into “semi-retirement” and long time servant Scott Benson has moved upstairs to the Director of Football role.

“We are going to spring some surprises this season,” expressed Eli Dagul.

Hopeful of a strong run in the Hertfordshire County Cup, Marchant is under no illusion about the task at hand at London Lions Blue.

“Being in the top division means we will having incredibly tough matches every week,” he said. “We will take our season week by week. We hope to consolidate our position in the top flight.”

With Ed Brafman retaining the captain’s armband, the Blues have brought in only a few players, one being David Nezri from North London Raiders A. Marchant said: “The squad has certainly become smaller, with about eight names leaving.” He describes “Benji Weinberger, Nathan Anders and Adam Abadi” as the “ones to watch” and wants his team to be “extremely tough to break down and clinical with its chances”. 

Stirling Kay has challenged Camden Park  to surprise some of the MGBSFL giants.

Players in include Dan Orgel, Danny Sherman and Theo Azouz, while Will Castle has left the club.

“Our target is to win more than we lose,” Kay told JC Sport. “I want us to be competitive in every match and to enjoy the season. Winning a trophy would be a bonus.”

Playing home matches at Hadley FC, Camden will be captained by Johann Jordi.

As a single club, Kay believes Camden will have a disadvantage this season. “Being able to move players up and down to cover will help the multi-club teams to strengthen when needed.

“Our strength will be in the group of players who really want to show everyone that they are desperate to win a trophy by playing as a unit and playing for one another.

“We started pre-season very well, only to be hit by injuries and players away, so we cancelled our last match to give our players time to recover from some knocks.

“We have added some very good players to the squad, but still need to add two or three players, plus a cover goalkeeper. If we can find the right players we will surprise a lot of people.”

Kay went on to say: “Leagues are won by good teams, not by good individuals, as Oakwood proved last year. We intend on being good individuals playing as a good team unit. The rest will take care of itself.”



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