Title celebrations on hold for now, says Richman


Rob Richman insists his Norstar London Raiders players will not get carried away following their first MGBSFL Premier Division success, especially as they have a golden opportunity to complete the double a week on Sunday.

A hat-trick from David Dinkin plus another from top-scorer Matt Stock helped Raiders clinch the title at the first attempt, with a 4-1 victory over North West Neasden.

Richman expressed “delight” and said he was “proud” of his squad, although the team kept celebrations to a minimum, with a “nice pizza and a drink, and we all went home by 9.30pm”.

Having beaten former champions Hendon 3-2 at the end of March, it was victory number 14 that mattered most.

There were scenes of wild celebration in Walthamstow as the NLR team threw their manager in the air. His feet have only just touched the ground.

"It's a dream to win the most coveted prize in Jewish football and is great reward for all the effort, hard work and dedication the entire squad has put in all season,” said Richman.

"The players deserve all the plaudits as they really have been a joy to manage all season. Obviously it is extra special, being our first Premier Division title; just looking at the names of the teams who have won it over the past 10 years makes you realise how special the achievement is. We join an illustrious group who have won the Premiership title and we are delighted to do so."

Hendon pipped Raiders to the title last season, but Richman believes the addition of Liron Mannie, Ben Joseph, Ricky Engleman, Elliott Moslawy and Jordan Marks led to the “role reversal”.

"The boys came really close last year and that was obviously a big motivating factor but Hendon pushed us close again this year and made it very exciting.

"We brought in some wonderfully talented footballers last summer who perfected what was already a very strong group.

"Jon Green was also a very important signing and his work off the pitch has played a vital role in our success.

"The squad are a very talented group of players, but they are also highly committed and determined individuals. They play the game in the right way and that, in my mind, is what this wonderful club is all about.

"In truth, this success has not come about overnight. This has been a long process that stretches back well beyond this season. Jonathan Adelman, who has been associated with the club for the past 20 years, has been a driving force and he’ll be as delighted as anyone. Also, I know Phil Peters will be particularly happy too, and he deserves great credit for all he did last year.”

Raiders will be presented with the league trophy in their final match against FC Team A on Sunday. But Richman says he and his players have turned their focus to the Cyril Anekstein Cup final against Hendon at Wingate & Finchley on May 3.

"It should be another brilliant spectacle between, in my opinion, the two best Jewish teams."

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