The date was Sunday 7th October 2018 and we had
just finished a match away to Stotfold, a match that we had contrived to lose
3-2. I remember clearly as I went over
to limply shake the opposition coach’s hand.
I was dejected. Dejected that we
had outplayed Stotfold, competed gamely against them and had the chances to win
the match…….but lost. I also clearly
remember the opposition assistant coach saying to me ‘It’s tough, but don’t be
down. You guys played well and were
really unlucky’. Scant consolation!
The season was 5 games old.
We had handsomely won our first game (but not without a scare after
going 2-0 down) and now had lost the next 4 games! All that pre-season optimism seemed to be
draining away! All those minutes spent
discussing the new season and new formation with Zahir now seemed
Due to the common problem of having a midfield and strike
heavy team and being low on defenders we had decided before the start of the
season that we would play 3-5-2 this year.
That in itself was a big move as prior to this season, and since we had
moved to 11 a side, we had only ever played 4-4-2. After the 3rd game we had reverted
back to 4-4-2 and had still lost the next two games. So, some hard introspective was required.
This was a turning point in our season for many
reasons. Firstly, we decided to stick to
our principles and do what we thought was the best option for the players we
had. So, we reverted back to 3-5-2! We also learnt that as coaches’ we need to
keep positive. That positivity filters
down to the kids (not that our boys are short of confidence anyway!) We learnt a lot about ourselves and a lot
about the boys.
Over the course of the next 6 months we played a further 19
games. We only lost one more game all
season and that too was back at the start of December. The transformation was complete but not
surprising. We have had a lot of these boys
for a good number of years now and they have shown over the seasons’ maturity
as well as ability and above all a comradery that has seen them grow into a
The fantastic run that we went on did not quite get us to
the top of the league (the division was very competitive and had 5-6 teams all
vying with each other over the season).
But it meant we finished the season in joint 2nd place and
more importantly have been promoted to Division 1.
The boys will now have the opportunity to test themselves
against the best teams in the county for their age group. We know too well that the step up to Division 1 is a big one. The challenge ahead is massive, but it is a
challenge the boys are looking forward to.
The team has already shown great maturity and courage and these
qualities as well as hard work and maybe a little bit of luck will be required
for next season.
Success should not always be determined by how many trophies
and matches are won but success should also be measured by how a team
progresses and grows together. For that
reason, come rain or shine this team will always be a successful team!