2013-14 saw another typical mix of highs and lows for SMFC teams. The newly formed U10s team – selected entirely from the Summer Holiday Scheme – struggled to find their way around a proper football pitch at first, especially against teams that had played together at U8s & U9s. They had no problems finding the back of the net but defending their own goal proved slightly more challenging! However, once they began to focus, they went from strength to strength and improved dramatically in the second half of the season, winning their last 6 games and notching up some great reversals – none better than in the final game of the season, a 4-1 win at home over Bedhead Sky, who’d beaten them 6-1 back in November.

The U12s found themselves playing against the league’s best after back-to-back promotions but continued to impress, finishing in a very creditable fourth place (out of 12). This is even more of an achievement when taking into account the fact that their manager was unable to continue in his role after Christmas. Well done to Jean and Szyrus for stepping up to the plate and seeing the boys through.

Life proved much more difficult for the U14s, who struggled in the top division this season. As always, though, there were many positives to be taken from the campaign, not least a commendable team spirit that saw the boys keep working hard for one another to the end. It’s a spirit that will hold them in good stead for the new season.

The U15s continued to frustrate their manager, Ashley Bosah, with Jekyll & Hyde performances, sometimes playing and passing the opposition off the pitch, and at other times leaving you wondering if they’d actually turned up! However, when they turn on the style, they are a joy to watch and with Ashley due to take his UEFA B License this year, they will no doubt turn style into more substance before too long.

Our U16s reaching the League Cup final was an unexpected but very welcome bonus. To put it into context, this team were just 24 hours away from being wound up back in July as there were only 4 players who’d actually bothered to register by the league deadline. However, after a heartfelt plea from their long suffering manager, James Alexander, the decision was made to keep going, resulting in a total of 20 players eventually signing throughout the season and a respectable final position in the league. As anyone involved in youth football knows, the U16s is a difficult age group to deal with and to get as far as the final was an achievement in itself. On the day, they were no match for runaway league champions Westside, who also beat them in the Charity Cup final.

Two runners-up trophies is no bad thing, especially when you take into account a goalkeeper who ‘forgot’ he was playing in the League Cup final and stayed in bed.