This document has been written to help improve the League, providing a clear blueprint for accepted rules and expected conduct for both players and clubs. The document does not cover every eventuality and as the London Unity League continues to develop, so will this document via feedback and suggestions by clubs partaking in its running.
Six teams gathered at a blustery Wormwood Scrubs park in west London for the 12th annual London Titans Birthday Tournament. Joining Titans XXL and Titans 2Brewers were Soho FC, Cardiff Dragons, a combined London Romans–Leicester Wildecats team, back to defend their 2016 tournament win, and Hybrid FC, an assortment of players from London and beyond.
The group stages followed a league format, with Titans 2Brewers winning all five of their group games without conceding a single goal. Leicester Romans and Titans XXL also qualified for the semi-finals, with Hybrid FC sealing the final spot by taking seven points from their five games. Soho FC, who lost all five of their group games without scoring, ripped up the form book in the plate final to beat Cardiff Dragons 2-0 – but Cardiff must be congratulated for coming all the way from London on the morning of the competition.
Leicester Romans and Titans 2Brewers confirmed their dominance by dispatching Titans XXL and Hybrid FC respectively and meeting in the final. Despite the result going the other way earlier in the day, the cup was scooped by two well-taken goals from the combination side: the first, a sharp near-post shot, was followed by a thunderous running header at the back post. Leicester Romans retain the trophy!
As is customary, the social afterwards continued deep into the night at the tournament’s sponsor venue, Club XXL – at which point details become hazy and subject to a gagging order…
Soho’s Gary Fozzard writes:
On Saturday 7th October Soho FC celebrated their fourth birthday with their annual 9-a-side tournament, with teams battling it out for the FARE Cup. Ten teams from fellow London Unity League clubs East End Phoenix, London Falcons, AFC Muswell Hill and Stonewall, plus Brighton’s BLAGSS and local teams Daniel Defoe, Samurai Geeks and Soho Warriors took to the pitches at Coram’s Fields in central London.
“Soho FC’s first tournament was attended by just four teams, so we’re thrilled that friends from such a large number of clubs from across the LUL and Brighton as well as our straight allies came together to participate in great spirit,” said Soho manager and club co-founder Gez Tomnay.
The games were close-fought encounters, many of them ending with a single goal separating the teams. At the end of the round-robin, teams from Stonewall and Samurai Geeks said goodbye to the competition, with the remaining teams progressing to the quarter-finals. Soho FC’s two teams – Soho Bears and Soho Twinks – were eliminated at the quarter-final stage in penalty shoot-outs, with Falcons, Soho Warriors, Daniel Defoe and AFC Muswell Hill progressing.
Falcons took on former tournament winners Daniel Defoe in the final, and after an intense 20-minute game which included Falcons being denied a last-minute penalty, Defoe came out on top, winning 1-0. As with all the best football tournaments, the teams gathered in nearby bar the New Bloomsbury Set for trophy presentations, pizza and of course… BIRTHDAY CAKE!
Soho FC would again like to thank the participating teams, our referees and volunteer organisers. We look forward to welcoming you to our fifth birthday in 2018!
Comments from winners Daniel Defoe:
“It was fantastic to be invited back for the fourth time to the FARE Cup and it’s truly an honour to have witnessed how the tournament has developed over the years. Both the high level of competition and the good-natured spirit from all involved on the day is a testament to the players and of course the organisers.
“On a day where most of the Defoe players were ruing the poor decisions of the night before, we were delighted to get the fresh air let alone take home the Trophy. We’ll look after the hallowed cup with the knowledge we’ll have our work cut out to defend it next year. This is going on a bit, turning into a thespian’s monologue, but lastly we’d like to thank Gez and Austin for all their hard work to put on a great day’s football.”
Former league winners London Romans romped back to winning ways with a 6-0 demolition of Titans 2Brewers. Ataks Frankfrik started the scoring with a brace, with the White Hart Lane team adding two more from corners before half-time, one a deflected own goal. Romans netted twice in the second half too, including a third from Frankfrik to complete his hat-trick and propel him to joint top of the Golden Boot competition alongside Titans XXL’s Rob Barr and Falcons’ Chris Judd and Paddy Eccles-Williams. A humbling afternoon for 2Brewers.
In their first game of the 2017/18 campaign, Soho FC lost narrowly to London Titans XXL, who now sit top of the Unity League at this early stage. Both sides probed without reward until the 35th minute, when Soho took the lead via a free header from a corner, and it was Soho who ended the half in full vigour. Titans XXL manager Paul Wheeler made changes at half-time to freshen up their game, but calamity struck as Soho challenged the Titans keeper on a cross and stuck the ball in the net. This stiffened XXL’s attacking resolve, and a switch to three upfront helped level the scoreline. The tide had turned: a chipped finish from centre-back Rich Nicholls made the final score 3-2 to Titans.
London Falcons sit behind Titans XXL in the table after recording their first win of the season. Hosting AFC Muswell Hill at Barn Elms, Falcons were always ahead after opening the scoring with a sweet volley from Chris Judd on 20 minutes, despite two lovely strikes from Pete Doyle in Muswell Hill’s period of dominance either side of half-time. Jimmy Whelan, Alex Bernal and manager Pete Ransom – with his first in a year – also bagged goals.
There are four fixtures on Sunday 1st October, including the first meeting of the season for AFC Muswell Hill and their former clubmates London Romans:
AFC Muswell Hill v London Romans
London Falcons v Soho FC
Stonewall 3rds v London Titans XXL
Charlton Invicta v Titans 2Brewers
Stonewall 3rds consolidated an opening-day win with a 2-2 draw against league title holders London Falcons. The away side opened the scoring against the run of play with a Paddy Eccles-Williams goal, and Eccles-Williams completed a brace late on to rescue a point for Falcons. In between, Stonewall dominated possession and created most of the play, but it was a speculative effort from Gary Williams which bounced over the keeper, and a strong James Baker shot which spilled out of the netman’s hands, which gave Stonewall hope that six points out of six would be theirs. Falcons manager Pete Ransom ended pleased not to lose but made it clear he expects more from his team.
Five different names put themselves on the scoresheet for AFC Muswell Hill in their first home game of the season at the New River Centre. Ian Pocock, Ed Fite, Gareth Stephens, Paul Francis and Andy Rose slotted home but it was not plain sailing for the north London side. Titans XXL took the lead twice, through Scott De Blasio and Tom Smith, before being pegged level just after half-time. After Muswell Hill took the lead, Titans XXL kept their nerve to make it 3-3 through Rob Barr, but the game’s momentum remained with the home team, and they ran out 5-3 winners.
The ecstasy of a debut win for new Titans 2Brewers manager Alan Grimsley turned into the agony of defeat against a resurgent East End Phoenix. With the home team firing blanks, the eastenders picked off a couple of chances via a mistake at the corner flag and a fluffed clearance to take the game 2-0. Even a change to 4-3-3 at half-time wasn’t enough to improve Titans 2Brewers’ fortunes. Javier Caballero and James Little, with his second of 2017-18, scored the goals at Duke’s Meadows.
With both Titans teams losing, Stonewall 3rds sit on top of the London Unity League by a point, and Paddy Eccles-Williams leads the Golden Boot competition with three goals. Sunday 24th September features three fixtures, including the first game of the season for Soho FC:
London Falcons v AFC Muswell Hill
London Romans v Titans 2Brewers
London Titans XXL v Soho FC
London Unity League champions London Falcons began the defence of their title with a pulsating 4-4 draw against Charlton Invicta at Barn Elms. Falcons went ahead in the second minute but the first half ended level at 2-2, and Charlton Invicta – formerly Bexley Invicta but now part of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust – twice came from behind in the second half to snatch a point. Chris Judd bagged two goals for Falcons, with Paddy Eccles-Williams and Alex Bernal chipping in, and Charlton shared the goals between Ben Hemmings, Ross Houghton, Michael Lisney and Scott Anderson.
Over at Duke’s Meadows in Chiswick, London Titans started the season with a home double-header, and both teams recorded victories. Titans XXL beat former league winners London Romans 2-1 with goals from Ollie James-Parr and Rob Barr. Romans grabbed a consolation goal with a 25-yard volley. Titans 2Brewers took the lead three times in their game against AFC Muswell Hill, the winner coming from an Adam Heathcote penalty after Josh Day was fouled in the 18-yard box. Muswell Hill are a new name in the league but their faces are familiar – they played as Romans Manor House last season.
In another close game, a low free kick from the left-hand edge of the area snuck into the net and secured three points for Stonewall 3rds, the goal being scored by Stephen Crosse on his managerial debut. With the game buffeted by strong winds, Stonewall had taken the lead via a David Leipziger goal, but East End Phoenix equalised after a ball over the top beat the Stonewall defence. Another close-range effort by Stonewall, this time scored by Santi Reguero, put the Barnes team back on top, only for a mistake to allow Phoenix to equalise. Crosse’s late intervention meant it wasn’t enough to take a point, however.
Three fixtures on Sunday 17th September, with the three teams at the top of the table in action:
AFC Muswell Hill v London Titans XXL
Stonewall 3rds v London Falcons
Titans 2Brewers v East End Phoenix
Last season’s league winners began the new campaign in formidable style by putting ten goals past Titans 2 Brewers, who netted a solitary consolation in the game. The defeat will be a bitter pill for 2012/13’s bottom side, having started 2013/14 by chalking up a 2-0 win in their first game on Sunday 25th August against Millennium Falcons. The other Titans team, Titans Food Chain, recorded a narrow 1-0 victory away to Phoenix FC.
See the fixtures page for the full autumn schedule.