The league is back.
While Clapton’s men’s team were playing their final pre-season friendly in Leipzig some of our Middlesex County Football League (MCFL) rivals were already kicking off their campaigns.
The Tons welcome Sporting Hackney to Wadham Lodge for their curtain-raiser on Tuesday, August 20.
With an expansion from 13 to 17 teams and some ambitious outfits gaining promotion, it is bound to be a competitive division…
Last season: 7th
Based in North Ealing, the historic Brentham Club was founded in 1919. As well as football, there is cricket, darts, tennis, bridge, bowls and tennis. Fred Perry dabbled in a spot of the latter in their early days. The team kicked off this campaign with a 3-1 win over Indian Gymkhana.
C.B. Hounslow United Reserves
Last season: 4th
Level nine side CB Hounslow United rose from the ashes of Richmond Rangers in 1989. The CB stands for Cater Bank, the club sponsor at the time. Kind of like RB Leipzig. The wider CB Hounslow Sports Club also offers running, basketball, netball and archery. CB’s ground is near Heathrow Airport, just down the road from where the Tons took on Deportivo Galicia London Reserves in last season’s Jim Rogers Cup.
Cricklewood Wanderers FC
Last season: 13th
This Brent-based side are run by a charity called Youth Engagement Solutions, which aims to ‘improve wellbeing by getting young people engaged with work, school, and sport.’ Founded 2011, they now have three teams in total. They finished rock bottom last term, but were unlucky to lose out on penalties to St Panteleimon in the final of the Alec Smith Premier Division Cup. This season started with a 1-0 win against Stonewall.
Last season: 8th
Founded in 1989 as Hillingdon Irish Saints FC, the club has 14 teams in total. Hillingdon won this league in 2014/15, but were not promoted. They play at Brunel University Sports Complex. A thumping 4-1 win over NW London on the opening day was a strong statement of intent.
Last season: 1st in MCFL Div 1 West
A side with good memories for Tons fans, as they were the opposition when CCFC claimed their first silverware in the final of the Jim Rogers Cup. We needed penalties on that occasion, but Hilltop were arguably the better side. It was a tremendous year though, as they did the double of the MCFL Division One West and MCFL Junior Cup. Hilltop have prepared for this campaign with a summer trip to Canada.
Indian Gymkhana FC
Last season: 6th
This illustrious club in Osterley was founded in 1916 as a cricket club. Their footballing operations got up and running in the early 80s. While it has grown out of the Indian community, the club’s stated aim is to be a ‘multi-racial centre where old and young alike could meet to play sports and foster goodwill between people across generations.’ They won the division in 2008.
Kensington Dragons FC
Last season: 10th
Set up in 2001 to give chances to kids looking to play football, Dragons now have ten boys’ youth teams, a girls’ youth team and two men’s sides. Their first team won the Middlesex County Football League Premier in the 2013/14 season. They play in the Linford Christie Stadium, Wormwood Scrubs, in the shadow of the barren hillside where the Tons took on Hereford Palace last season.
Lampton Park FC
Last season: 5th
LPFC play at Rectory Park in Hortholt, which just so happens to be Middlesex FA’s headquarters. They have a second string who play in the Sunday leagues.
Larkspur Rovers FC
Last season: 11th
Rovers were formed in 1950, but moved to their current base of Northolt in 1970. They also have youth, Sunday and women’s teams. The latter actually played in the same division as AFC Stoke Newington, who are now part of CCFC.
London Samurai Rovers FC
Last season: 4th in MCFL Div 1 East and Central
The runaway standout team in Clapton’s division last season, only a harsh points deduction kept Samurai off top spot. But the Tons were a bit of a bogey team for this ambitious Japanese-heritage team. After a chastening 5-1 defeat in Southall, Ocran’s men secured a Jim Rogers Cup win on penalties and a nervy 3-2 league victory back at the Stray Dog. This season, Samurai will be groundsharing with Northwood FC.
NW London FC
Last season: 3rd in MCFL Div 1 East and Central
The Gorillas have played CCFC four times to date. Last summer’s pre-season clash was won by the Tons. In the league, NW won 2-1 at the New River Stadium in Haringey and were held to a 4-4 draw by a late equaliser in Walthamstow. This pre-season saw another eight goal thriller, but Clapton only managed to contribute two on that occasion. NW have been on the go since 2015 and are still managed by founder Wasim Khan.
PFC Victoria London
Last season: 2nd
Founded in 2016, Victoria’s squad includes players with experience in the Polish league system. Goalkeeper Bartłomiej Fogler was with Crewe Alexandria (although he didn’t make an appearance). They only lost two games last season, finishing runners-up to St Panteleimon. There was silverware though, as they beat Pitshanger Dynamo in the final of the Middlesex Intermediate Cup. Victoria play at Hanworth Villa’s Rectory Meadow ground.
Pitshanger Dynamo FC
Last season: 3rd
The wonderfully nicknamed ‘Carrots’ – yes, they play in orange – have been bumping around various Middlesex leagues since they were founded in 1972. They play at Hanwell Town’s Reynolds Field ground in Perivale. Pitshanger opened with a 3-1 defeat at home to Samurai.
Last season: 2nd in MCFL Div 1 East and Central
As the world’s first LGBT+ team and CCFC’s league rivals last season, Stonewall FC need little introduction. The Tons were routed 4-0 upon their visit to Barnes. But they got revenge with a comfortable 5-1 win back at the Stray Dog in February. Stonewall were promoted as runners-up.
Sporting Hackney FC
Last season: 9th
Based on Hackney Marshes, this is the closest thing the Tons have to a league derby. CCFC’s first ever win (indeed first ever goals) came in last pre-season’s 4-2 win over Hackney. The Parrots got their revenge with a 2-1 friendly win this July. Sporting were set up in 1986 with a council grant, for the benefit of unemployed Hackney residents. Supporting young people in the local area remains key to the club’s ethos. Their men’s first team enjoyed a wonderful season in 2013-14, when they won a league and cup double.
Yeading Town FC
Last season: 2nd in MCFL Div 1 West
Yeading finished second in the Middlesex County Football League Division One West last season, a mere point behind champions Hilltop, but were initially denied their application for promotion. After a hearing at Wembley Stadium, that decision was overturned. It will be the first time the club, who were founded in 2013, have competed at Step 7.