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West London College Football Season Summary: Season of Hard Transition

22 Mar 2018

The College football team, having won their first league title in the 2015-2016 campaign, then retaining their championship in a superb unbeaten season in 2016-2017, experienced a year of change this term. Coming into a new, stronger league, and playing established sides like MPW, Ashbourne and CATS College London for the first time, the step up asked questions of the strength in depth within the squad of football players at the College, and, though the side could never be faulted for a lack of effort, the end result was not quite what was optimistically hoped for at the start of the season.

An opening day goalless draw with Ashbourne showed that the side were up for the greater challenge, but they then lost their 23 game unbeaten record to DLD to a narrow 2-1 defeat. It was a record which had stood for almost 1000 days, and the aftershock, despite bouncing back with wins over CATS and MPW, was to be felt in the months which followed. Again, they could only muster a 0-0 stalemate with Ashbourne, before a record 7-0 defeat was inflicted by DLD, a side clearly in the ascendancy, who would go on to win the winter league. Poor performances in the remaining games of 2017, perhaps still smarting from such a big loss, meant that Ealing could only manage fourth place.

The second half of the season saw wholesale personnel changes among the team, and a new direction for the side. The first match of 2018 against Ashbourne showed that the fledgling line-up had a great deal to learn, with many new players making their debut and an unfamiliarity plaguing many facets of their approach. A pleasing improvement, however, then showed that football at the College was certainly not dead. Wins against MPW and CATS, along with a tough 1-1 draw with Albemarle College gave some confidence back to men in white. This upturn in fortune, however, was brief. A classy Collingham side inflicted a deserved 2-0 defeat, and this was followed by a comprehensive reverse to MPW. However, the last game of the season saw perhaps the best performance from the side, battling superbly in a 2-2 with Collingham, with Luc scoring one of the finest goals the College has ever produced.

The penultimate match may not have been one which will go down as one of the College's finest, but it was important in that it signalled the passing of the torch of the position of Manager. Academic Vice Principal Allan Cairns, who set up the team and guided them to success over the last few seasons, managing almost 50 games, winning over half of them and overseeing almost 100 goals, has 'moved upstairs' and is delighted to welcome as his successor Josh Vale, Registrar at the College. He departs with having brought many happy memories and two league trophies to the College. Highlights include the 3-1 victory over Albemarle to secure the first championship win and the tense 1-1 draw against DLD which brought the second. His final match in charge, the 2-2 draw, was also one which brought great joy to the coach.

While not leaving a winning team to Vale, Cairns is proud of the efforts of the team this year. When asked for a quote which summed up the season, he stated that "it's a case of sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. The most important thing for me this season was that the students were able to represent the College in a positive manner. There have been many setbacks this year, but the lads involved at the end of this season have conducted themselves in the right manner, with dignity and humility." Player of the season James has enjoyed the weekly games despite the season of ups and downs. He says that "Playing this season for the College was a pleasure; we have had our ups and downs, however the whole team always had a strong desire to improve in each game and I feel like we did that from the start of the season to the end".

Allan Cairns (EIC Football Manager and Vice Principal Academic)

Click here to view photos from the football season. 

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