Season 1992/93
Temple Fortune's First Team
M(S)FL Third Division

After several years of being in the doldrums, Temple Fortune at last enjoyed quite a successful season in 1992/93 which resulted in third place in Division 3, narrowly missing out on the runners-up spot and automatic promotion.

Following the Second Team's sad demise at the close of the 1990/91 season, the Club chose to compete in Division 2 with its remaining side rather than the division above. The '90/91 First Team squad - filled with some good players like Manny Ezekiel, Tony Gold, Steve Macchia, Brian Newman, Mark Powell and Tony Stock - split up, leaving the Club with basically Second XI players. Because the 1991/92 team attracted few quality players comparable with the previous season, a campaign of struggle lay ahead and relegation to Division 3 inevitable.

The Club recognised that this was a period of rebuilding, much like the team which eventually won the Second Division ttiel in 1985/86. That particular side followed on from a similar decline which lasted two years. After the 1986 season, the Firsts climbed into the Premier Division for a second three-year spell; the subsequent exodus of good quality players in 1990/91 was very similar to the 1984/85 scenario when Steve Bourne's team finally called it a day. History has shown that the decent Temple Fortune teams seem to have their swift relatively successful rise followed inevitably by the rapid fall into obscurity.

So the team which started the 1992/93 season was following on from a couple of really bad seasons. Just like September 1985, several newcomers joined up but the poor form of the previous season seemed to be continuing as the team started badly. After a string of draws - incidently, the most ever in a row - Temple Fortune finally won a Third Division fixture (against Coppermill) in mid-October. Results then fluctuated a bit before the team put together an excellent run, remaining unbeaten in seven league matches. Amidst the slow climb up the Div.3 table, Temple Fortune gave Second Division BC Reds a big scare in the C.A.Cup, holding them to a draw, 2-2. For only the second time, a Fortune cup tie had gone to a replay, with BC Reds only managing to succeed thanks to a rush of goals in extra time to win 6-2. But the cup ties had left a telling mark on Temple Fortune's confidence and subsequence fortunes for the rest of the season. And, for once, it was for the better.

A new player was signed up, namely Steve Hunt, and he clicked smoothly into an improving team which was now steam-rolling to several handsome victories. Hunt and the free-scoring Steve Feiger formed a lethal partnership upfront, aided and abetted by Jeremy Fess who was enjoying a new lease of life. The kingpin of the team was newcomer Ashley Fine who was holding the side together from the back. At the end of the season, he deservedly won the Player of the Year award. Andy Souber, a naturally gifted player when he put his mind to it, was playing well, helped by the emerging Richard Cannon in midfield.

The biggest disappointment during the second half of a fast-improving season was losing to eventual Third Division winners Pad United by 6-5, a game Fortune were extremely unlucky to lose. Pad had previously beaten the Yellows 3-2 in November, again with a large slice or two of luck. Had John Garber not been foolishly sent off when the game was there for the taking, it could have been Temple Fortune rather than Pad taking the championship. However, the sweetest victory was against runners-up AC Victoria 'B', a team which had been a bogey side to Fortune for several years. Having lost to them at Bethune Park at the beginning of the season, Temple Fortune avenged that setback in tremendous style, crushing them by 7-1. The match came a week after the second Pad defeat, so obviously the team decided en mass to right a big wrong! There followed a succession of excellent wins, the Club's best run of victories since the famous 1985/86 triumph.

Only Shirehall stopped the amazing sequence in the last league fixture by holding Fortune to a 4-4 draw. But the disappointment was short-lived because Shirehall fielded David Klahr who was registered to North West Neasden at the time. Klahr should have known better than to play as a 'ringer' against Temple Fortune - he used to play for Fortune and his ineligibility was rightly spotted! Fortune gained the welcomed additional points but they were not enough to pip AC Victoria who narrowly finished a point above TF at the death. Oh, if only the team had collected just one more win instead of those silly draws against struggling Bushey 'B' or Coppermill or Southgate Kingston earlier in the season! If only the team hadn't commenced the season in such bad form!If only Steve Hunt had arrived earlier in the season instead of halfway through! If only...!

Even so, Temple Fortune were offered promotion to Division 2 having finished in third position. But the Club's Management declined the invitation, preferring to continue the rebuilding programme with another tilt at the Third Division title in season 1993/94 (incidently, not to be fulfilled). Still, the 1992/93 season didn't finish on a sad note due to missing out on a set of runners-up medals by a solitary point.

The final game was against First Division Bushey United for the Ralph Epstein Memorial Trophy. Hand in hand with Temple Fortune's decline between 1990 and 1992 had been defeat in the annual Memorial match. Bushey, going for the REMT hat-trick against their 'inferior' Third Division rivals, were as hot a favourite as one could find. On the astroturf at Willesden Stadium, Temple Fortune won a great game by 5-4, Steve Hunt scoring four excellent goals. No Division Three medals maybe, but a handsome silver pot to cap a fine season of relative success!