We approached the 2015/16 season optimistic that we would mark our 40th season in the MGBSFL by fielding an improved, competitive team, especially because the First Team had been elevated into a revamped Division Two. Having finished bottom in Division Three for the previous two seasons, this far from ideal ‘promotion’ of sorts was always going to provide a difficult and taxing season.

Although several new players signed up, including the return of Rob Benson who was the League’s top scorer a few seasons back, the team simply was not good enough to sustain any kind of challenge in what effectively was a stronger division. Although we had a few good players, I would suggest that others we had signed proved to be short of the standard required to improve the team. After a while, some key players like Benson, Matt Leader and Darren Zitren decided to leave.

This left the First Team with a side which began a massive slump which threatened the team’s very survival and it was a minor miracle that the league season was completed with Temple Fortune still intact in the MGBSFL. This was down to the hard work of Jonathan Cohen who somehow kept the ball rolling week in, week out. Of the 22-match fixture list – the highest since Fortune’s inaugural league season in 1976/77 – 20 were played and two conceded. But the season was completed and that was no mean feat given the sequence of results.

However, the statistics make dismal reading. 17 league losses and 20 defeats in all matches equaled the First Team’s worst record which came in 1983/84; 111 league goals conceded was a new record high in Fortune’s 40 seasons in the MGBSFL, beating the Second Team’s 110 in their inaugural season (1979/80); 23 goals scored was the lowest in a 20-match league programme ever (which excludes the two unplayed defaulted fixtures). So, for the third season running, a rather disillusioning campaign where the only saving grace was that Boca Jewniors finished bottom of the division!

It is hard to draw positives from such a troubled season but avoiding the ‘wooden spoon’ for the first time in three years has to be seen as a minor improvement, despite the unenviable stats previously mentioned. And the fact the Jonathan Cohen achieved his objective of seeing out the season has to be admired. Other than that, a dreadful season for our MGBSFL side and a huge disappointment given that it was Temple Fortune’s 40th campaign in Maccabi football.

The Old Boys Team were managed by David Goldberg who returned after one season away. The team also endured somewhat of a difficult season, winning just two of 14 league fixtures and gaining the fewest points total (nine) since season 2004/05. But finishing in sixth place was something of a consolation in what is essentially a two-tier division, where realistically the Old Boys will always struggle to compete with the likes of Maccabi London Lions, EDRS Stonegrove and Glenthorne United.

Pleasingly though, gone are the days where the Old Boys get hammered by eight or more goals; six was the most conceded, which included two matches against the all-conquering MLL team which won every league fixture with relative ease. So having Brady Maccabi ‘B’ and Hendon Harriers below our Masters team can be seen as a result!

On the events side, the Club’s 40th season in Maccabi football was marked mainly by the reintroduction of the Ellis & Co yellow and red shirts carrying the figure ‘40’ above the TFFC crest, which were previously used by the Old Boys to commemorate the Club’s 40th anniversary. A ‘40’ shirt was featured on the TFFC website and other TFFC-related graphics throughout the season.

The Club Awards Presentation was held successfully at Silver Jubilee Park for the second season running. My thanks go to my brother Peter for arranging the Founders’ team and the food. I created two new signage boards sized 18 inches square plus a few A4 laminates and A3 signage which were used at the Club Awards Presentation. These replaced the old well-worn set printed in 2008.

I think that just about covers the 2015/16 season. We received a huge boost last month when Simon Linden, who led Blizzard Storm to the MGBSFL Premier Division, agreed to join us for the 2016/17 season as team manager, teaming up with Jonathan Cohen. So we can look forward to next season with renewed enthusiasm that finally our MGBSFL side’s fortunes might be improving.

Many thanks to all TFFC officers for their hard work throughout the 2015/16 season, especially Jonathan Cohen and David Goldberg. Again, not a successful campaign on the on-field side by any stretch of the imagination but a smooth-running season off-field overall.

NIGEL KYTE, June 2016