In the mid-sixties, a group of friends met every Sunday morning for kick-abouts at Princes Park, a small park in Temple Fortune, NW11. Around the autumn of 1968, a few members of the group split away to start up a team named Princes Park. On 28th December 1968, four other players, namely Michael Rook, Robert Silverstone and brothers Nigel and Peter Kyte, decided to form their own team.
They sat on the low brick wall outside the Kyte family home in the descending gloom after another kickabout in the Park and discussed their idea. Unable to use the obvious name of Princes Park, the young foursome called the new side Temple Fortune Town. TFT, as the team was affectionally known, took part in small-sided matches to begin with. The first 11-a-side match was played on Sunday 25th October 1970 at Hampstead Heath, where TFT beat Princes Park Juniors 124. In 1971, the name was shortened to just Temple Fortune and a set of yellow shirts was bought from Pullens of Temple Fortune Parade for only £14!
Temple Fortune continued to play the occasional friendly match but towards the end of the 1972/73 season, the idea was for the Club to progress into proper league football. In June 1973, founders Nigel and Peter Kyte, joined by brothers David and Jeremy Lobl, held a meeting to decide whether or not the team should join the Maccabi (Southern) Football League (M(S)FL) for season 1973/74. A split vote defeated the proposal just prior to the M(S)FL's Annual General Meeting.
Because of this setback, Temple Fortune went into a decline which saw the Club stagnate for a couple of years, playing very few games. However, on 18th February 1976, the Club was revived by the forming of a new Management Committee. Temple Fortune completed the 1975/76 season by playing five friendlies, three of them against existing M(S)FL teams. Winning four and drawing one, this encouraging start paved the way towards a successful application being submitted to join the M(S)FL for the 1976/77 season.
At the Club's first AGM at the Alyth Youth Club NW11 in June 1976, Nigel Kyte was elected as Chairman, an office he still holds to this day, whilst Peter Kyte took on the role of General Secretary in which he remained for the next 15 years. Affiliating to the London Football Association, Temple Fortune purchased a new green and white kit and were allocated Parliament Hill Playing Fields for home matches in the inaugural league season. The first historic M(S)FL match was played on Sunday 5th September 1976 against fellow-newcomers Bushey United. Fortune went on to finish the debutant season in 7th out of 13 teams.
In the next season, the Club were allocated its first Barnet Council pitch at West Hendon Playing Fields where five seasons were spent. TFFC quickly progressed sufficiently enough to be able to form a Second XI which entered the M(S)FL in 1979/80. The First XI enjoyed two promotions and took part in the Premier Division for the first time in 1981/82, spending three seasons there. In 1982, the Club again moved to a new home venue, this time at Bethune Park in Friern Barnet where both teams had use of a large flat pitch within a fenced-off running track. Three years later, TFFC returned to yellow shirts the Club's original shirt colours and added red shorts; these colours have remained ever since and are now part of the Club's identity.
HOME SWEET HOME. The Club's original 'HQ' in Oakfields Road, next to Princes Park, where the Kyte family resided for 45 years or so. The four founders, namely Michael Rook, Robert Silverstone and brothers Nigel and Peter Kyte, formed TFT whilst sitting on a low brick wall infront of the house, which is visible in the foreground.
Temple Fortune’s teams have had a rather yoyo experience in M(S)FL football, moving up and down the divisions with a fair degree of regularity. The Club won the Second Division championship in season 1985/86 and two years later the First XI were back in the Premier Division for another three-year stint. On three occasions, players of the Club have won MSFL Player of the Year awards, the most prominent accolade coming in 1982 when Gary Hyams was named Premier Division Footballer of the Year which is the League’s top individual player's award.
Prior to the 1990/91 season, the Second XI were erroneously promoted against the Club’s wishes to Division One by the League's Committee after finishing 7th out of 9 teams in Division Two the previous season. The envisaged season of struggle became reality and the Club were forced to fold its Second side at the end of the 1990/91 season which saw both teams relegated.
As part of TFFC's Silver Anniversary celebrations in 1993, the Club staged two 'past v present' matches at Bethune Park. Such was the success of these commemorative games, an Old Boys XI was set up in June 1994 which continued to play a series of friendlies for several years to follow. The Club also held a special invitation four-a-side game at Princes Park, played on the very same pitch which hosted so many kickabouts in the embryonic days. It was a sentimental occasion particularly for Nigel and Peter Kyte to be back playing on that famous pitch! The participants, mainly Honorary Members who had given long service to the Club, all wore old TF kits and received framed captioned photographs to mark the occasion.
In 1997, Temple Fortune left Bethune Park after 15 years due to declining standards there. The Club were allocated Childs Hill Park and West Hendon Playing Fields for the 1997/98 season. Also in 1997, the Second XI was reformed after an absence of six years, playing friendlies during the 1997/98 season prior to rejoining the M(S)FL for the 1998/99 campaign.
At the end of their first season back, the Seconds gained promotion and won the M(S)FL's prestigious Ron Saunders Sportsmanship/Turnout Memorial Trophy, a fitting testimony for the typical excellent organisation traditionally enjoyed by the Club in general. During the summer of 1999, Temple Fortune became founder members of the Maccabi Masters Football League, having run an Old Boys for six years. Temple Fortune Old Boys took part in MMFL football for the first time on 17th October 1999.
For season 2005/06, the Club acquired a new home venue at Whitchurch Playing Fields in Stanmore under Harrow Council to replace Childs Hill Park. For the first time since 1977 the Club were staging home M(S)FL fixtures outside the London Borough of Barnet. A year later, another enforced move took the Club further afield to Hatch End Playing Fields on the Uxbridge Road in Pinner.
IN THE BEGINNING. Princes Park, Temple Fortune, NW11, where small-sided games were first played leading to the formation of the Club in 1968. Kick-abouts were played on 'top' and 'bottom' pitches in the Park, according to how many a-side were playing.
A long running institution within TFFC is its own newsletter, The Fortune News, which has been produced on a regular basis every season since season 1976/77. The newsletter celebrated its Silver Anniversary in 2001 and has been distributed primarily to Club Members via email for several years, initially on a weekly basis under the guise of e-tffc! and then under the reknowned title of The Fortune News once again.
The Club commemorated 35 years of existance in December 2003, by staging a second invitation small-sided game at Princes Park. September 5th 2006 marked exactly 30 years since Temple Fortune first entered the Maccabi (Southern) Football League, and to mark this splendid occasion, the Club ordered two new commemorative kits to reflect Temple Fortune's original M(S)FL colours back in 1976, wearing a modern adaptation of the green and white colours. The green and white kits were worn for two seasons, just as had been the case originally; now TFFC has returned to the traditional colours of yellow and red.
Season 2008/09 saw three teams being run for the first time since 2004. A second Old Boys side (the 'A' team) was formed and entered the First Division of the Maccabi Masters Football League. Sadly it lasted just one season and the Club reverted back to two teams for season 2009/10.
The Club celebrated its 40th birthday in December 2008 with a third commemorative visit back to Princes Park on the exact 40th birthday where a special small-sided football tournament was staged to aptly mark the occasion. Sixteen players too part and the event was won by the Old Boys 'A' team.
For the first time since 1987, a Temple Fortune player won a M(S)FL Player of the Year award, thanks to Rob Benson taking the Second Division accolate for season 2009/10. He also won the Susan Lion Memorial Trophy for being the League's overall Leading Goalscorer.
Over the summer of 2010, the Second XI was reformed for the third time, taking part in the M(S)FL Fourth Division during the 2010/11 season. At the end of this campaign, the Club enjoyed its first championship success since 1985/86 25 years previously when the First Team (shown below) won the M(S)FL Second Division title. Both the Second and Old Boys teams reached semi-finals in their respective league knock-out competitions for the first time. Scott Shindler emulated Rob Benson by winning the MSFL Second Division Player of the Year award, the Club's fifth such award in total.
During the summer of 2011, the Club was allocated permits at both The Hive (3G), Barnet FC's training ground in Edgware, and Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City to host M(S)FL home pitches for the 2011/12 season. That meant saying farewell to Hatch End Playing Fields after 5 years there. The Roger Bannister Sports Centre in Harrow replaced Gosling for the 2012/13 season and was used by the Second Team mainly, whilst the Firsts stayed at The Hive.
Season 2011/12 also saw The Fortune News, the Club's long running newsletter, move from its email-embodied format to going 'live' online within the TFFC website. Weekly links were emailed to all members every Sunday during the season once the latest issue was ready.
At the close of the 2012/13 season, with the majority of the First Team leaving, the Second Team was disbanded for the third time, having completed three seasons back in the M(S)FL. The Club took the decision to place the remaining M(S)FL team in the Third Division due to the playing strength of those left for the 2013/14 season. The Hive was dropped and the team stayed at the Roger Bannister Sports Centre. On 18th June 2013, the Club reached 25,000 hits on the TFFC website since it first went live in 2001.
Temple Fortune FC celebrated its 45th anniversary on 29th December 2013, an achievement of continued longevity of which we are immensely proud. A fourth commemorative 'pilgrimage' back to Princes Park in the form of a second football tournament (last held five years previously) was organised to mark the occasion. The Old Boys team beat the Second team in the final of the event attended by M(S)FL Chairman David Wolff.
At the Club's Awards Presenation Lunch held on 1st June 2014, David Wolff again attended to present the awards, and was given a special commemorative trophy to mark his 50 years on the M(S)FL Management Committee.
Season 2015/16 was TFFC's 40th of consecutive participation in Maccabi football, a feat unmatched by any other current MGBSFL team as the M(S)FL is now called thanks to sponsorship by Maccabi GB under the same name and over the same time span. Prior to season 2016/17, Simon Linden joined the Club as First Team manager and a new era of TFFC was born!
Such a marvellous milestone speaks volumes about the Club’s excellent reputation, longevity and high ranking status within Maccabi sport.
TRADITIONAL COLOURS. Temple Fortune FC has been playing in yellow and red for approaching 30 years; these colours have become traditional and a full history of the Club's kits over the years can be found here.
Below this image of Temple Fortune's 2011 championship-winning team are several links which feature informative articles about the Club's history in more detail, including some important minutes (Part 4), the oldest publication (Part 5) and the earliest official handbook (Part 6). Together with the Club's pre-League days, all played a vital part in the history of one of the longest-running Clubs in Maccabi football, Temple Fortune Football Club.