Champions at last
L’Equipe celebrate 10-year anniversary in style with 14th victory of the season securing MGBSFL Division Two crown
FOOTBALL NICK Stern believes L’Equipe’s MGBSFL Division Two title success was written in the stars after braces from brothers Mark Smith and Andy Smith guided the club to their first piece of silverware following a crushing win over Faithfold.
Last September, Stern predicted the party of all parties if L’Equipe were crowned champions in their 10th anniversary and he looked back with pride on a day when tears were shed after the final whistle at the Hive in Edgware.
“To win it in our 10th year with this special group of players is pretty monumental,” said Stern.
“To be honest, the whole game was a bit of a blur but as we said in the buildup, we were all aware of the scale of the task and we didn’t shy away from it for one second.”
L’Equipe made the perfect start when a trademark long throw-in from Matt Gilbery was flicked on by Andy Smith and met by the late run of older brother Mark Smith who nodded home from eight yards.
The lead was doubled when Gilbery’s cross was diverted into the net by a Faithfold defender. Andy Smith added a third on the stroke of half-time.
Faithfold were unable to stem the tide and Andy Smith maintained his unblemished record from the penalty spot with a composed finish.
Mark Smith engineered the fifth goal before the talismanic playmaker headed home his younger brother’s cross. Faithfold top-scorer Richard Fogelman dispatched the consolation penalty but L’Equipe’s celebrations were soon in full swing.
Stern commented: “It was incredible to see grown men drop to their knees as though they’d won and then lost an Oscar, others cried tears of joy. What a day, what a performance, what a team and what a season.”
Remarkably, five players from the club’s original line-up in season 2006/07, including club founder Mark Singer, were involved in the emphatic victory as L’Equipe extended their unbeaten league run to 16 matches.
Stern said: “Mark started this team so to deliver it for him in the 10th year while he captained the club every single year was pretty special.”
Stern went on to thank Josh Lewis, Jules Bohm and David Prager for their efforts and assistance on and off the pitch.
“I must also congratulate those that have stuck with us for 10 years,” he said. “The work that goes on behind the scenes is what makes this club tick.
“We won the title this year because we have the best team spirit I have ever seen. We have won 14 out of 16 matches and still have four games to go, so I couldn’t be happier.”
(Above): L’Equipe players hold manager Nick Stern aloft at the final whistle, (below) Andy Smith runs towards goal and (left) the title celebrations begin