News - February 2015

Saturday 28 February - Ibe at the double as Greens win

Kezie Ibe scored twice this afternoon as Hendon picked up another three points in beating Witham Town 2-0 at Earlsmead. The goals came in the 22nd and 83rd minutes, and moved the Greens back up to fourth place in the table.

Results elsewhere were favourable as well, with Margate drawing 3-3 at Kingstonian, Dulwich Hamlet losing 4-0 at Bognor Regis Town and Metropolitan Police slipping to a 1-0 defeat at home to Grays Athletic.

It'll be a rapid rematch on Tuesday as we make the return trip to Witham Town - the game will kick off at 7.45pm.

Posted at 17:59

Friday 27 February - LDN Wrestling announce line up

LDN Wrestling have announced a bumper line up for their return to Earlsmead after the Tonbridge game on March 14th, with champions Travis and Jonathan Hardwick both putting their respective titles on the line. Plus there is a special appearance by Mr Smooth Johnny Kidd, a man who made 24 appearances when wrestling was on ITV’s World Of Sport, tag team action and much more.

Tickets, priced at £12 adults, £10 concessions or £40 for a family of 4, will be available on the door which open at 5.30 with a 6pm bell time, or via www.ldnwrestling.com.

There is also a matinee at 2pm, but not featuring the title matches and the special appearance of Johnny Kidd. The Supporters Trust will be receiving a share of the proceeds from this event, so please support it if you can.

Posted at 21:28

Friday 27 February - Witham game expected to go ahead

We are pleased to be able to say that the pitch at Earlsmead is currently playable, and as a result we expect tomorrow's game to go ahead as planned.

The forecast for the next 24 hours is mainly dry, and consequently no inspection has been booked, and we fully expect to kick off tomorrow afternoon at 3pm.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at Earlsmead tomorrow afternoon.

Posted at 17:55

Friday 27 February - New date for Canvey Island game

Our home league game against Canvey Island will now be played on Wednesday 18th March at Earlsmead, kicking off at 7:45pm.

Posted at 14:30

Friday 27 February - Margate league cup date set

Our Robert Dyas League Cup tie against Margate will be played on Wednesday 11th March at Earlsmead, kicking off at 7:45pm.

Posted at 11:18

Thursday 26 February - Tonight's London Senior Cup tie postponed

Unfortunately our attempts to get our London Senior Cup tie played have been thwarted by the weather, and tonight's game is postponed.

We are aware that some supporters are frustrated by the short notice changes to our fixtures, but the attempt to play today was made after Monday's game was postponed to try and ease the pressure on the fixture list. We do understand that supporters aren't always able to change their plans.

New dates for this game, our league cup tie against Margate and our home league game against Canvey Island will be announced through the usual channels as soon as they are confirmed.

Posted at 13:10

Wednesday 25 February - Margate league game arranged

Our league game at Margate has been arranged to take place on Tuesday 14th April, kicking off at 7:45pm at Hartsdown Park.

Dates for the Margate League Cup tie, and the home game against Canvey Island will be confirmed in the next few days.

Posted at 21:53

Tuesday 24 February - Robert Dyas Cup semi final draw

The draw for the semi finals of the Robert Dyas (Isthmian) League Cup was made today, and we have been drawn at home to Margate. The other tie sees Grays Athletic host Billericay Town.

A date for the game will be announced in due course.

Posted at 14:36

Tuesday 24 February - London Senior Cup on Thursday evening

We have agreed to concede home advantage for our London Senior Cup tie against Corinthian-Casuals, and the game will take place this Thursday 26th February, kicking off at 7:45pm.

By switching the game to our opponents, it gives the pitch at Earlsmead maximum chance to recover for our home game against Witham Town on Saturday afternoon.

Posted at 12:58

Monday 23 February - AFC Hornchurch game rearranged

Our home league game against AFC Hornchurch has been rearranged for Monday 30th March, kicking off at 7:45pm at Earlsmead.

Posted at 14:04

Monday 23 February - Canvey Island match postponed

This evening's match against Canvey Island has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch following the rainfall yesterday.

A new date for the game will be advised once agreed.

Posted at 12:44

Sunday 22 February - Matchday volunteers - a plea

We are really struggling to have enough volunteers to fill the various roles that require doing on a match-by-match basis.

With a number of home matches coming up in the next eight or nine weeks, we hate to have to keep asking the same few (and it is a few) hard-working and willing volunteers to continually come to the ground early, or stay late time after time. On a few occasions this season, we have come close to not being able to cover everything.

Therefore, we are asking if anyone can spare even so much as a quarter of an hour to help us out on a match day to please let us know. Spreading the load amongst many hands will make much lighter work for everyone concerned.

You needn't miss any of the game, you won't have to pay so much as a dime (or a penny) on the occasions you do help out and you will earn the genuine gratitude of the board, the Supporters Trust, the Supporters Association and the playing staff for helping everything progress smoothly on match days.

Without volunteers, there is no club. It's as simple as that.

If you feel that you are able to help out, even if it is only on the odd occasion, please drop our matchday organiser John Rogers an email on johnrogers070@gmail.com

Posted at 19:00

Sunday 22 February - Pitch inspection at 12:45pm

There will be a pitch inspection at 12:45pm tomorrow afternoon to see whether there is any chance of our game against Canvey Island going ahead tomorrow evening.

As always, the result of the inspection will appear on the usual channels as soon as it is known.

Posted at 18:13

Saturday 21 February - Comfortable win in rainbuster friendly

Hendon ran out comfortable 6-0 winners in this afternoon's rainbuster friendly against Harrow Borough at Silver Jubilee Park.

Casey Maclaren opened the scoring in the 8th minute before Lee O'Leary doubled the lead just after the half hour mark.

The last 35 minutes belonged to Aaron Morgan who hit a hat-trick, with Maclaren scoring the other goal.

Posted at 16:12

Saturday 21 February - Friendly arranged for this afternoon

We have hastily arranged a friendly against Harrow Borough this afternoon which will kick off at 1:00pm at Silver Jubilee Park.

All are welcome to attend, and admission will be free.

Posted at 10:22

Saturday 21 February - Margate match postponed

As anticipated, today's game against Margate has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch following the rain over the past couple of days.

A new date will be announced in due course.

Posted at 09:29

Friday 20 February - Pitch inspection at 9.00am

We just been informed by Margate that an inspection has been arranged for 9:00am tomorrow morning.

In an item on their website they have said "Continued heavy rain throughout last night and today, combined with further rain forecast means the game will undergo an early inspection."

As soon as we receive news of the result of the inspection we will update through the usual channels.

Posted at 15:29

Thursday 19 February - Gary pleased to reach semi-final

Speaking following last night's win a happy Gary McCann said, "I think the scoreline could and should have been much more in our favour. Both our centre-forwards could and should have got on the score sheet in their respective 45 minutes, but neither managed to score.

"It would have been very disappointing to lose to the team that Maidstone put out, but credit to them, they played very well and gave us a good game.

"The pitch was very difficult, but I am not going to use it as an excuse - and it was the same for both teams. It was worse for the forwards, who needed precision for their final pass, shot or cross. This also explains why many of our passes from midfield were wayward.

"But I'm overly pleased that we are through to the semi-finals and no players picked up any injuries. It would be perfection if we could end the season with two cup finals and promotion."

Posted at 20:36

Thursday 19 February - LDN Wrestling returns to Earlsmead

LDN Wresting, the UK's largest touring wrestling promotion, are returning to Earlsmead on Saturday 14th March, following our home game against Tonbridge Angels.

The Supporters Trust will be receiving a percentage of the receipts from the event, and those who came last year all said how much they enjoyed it (except those in the front row perhaps!)

The line up and ticket prices will be confirmed shortly, and will be available on the door on the night.

For more information on LDN Wrestling go to www.ldnwrestling.com

Posted at 17:22

Wednesday 18 February - Taggart and Murphy net in cup win

Tony Taggart and Sam Murphy both scored tonight in a 2-0 win over Maidstone United in the Robert Dyas League Cup quarter final.

The result means the Greens have reached the semi finals for the first time since 2003.

The Greens fielded a strong side, whilst Maidstone fielded a mix of youth and experience. Taggart opened the scoring in the 37th minute, before Murphy doubled the lead from the penalty spot shortly after half-time.

The draw for the semi finals are due to be made late next week, and the other sides in the draw are Billericay Town, Margate and Grays Athletic.

Posted at 21:42

Wednesday 18 February - Maidstone game on tonight

We are pleased to announce that we expect tonight's game to go ahead as planned this evening. The pitch has improved a lot since Monday afternoon, and as a result no inspection has been arranged.

We look forward to seeing you at Earlsmead tonight. The game will kick off at 7.45pm and will go straight to penalties if the scores are level after 90 minutes.

Posted at 12:34

Tuesday 17 February - Wembley National Stadium Trust award grant

We are pleased to announce that we have received a significant grant from the Wembley National Stadium Trust.

The WNST makes grants to clubs and other organisations to improve the range and quality of sporting opportunities available to people in Brent. We have been awarded a significant grant to enable local schools to train and play school matches at Silver Jubilee Park.

Over the last few months a Schools Partnership has been formed and many children are benefitting from the superb facility. Claremont, St Gregory's, Queens Park Community, Robert Southwell, Fryent, Oliver Goldsmith, Roe Green, Preston Manor are just some of the schools using SJP and we believe it will give the youth of Brent the best possible opportunities whilst increasing the Hendon fan base.

The Hendon FC Football Festival for schools is planned for early March and we have 32 teams taking part. We are delighted to receive this award and the recognition for the community work that is being done in Brent.

Posted at 17:18

Monday 16 February - Maidstone game rearranged for Wednesday

Our League Cup tie against Maidstone United has been rearranged for Wednesday evening at Earlsmead, kick off at 7:45pm. Once the rain today has cleared, there is no more rain forecast until Thursday and we are hopeful that this will give us a good chance of getting the game on.

Posted at 15:25

Monday 16 February - League cup tie postponed

Tonight's game against Maidstone United has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch following today's rainfall. With the rain forecast to continue there was unlikely to be any chance of the pitch improving.

A new date for the game will be advised soon.

Posted at 14:45

Monday 16 February - Pitch inspection at 3:00pm

There will be a pitch inspection at approximately 3:00pm to see if there is a chance of this evening's League Cup tie against Maidstone United can go ahead.

As normal, the result of the inspection will be posted to the usual channels once it is known.

Posted at 10:02

Saturday 14 February - McCann to feature on Radio Five

We have learnt this evening that this week's Non-League show will include manager Gary McCann in it's usual array of guests. The weekly show is broadcast on Radio Five at 5am on Sunday mornings and usually available thereafter as a podcast on the BBC website at www.bbc.co.uk/nonleague.

Posted at 21:10

Saturday 14 February - AFC Hornchurch match postponed

Today's game against AFC Hornchurch has been postponed after overnight rain rendered the pitch waterlogged. A new date will be announced in due course.

Posted at 10:59

Saturday 14 February - Pitch inspection at 10.45am

There will be a pitch inspection at approximately 10:45am to see whether today's game against AFC Hornchurch can go ahead following the overnight rain.

We will update through the usual channels as soon as the result of the inspection is known.

Posted at 09:08

Wednesday 11 February - Harrow win quarter final

Harrow Borough will be our hosts if we win our quarter final against Corinthian-Casuals. Our landlords travelled to Beckenham Town this evening and won 4-2 on penalties following a 3-3 draw after 90 minutes.

Posted at 22:34

Wednesday 11 February - New date for Met Police

Our home game against Metropolitan Police will now be played on Monday 16th March at Earlsmead, kicking off at 7:45pm.

Posted at 10:51

Tuesday 10 February - It's Casuals in the London Senior Cup

Our opponents in the London Senior Cup quarter final will be Corinthian-Casuals. The Ryman League Division One South side beat AFC Wimbledon 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 0-0 after 90 minutes. A date for the game will be announced soon.

The winners of the quarter final will be away to either Harrow Borough or Beckenham Town.

Posted at 21:51

Tuesday 10 February - Gary on East Thurrock

Gary McCann reflected on last night's draw and said, "I am disappointed to drop two points, but the way the game went, I am played to finish with one.

"They are a very good team and it was a very evenly contested match. In fact, it was a real battle in every part of the pitch.

"Both defences just about won their battles against the opposing strikers - Charlie Goode and Elliott Brathwaite were, again, outstanding, as was Casey Maclaren - but Leon Smith and Kezie Ibe had very little in the way of chances either.

"I don't think either goalkeeper had to make a difficult save, apart from the Dave Diedhiou shot in the second half."

Posted at 20:52

Monday 09 February - Point earned against East Thurrock

It was honours even at Earlsmead this evening as Hendon drew 1-1 with fellow play off challengers East Thurrock United.

The visitors took the lead in the 12th minute through Kye Ruel, before Charlie Goode scored his first goal for the club a quarter of an hour later.

Posted at 21:40

Monday 09 February - Gary reflects on Lewes win

Gary McCann was pleased with how the squad responded in the second half at Lewes to secure all three points.

He said, "I was delighted with the response after half-time, especially the first 15 minutes.

"I was very unhappy with every part of the first half and I told the players that at half-time. I also said that we had played into Lewes's plans and made their game-plan work perfectly.

"We could have made the game safe with a third goal to make it 3-1, but I felt we were still in control, even in the last 15 minutes.

"Kevin Maclaren's red card was careless and needless, but in other circumstances - if there hadn't been so much going on - it might have been a yellow. But he did lose his discipline.

"As for playing Rikki Banks with his injury, I don't think I would have risked my goalkeeper in the same circumstances."

Posted at 18:44

Saturday 07 February - Ten man Hendon win

Hendon came away from Lewes with all three points in a game where both sides were reduced to ten men.

Lewes took the lead from the penalty spot, the kick being converted by Sam Cole, in the 17th minute. Kevin Maclaren was sent off late in the half for a nasty looking challenge, and in the melee that followed, Lewes veteran striker Leroy Griffiths was dismissed for violent conduct.

The Greens grabbed the points with two quick goals early in the second half from Kezie Ibe and Casey Maclaren.

Posted at 20:34

Friday 06 February - Quarter final date set

The league cup quarter final against Maidstone United will be played at Earlsmead on Monday 16th February, kick off 7:45pm.

The home game against Metropolitan Police scheduled for that night will be rearranged in due course.

Posted at 12:40

Wednesday 04 February - Lewes bar open from 12pm

Lewes have been in touch to say that their ground and bar will be open from 12pm on Saturday - partly so that they can sell the last of their recent Beer Festival beers (all ales £3 per pint). The BT Sport game between Tottenham & Arsenal will be shown in the bar, kicking off at 12.45pm

Entry at The Dripping Pan is £11 adults, £6 Concessions, and all kids under 16 go free, and all Hendon fans will be made very welcome.

Posted at 18:07

Wednesday 04 February - Gary pleased with cup progression

Gary McCann was pleased with the progression in the League Cup on Tuesday night. He said, "It was a very good performance in difficult conditions, but we knew what to expect.

"It keeps this cup run going but, more importantly it gets us back to winning ways. The win was very big for us, just as it would have been for Hampton. We did change things around a little bit with our shape.

"The guard of honour before the match was very nice. I didn't really want a fuss, but I did appreciate it.

"This was a win treble for us tonight; into the quarter-finals, a good performance by the team and no injuries picked up.”

Posted at 18:02

Wednesday 04 February - A Hendon Hero : Dexter Adams

It is with sadness that we have learnt of the death of former Hendon defender Dexter Adams. He died after a short illness on Saturday 31 January aged 89.

Along with Laurie Topp and Bill Fisher, Dexter Adams was one of the mainstays of Hendon in the 1950s. He joined Hendon in January 1948 from Northampton Polytechnic FC, and made his debut in a 3-2 win over Barking at Claremont Road on 28th February 1948. He soon established himself at centre half, although he also played right-back on occasions. He was a strong tackler, but could also play the ball out of defence to set up attacks. He guested occasionally for professional clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur, but turned down many offers to play professionally.

He won 20 England Amateur caps, and made his debut in a 6-3 win over Ireland at Coventry in February 1951. He also played for the Middlesex County team and made 10 appearances for the Athenian League side. He was also in the 1956 Great Britain Olympic squad for the Melbourne Olympics.

He captained the 1955 Amateur Cup Final team, although not fully fit. In a league match against Leyton a few days before the final, he played with 10 reserves. A crowd of 3,000 came, mainly to see if he would be fit for the final. Playing in the final presumably put behind him the memory of having a penalty saved in the 1951 semi-final at Highbury against Pegasus. He sportingly recalled: "I took the kick but Pegasus goalkeeper Ben Brown made a terrific save and Hendon went out of the Cup. My only consolation was that Ben was awarded an England cap after this match - I like to think that his save from my penalty helped him to win this."

Apart from the 1955 Amateur Cup final, he also was in Hendon teams that won two Athenian League titles, the Middlesex Senior Cup in 1957–58, the Middlesex Charity Cup four times, and got runners-up medals twice in the London Senior Cup and once in the Middlesex Senior Cup.

Persistent knee trouble caused his retirement in 1958, having made 308 appearances in which he scored 14 goals. He became coach at the club in 1959, and took the team to their first amateur cup success. He also coached the 1960-61 championship winning team, but left the club at the end of that season, appropriately at the same time as Laurie Topp. He was became manager of Barnet in 1962, and saw them into the professional game in 1965 when they joined the Southern League. He managed Barnet until 1970, and was widely respected in the game.

Dexter leaves his widow Sheila, with whom he had been married for 62 years, and three daughters. His funeral will take place at Peterborough Crematorium on Tuesday 17 February at 3pm.

He had little contact with Hendon FC in recent years, and was living in Lincolnshire.

(Peter Lush)

Posted at 17:56

Tuesday 03 February - Quarter finals for first time in 12 years

Hendon reached the quarter finals of the Robert Dyas (Isthmian) League Cup this evening, beating Hampton & Richmond Borough 1-0.

It is the first time the Greens have reached the quarter finals of the competition since 2002-03, eventually going out in a two-legged semi-final against Canvey Island.

Both sides fielded strong line-ups, and the Greens prevailed courtesy of a Kezie Ibe goal early in the second half.

The quarter final tie is a home game against Maidstone United on a date to be confirmed.

Posted at 21:43

Tuesday 03 February - Hampton game on

The pitch at Earlsmead passed it's inspection this afternoon, therefore we are expecting today's cup tie to go ahead.

Posted at 17:15

Tuesday 03 February - Pitch inspection at 4.30pm

There will be an inspection at 4:30pm to see if this evening's game against Hampton & Richmond Borough can go ahead.

Please note that the result of the inspection is unlikely to appear on the website until after 5pm, so please check the twitter feed for updates.

Posted at 13:00

Tuesday 03 February - Gary's 10 years - stat attack

During Gary's time as manager, he has overseen a total of 553 matches - which added to his 196 appearances in goal, means he's been involved in 749 Hendon first team games so far.

Of those 553 matches, which includes the game at Peacehaven on Saturday, we have won 234, drawn 111 and lost 208. The draws include any cup ties that went to penalties. We have scored 884 goals and conceded 804.

Breaking that down a bit further, in the league the record is played 427, won 168, drawn 94, lost 165, scored 633, conceded 612, and we've picked up 598 points.

You can probably do the maths, but in all cup ties, the record is played 126, won 66, drawn 17 (including 6 penalty shoot-out wins and 3 penalty defeats), lost 43, scored 251 and conceded 192.

Breaking down the cup ties played further we have played 40 games in the FA Cup, 18 in the FA Trophy, 14 in the League Cup, 26 in the Middlesex Senior Cup and 28 in the London Senior Cup.

The player who made the most appearances under McCann is former captain James Parker, who retired in 2012 after completing his 300th match, 299 of which came with Gary as manager. James Burgess left Hendon after 324 appearances, but he had more than 70 before Gary arrived, and they were teammates in April 2003. Of the current squad, Kevin Maclaren is tops with 270, though brother Casey and Lee O'Leary are both on 255.

Hopefully there are many more games to come under Gary's leadership - who, as has been mentioned in recent years, is believed to be the longest serving manager in the club's history.

Posted at 08:27

Monday 02 February - Gary's 10 years - his thoughts

Gary McCann became Hendon manager on 2 February 2005 as the Greens were sliding towards relegation after eight consecutive losses, including four in cup-ties, of which three were particularly embarrassing. Gary admitted, "I knew it was going to be a tough job keeping the team up, but did I know what was going to happen over the next few years? Probably not. We have had to put up with a lot, but it is a club I care dearly about."

What Hendon fans appreciate most are the style of football Gary's teams play and the loyalty he engenders. McCann's philosophy is all about possession, passing and flowing football. He explained, "I don't like unattractive football. I want my teams to play the right way, keeping possession and passing accurately. But as a former goalkeeper, I have always understood where we need to be defensively. But, when you look after the football, the football will look after you."

Asked for the favourite players to appear for him, Gary said, "There have been many, but I think the ones who are currently with the squad and are approaching 250-300 games have to be up there - Dave Diedhiou, Kevin and Casey Maclaren, Lee O'Leary. But I have had some very special players who have played for me, Bontcho Guentchev and Darren Currie to name but two."

The Hendon links are also evident in the dugout because present coach Scott Cousins - still registered as a player - and his predecessors Junior Lewis and Guentchev all played with distinction for the Greens, as of course did assistant manager Freddie Hyatt.

Posted at 18:26

Monday 02 February - 10 years and counting for Gary McCann - Part 1

Today is the 10th anniversary of Gary McCann becoming manager of Hendon FC, and David Ballheimer has written an article to mark this.

On Monday 31 January 2005, Hendon produced only their fourth worst performance of the month when losing 4-2 to Ryman League Division One South Fisher Athletic in the London Senior Cup - and it had been 4-0 at half-time. It was the final straw for the Hendon directors, who, on 2 February, relieved manager Gary Farrell of his duties.

His replacement was a 32-year-old former Hendon goalkeeper, Gary McCann, one of Hendon heroes of the 1997 FA Cup victory over Leyton Orient. His playing career had been ended by a knee injury suffered whilst playing for Hendon and although he tried to continue playing, it was sadly impossible. So instead of being at the peak of his career, Gary was starting on a new one: football manager.

This was his first job and like all good managers, he surrounded himself with good football people. Gary Anderson, who had previously worked with Frank Murphy at Hendon, was the physio and fitness co-ordinator, while Gary's assistant manager was former England Non-league goalkeeper Andy Pape, a long-time friend and mentor.

Gary had 10 days before Hendon's next competitive match, but there was a reserve game at Aylesbury, which the new management team used to see how big his task was. The equation was simple; Hendon had 14 matches left – all in the Ryman League – and they needed probably an average of a point from each of them to stay up. That doesn't sound much, but having won only twice since 23 October, it was quite a target.

Gary's first League match in charge was against fellow strugglers Cheshunt and Dave Sargent's second goal in stoppage time - with almost his final touch in a Greens shirt - brought a 2–1 victory. After the game, Gary said, "Three points was the most important thing today. Nevertheless there is much room for improvement needed in terms of the team's performance." He got the improved performances and six wins, five draws and three defeats later, Hendon were not only safe from relegation, but comfortably so.

The following season, it became clear that Gary wanted a very different style of football from that which had been seen in the previous five years. The ball would do the work, passing and possession were the prime concerns, along with doing things the right way. It didn't actually work in that first season as a terrible winter and spring resulted in the Greens being relegated - for a week. The 4-2 final day defeat at Margate was one of the bleakest days I have had as a Hendon fan - Blaise O'Brien's open goal miss after 50 minutes and leading 2-0 may live with me for ever. During the season, Pape had to step down and in his place came Gary's long-time friend and Hendon team-mate, Freddie Hyatt, a kindred soul when it came to football policy. And, before the following season started, there was a new physio, Mark Findley as Gary Anderson moved on.

Gary had already made it clear he was going to go with a young team in 2006-07, and when the fixtures were released, he told me in confidence he had a plan. It is now known as the "McCann plan" and he could not have executed it more perfectly. Quite simply, against the best teams, Hendon would do their best - of course - but expect nothing; against the mid-table teams, it was give everything and try to win more than they lost; against the bottom third, it was win or bust. The results were as follows: against the top seven teams, seven points; against the middle seven (in which section Hendon would end), it was 15; but against the bottom seven, 31 points were accrued, including six wins against the three teams which were relegated. Two of the regulars in that side were Lee O'Leary and Belal Aite-Ouakrim, still members of the first-team squad (albeit both have spent time away).

Hendon's off-field issues have made Gary's job significantly harder than anyone would consider reasonable, but for all of the issues - losing the ground, playing in front of disappointingly low crowds, little or no money for the squad - nothing has changed his policy. The team will continue to play football the right way - or at least try. Fans of Hendon have been treated to some magnificent football and footballers. The brief return to the club of Bontcho Guentchev, who played alongside both his sons, Lubomir and Iavor, ensured there would be plenty of good and - more importantly - entertaining football played.

Posted at 00:02

Monday 02 February - 10 years and counting for Gary McCann - Part 2

Living under the constraints of low budgets and no home has made things very difficult, but Gary's cheerfulness and positivity has shone through. There have been some great days, probably the highlights being the two London Senior Cup successes and possibly even more the FA Cup run in 2012–13, with the defeats of Eastbourne Borough in a replay and then Corby Town, before the narrow loss to Aldershot Town in the first round proper.

But there have been many, many more of the really good days than the very bad ones. Among my personal highlights, apart from the ones mentioned above, are two cup wins at AFC Wimbledon (League Cup in 2005 and London Senior Cup semi-final in 2012), the stunning 5-4 League win against Wealdstone at Northwood in 2005, the 3-2 comeback win over Tonbridge in 2007, followed later that year by the utterly surreal 11-1 victory at Leyton (whose goalscorer that day, Billy Bricknell, played against Hendon in the FA Cup 1st round proper for Chelmsford City and for Ebbsfleet United in the FA Trophy earlier this season).

Another positive side-effect of Gary's playing-style policy is that he has attracted fierce loyalty from his players. Almost 20 players have made more than 100 appearances for Hendon under Gary, and many have gone on to pass 200. If you were to ask me who my favourite Hendon player of the Gary McCann era, it would be an easy question to answer: Darren Currie, a player I signed as a 16-year in 1992 (along with Scott McGleish). I exclude from the selection both Bontcho Guentchev and a successor as player-coach, Junior Lewis, because both were predominantly coaches who made odd appearances. Darren was just the ultimate professional, a great bloke, and a still a fantastic footballer, even at 39. His linking with current coach Scott Cousins was a joy to watch in that 2011-12 season.

In closing, I just want to say a huge thank you to Gary, not only for the beautiful football we have played over most of the past 10 years, but for the great football chats we have had during this time. Football doesn't have enough gentlemen, but, Gary, you are certainly one of them!

Posted at 00:01

Sunday 01 February - Gary's thoughts on Peacehaven loss

Gary McCann was very disappointed following yesterday's defeat at Peacehaven & Telscombe.

"The most disappointing thing was the way that we were off our game," he said. "It was a shocking performance from the kick-off when we lost the ball on the half-way line."

"Too many players under-performed. The conditions were very difficult, but I am not going to use them as an excuse. They were very bad last week and we coped very well with them, but today was a different story.

"However, as bad as we were in the first half, we had a great chance to equalise at the start of the second half. If we had scored then, I am sure we would have gone on to win the game; in fact if he had equalised at any time until we conceded the second I think we would have won.

"We have to remember these are non-league football players and they are at this level because they occasionally have off-days. Unfortunately, we had a number of them today."

Posted at 22:05