At last, the wait is over! The new football season gets underway on Saturday 2nd August with Coventry Sphinx taking their place in the newly formed Midland Football League Premier Division. The MFL is a result of a merger of the Midland Alliance and the Midland Combination and Coventry Sphinx will be facing most of the teams they faced last year. There will be four new clubs to face this season for Coventry Sphinx. Brocton (Staffordshire), the winners of the Midland Combination Premier Division, make the step up to Step 5 for the first time and Lye Town (Black Country), winners of the West Midlands Regional League also join the MFL Premier Division. Two further clubs make a sideways step into the MFL from the Northern Counties League. They are Basford United (suburb of Nottingham) and Long Eaton United (near Nottingham). Saying goodbye are the relegated trio of Gornal Athletic, Heather St Johns and Highgate United. Also moving on are the well deserved champions Tividale who are moving up to Step 4 to complete in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
Once again, I am expecting a highly competitive division this season that should be a joy to watch and be part of. Last season Coventry Sphinx finished in a much improved 7th position and will be hoping to kick on to put in a challenge at the top of the league. There is great cause for optimism this season with a close season that has seen them make additions to the management team. Tom Cudworth joins the coaching set up with an impressive background. He is an FA registered, UEFA B, Level 3 coach who has experience in the UK, USA and Australia. He is also a former professional footballer who captained the Coventry City Youth team.
From the squad point of view I can also see great positivity with the manager Luke Hopkins doing well to retain the services of the majority of last seasons squad. Players re-signed by the Sphinx include Player of the Year Ashley Jackson who will have the honour of being club captain. Supporters Player of the Year, Goalkeeper Carl O’Neill, will be Vice Captain. Young Player of the Year Ricky Fletcher will lead the defence and Top Goalscorer Ricky Cutting will hopefully be just as effective in front of goal. I’m particularly pleased with the retention of Luke Downes who can play on either wing or down the middle. With the addition of plenty of new signings to the squad I expect the competition for places to be fierce. New signings include the experienced forward Chris Gumery, Callum Rai joins the club from Coventry United, left back Jamie Coleman is a welcome addition and I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the development of Nathaniel McKenzie. McKenzie is just 18 years old but has a tremendously powerful physique. He plays up front and has great potential.
Behind the scenes we are seeing good signs too. The appointment of Sharon Taylor as Commercial Manager is an excellent addition to the team and the club have launched a new badge and logo to celebrate the merger of both the junior and senior sections. The club have also been busy with ground improvements during the summer including refurbishing the floodlights as well as the installation of netting behind the goal at the Cafe End of the ground.
Combine all of the above with the very promising looking Youth Team that are coming through the Sphinx ranks and you can see why I have great optimism for the short term and long term future of Coventry Sphinx.
THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT, THE FUTURE’S BLUE AND WHITE #UTS #UPTHESPHINX
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