Thursday, 7 April 2011

Letchworth Garden City Eagles with Tony Eden

Please read below for my interview with Letchworth Garden City Eagles chairman Tony Eden. It was published in the latest Football Focus magazine which can be viewed here for absolutely free! Included in the current issue are Queens Park Rangers, Chester and many more football clubs.

Letchworth Garden City Eagles

Letchworth Garden City Eagles
Herts Senior County League (HSCL) side Letchworth Garden City Eagles may well be a relatively new club, but they have had sizeable success already. Despite only having adult sides formed as recently as the 2008/9 season, one is already topping the HSCL Premier Division and chairman Tony Eden has applied for the club to join the Spartan South Midland League (SSML) next season.

Football Focus Magazine caught up with Tony this month to learn about the history and the projected future of the Hertfordshire club. “The club was formed in 1978/9 to provide a football outlet for boys who lived on the Westbury estate. It was originally called Westbury Eagles but later changed its name to LGC Eagles as number of teams increased. I have been involved with Eagles since the early 1990s when my son started to play football, and became chairman in 1995/6. There are now over 450 registered players at mini soccer and junior level and the two adult teams were formed in order to provide an exit route for our youth players, so youth football is very important to the club.”

Indeed, you do not need to look far to see how much young talent comes through the club and as Tony explains, there is one up and coming star in particular, who is a former Letchworth graduate. “Every season we lose players to the academies of professional clubs in London and locally. We have former boys at Spurs, Arsenal. Chelsea, Watford, Luton, Southend and MK Dons amongst others. I suppose our most famous current professional player is Jack Wilshere of Arsenal but others have enjoyed careers in professional football in the Football League.”

The old dugouts at Pixmore
With the footballing aspect of the club running smoothly and recently, some newly improved facilities for the players, Tony's attention is now focused on bringing the club forward to one that can host a higher level of adult football. “Our new changing rooms and clubroom were built in 2006 with the aid of a Football Foundation grant, and provide probably the best facilities for youth football in this part of the county. The facilities are however not yet of the required standard for adult football. We hope to erect a new spectator stand next to our senior pitch very shortly, and over the next two-to-three years we want to relay the playing surface, extend the clubhouse to provide a lounge and bar, and erect floodlights on the senior pitch.”

Whilst there is an exciting future ahead for the club, Tony is quick to point out that the current Letchworth teams, both male and female, are currently doing very well. “It has been a great season so far. Our under thirteen blues have reached the final of the Herts FA Challenge Cup for the third year running and a number of our youth sides are in contention for league honours. The first team adult side has reached the final of the Herts FA Senior Centenary Trophy, remain in two other cup competitions and currently are top of the Premier division of the HSCL, so there is still a lot to play for! We have 2 girls sides at the moment at u13 and u15. Last year one of the girls sides reached the County Final for their age group. We have no adult ladies teams at the moment but plan to do in the future.”

New dugouts at Pixmore
Tony is very grateful for all the local support that the club receives and firmly believes their contribution will be as important as ever over the next few years as the club chases it's lofty ambitions. “We are part of the local community and rely very much on its support and participation both for players, adult volunteers and financial support. We want to continue expanding our youth section, extend provision for girls and ladies, and for our adult first team to progress to the Premier Division of the SSML. Our biggest challenge over the next 5 years is to improve our facilities so that our adult teams can progress to playing at a higher level. As numbers of mini soccer and youth teams continue to grow, our playing facilities at our home ground are becoming increasingly stretched so we need more land to expand. In the longer term; the sky is the limit!”

written by Will Lyon

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