2017 was an eventful year both on and off the pitch. Manager Pete Ransom looks back on the past 12 months...
We came into 2017 on the back of a very strong start to the season where we'd taken 21 points from 24 prior to Christmas. Despite this, Romans were right on our tail as they sought to retain their league title. We had a fairly mixed start to the year. Despite two wins, we were defeated by Titans Two Brewers and it was vital that we didn't lose to Romans when we travelled to them in late February. It's a rarity that we have a 0-0 draw in this league but, in many ways, it was our best performance of the season, limiting a very strong team to just a few chances and not quite capitalising on our own when they arrived.
March brought around the annual trip to Leeds for the Yorkshire Tournament. It's safe to say we did far better with drinking on the Saturday than in the competition itself. A fair few sore heads resulted in us finishing pretty much last on the day, followed by a very quite train journey home on Sunday evening!
Back in the league, we went goal crazy in March and April, putting seven past Phoenix and nine past Stonewall. We had a long wait for the final game but it was set up nicely with us facing Titans XXL and Romans facing Titans 2 Brewers. If we won then the title was ours but Romans could pip us if they won and we lost or even if we drew and they won by four goals. Despite a rather naughty text from our opposition to say we'd drawn, we did run out 1-0 winners and it was fantastic that one of our newer players, Stevie, could score the goal that won the league. Needless to say we partied quite hard that night!
Our annual awards night was a lot of fun, with various players being confronted with their best and worst moments of the season. There were prizes for Brady, Alex, Olu, John, Chris and Andrew plus a farewell to Ritchie after many years of dedication to the club.
The work didn't stop over the summer. We were delighted to sign a sponsorship deal with Emerald Life. Steve and Heidi were incredibly enthusiastic to work with us and have kept in regular contact over the course of the year. Of course, a new sponsor also meant two new kits which were very welcome!
Alongside this, we were happy to welcome Matt Hall in as our new Chairman, replacing Dean who had steered the club through a couple of tricky years. Andrew also stepped up as club Secretary.
We visited Manchester in July and then Liverpool in September for a GFSN Cup match, the latter won in stunning late fashion as Cal capped his debut with the winning goal in the final minute.
As the new season came around there was a slight change in emphasis. We're keen to grow Falcons, hopefully to two teams for next season. This means bedding in a lot of the newer players and giving them plenty of game time. It's been great to welcome so many new faces to the Sunday action, including the two Bens, Dean, Phil, Ed, Percy and Abdul, particularly as many of last year's strongest players haven't been able to play as many games for the club this season.
We had a strong start to the season but, like Celtic, our long undefeated streak came to an end just before the end of the year as Charlton defeated us 2-1 and now look in a strong position to win their first title.
Nonetheless, we're nicely set up for 2018. We recently affiliated with London FA with a view to joining an affiliated Saturday league in 2018/19. This can only help to retain our strongest players and recruit even more as we push on with developing the club and securing its long term future.
Thanks to everyone who played for us in 2017. It was an amazing year for the Falcons and I hope we push on to do even more amazing things in 2018.