7:00am Wednesday 29th January 2014
It's very much a family affair at AFC Jericho, as father-and-son team Antony and Kamen Matthews have led the club to success since its formation in 2009.
After winning three successive promotions to reach the Premier Division of the Critchleys Upper Thames Valley League, the pair now have their sights set on winning their first piece of silverware.
“I’m not sure we can win the league this year, but we would definitely like to win a trophy of some sort,” said manager Antony Matthews.
“Obviously, whether we will or not is another matter, but we’re still in three cup competitions and I’d say our aim is definitely to get into the final of at least one of those.”
Sitting top of their group in the Hedley Toms/Michael Brown Trophy and through to the quarter-finals of the Devenney Cup and the prestigious Oxfordshire FA Sam Waters Sunday Cup, AFC Jericho are ideally placed to fulfil that ambition.
Such success was little more than a pipedream just a few years ago when the club was founded from the ashes of AFC Boudika.
The original club lasted just two years, but Kamen Matthews was determined not to give up and immediately reformed as AFC Jericho.
He said: “The manager, chairman and secretary all left the club quite suddenly, but a few of us players had wanted to keep going and they asked me to take it on.
“I had been managing the side for a while already, but when I took on the duties of secretary and chairman as well it all got a bit much, so that’s when I asked my dad (Antony) to step in as manager.
“Since then it’s been really good. We’ve been promoted every season since we became AFC Jericho, we’re still in all the cups this season and we’re going well in the league, so of course it’s been worth it.”
A youthful side, AFC Jericho have become known for their philosophy of passing football which has earned them great kudos in the rough-and-tumble world of Sunday league football.
“We’re a well-known club now within the league and the Oxfordshire FA,” added Kamen. “That’s because of our passing game and the whole attitude of the club.
“We’re one of the best passing sides in local football.
“We scored a goal the other day which used 32 passes in the build-up.
“We’re probably the youngest side in the whole league so to have achieved that success was great.”
However, despite the success and accolades that have come to AFC Jericho, the main priority is still very much enjoyment for everyone involved with the club.
“Quite a few of the lads are the same age, so they’ve played together since they were under 9s and have come through school together,” said Antony.
“They’re all mates and they all go out and socialise together, so there was a great team spirit already.”
Kamen added: “We are a proper community.
“Literally all of us are from around Jericho and we’re all mates who knew each other.
“Because we’re together and having a good time we’ll still come off the pitch smiling, even if we’ve been beaten.
“We always go out there looking to get a result, but it’s not everything.”
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