Bristol Evening Post Team of the Week: Sporting Greyhound FC by Dunc, 13th Oct 2009
This week, we popped up in the paper as the Team of the Week. Check it out.
Officials of Sporting Greyhound FC are hoping to celebrate their 10th anniversary season by adding more league honours and silverware, after many successful years on the Downs.
Sporting Greyhound was formed as a club in 2000 and joined Division IV of the Bristol Downs League, with the team’s first competitive game on September 2 of that year.
The first season for the Hounds proved very successful, the team won the league title with only two defeats in 22 games and a fantastic total of 54 points from a possible 66.
The team’s dominance during that initial season was underlined by scoring 87 goals in 22 games, with only 21 conceded.
Two successive promotions followed, with the team becoming Division III champions in 2001-02 then finishing runners-up in Division II the following year.
In three short seasons, Sporting Greyhounds had progressed from being new boys in Division IV to the heady heights of Division I.
This early success, and the excellent reputation of the Hounds within the Downs League Community, helped build a superb squad of players during this time.
However, this abundance of talent and the ambition to become established in Division I meant that a single team was no longer sufficient, so in 2003, the Hounds applied to the Downs League committee and entered a reserve side in Division IV.
The hounds continued, but, after a couple of seasons finishing safely in mid-table in Division I, the 2006-07 campaign saw the major disappointment of relegation to Division II.
The loss of the club’s all-time top scorer Greg Jones, at the end of the previous season, left the team short of fire power. Despite holding their own in many games, a lack of goals ultimately culminated in a bottom two finish. This disappointment was to prove the catalyst for many changes within the club and possibly the most important was installing James Ford, twice the club’s player of the year, as the new first-team captain.
Taking charge in Division II, the “gaffer” instilled a winning mentality throughout the club and the first team bounced back to win an immediate promotion back to Division I.
The discovery of a new first-choice striker certainly helped, as Simon Cleave finished top scorer with 40 goals. This new approach clearly had a positive effect to the reserves who collected their first bit of silverware the All Saints Cup thanks to an exciting 2-1 victory over Torpedo in the final.
Last season, the club continued moving in the right direction with the first team having their highest ever finish in Division I in fifth place and also reaching the final of the GFA Junior Cup, only to lose to Lawrence Rovers, the District League champions.
The reserves were not to be outdone as they reached their second successive All Saints final, but were narrowly beaten by Ashley Reserves.
A quick journey through the history of Sporting Greyhound does not do full justice to the club as the Hounds are a friendly, social and ambitious bunch, known for their team spirit.
After every game they can be found enjoying their sausage and chips in the sponsor’s pub, the Greyhound Inn on Princess Victoria Street in Clifton Village. But the Hounds are committed to improving their fitness, technique and approach, with weekly training sessions held on the all-weather pitch at Henbury School Leisure Centre on Tuesday nights from 7-8pm.
The club also organises summer tours, golf days, quiz nights, skittles nights, black-tie end of season presentation events and regular social nights.
Throughout their short history the Hounds have continually looked to improve and a strong recruitment drive over the summer has led to a large number of excellent new players making their debuts this summer.
The two team managers, James Ford and Jon Sturgess, are very positive about the club’s prospects going forward and competition for places has never been so fierce.
A key feature in the recent influx of new talent has been the excellent web site (www.houndsfc.co.uk) run by the club’s resident tenacious full-back Duncan Revell.
As Sporting Greyhound enters their 10th anniversary season, the future is looking very bright. From the only two surviving members Raj Sudhakaran and secretary Dan Kanaris to the newcomers making their first appearance in a Sporting Greyhound shirt, every player is optimistic about the next decade in the Downs League.