Hackney boys mark milestone with strong performance in Jersey tournament

Hackney Under-11s at the Jersey Festival

Hackney Under-11s at the Jersey Festival - Credit: Archant

Hackney Under-11s celebrated 125 years of schools’ football in the borough with a fine showing at the Jersey Primary Football Festival.

Spanning two world wars as part of the Hackney Athletics Association’s branches of sport, the district team have stood the test of time and gave a good account of themselves by finishing fifth overall.

The Jersey festival is the longest-running of its kind, with the first being held in 1974, and Hackney were one of 16 teams from all over the UK to play in the five-day tournament.

The borough – led by John Larter OBE and his coaching staff of Steve and Marlon Morgan – did themselves proud by beating the likes of Orpington and Newbury before narrowly falling to eventual finalists Potters Bar.

Larter, who has run the Hackney district team for 47 years, was delighted with his team’s performance in the tournament.

“There was a very high quality of football on show and the boys can be very proud of their efforts,” he told the Gazette. “The manager, Marlon Morgan, deserves all the credit for getting them together and producing the goods.

“It’s not always easy to keep the ethos of schools’ football, but we’ve been coming to Jersey for 32 years now. Many of the boys at this age group have gone on to better things.

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“Ugo Ehiogu and Ade Akinbiyi are just two names that went on to become Premier League and international players. The hope is that more will follow.”

Larter, who was born in Hackney and lives in Stoke Newington, is the secretary for the Inner London Schools, which runs nine competitions throughout the year for 12 boroughs.

The nine-a-side tournament in Jersey involved two groups of eight teams, with six 50-minute matches played in each group before a final between the sides occupying the corresponding position in both tables.

Despite recording two victories, Hackney finished fifth after faltering in games by just the one goal.

But the district team – which was chosen via trials advertised in each of the 50 schools in the borough – will surely be back hunting more success next time.

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