Congratulations to Knowsley and St Helens U13s, who are ESFA North West League Champions… just months after the club thought they had played their last game together.
The team clinched the title at the end of a fantastic season in which they were challenged every step of the way by Liverpool SFA, with both teams unbeaten all season. It meant the title came down to one crunch match between the two teams – with Knowsley and St Helens claiming victory 4-0 on the day.
Being crowned champions was all the more sweet because just a few months ago, the team were almost disbanded, after the English Schools FA ruled that they no longer allowed the creation of a merged team with players from both Knowsley and St Helens, despite the fact that the season was already well underway. It effectively meant that the team would no longer have been able to compete in the league, or continue to play together. And because the two boroughs did not have enough players to field a team each, the young players in the side would have been left with no club to play for at all.
However an appeal by the Leaders of Knowsley and St Helens Council saw a re-think and parents, players and club volunteers were delighted to be told that the decision had been overturned – at least until the end of the season – and that the squad could continue to play together.
The team’s manager, Tony James, said: “Winning the North West League is a fantastic achievement and I am delighted for the boys involved who have worked tirelessly throughout the season. The game against Liverpool was a fantastic contest with both teams demonstrating not only considerable talent and ability but also great teamwork and commitment.
“I would like to express our thanks and gratitude to our wonderful parents and family members who have travelled the length and breadth of the North West week in and week out this season supporting us. Their unwavering support at times this season has been nothing short of exceptional and means so much to all the coaching staff and managers involved.
“I must also thank the Headteachers and teaching staff from our secondary schools who provide consistent support to the boys. Finally, a special thank you needs to be made to the staff at Liverpool Football Club who have been magnificent all year allowing our children to access their world class facilities. It really is a wonderful achievement for all involved.”
And there’s even more good news…
Knowsley and St Helens Schoolboys have made it to the final of the Welsh National Cup. They play Cardiff Schoolboys on Saturday, 4 May in Oswestry. Good luck to the team!