Phoenix still on the rise as the proud history of Sunday League’s oldest club shows

The Phoenix three teams line up on their 50th season. Picture: BRIAN HUBBALL

The Phoenix three teams line up on their 50th season. Picture: BRIAN HUBBALL - Credit: Archant

The oldest Herts Ad Sunday League club still going has no intention of throwing in the towel just yet as they get ready for their 54th season.

Phoenix veterans, plus Brian Hubball, line up at the club’s 50th anniversary.

Phoenix veterans, plus Brian Hubball, line up at the club’s 50th anniversary. - Credit: Archant

Phoenix will field three teams with their first team battling for honours in the Premier Division, the reserves scrapping in Division Three and the A team in Division Four

They first joined the league in 1966, finding themselves in Division Three, and they would be followed three years later by a second team and a third for the last six.

They had to wait 11 years before they got their hands on silverware though, that being the Division Two title in 1977.

But any hopes that the success would be a springboard to further trophies were soon forgotten as an even bigger gap followed.

Fearghal Bergin of Herts Ad Sunday League side Phoenix. Picture: BRIAN HUBBALL

Fearghal Bergin of Herts Ad Sunday League side Phoenix. Picture: BRIAN HUBBALL - Credit: Archant


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However, this time it did signify a golden era for the club as between 1989 and 1993 they were Premier Division champions three times and Knockout Cup winners twice.

It was soon back to being the bridesmaids though as apart from a number of second places, they have been without a trophy for the last 27 seasons.

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That fact is even more of a surprise when you consider some of their players although the league’s Brian Hubball believes he knows why.

He said: “Being trophy-less over the many recent seasons is because they haven’t had a marksman of the calibre of Fearghal Bergin, who was the club’s leading marksman for 16 seasons from 1983 scoring over 300 goals and.

Phoeinx's influential captain, Colin Neal. Picture: BRIAN HUBBALL

Phoeinx's influential captain, Colin Neal. Picture: BRIAN HUBBALL - Credit: Archant

“On four occasions he was the Premier Division’s leading marksman.

“In recent seasons Liam Addlesee looked set to filling their goalscoring problems when he scored 124 goals in four years and he still holds the club’s top-goalscorer award when he got 41 goals in the 2009-2010 season.

“Over the years Phoenix have had some class players. John Dixon was top scorer in 1976-77 with 22 goals, no-one slept when Seamus Gaffney was on the pitch, skipper Colin Neal and the likes of Jon Bathurst, Gez Day, Neil Kirsop, Andy Meakins and Ges Ruane.

“They are a long-serving club and a pleasure to have in the league.”

Jon Bathurst of Herts Ad Sunday League side Phoenix. Picture: BRIAN HUBBALL

Jon Bathurst of Herts Ad Sunday League side Phoenix. Picture: BRIAN HUBBALL - Credit: Archant

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