Govia Thameslink Railway is supporting a new amateur football league which will see teams from across the network playing for the inaugural title
The Railway Friendly Football League has been created with the support of Hertfordshire Football Association after Great Northern Train Driver Michael D’Santos, and Test and Commissioning Driver Mark Webb who are based at Three Bridges Depot, approached the local governing body for help and advice in getting a new league up and running.
Mike, who is coaching the Great Northern squad, says, “This is a tradition that our depot teams used to really enjoy taking part in so I was really keen to see if we could bring it back. Hertfordshire FA have been a fantastic support in helping to set up the league and fixtures.
We’re excited to see how we can build on the league in the future and involve more people, including walking football for those with reduced mobility, 5-a-side mixed charity tournaments and gender-balanced teams.”
The new league is made up of train crews and staff across the network, with three GTR teams and one from South Western Railway. The four teams are: Great Northern Traincrews Football Club (TCFC), Thameslink and Southern, Brighton Train Crew and South Western Railway Train Crew Football Club (TCFC), with each team playing one fixture a month.
The league’s first season kicked off at the beginning of March and will run until the last fixture in November, when the victorious team will raise the winner’s trophy after the final whistle at the game between Great Northern TCFC and South Western Railway TCFC.
It's easier than you'd think to set up a league
Hertfordshire FA Football Development Officer Kieran Fox said “We were delighted to hear that rail staff wanted to organise regular competitive football matches and were happy to support them in getting everything set up.
We know there are many adults who want to be involved in football but struggle to find a team or fit games around work commitments, so combining the two like this a great way to get them playing again. It’s easier than you’d think to set up and run a league, particularly with the online services we can offer, so we’d encourage anyone considering something similar to get in touch.”
The first game of the season took place between Brighton Train Crew and South Western Railway TCFC, with an entertaining and encounter that finished 6-6 at the Falmer Stadium in Brighton. The second league game saw Great Northern FC face Thameslink and Southern and raised funds in support of a Great Northern trainee driver, who recently had to retire for medical reasons.
Steve White, Chief Operating Officer at GTR, said, “I am pleased to see this new league created and to see railway colleagues enjoying healthy competition. May the best team win!”
Jacqui Dey, Operations Director for South Western Railway, said: “I’m delighted that our drivers and guards are working together as a team on the football pitch. They clearly have a lot of pride in representing SWR which is great to see. We wish them all the best for the season ahead!”
Interested in setting up your own league?
If you would be interested in organising your own league to get friends or colleagues playing regular football, please get in touch with us and see how we can help you get it up and running. Please email Kieran Fox, Football Development Officer for more information or call us on 01462 677622.
Images by James Richardson Photography