Old Meadonians FC -Going From Strength To Strength
Originally formed in 1929 from pupils, past pupils and teachers of the then Chiswick County Grammar School for Boys, now Chiswick Community School, Old Meadonians is now an open football club running nine sides in the Amateur Football Combination, affiliated to the Amateur Football Alliance and veterans in the West London Vets League. The A.F.A. caters for just under 300 clubs and is the best ‘pay to play’ football in London and its environs, being just below semi-professional leagues like the Ryman League. The A.F.C. has around 100 clubs and since clubs run several teams each the total number of sides catered for exceeds 400, making the league one of the largest anywhere.
On the centenary of the split between the professional and amateur ranks of football which happened in 1907, the Football Association paid the A.F.A. the honour of playing an A.F.A. representative side with three Old Meadonians in it in a celebratory game which the professionals, drawn from the Ryman and similar leagues, worthily won 3-0.
More recently Albert has been honoured by being called into the Ghanaian squad for a successful campaign in the Africa Cup of Nations and has had a dream introduction on his move to premiership hopefuls Middlesboro where he is revelling in playing with aspirational teammates after swopping the relegation zone for a shot at promotion to the top flight. He is now enjoying life at that pinnacle of the professional footballer’s achievements, participation in the World Cup Finals, as a member of Ghana’s squad in Brazil and getting on as a sub for twenty minutes against Germany.
Formerly Meads have had a sprinkling of players ‘capped’ by the league and A.F.A. but latterly this became a steady flow with Meads sometimes having three in the A.F.A. and five in the A.F.C. representative teams. Of these, two, Ali McCombe and Leon Smith, have been named A.F.A. player of the year. At the end of season 2010/11 Peter Eguae won the A.F.C. Player of the Year Award and he and Ed Glover both won awards for achieving twenty five appearances in the A.F.A. representative side.
This period of plenty stems from what, without wishing to be overblown, is good governance by committees lead by three successive strong chairmen in Bob Atkin, now club President, David Tyler who now runs the efficient workforce maintaining the Riverside Lands and clubhouse and the present incumbent, Derek Barnett, who, since 2005 has kept a tight ship on course in what are never less than choppy waters.
However, at the heart of the club’s on-field success, besides continuing excellent crops of able and willing players, is the sympathetic, firm and highly knowledgeable coaching and team management of Paul Rumley and Rory Vermeulen. In their first tenure from 2002-2008 Rumley and Vermeulen’s tally of trophies was sixteen and after a sabbatical to recharge the batteries they added yet another league title achieved against the odds with a reduced squad in need of transfusion, following that up by winning the London Old Boys Senior Cup in 2012 and the A.F.A. Middlesex & Essex Senior Cup in 2013.
This puts Old Meadonians in at the ground floor for not only have they an ample coaching base with no fewer than fifteen members with coaching badges but the newly appointed Head Teacher of Chiswick Community School, Tony Ryan, first played for Meads when he was eighteen and will be welcome in Old Meadonians’ plans for stronger links with its Alma Mater. In the recent past their most productive source of young talent has been through Meads’ charismatic head coach, Jack Costello, head of PE at Shene School but there is no harm in developing two springs at the source of the stream.
Already there are plans formulated at a recent meeting between the club and Chiswick School Head Teacher, Tony Ryan, which involve:- the setting up of a specific trial and training session at Riverside Lands on the evening of Wednesday September 21st.; testing the feasibility with the A.F.A. of running a Level 1 training weekly course in October funded by Old Meadonians and possibly referee courses; an annual match between the club and school involving staff as well as students; and the inauguration of an annual award donated by the club for the Year Eleven ‘Sports Person of the Year’ nominated by the Head.