Express & Star

From bottom to the top, Eagles now flying high

Kewford Eagles’ status as one of the region’s most notable clubs is being boosted by the national success of their under 10s side, writes Dan Stacey.


Led by Luke Griffin and Joseph Hackney, Kewford Eagles are hoping to achieve back-to-back triumphs in the ESF Junior Football Tournament.

Eagles won the tournament last year, earning them the chance to play at the England National Team hub St George’s Park in the ‘Champions of Champions’ event.

“There are five competitions nationally and the champions of each of those tournaments go to what’s called ‘The Champions of Champions’ at St George’s Park,” manager Luke Griffin explained. “We thought we’d make a day of it so we booked out a coach, did some videos of the lads coming off the coach, took the whole squad and their parents.

“When we arrived we went around all the facilities which were brilliant, we got photos in the changing rooms and all that kind of thing.

“Then we had to play five games, and we won two, drew one and lost two.”

While those results were not enough to earn Kewford the title, it represented the huge development in the side’s short time playing together over the last half a decade.

“Myself and a colleague, Joseph Hackney, took our kids down to Kewford Eagles because they do some pre-football training for under six year olds,” Griffin revealed. “Like most clubs they sat all the parents round the table and asked who’s going to take it forward, and everyone said they had full time jobs, this and that and the other.”

He added: “Nobody would do it, so I said, ‘I know a bit about football, I’m happy to have a go.’”

Kewford Eagles

Despite their success now, Griffin admitted his players’ talent was not quite as evident when the team first formed.

He said: “Our group were the lesser ability kids out of the five teams selected, so basically the majority of the kids would be last picked in the row at school.

“That was fine, we had a mixed bunch of characters and abilities from varying schools and from there we’ve gone from the bottom division to the top.

“Two years ago we got promoted into Division One, we played and beat West Brom’s academy, we’ve played and lost to the Wolves, won six tournaments and played at St George’s Park.

“We’ve done things how we wanted to do it, and we have still got the original eight players playing for us, plus a couple of new players.”

Eagles will return to Minehead in Somerset hoping to defend their title and set up another trip to the training ground of England’s National Team.

And Griffin is hoping last years’ experience will help his side go one better this time around.

“The first year we went to the ESF I think everyone was a bit nervous and we lost in the semi-final on penalties, but then the year after we won it,” he said. “I’m hoping that if we win it again this year we can go to St George’s, we’ll know what to expect and won’t be nervous. That’s the plan.”