For the under 7’s, 8’s, 9s’, & 10’s this season has been a big learning experience for both the coaches and players. Playing in what is classed as the Development Leagues, this was a first time experiences for the Managers, coaches, parents and players.
Seeing these kids enjoy the training sessions and play some fantastic football makes you feel proud that all involved in the club have played a key role in their development.
The under 7’s teams run by Mohammed Mulla, Sahid Mahmood, Jav Master, Zunaid Mulla have been a challenge from the start as majority of the children were novices not only in terms of playing but understanding the game of football . But once the children got to grasp the method and style of coaching from the coaches, the development and improvement has been fantastic.
What started as just having one team soon became three as the squad grew every week. Working closely with parents and recognising the talented ones, the managers have developed two very good teams around these individuals.
Mohammed full of emotion commented ‘we’re very lucky to have some very keen to learn and committed children’s. They have developed in to a group of talented footballers and I can see most of these kids only getting better. Over the course of the season all the children have exceeded the expectations we have set. And a few will be special footballers in my opinion. Comparing these children to the other teams we have been up against shows they are extremely talented. In the league the Red team was well above the standard of other teams and had to be promoted two tiers in very short period. Winning the Christmas knockout cup competition was possibly the last thing we could have imagined at the start of season.
After the Christmas break having been moved to the top tier of league they exceeded our expectations again. Winning matches each week. I can only recall losing one match from Christmas to Easter! That’s how good these kids have been.
You could say the icing on the cake was winning another cup competition at Easter, this time against some strong teams. The team played some awesome football and did us all proud in winning the competition.
The success is only possible with the help and support we receive from our sponsors and parents. And personally, as a player still playing for Blackburn United, it has been possible only because the club for a number of years has embedded the structure to allow us all to showcase our talent. I’ve been playing for the club since under 18’s and I’m 34 this summer. I’ve seen it all but I’ve got to say if only we had the support the children have nowadays. The aim of me putting my time is for the children to gain confidence by being part of BBU, and watching them achieve and learn new skills to help them for their future. My pledge is for all the parents to continue supporting us and bear with us, and for our sponsors to continue supporting the club.’
Not to take anything away from the unbelievable achievement of the Under 7 ‘s Red team two cup winning triumph , improving each week and gaining good results and the complements from the oppositions , that at beginning of season we used to be second best to, is probably the biggest accomplishment so far this season.
Reflecting on what has been an incredible experience to manage a squad of children eager to be part of a establish club Manger of under 8’s Rashid Hussain quoted ‘Results was not a focus for the management team and even with some heavy loses the players have remained in high spirits and continue to play with a smile. Aim for next season is to build on the foundation from this season. Look to strengthen the team and continue to develop players.’ This was endorsed by coach
Daanyal who said ‘it’s been a fantastic experience seeing these kids developed so much in such short time really looking forward to the future. Hopefully we will have the continued support of the parents.’
The under 9’s is managed by two long serving senior team players, Ismail Mulla and Mohammed Mogra. Having experience of playing the game helped them to recruit and develop a squad of players that is improving each match they play. The change of playing outside on grass to indoor was a big hurdle to overcome also but the players have shown great dedication and have not let this effect their season.
Ismail quoted ‘The first season has been challenging in which we have been finding our feet along with understanding our strengths and areas for improvement. The focus from the outset was about development and this has remained our priority as the season has progressed. The coaches have seen significant development both individually and as a team during the season. Players have remained focus during the season with excellent punctuality, commitment and hard work both during match days and training.’
The under 10’s is run by Faz and Imtiaz Dalal, already having done magnificent work with the now under 14’s for past 3 seasons, they took on a fresh challenge ,developing players not only from the BUFC Academy but also scouting and recruiting from the community.
Again as with any new squad of players it has taken a while to embed the ethics and football knowledge to the players, most of the not having played any completive or organised matches.
‘We are so please with the progress these players have made and proud that all the hard work and dedication they put in each training session has paid off with having reached the semi-final of the Cup Competition. Also there has been vast improvement in the league matches. ‘
Under 12’s Red
To say Under 12’s Red have “over achieved” would be an injustice to the hard work, coaching and development involved by the team in the last 3 years since Mohammed & Ismail have managed this squad.
As it stands, they are top of the Premier Division in their age group and 1 win away from winning the league. Perhaps, the achievement is even more remarkable considering it was only 2 years ago they were relegated from the same (red) Division but won promotion last season as runners up.
As manger Mohammed puts it ‘the season has been the stuff of dreams. It’s the “real world” equivalent to QPR winning the premier league! Not only have we competed and played some scintillating football, but we have the league’s best goal scoring record so far (66 goals for), as well as the least goals conceded (13 goals against).
The key to our success in the league has been our consistency and “team” ethic in every game. We have shown Great Spirit and character throughout and shown a steely grittiness and dug deep in games where we have been up against it. But at the same time we have played exciting football, been defensively cautious and in attack -contributed superb goals from all over the pitch.
The only disappointment has been not going past the Quarter finals stage of the cup competition this year.
Nevertheless, no matter what the result this weekend in our penultimate game Vs Darwen Rangers, we can be proud of our fantastic achievement this season.’
Under 12’s Green
For the under 13’s after last year’s success of winning the league and promoted to higher Division, it was a case of a season of learning as they were not only playing against better opposition but also having to adapt to the transition to 11 v 11 (from 9 v 9) which included larger pitch & goals.
Altaf Patel quoted ‘The managers & the players have found the transition from 9v9 challenging and difficult. The start wasn’t all that bad drawing the 4 out of first 5 games. And we have at times played the sort of exciting football we played last year but need to improve defensively. I think as the season has progress we have improved and adapted better each match. Our aim at the start of the season was to remain in this Division, which we will achieve by collecting 2 points from our remaining 2 games. This has season has been good, in terms of learning experience after having several years of success. As the saying goes – Failure is success if we learn from it.’
The under 14’s have had a complete new management team of Farhan Bhola and Kamal Anjum taking over from the previous very successful duo of Imtiaz and Faz Dalal. It was always going to be difficult to replace these two but it has been a very remarkable.
And successful changeover and all credit to Farhan, Kamal and the players for carrying on the tradition of playing attacking and exciting football. As Farhan said’ first few game it looked as if it’s going to be a long hard season and you could see the players were missing the management team they had for 3 years, but we soon had them adopting to our style of football and playing some great football and at one stage of season challenging for the league. If we manage to have the same squad and add a few more new faces, I can see us mount a challenge for the league and cup next season.’
The challenge of recreating the under 16’s team after some years was taken up by senior players Issa Mogra and Usthman Valli. Playing in the strong middle Division of the league, they started the season with some impressive displays and results but although the displays were always of high standard, the results didn’t go their way as some of the opposition were far superior, having played together for a number of years.
Usthman quoted ‘Managing and trying to gel players who have not played together was always going to be a challenge but with the support of the players, I think we can be proud that the team has done as well as can be expected. Looking forward to the future, hopefully we can strengthen the squad and hope next season we can only get better.’
As with the 16’s the under 18’s management team had a similar challenge of trying to build a team of players who have never played together. Having worked hard in pre-season training the team got off to a fantastic start and were always in the top two. But unfortunately things such as players commitment amongst other things went downhill and it was with devotion and desire that Abdul Logde and Javeed Mohammed carried on and faced issues of communication, commitment, training and managed to finish 3rd in the league .
Abdul stress the point ‘In hindsight we should have won the league as the players were capable to do this and a large number were motivated to do so.
Another hurdle for the team was the absence of a nominated goal keeper; this responsibility was then shared amongst some players who volunteered for the position although it costs us losing easy games. The positive we can take from the season is that squad of players, if managed right, will definitely be good enough to play and enhance future of the senior side.’
The senior reserve side had to endure another transitional season and lots of changes. There was great interest shown in pre-season from experienced players and new ones alike. But unfortunately, between pre-season and the first game some veteran players left to join other clubs and 5 regular players got promoted to the first team.
This left some major gaps to be filled for the opening of the season in key positions. Whilst going through this turbulent phase of replacing, recruiting and retaining players, form suffered as a result for a large portion of the early season.
Fortunately for the club and team, management in both teams continued to work hard to fill the voids left and found key players in key positions such as goalkeepers, centre halves.
From this point on the team morale changed to positive and the first win led to a run of wins, with defeats only to the top two in the league over February and March.
The season has finished on a huge positive for all involved who look forward to playing every week and the dressing room has an amazing atmosphere. Therefore the players on the pitch are also extremely positive with even junior players, playing for the first time at this level finding their voice on the pitch as well as huge confidence.
Tayyab Sufi, Joint Manager was full of praise for all players and staff involved and added ‘Morale, discipline, attitude, confidence and ability has all ended positively overall and this in my humble opinion bodes extremely well for the club and the players involved. If we can retain and replicate the current atmosphere it is a joy to work with and a credit to the club. The results should follow with the experience gained this year and strengthening a little more in some areas.’