Graham Frost on how a local football club is helping young players achieve their goal
A local non-league football club formed just three years ago is providing talented young footballers with the chance to realise their dreams of turning professional.
Enfield Borough was founded in the summer of 2016 by Marvin Walker and Aaron Archer. The pair had worked together at Brimsdown Football Club, but when that club was taken over they decided to realise their ambition of forming their own.
Marvin explained the idea behind launching a new club. He said: “We knew that there was plenty of untapped talent locally, but also that the support network necessary to enable them to make football a full-time career was not always available.
“Young players are released by clubs at an early age and become disillusioned and turn their back on the sport. Others never get the opportunity in the first place.
“Many professional clubs prefer to buy the ready-made article rather than develop their own youngsters. We wanted to provide those who slipped through the net with an environment where they could flourish.”
But football is only part of the story, Marvin says. “Sport has always given people from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to improve their lives. Youngsters get involved in anti-social behaviour because they have nothing to do and no positive outlet for their energies.
“Being part of a team or club in safe, positive surroundings, can give the structure and consistency that may be missing from their lives. That is what we aim provide.
“Through achieving something constructive, they increase their self-esteem and dispel some of the negativity that may surround them. It is about developing both the player and the person.”
Nicknamed ‘The Panthers’, Enfield Borough began life ground-sharing with Enfield Town FC at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium in Donkey Lane, but last year they moved to share instead with Wingate & Finchley FC, just over the border in Barnet.
In three seasons Enfield Borough have gained one promotion, had two lengthy runs in the FA Vase and reached two local cup semi-finals. The club now encompasses four youth teams, as well as a veterans’ team. But the most impressive achievement has been that three Enfield Borough players have signed professional contracts with Football League clubs.
In their first season Romoney Crichlow-Noble was signed by Huddersfield Town and in the last year Franklin Domi and Percy Kiangebeni have joined Queens Park Rangers and Colchester United respectively. It is something that club co-founder Marvin takes great pride in. “Football scouts were watching our matches from day one,” he says. “The club is ostensibly a youth team playing in men’s football.
“Our level of football enables young players to make the transition from playing within their own age group to playing against experienced players. It also gives the scouts a good insight as to how the players are likely to progress as they mature.”
For information about Enfield Borough FC: