Sunday 06th February 2005

07979 418 360

Young Deres on the hunt

How would you fancy following a team with this record?:

P: 37 -  W:30  -  D: 4  -  L: 3  -  F: 93  - A17

Chelsea would be happy to approach the end of the season with figures like that, writes Brian Spurrell.

But the club we're talking about is Erith & Belvedere.  Mind you, you won't see that record with the Deres in a league table.  Why? - because there isn't a table.

We're talking about the Deres' under-seven's side, managed by Mark Berry, which is the most recent addition to the club's roster of teams, and probably the most successful.

Those goals have come from Aramide Oteh (32), Mason McDonagh (16), Alfie Berry (14), Tarron Donovan (13), Jack Liddiard (11), Harvey Brand (4) and Adam Longhurst (2) plus one own goal if you're counting!

Home games are played at Eltham Town's Green Lane ground at 10am on Sunday's: they play ten minutes each way on a roughly half-sized pitch.  They play sides from South East London and Kent in the "Selkent League".

However, as indicated above, there is no league table since the league is non-competitive under the age of eight - although as Mark says you wouldn't think so to hear some of the parents!

Mark also comments that he has a good idea where they'd be if there was a table....

They are already recognised by scouts and coaches and Erith & Belvedere secretary Kellie Discipline paid them a visit recently and remarked that she's never seen boys of that age receive the ball, control it, look up, pass and move the way the young Deres do.

The team came together through Jim Dean's coaching school some 18 months ago, and became affiliated to the Deres through his contacts at the club.

Jim and Mark have begun a partnership called The Football Company to develop youth football.  It is intended to begin teams in other age groups under the Erith & Belvedere umbrella this September with the eventual aim of filling in the gaps in the existing club structure.

If any children of any age are interested in learning from an academy and FA qualified coach, please contact Mark Berry on 07768 511 700.

When contacting him, please indicate you read the article on www.kentishfootball.co.uk