Last season was an eye opening experience for the UEL Mens 1st XI players as they struggled in their inaugural season in the top flight of BUCS Football. The Blues came up against the best opposition of southern universities and struggled to impose themselves on the league.
UEL laboured last season with a record of two wins from 10 games, in a season that saw UEL ship 27 goals. It proved to be a steep learning curve for the boys as they were quickly brought down to earth with immediate relegation, after achieving a BUCS record of seven successive promotions.
Ahead of his first season as head of UEL football and coach of the 1st XI, Ryan Gordon has been confident of promotion straight back to the Premier division this season.
He said the aim is “definitely not to get relegated. Looking at the squad I’ve built, I’m really looking to have a strong side this season, with a strong finish. Obviously promotion is the aim and, with the players I have brought on board, is our goal.”
“I’ve recruited well, I’ve brought in a former player from Chelsea, players who’ve played in Scotland. There is a lot of pressure as well, because I put pressure on myself to deliver, but at the same time I think that pressure can be a good thing, it can push you it can drive us. Everybody’s excited and we are ready for our first game against Herts (Hertfordshire) this week.
Gordon is taking up just his second managerial job of his career, and faces pressure in ensuring UEL Mens 1st XI bounce straight back, after relegation.
Gordon’s previous experience as a manager has been with AFC Wimbledon where he was both reserve team coach and assistant manager of the men’s first team.
“I was also head of academy for recruitment at Barnet, I recruited really well,where we sold players on to Chelsea. So there’ s some experience in managerial roles, what I’m looking for here is a whole new programme to drive UEL football forward.
Along with a new coach, comes a new style of football. However, Gordon did allude to his experience with Premier League Giants Arsenal and has pointed out how his football style has evolved.
“My style is born out of my experiences, i have worked at Arsenal for seven years. I have learnt a lot about developing footballers, as well as winning matches.
“I don’t like to play hoof football, I like to get the ball down and play and play through the thirds of the pitch, and the players have really embraced the methods, that I have tried to instill [in] them through pre-season training, and they’ve adapted well. We played against BSU (Beijing Sport University) and got a victory there.
“I am really pleased with how we are progressing. The test is the league now, first league game, and [a] big challenge, a local derby against Herts (Hertfordshire), so the boys will be up for it, definitely.
UEL started the season with a loss away to rivals Hertfordshire University and Coach Gordon will be looking for an immediate response. The 1st XI play their next game today, at home to Reading 1st XI.