Aylesbury Vale Academy, Football, groundhopping, Holmer Green, Jefferson Louis, Non League, Risborough Rangers
Tuesday 12th July 19:30
RISBOROUGH RANGERS 5 (Fox 6 Hercules 54 Coles 70 Read 77 90)
HOLMER GREEN 2 (55 65)
Att c20 at Aylesbury Vale Academy 3G
Back in the day I used to work in Aylesbury, and was well used to the edge to town being Meadowcroft, the road you turn into from the A41 to get to Aylesbury Vale FC. Nowadays the town has expanded out at least half-a-mile to meet Aylesbury Vale Parkway, and the Aylesbury Vale Academy was built to serve the new community. It was an odd feeling driving along roads that only a few years ago were fields, and if you’ve ever driven on roads too new for your satnav you’ll know the feeling!
This was a game to nothing in groundhopping terms. This is a pitch that’s slightly too small for league football, and has no provision for spectators so the only time you’ll ever see a game on it, is in pre-season. It certainly wasn’t and isn’t anyone’s idea of the ideal football ground but when you’ve ticked off every single floodlit ground within an hour of Oxford your opportunities midweek are rather meagre!
It was of course good to catch up with all at Risborough Rangers. Part of the reason the game was held here was that there are ground improvement works in progress at “Windsor” to allow them to continue to compete at Step 5. Given they finished runners up in last season’s Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, those works are of huge importance.
But a triallist did catch the eye, and he wasn’t the usual young lad trying to impress. No it was the legend that is Jefferson Louis… If you haven’t heard of him then try putting his name into Wikipedia. He must hold the record for most transfers by a single player, depending what you count around 43 in a 20 year career. That started at Risborough Rangers in 1996 and includes stints at the likes of Oxford United, Newport County and Chesham United.
He finished last season at North Leigh helping them to promotion via the playoffs to the Southern League Premier. This season he’s opted to drop down a division or two to concentrate on his work in a pupil referral unit. He may be 43, but still looks as fit as ever, and playing here he looked like a player half his age. He did sign terms for Risborough for the start of the season.
Of course anyone who knows anything about football in the area will raise a smile about anyone called Hercules scoring in Aylesbury. Cliff Hercules still holds the record for most goals for Aylesbury United, and the Hercules who scored here is his nephew Ellis. Clearly the goal scoring gene is prevalent in the family!
It was a game whose score accurately reflected the pattern of play, Risborough looked a good bet to do well again this season but as is always the case you shouldn’t try and read too much into pre-season friendlies. It was an enjoyable evening out, and it was an unusual pleasure to be home early following a floodlit, midweek tick.