League 1 National Finals Preview

There were 16 teams in this year’s National Finals and it could be the most competitive one yet. Here is how the four groups of four panned out after the draw.

Group A

Norwich City

The Canaries have already made the final of the Kinder +Sport Challenge Cup earlier this season as well as comfortably winning South East League 1. The Norfolk outfit won with an eight-point margin after victory in 13 of their 14 regular season fixtures.

League Finish: Winners (South East)

Top Scorer: Robbie Turner (27)


Blackburn Rovers

The Ewood Park outfit went to Birmingham Arena as North West League 1 Champions. They have also scored over 100 goals on their way to claiming the title. Rovers have gone one better than last year where they finished Runners Up in the league.

League Finish: Winners (North West)

Top Scorer: Matthew Bulcock (50)



Boro qualified for National Finals as Runners Up in North East League 1. The Teesiders amassed 26 points from their 14 games including eight wins and a draw. The Smoggies are yet to win a title so this could be their chance.

League Finish: Runners Up (North East)

Top Scorer: Will Noble (27)


Sheffield United

The Blades secured their place at National Finals with a last day of the season win over local rivals Rotherham United. They edged Carlisle United out of the qualification places by a single point. United won eight and lost six of their 14 matches in the regular season.

League Finish: Third (North East)

Top Scorer: Jack Myers (16)


Group B

Bristol City

The Robins had to wait until the last day of the season to clinch the title after avoiding defeat against second placed Cardiff City. Bristol topped the table on 37 points with 12 wins, a draw and one loss from their 14 games. They finished three clear at the summit.

League Finish: Winners (South West)

Top Scorer: Aaron Coleman (28)


Stoke City

The Potters finished their league campaign with a 13-3 win over Forest and it meant that they reached a total of 33 points. They won 10, drew three and lost twice on their way to capturing the title in North Midlands League 1.

League Finish: Runners Up (North Midlands)

Top Scorer: Elisio Francisco (45)


Mansfield Town

The Stags qualified for the end of season showpiece by coming runners up North Midlands League 1. Town missed a chance to win the title on the final day with a loss to Derby County. Mansfield finished two points behind Stoke but comfortably qualified with an eight-point gap over third placed Derby County.

League Finish: Runners Up (North Midlands)

Top Scorer: Liam Beardsley (25)


Preston North End

The Lilywhites made it to Birmingham Arena with a win on the last day of the season against Blackpool. They ousted Rochdale from the qualifying places on goal difference. North End finished 13 points off top and will be underdogs going into Nationals.

League Finish: Third (North West)

Top Scorer: Joe Singleton (10)


Group C

Crewe Alexandra

The Railwaymen have had a really strong season so far, reaching the league Cup Semi Finals as well as running away with the South Midlands League 1 title. Alex suffered defeat on just one occasion in the regular season and will be much fancied come Finals Day.

League Finish: Winners (South Midlands)

Top Scorer: Nick Marley (56)


Huddersfield Town

The Terriers go into the end of season showpiece as North West League 1 Runners Up, finishing behind Blackburn Rovers on goal difference, being pipped right at the end of the campaign.

League Finish: Runners Up (North West)

Top Scorer: Ashley Woods (47)



The Bees progress to National Finals on the back of a second place finish in South East League 1. 10 wins from their 14 outings saw the West London side finish comfortably in the qualification places, 11 points ahead of fourth.

League Finish: Runners Up (South East)

Top Scorer: Azhan Iqbal (18)


Peterborough United

Posh secured the third and final National Finals place in the South East, five points ahead of Southampton. United won just over half of their games but it was enough for them to reach Birmingham.

League Finish: Third (South East)

Top Scorer: Tiago Nassunculo (14)


Group D

Grimsby Town

The Mariners go into National Finals as many people’s favourites to go all the way. They are the Kinder +Sport Challenge Cup holders and went all season unbeaten.  Out of their 14 games Town managed to win 13 and gained one draw. They finished top of North East League 1 with a 14-point margin.

League Finish: Winners (North East)

Top Scorer: Liam Hulse (29)


Cardiff City

The Bluebirds came remarkably close to winning the title but missed out by drawing the last game of the campaign where a win would have seen them champions. Instead they progress to National Finals with a record of 11 wins, a draw and two defeats from their 14 fixtures this season.

League Finish: Runners Up (South West)


Shrewsbury Town

The Shrews finished behind a strong Crewe outfit to qualify as Runners Up from South Midlands League 1. Salop played 15 games and only tasted defeat on three occasions. They also made Finals Day of the Kinder +Sport Challenge Cup and will be full of confidence.

League Finish: Runners Up (South Midlands)

Top Scorer: Liam Robinson (23)


Newport County

The Exiles booked their place at Birmingham with a third place finish in South West League 1. In a highly competitive league County hit a run of form at the right time to finish ahead of the likes of Plymouth Argyle. Newport ended on 30 points, winning 10 of their 14 games.

League Finish: Third (South West)

Top Scorer: Christian Mbongampasi (12)

The Treble Winning Invincibles

Grimsby Town Futsal continued their dominance on Youth National Futsal by achieving their 2nd Treble in in 3 years.

grimsby town 2

Grimsby Town Futsal rounded off a magnificent season by completing an epic treble of silverware after been crowned EFL Trust L1 National Futsal Trophy Champions just like the 2013/14 team. Even more incredibly the triumph meant they went unbeaten in all competitions throughout the whole of the 2015/16 campaign.

The Mariners had already won the EFL North East League 1 and the National KinderPlus Sport Cup earlier in the year when they joined all the other Regional League Champions and Runners-up for a National Finals day in Birmingham on June 15th.  If Town were to be successful they would have to qualify in the top 2 from a group of 4 and then win the quarter finals, semi-finals and final all in the same day.

In Grimsby’s group was Cardiff, Shrewsbury Town and Newport County. In the opening game Town overcame Cardiff 3-1 a couple of goals from Jack Boswell and Liam Hulse got the black and whites off to a great start. Grimsby wrapped up qualification in the second game coming from behind to beat Shrewsbury Town 5-2 with Blunden and Williamson getting in on the scoring.Grimsby-Shot

This set up a battle for first place against Newport County in the final group game, who were also on 6 points but had 1 goal more than the Mariners. Grimsby had the game wrapped up by half time at 4-0 in their best attacking performance so far. They added 2 more through De-Gruchy and Taylor in the second half to take the score line to 6-0 and put Grimsby Town through as group winners.

Grimsby faced Brentford in the quarter finals, who were South East League Runners up. In what proved to be Grimsby’s toughest test they found themselves level at full time, a Jack Boswell spot kick meant the scores finished 1-1 at set up a penalty shootout. Jack Gibbons was the hero saving 2 spots kicks and that ensured Town would be in the semi-final. Grimsby met Blackburn Rovers in the semi-final and quickly raced into a 3 goal lead going into the interval. Blackburn pulled one back straight after the turnaround but Callum De-Gruchy made it 4-1 and booked Town’s place in the final.

It was to be the same two teams to meet in the EFL L1 National Cup Final that had met 2 months earlier in the KinderPlus Sport National Cup final. Norwich City were the EFL South East League Champions and had only lost twice all season (once to Grimsby in the KinderPlus Sport Cup Final).

In a nervy first half Jack Boswell’s thumping free kick separated the sides as the half time buzzer rang. Norwich should have levelled after the break but Jack Gibbons made a tremendous save. Town capitalised on the missed chance and De-Gruchy doubled their lead. The icing on the cake came from captain Blunden coverting a penalty to make it 3-0 and a comfortable final 5 minutes for Grimsby.

As the full time whistle sounded everyone around showed their appreciation for this unprecedented achievement and a clean sweep of all trophies on offer this year.

Grimsby Town Futsal 2015/16

EFL Futsal North East League 1 winners

KinderPlus Sport National Cup winners

EFL Futsal L1 National Trophy winners

Young People Come First!

Thousands of teenagers from South Yorkshire are set to benefit from a new partnership between First South Yorkshire and the EFL Trust.

This summer, EFL Trust (charitable arm of the EFL) and First South Yorkshire have announced a new partnership that will allow free and discounted travel for over 2,500 young people participating in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme within South Yorkshire.

NCS is a two-four week part residential programme open to all 16-17 year olds during school holidays. Running across England and Northern Ireland, the programme aims to widen horizons, bridge social divides and create community cohesion whilst developing key skills for work and life. In the third phase of the programme, participants create a social action project in the local community around an issue they are passionate about and spend 30 hours implementing it. In summer 2015, young people of South Yorkshire contributed 100,000 hours of social action by fundraising for local charities, redeveloping outdoor spaces, taking part in inter-generational projects and community work.

The new partnership will benefit young people initially with free travel for two weeks to support them during the social action phase of NCS this summer. This will enable young people to travel around their local community with ease. If a young person has graduated from NCS, and they stay in education, they will be eligible for further discounted travel with First South Yorkshire using a South Yorkshire student pass.

First South Yorkshire, part of FirstGroup plc, are leaders in public transport welcoming almost 60 million customer journeys in South Yorkshire during 2015/16. EFL Trust are pleased to offer this fantastic service to NCS Participants, adding further value to what will be an amazing Summer.

Matt Handley, Regional Project co-coordinator for EFL Trust “This is an exciting partnership with First South Yorkshire that will benefit thousands of young people participating in NCS and will ultimately benefit the local community. This partnership will reward young people for their hard work and dedication as well as being an invaluable tool for them when it comes to planning and delivering a social action project in their local community”.

FL Trust NCS internal

First South Yorkshire’s Allan Riggall, Head of Commercial said, “We are delighted to be working with the EFL Trust in supporting the NCS. Bus travel is an integral part of young people’s lives, and will give them the independence to travel around South Yorkshire safely and at affordable prices with our great value tickets for those in education. We look forward to hopefully extending this partnership beyond this current project and to help the participants of this scheme make a difference in their communities”.

This partnership with First South Yorkshire is set to begin next month. For further information on First South Yorkshire please visit www.firstgroup.com/south-yorkshire. NCS takes place within South Yorkshire, outside of term time, and is open to all 15-16 year olds for no more than £50. In South Yorkshire the programme is run by the EFL Trust, for more information please click here.

Local MP Andrew Griffiths Backs Project!

Burton MP Andrew Griffiths dropped into a Burton school to take a first-hand look at The Kinder +Sport Move and Learn project which is now into its second year of delivery and aims at encouraging youngsters to adopt a healthier lifestyles.

Burton Town Community Trust are one of 13 clubs that deliver the project alongside The Football League Trust which has had over 40,000 school children aged 9-10 moving and learning in its first successful year of delivery.

Riverview Primary School is one of hundreds of schools that take part in the Kinder +Sport Move and Learn project across the country.


Local MP Andrew Griffiths was impressed with the project.

He said: “It was great to see Burton Albion Community Trust doing what it does best – engaging with young people in schools. It builds the right kind of mentality and will help ensure these kids grow up being healthy and knowing what’s good for them”.

Richard Laming, from sponsors Ferrero, added: “What we love about the project is the way it brings together education about health and diet with a sports activity outside the classroom. It was great to see it being delivered at Riverview and all the happy faces of the youngsters”.

Riverview head teacher Mandy Whitehouse said: “We have a problem with obesity, so hopefully this will give the children the skills to take into secondary school and be healthier in adult life”.

Andy Taylor, head of community at BACT, said: “The Kinder +Sport Move and Learn project has been a big success and we are delighted that it has been so well received at Riverview”.

To find out more about The Football League Trust’s Kinder +Sport Move and Learn Project click here.

NCS Grimsby – The Pride of their Community

Young People from Grimsby Town are celebrating after being nominated for a ‘Pride in the Community Award’ in recognition of their work in the community whilst taking part in the youth empowerment programme, National Citizen Service (NCS).

NCS is delivered by the Football League Trust across the Yorkshire and Humber region – a two-three week programme for 16 & 17 year olds during which participants learn skills for work and life, take on new challenges, meet new friends and contribute to their local community.

The 30 graduates from the NCS programme chose to complete their social action project at St Andrew’s Hospice, providing relief to patients of the hospice suffering from life-limiting illnesses. The children of the Hospice requested for a beach themed garden because they couldn’t get there like their friends can!

The complete facelift of the garden included the painting of a seaside inspired Wendy house, stepping stones, a pirate shaped sand pit and a water play area.

Funds to transform the garden were raised through a cake stall selling home baked items, and a charity car wash that was opposite the Hospice. As well as that materials were kindly donated by Hirebase Ltd.
The nomination came from Lauren Alexander, who co-ordinates the fundraising at St Andrews Hospice.

‘’Their hashtag #bestsummerever, is the only way I can describe my experience with each and every one of the NCS participants. The nurses, children and I have loved having them here. We were sad for the project to be over but also very excited to get out in the garden to experience the new activities NCS have created for us. All of us at the hospice, would like to say a HUGE thank you to the students for running such an incredible project and for allowing us the opportunity of being a beneficiary. They deserve to be recognised for their hard work towards the community!’’

Lee Stephens, from NCS Grimsby Town is delighted at the nomination. Grimsby Town POC 2
“NCS is being recognised more and more for the work that young people are doing in the community and changing people lives for the better. This is a prime example of that. Each and every one of the team has worked tirelessly to make this garden the success it is and the nomination is fantastic, giving young people the recognition that they deserve.”

The awards evening is due to take place in 26th November at Cleethorpes Pier.
We at NCS FLT want to congratulate the work that the young people from Grimsby have put into this project, but also wish them the best of luck on the night.

The Football League Trust has delivered National Citizen Service programmes through their network since the initial pilots in 2011. FLT work with more than 40 organisations across the country to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to 15-17 year olds.
They have a network of over 10,000 graduates who have taken part in this once-in-a-lifetime programme, these young people have developed new skills, made new friends and created memories that will last

To find out more about NCS click here

Joe Cole Helps Get Kids Healthy

Coventry City’s Joe Cole and Aaron Martin visited St. John’s Primary School in Allesley yesterday, helping educate local children on the value of a healthy lifestyle.

Sky Blues in the Community are one of 16 Football League clubs who deliver the Kinder Plus Sport ‘Move and Learn’ project as part of the Football League Trust’s healthy living and sports initiative, sponsored by Fererro.
SBitC were one of the original eight Football League clubs to deliver the project which aims to educate children on the values of eating right and living well.

Coventry City players Joe Cole and Aaron Martin Visit St John's C of E Primary school in Coventry for a Q&A with the children.Joe meets fan Harry Clasper and Head teacher Gary Watson.

Coventry City players Joe Cole and Aaron Martin Visit St John’s C of E Primary school in Coventry for a Q&A with the children.Joe meets fan Harry Clasper and Head teacher Gary Watson.

The project will have been rolled out to over 30 schools across Coventry and Warwickshire by the summer which includes activities such as football, dodgeball and handball, and is free to schools.
SBitC Director Guy Rippon said: “We’re delighted to see Joe and Aaron helping us deliver the programme across the Coventry and Warwickshire area.

“It is a project which we were pioneers in as we were one of the first to deliver it in the country last academic year and we’ve seen it go from strength and strength.

“They’re in the middle of the six-week project and the players were there taking questions from pupils and hopefully inspiring pupils to improve their lifestyle.”

Coventry City defender Aaron Martin said: “I’ve always enjoyed getting out in the local community during my time at the club as it is an important part of being a professional footballer.
“The pupils had some great questions for us and it is an important project for children as eating properly is vital for your development in sport and education.
“It is great to see some of the good work in the local community and it’s great to see more children interested in Coventry City this season.”

8,000 Young People deliver 250,000 hours volunteering

Young People on the Football League Trust’s National Citizen Service (NCS) programme have dedicated a Quarter of a MILLION hours making a difference in their local community

To put that into perspective, that would be the equivalent to building 9 Olympic Stadiums!

Throughout this Summer over 8,000 young people aged 15-17 went away with their local football League side to not only have the experience of a life time, but to give back their time to their local community by delivering projects that have supported the different needs and issues within their community.

On completing their first week of action packed adventure on NCS, young people are tasked with planning a social action project of their choice to deliver in their local community. During the Summer there have been some fantastic examples from the 40 organisations that the Football League Trust partner with for NCS.

Rotherham and Doncaster have raised thousands of pounds to buy new toys and equipment for their local children’s hospital, whereas Grimsby Town Community Trust, Sheffield Wednesday, and Youth Options have all redeveloped a sensory garden to benefit the less fortunate.

An NCS group from Luton Town decided to raise money to pay for Luton Town’s men’s disability team to visit Wembley stadium and receive a tour. Alex Beasley, a Luton NCS Participant said “We chose the LTFC men’s disability team because it challenged us as well as trying to make a difference to their lives. I think they had a great day out”

Every project has had a positive impact, leaving a lasting legacy that people in years to come can benefit from. Everyone involved in this Summers NCS deserve huge credit, specifically the young people who have given up their weekend and time to make a difference, changing the stereotypical perception of teenagers.

Loo Brackpool, Business Development Manager at the Football League Trust “NCS gives young people the opportunity to showcase the good work they can do as well as bringing a feel good factor to the community. What we have seen this Summer is fantastic, and the more young people put into NCS, the more they will take away from it for the future. NCS is a once in a life time opportunity for teenagers aged 15-17 and delivers a huge amount of positives”

Turning GCSEs into Goals


16-18 year old footballer? Considering college?

The Football League Trust Education & Futsal programme (FLT Futsal) presents a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to play futsal for Football League, Premier League and National League clubs, whilst studying towards a BTEC in Sport (worth up to three A-levels) over two years.

School leavers require four A-C GCSEs, including English and Maths, or a BTEC Level 2 to be eligible for this pioneering programme, aimed at boys and girls who have a passion for football/futsal and a desire to progress to university and work in sport.

Unlike a regular college course, the students use an online platform, allowing them to substitute a mundane traditional classroom for study within the inspirational setting of the football club – in a recent study, 89% of FLT Futsal students rated this unique learning environment as excellent compared to previous education experiences.

Reading and Sheffield United players in action during the Soccer AM Futsal Cup Final at the Copper Box Arena

Reading and Sheffield United players in action during the Soccer AM Futsal Cup Final at the Copper Box Arena


Study is supplemented by regular training sessions to develop technical, tactical and physical ability, whilst representing their club in the FLT Futsal League and other competitions, including the Soccer AM Futsal Cup.

FLT Futsal is proving a driving force in developing the world’s fastest growing sport in the UK. Future stars continue to emerge, with many players catching FA National League & England scouts’ eyes. Frequent call-ups to England Development squads are a testament to the programme’s production of talent.

The programme offers an array of exit routes, ranging from a university education – including FLT’s Community Football Coaching & Development Foundation Degree, to careers in the sports and leisure sector, both in the UK and overseas. Students have progressed to employment within their football club, whilst others have pursued Soccer Scholarships in the USA.

Places are filling up fast, so to find out which of your local professional clubs are delivering the FLT Futsal programme, and to apply visit www.fltfutsal.co.uk

Use your passion and knowledge of football and sport to get a business degree

How has your club started the season? What do you make of the pre-season wheeling and dealing in the boardroom?

ou-iain-dowie-4x3549-1966390_478x359Has your team bought well during the off season? Do you start the season with a new sponsor and a healthy bank balance?


Think you could do a better job? Why not give it a go – the BA (Hons) Business Management (Sport & Football) degree from the Open University and the Football League Trust uses football as way to teach business skills.


So why not apply your knowledge of football and sport to get a business degree? If you love the game it’s not going to seem like learning at all and you’ll get a degree that opens up a world of possibilities for your career.


The degree, which is undertaken primarily via distance learning, allows students to select specific business, management, training and sports modules to match their career ambitions with intriguing themes such as the economics of football, motivation, team effectiveness, and strategic management.


To find out more visit the Open University website.


Football League Trust railway safety project wins two Network Rail awards

Football League Trust work improving railway safety in communities across the country has been recognised with a pair of Network Rail Partnership Awards.
The Trust’s rail safety programme was shortlisted in two categories – community engagement and safety – and saw off the competition to win both prizes.

An ongoing partnership between the Trust and Network Rail is using the power of football to educate young people about the potential dangers posed by the railway network.

Community trusts attached to 10 Football League clubs identified as being in areas most in need of rail safety education employ a winning mixture of football, fun and educational workshops to bring home the importance of staying safe on and near to railway lines.

Football League Trust project manager Aiden Couch said: “We believe that this a great collaboration between organisations that fit very well together.

“Our community trusts are uniquely placed to engage with young people in the areas where Network Rail are looking to reduce trespassing and ultimately fatalities on the tracks. This project is doing this in a fun yet challenging way and giving young people access to training and support they would not otherwise receive.”

The work between Network Rail and the club community trusts is ongoing, but results so far point to improved knowledge of rail safety and a positive response from those youngsters taking part.

Network Rail Partnership Awards recognise the help and support given by partners in delivering a better railway for Britain.