I Zingari Combination Over 35s Division Winners 2020/21: Abbey Road Vets

Abbey Road Vets pipped Allerton to the post by a single point after beating their nearest challengers on the final day. They had to come from behind to win 3-2.

Abbey Road Vets wrote themselves in the history books after they won the Over 35s Division in the I Zingari Combination league.

They needed to beat Allerton to win be crowned champions and they did it the hard way coming from two goals down to beat their nearest challengers.

Leighton McGivern, widely known across the amateur football scene, fired in a hat-trick to secure a momentous win for Ste Coyle’s side.

Coyle lauded his side saying “they never know when they’re beaten” as they snatched glory from under the noses of their opposition.

He told Off The Park: “It was a great season for us, it was a really competitive league.

“I think the turning point was APH we were 2-0 down and we go it back to 2-2, I think we ended up winning it 7-2, Leighton [McGivern] was on fire that day, scored a couple of crackers.

“They never know when they’re beat, the quality speaks for itself, they’re all good football and cracking lads.

“It culminated in the last game of the season 2-0 down at half-time [against Allerton] and won 3-2. We just never know when we’re beaten.

“It was a game of two halves, while Leighton is on the pitch anything is possible, but it’s a testament to him that he acknowledges the other 10 players on the pitch, his records phenomenal.

“Roller-coaster of emotions but nice to come out on top in the end in a really competitive league, most vets teams would give open age teams a good game.”

The league as it says in its name is strictly for players over the age of 35.

And Abbey Road Vets are just known for their recent exploits in the Zingari league, they won the Challenge Cup – a competition for open age and vet teams – in 2019 beating Empress on penalties.

Their record speaks for itself, just one defeat and 14 wins with a positive goal difference of 49.

“Our record over the season shows, we got a bit of momentum going especially after the latest lockdown,” he said.

“A settled back four helped, to a man, I always drum it into them before the game, everyone buys into it. When you win and you’ve got that momentum, it’s easier to keep players happy. When you’re losing it’s harder, we’ve had years when we weren’t at our best but the team has evolved and it’s been a work in progress, everyone’s in it together.

“The clubs on a good even keel. The challenge is to stay competitive and that’s the plan.

“It’s just evolved, everyone who has put a shirt on for the Abbey has played a part, even when we were struggling – there were players who kept the club going – it’s a good club and there’s a real feel-good factor.

“We have a nucleus of about seven who are there every week but the players who have come in and done brilliant. It’s developed and they all get on it’s fantastic.”