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On Sunday the season finished as we won The FA Futsal Cup to add to the FA Futsal League title we claimed two weeks earlier. The latter means Baku United qualifies for next season’s UEFA Futsal Cup where this year we made history by being the first English club to reach the Main Round.
None of these achievements have come easily. Before the season started we were expected to be far stronger than all our opponents on the domestic scene with our superior resources as England’s only professional club. This allows the club to recruit a squad of experienced players, a mix from England and Spain, and to train full time.
This did not turn out to be the case. During the regular season Helvecia and Baltic gave us some difficult games and in the Super League Bath provided us with two competitive contests. In the semi-final of the Grand Finals Helvecia showed why they have been able to claim the championship five times, where we earned a narrow 3-1 victory.
In the final we played Manchester and the final 5-1 scoreline doesn’t do justice to the northern side. It was only in the final minutes after Manchester had a player sent off that we were able to control the match and secure the title.
In the FA Futsal Cup semi-final we just about overcame Oxford City, who showed they are an excellent side that play good futsal. In the decider we faced Manchester in a final for the second time in two weeks and this game was even closer than the previous one. It was only for the heroics of England and Baku No.1 James Dalton in goal that we were able to lift the trophy.
Manchester proved to be our toughest rivals on the domestic front and the club where I began my career deserve full credit. I was in their side when they won the last FA Futsal Cup and I know their players very well. They have a squad of players with majority having been developed by the club and many are English. An example for the rest to follow both on and off the court.
I am now on holidays but I am already looking forward to getting back to training for the new season and the challenges that lie ahead for both club and country.