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Thompson hails unity in title triumph

Kenny Thompson landed a first Premier Division league title as a coach on Thursday night when North Village wrapped up the league with two games remaining.

Thompson's former club, Somerset Eagles, settled the title race when they held Dandy Town to a 2-2 draw at Goose Gosling Field, on a night when Village were training and focusing on tonight's FA Cup semi-final tie with Devonshire Colts as they look to complete another league and FA Cup double to cap off their ninth league title.

This season's success has seen an impressive transformation with Thompson, in his first season back at the club, taking the team from an eighth-place finish last season to top of the table this time.

They haven't had time to celebrate their triumph and probably won't until the final two league matches away to Southampton Rangers and PHC, the outgoing champions.

“It's really been a season of enjoyment for us. Obviously, winning the title, one would feel that is the basis of the enjoyment,but that's not really the case,” Thompson said.

“The enjoyment has come from the consistency of work that we've put in from prior to the preseason in terms of organising the programme for this season.

“The players have been fantastic in terms of consistency in training. The coaching staff, worked really hard to try to provide enjoyable sessions that prepare the team adequately for each match. It's been very enjoyable for all of us.”

Thompson, whose return to Village was confirmed ahead of the summer transfer window, was responsible for Village being the busiest team during the transfer period, picking 13 players from BAA alone as they dropped out of the league. His initial aim was to blend the Village players into a successful unit.

“It's been a real team effort, and that expands to the North Village executive as well,” said Thompson, who was previously at the club from 1997 to 2002.

“Everybody has really pulled their weight in this programme, the executives, the team managers, the medic, coaches and players.

“From that standpoint it has been great working with everybody. Obviously, winning a lot of games and winning the title is the icing on the cake.

“It's been a balance of the players who were at North Village last season. We did pick up some very good players to add to the squad and it really gave us a lot of depth, some competitiveness in a real spirited way where everybody has to play for their position and establish themselves.

“Many of those players had been at North Village before, some at youth level, so it wasn't a difficult thing to try to integrate them into the North Village family. At the start, it was about building a foundation with an eye to being competitive and to be in the mix when it comes to being near the top of the table.

“The fact that we got off to a really good start and maintained levels of consistency, by the time January came around it was about saying ‘we're here now, lets make an added effort and commitment to go for it'.”

Village are also just a win away from a place in the FA Cup final, where if they overcome Colts, will face the winners of tomorrow's second semi-final at Wellington Oval between holders Robin Hood and X-Roads, a repeat of last year's final.

“I'm really excited about winning the title, but our focus is now on the FA Cup,” Thompson said. “We trained on Thursday evening but we were not together when the news filtered in that Dandy Town and Eagles had drawn and that we were champions.

“We haven't even been together to celebrate, but we're ecstatic about the title. We'll take care of that despite not having a home game coming up. We'll definitely have something at the field to celebrate the league success.

“However, at the moment our focus is on the semi-final. Devonshire Colts are a team that, like every team, we respect.

“We give respect to every opponent, it doesn't matter if they are fighting for the title or at the bottom of the table. On, in this case, in another division.”

Last weekend, Thompson and some of his players were at the Colts game against St George's, taking the opportunity to scout up their opponents.

“This season we've watched everybody in the lead-up to playing them, preparing for every individual match so that we are prepared as we can be,” he explained. “It's part of the preparation and it really helped the team a lot. This is part of the enjoyment, that hard work doesn't have to be a chore.”

Thompson is also pleased to see some older Village players and fans coming out to watch the team this season “It's great to see that the fans are starting to return to matches,” he said.

“It didn't go unnoticed to us that last weekend in the rain squall in the match against Eagles there were fans, unsheltered, standing there watching the match.”

Team effort: North Village coach Kenny Thompson, second right, hailed his side's collective unity in the Premier Division title triumph

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Published March 06, 2020 at 11:15 pm (Updated March 08, 2020 at 6:47 pm)

Thompson hails unity in title triumph

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