Undefeated Magical Vegas FC hit jackpot as champions in their first season
- Credit: Archant
Although they may have come late to the party, Magical Vegas FC have certainly livened it up throughout the last seven months.
Formed towards the end of last summer, the club missed the deadline to register with the Islington Midweek League, but founder Patrick Moore Jones persuaded officials to include them at the 11th hour.
That decision had a major bearing on the Division One championship race – which soon developed into a one-horse race as undefeated Vegas romped to the title with three games to spare.
Moore Jones, a former youth team player with Haringey Borough, admits he had no idea how his side – primarily made up of former classmates at Acland Burghley School, Tufnell Park – would perform at the outset.
“The league was pretty much closed but I got in touch and explained the situation and we had a special meeting because they wanted to see how serious we were,” Moore Jones explained.
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“They could see we were dedicated and passionate and they were really supportive of us. But it meant we didn’t have a pre-season and I had no idea whether we’d do well.
“A number of the guys had been in the same year at school, we’d played together for years and done well in five or seven-a-side, but some hadn’t even met before.
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“I tried to instil the idea we didn’t really care about winning, just about playing a passing style, keeping the ball on the floor and maintaining possession, and I think that took a lot of the pressure off.”
Moore Jones, who lives in Archway and works as a personal trainer, took up an offer from one of his clients, Eitan Boyd – whose company runs the gambling website magical.vegas.com – to finance the establishment of the club.
Boyd’s investment proved to be a shrewd punt as Vegas stormed out of the blocks, winning their first three games 6-1, 11-2 and 7-0.
But it was their seventh match of the season, a 3-1 victory against Dover Castle, which convinced Moore Jones – who fills three roles as captain, manager and secretary – of the team’s credentials.
“Dover Castle are a good side and we’d both won all of our games before then, but we had a little bit of a dip and went 1-0 down before my vice-captain Hussein Hussein was sent off,” Moore Jones recalled.
“It was a contentious decision, but it really fired us up and gave us an extra reason to fight. Within 10 minutes we’d gone 2-1 up and we went on to win – that was the moment we realised what we were capable of.
“About halfway through the season, teams started putting 10 men behind the ball so we had to adjust our approach and find more energy to make angles. We’ve ground out results because of a good team ethic.
“I’ve been impressed by some of the guys that hadn’t played 11-a-side before – they’ve made a good transition and shown a lot of versatility.”
Although their 100 per cent record was ended in the next game, a 2-2 draw with Todo-Ciudad, Vegas continued to accumulate points, finally clinching the championship with another draw, 1-1 against Foxham Park.
Now Moore Jones, who played up front as a youngster but now pulls the strings in midfield, is already planning his side’s assault on the Premier Division.
“I’m very proud of our achievement but we can’t relax – we have to make sure we keep up our standards,” he added. “There are players who have expressed an interest in joining us next season.
“I don’t want to just hang around in the Premier Division – I want to try and develop a team that can go on and win it, if not next year, the year after.”