Haringey have been named Panathlon Football Champions 2014 after a thrilling two days of action at Wembley Powerleague.
In the shadow of Wembley’s famous arch, more than 200 players from the top 16 boroughs from four regional qualifying heats came together for a feast of football that saw a staggering 282 goals scored in 93 games across two age groups.
Hammersmith & Fulham were crowned Plate winners thanks to the under-13s and under-16s teams from Parayhouse School on Tuesday, before the teams from Riverside School secured the Champions Trophy for Haringey on Wednesday.
Haringey under-13s captain Kieran Wright said: “Wembley is the stadium of dreams. It was for us, today was immense. We didn’t do it last year but we’ve done it today at the home of football.”
The north London borough secured the Champions Cup on Wednesday by winning the under-16 competition and finishing as runners-up in the under 13 competition, giving them a clear points winning margin when the scores were combined across the two age groups to confirm the overall winner.
Under-16s captain Hatim Chegri said: “We came so close last year. After years of trying we have done it. On the bus back after we won the first round, we all talked about we had a dream to win it, and win at Wembley. Well now we have, it’s unbelievable!”
After a staggering 128 goals in 48 matches, involving 127 players, the teams in second to fifth were incredibly close to call, all finishing on the same number of points when the two competition scores were combined.
Merton edged second place overall courtesy of their victory in the under-13s tournament, while a second place finish in the under-16s competition saw Greenwich claim third place.
After consistent performances, Enfield and Newham were unlucky to be edged out to fourth and fifth places, respectively.
“We saw great sportsmanship across all teams today,” said Haringey under-13s coach Ollie Tuohy.
“We have made history for Haringey. Hopefully this is start of a legacy of achievement for the borough.”
Haringey Under-16s coach Lucas Neocleous said: “We have trained every day. Teamwork and unity are principles we have followed. We wanted to develop as a group on and off the pitch, so we had a strong team culture.
“This culture has impacted into school – behaviour has improved, relationships developed, a sense of achieving can be found in all areas of the school.”
In Tuesday’s Plate competition, Hammersmith & Fulham (right) won another tight contest, which involved 97 players in 15 teams and saw a phenomenal 154 goals scored across 45 matches.
“I feel happy!” said under-13s team captain Daniyal Shah, from Parayhouse School. “I can tell my mum and dad that we won the trophy!
“Today was really good. I tried really hard, scoring, tackling, passing, defending. We worked really well as a team. That’s why we came first.”
Daniel Cayford, PE teacher at Parayhouse School, said: “It’s fantastic. The kids are ecstatic. In the last round they came third so winning the Plate Final here is unbelievable. A brilliant experience.
“Panathlon is amazing for the kids. It’s a great atmosphere here and obviously just playing in front of Wembley is great for them. They’ve been looking forward to it since last month.
“To be able to have competition is very important for these kids. They can learn loads from it – sportsmanship, teamwork and so on. They all love being part of the team and they get that through Panathlon with the swimming, the multi-sport events and the football. It’s fantastic.
The 2014 Panathlon Football Cup was a truly memorable one, involving a total of 573 players across 252 matches, with 899 goals scored!
The overall standings from the Champions Cup and Plate Competition can be found below.
Further details are also available on the qualifying rounds.