John Wright & Mark Griffiths (February 2006)In 1999, the Stourbridge League introduced Mini Soccer for the first time, coming into being for the 1999 - 2000 season - which was the same time that John Wright and Mark Griffiths, via their sons Adam and Daniel respectively, came into contact with the club.
At the time, they thought they would be just like most parents - interested spectators on the side-lines, watching their little lads take part. This state of affairs didn't last too long into that first season, as a bit of a parent coup propelled them into team management.
From that point on, still going strong and looking after the Under 14 West team in season 2005 - 6, its probably fair to say that John and Mark, over the years, have built teams that have been the most consistently successful, in terms of performance at the highest League level, in Kewford history, with a number of excellent players joining them.
At the end of the 2003 - 2004 season, having played at Under 12's in the Stourbridge League, the team was awarded the Kewford Eagles 11 a-side Team of the Year trophy for finishing top of Division 1. From the records we had at the time it seemed that this was our first ever Kewford team to have won Division 1 at 11 a-side, and so we marked the occasion. Whilst there have been challenges to that theory since, the achievement was still more than noteworthy.
After such a successful season, John and Mark, and the parents of players, decided they wanted a fresh challenge, and moved to the Stourport League, finishing 3rd in Division 1 in their first season - and this was after having lost a number of very good players to the pro club Academies. Even so, the reputation built by John and Mark for this team was strong enough to attract other good players, and the team continues to get great results, whether its in Division 1 of the Stourport League or in the various Cup competitions.
Ask both why they do it and they will say that the benefits far outweigh the downside. Having been on end-of-season tours for the last two years, clearly the team social side has been a factor for both John and Mark. They would both also state that a sense of loyalty to their players is keenly felt.
At Kewford we always state that we want players to enjoy their football at all levels, whether its in Division 4 of the Stourbridge League, or Division 1 of the Stourport League. The key is players being involved and enjoying their time, playing in a team they are happy in, and for team managers who care for them and have their interests at heart. John and Mark, in being amongst the longest serving current team managers, clearly achieve on all counts. Kewford Eagles FC thanks both John and Mark for what they have done, and continue to do so very well - successfully coach and thoughtfully manage a group of youngsters who play good football. Well done to both John and Mark.