Old Bradwell's first trophy in 25 years looked a long way off after season opener

Old Bradwell United lift the County Cup
Old Bradwell United lift the County Cup

After losing the first game of the season, Old Bradwell United manager David Keene admitted he thought it would be a long season, and certainly not one which would see them lift their first silverware in a quarter of a century.

A much-changed United were thumped 4-0 in their SSML Division 2 clash with eventual champions Bovingdon, but by the end of the season, they lifted two trophies - the Division 2 Cup and the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup - and finished second in the table, just four points adrift.

United also won the Division 2 Cup

United also won the Division 2 Cup

Keene drafted in several new faces to his team over the course of the summer, but after the opening day hammering, he wondered whether he had made the right decision.

“We brought in five at the start of the season, but lost to Bovingdon and we wondered if we had got it right,” he admitted. “The chairman had highlighted a good league finish and a cup run.

“The Division 2 Cup is something we looked at because there are only a small number of games, but the Berks & Bucks Cup has a lot of big teams playing in it from a higher level. We managed to beat a few of them, and it gave us a lot of confidence.”

That confidence continued to build throughout the season. While their cup runs meant they were as far as seven games adrift of Bovingdon.

But reaching the final of the Division 2 Cup meant the first chance of a trophy win for a quarter of a century, and the manager was on holiday.

“I was listening on my holiday in Seattle – it was nerve-wracking!” said Keene. “But it was great to win the first piece of silverware in 25 years, and then to back it up with a second cup later.

“It was a great feeling to be able to do that for a club I have been involved with for such a long time.”

Old Bradwell won their final 11 games, which featured their two cup final wins as they claimed second spot in the division, finishing 10 clear of third place Berkhamsted Raiders.

While their facilities have prevented them from promotion to Division 1, Keene hopes for more of the same next season.

He added: “We don’t charge, we are a great community club, we’re all in it together. Next season’s ambitions will depend on who comes down and who comes up, and what sort of money other people are spending in the division.”