PICTURE: Hype Train F.C. are rebuilding their squad upon their return to the East Berkshire League this season. The club won the Presidents Cup back in 2022.
Hype Train F.C. will be looking to rebuild and then stabilise upon their return to the East Berkshire League Premier Division this season.
The club won the Presidents Cup in 2022 and managed to avoid relegation in their first season in the Premier Division but are returning to the EBFL having competed in Sunday League football last year.
The Train’s founder and team manager, Robert Austin, knows it will be a tough challenge to compete at the highest level again and that it will take some time to build a competitive squad but, there are positives to joining the Reading-based club.
Austin explained: “The team competed the Reading & District Sunday League Division Three and we finished in fourth place last season. We started well but suffered some key injuries after the Christmas break that derailed our momentum, and ultimately, we were a little bit short of challenging for the league.
“I need to be kind to my team and our expectations especially given the task of being placed in the Premier Division whilst I’m at the beginning steps of a rebuild. A good season will be one whereby we have completed a full campaign and have been able to keep our team intact. If I had to put any target on, remaining in the Premier Division will be our aim.
“I’ve been spending the summer recruiting for new players and building something new from scratch will take time. I have belief in my squad that we can come together whilst any results we can achieve along the way will just be a bonus to our aim of stabilising the club.”
PICTURE: Hype Train will take on Prestwood Reserves, a new member to the EBFL this season, in the first Showcase Match of the season at the award-winning 1878 Stadium in Burnham on Bank Holiday Monday (midday kick off).
He added: “Besides the players that we have brought in, the club has a good and solid infrastructure with some very dedicated volunteers as well as having our VEO camera to help aid in our development. We have a supportive environment and take great care to involve the right people, so any interested players would enjoy their time with us in the Reading area.”
Austin has also acknowledged that some tough decisions have had to be taken for the Management Committee to stabilise the League, with a new era for the EBFL set to get under way this week, which, in his opinion, has led to some teams being wrongly placed in what looks an ultra-competitive Premier Division this season.
He said: “Ultimately, the Leagues growth has been a necessity this season. Without the new committee coming in and forcing the issue, and really doing their best to grow the constitution, there wouldn’t be an EBFL. It's still a first step and next season the League can build on this to add more divisions as EBFL football gets back further on the radar in grassroots football.
“I know the hard work that is happening behind the scenes, and it is exciting to see positive steps finally being taken.”
Austin added: “In terms of the divisions, the Committee has a hard task placing new teams in mass and, largely they have done a good job, although it would have been great to have had us and Pundit F.C. go into Division One as developing teams ahead of established teams. I’ve been disappointed that we haven’t been given the opportunity to be able to grow and establish my team in Division One.
PICTURE: Hype Train F.C. suffered a 7-2 defeat away at Southcote, runners-up in the Premier Division last season, in their opening match of the campaign on Wednesday evening.
“The Premier Division is competitive, and every team poses a unique threat. For example, Singh Sabha play with the ball well and have a great winning mentality. Frontline are aggressive and Britwell are both intense and passionate. Old Windsor utilise set pieces well and Sandhurst are difficult to pick up off the ball because they have young and willing runners. Then there are clubs coming in who have good facilities and set-ups and will be solid across the board. We could be looking at an open division with vast variables, which is good to see.”
Hype Train were taught some harsh lessons in a 7-2 defeat at Southcote, runners-up in the Premier Division last season, on the opening night of the new season this Wednesday. The headline performer for Southcote was Rocco Sofroniou who hit the back of the net three times, with further goals from Bradley Hyde, Maxwell Lawrence, Joe Partridge and substitute Kane Billing. Hype Train are the 2022 Presidents Cup winners and will take some positive from their return to action with both Padraig Gorman and Kie Longmate bagging consolation efforts.
Hype Train now taken on Prestwood Reserves in a Showcase Match at the 1878 Stadium in Burnham on Bank Holiday Monday (midday kick off).
Austin speculated: “A start in August is less than ideal as players largely don’t wake up in August and set September as a bar, so hopefully we’re able to start well. I’m not worried about our results, instead I’m focussing on building the team in a way in which we can learn and grow based on our experience.
“We’ve been given a difficult start too, against Southcote and Prestwood Reserves, so we will be hoping to create a shock moment and dig deep to get off the ground for the season.”
To enter the East Berkshire Football League ahead of the 2024/25 season, or for further information about the league, or an entry form for the upcoming season, please email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org