Early wake-up call for Linford's treble-chasers

PUBLISHED: 14:58 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:34 10 September 2010

Reigning champions Marlborough have suffered a short, sharp shock in the opening stages of what they hope will be another record-breaking Evening News Norwich Sunday League campaign.

Reigning champions Marlborough have suffered a short, sharp shock in the opening stages of what they hope will be another record-breaking Evening News Norwich Sunday League campaign.

The north city pub outfit aiming to win the league's top flight title for an unprecedented fifth season in a row suffered their first defeat of the current campaign when they were beaten 3-1 by Quebec Rovers.

This, coupled with the rise of Poringland Wanderers to the top of the early rankings, suggests that Marlborough, who won the league with seven points to spare from Norman Wanderers last term, might not have such a comfortable ride this year.

But chairman John Linford believes they can still achieve their unfulfilled ambition of landing the elusive treble of league title, league cup and Sunday Senior Cup - a feat managed by only five clubs in the league's 50-year history.

"We've got no complaints about the result against Quebec but losing might not be such a bad thing. It might just be a jolt that we needed.

"Our manager Matt Foulger has strengthened the side and it's as good a squad as I have seen for many a year.

"I think he is going to have some big problems when everyone is available," he said.

The squad has been boosted by the return of former captain Shaun Cameron, who left after the untimely death last summer of his father Jock, one of the club's most dedicated behind-the-scenes workers.

Veteran goalkeeper Billy Pye, who at 50 became one of the oldest players ever to appear in a Carrow Road cup final when he turned out in the Sunday Senior Cup final victory over El Sol, has shelved retirement plans and also has a place in the large squad.

The side is skippered by Lee Metcalf, with the prolific Danny McKail spearheading the attack.

"To do the treble would be nice," said Linford, pictured.

"We would particularly love to get back to Carrow Road as we had such a great day last time. If we win the league - we will have won it more than any other team.

"We are currently level with Loke United on eight titles," he said.

Former top-level Dutch football striker Linford expects Quebec and Norman to figure in the shake-up and believes it would be folly to write off last season's third-placed outfit Dog House, despite their shaky start.

Meanwhile Sundays threaten to be a hectic football day in the Linford household as John tries to divide his time between supporting the club he founded around 15 years ago and the Old Catton Under 12s team his son Robbie, a midfielder, plays for. This weekend he was able to watch the adults in the morning and the boys in the afternoon.

"The boy is looking good. I slaughter him if he has a bad game but he is coming along well," said the much-travelled former Gorleston, King's Lynn and Ipswich Reserves frontman.

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