sports gazette

Kings Langley FC - A League their Own

Published: 6 Jan 2017

Survival is the number one target for the non-league side

While the Neville brothers have pumped millions of pounds into Salford City FC, changing their badge, kit colours and soul along the way, a small village side in Hertfordshire have achieved something similar with a much smaller budget.

With a population of just over 5,000 people, Kings Langley are the smallest team in the division and joins the likes of FC United of Manchester and Chester FC in the small group of clubs to have been promoted three successive times.

Joint managers Ritchie Hanlon and Paul Hughes met while on the books at Chelsea in the 90s and took charge of the club in 2012 while they were in the tenth tier of English football and when they left the club in 2016 for Hayes & Yeading, they left after three successive promotions.

The club are currently fighting relegation from the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division and manager Paul Hobbs, who rejoined the club in November says survival is the number one priority.

Hobbs said, "We've only got one target and that's to stay in this division.

"If we finish fifth from bottom we've done our job."

The team is a mix of players that have been at the club for a number of years and those who have joined along the journey. Former Watford academy graduate Jorell Johnson joined the club in the summer of 2016. Vice Captain Jorell Johnson was managed by the likes of Gianfranco Zola during his time at Watford

He had spent time on loan at local sides Hemel Hempstead Town and St Albans City before joining Kings Langley on a permanent basis. 

Johnson believes they can survive relegation and have the ability the go further.

"I definitely feel we can push on out of this league." said Johnson.

"I don't think you could find a better group of players that are well-bonded, friends, than here.

"If we stick together and start playing the way I know we can, I'm confident we can finish strong this season and next season we can definitely challenge to get out of this league."

If Kings Langley do manage to survive relegation, it would be a remarkable achievement for a club of their size, playing in a division with sides with much bigger fanbases.

Financial Director Darren Eliot has admitted Kings Langley don't have the budget similar to some sides at their new level.

"Slough for instance just had just short of 1,500 at one of their home games, we have on average about 120." Eliot pointed out.

"We're still able to compete on the football pitch, albeit we cannot compete financially."

Find out more about Kings Langley's journey through non-league by watching our mini-documentary below!

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