By Aaron Patel
Considering the football scene in North London, it is easy to dismiss the existence of any other clubs aside from Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Two of Europe’s biggest clubs dominate the north part of the capital when it comes to football coverage.
But take yourself to Market Road football pitches by Caledonian Road underground station, and you’ll find north London’s unsung champions: Piccadilly FC.
A good service to the title
On the 30th of April, Piccadilly FC claimed their first Division One title in 15 years. They beat British Transport Police 1-0 to seal the championship, just a year after winning the Division 2 title.
The result seems straightforward, but the game itself was a met with a stern contrast. On one hand Piccadilly won the title but for the British Transport Police, they were condemned to relegation Division 2.
The last time Piccadilly won the Division 1 title was the 2002/03 season. Since then they have won the Division 2 title on two separate occasions: last season and in the 2006/07 season.
This season, they have won on eight occasions, losing just twice and not drawing once on the way to securing back to back titles. A remarkable two years for the club is complete.
Arriving on time for success
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As well as securing the League title, Piccadilly are on the hunt for more success. The club have not won a domestic competition since the 2003/04 season when they won the Charity Cup.
However, this season is perhaps their best opportunity to claim more silverware. They will face Tubelines FC in this season’s London Underground cup on June 17th.
Piccadilly were set to face Metropolitan City in the semi-final. But due to City not being able to field a full starting eleven, the forfeit victory was awarded to Piccadilly.
With the momentum firmly in the stride of Piccadilly, there is no doubt that this season is their absolute best opportunity to claim the double.
The driver and gaffer: Cem Toygar
Behind every title-winning side is a title-worthy manager: Piccadilly manager Cem Toygar is that man.
Being crowned Division One champions was a proud moment, but to win back-to-back League titles was another feeling altogether. Cem Toygar, 37, said: “I am ecstatic, obviously the plan since I took over in the 2015/16 season was to get back into Division One.”
Skylark joyously added: “To do it [win back to back titles] was unexpected but I am delighted we were able to pull it out of the bag.”
Guiding his side to back to back league titles, Toygar has the London Underground cup in his sights: “We are very excited for the cup final, especially because this a tournament the Piccadilly have never won.”
Despite already having their place as finalists confirmed, Toygar admitted it was not the way they wanted: “It’s not the way we wanted to be in the cup final, getting the forfeit win. We would have preferred to win by playing the game.”
“Nevertheless, we are so excited! A cup double is on,” said the excited manager.
With a cup final on the cards, it won’t be too long before pre-season preparations begin. Going into next season as the defending champions, retaining the title will be on the minds of everyone at the club.
The leading man with the armband: Michael Olaofe
For everyone at the club, it has been a remarkable season. Captain Michael Olaofe, 30, who stood with responsibility this season, is just as thrilled as any skipper of a title-winning side would be.
“It’s been amazing, obviously together as a team since last year. I started with the team last year in Division Two,” said Olaofe
Spirits amongst the squad are naturally high. Coming off the back of title win and forthcoming cup final, the feeling of optimism is rapidly growing. The atmosphere has been no different the entire season, Olaofe claimed.
“It’s electric, it’s not even high it’s electric! Every single game we are ready for it. That’s why I love this team because every single person always gives 110%.”
With pride running rife through the squad, Olaofe passionately but modestly spoke about how proud to be leading the team he is: “We lost our captain last game of the season last year. When the gaffer came up to me and asked me to lead the team as a vocal point, I was humbled. It’s not just me being a captain, we’re all captains in this team.”
The guy with the goals: Ross Wornham
Finding the back of the net is no easy feat. But Piccadilly FC’s top goalscorer Ross Wornham, 22, didn’t have any issues this season. Scoring 10 goals in 10 league games this season, Wornham has been the clubs talisman.
“I was actually on loan this season because the team I played for in the same league folded,” said Wornham.
It is definitely not just Olaofe feeling positive, as Wornham has also been lifted by the positive spirits: “Yeah it’s been brilliant, coming into a team where I didn’t know anyone, they settled in really well.”
Wornham is no stranger to the London Underground cup final, it’s an occasion he is familiar with. He is more than ready: “I was actually in last year with my old team, and we lost to the team we think we will be playing again.”
Next season in mind: no delays desired
The season is not over just yet. But manager Cem Toygar is keen to get going for next season, as he already has the next campaign in the back of his mind.
“I am always thinking a year ahead. We have already got some pre-season friendlies lined-up. Moving forward the aim is to now defend the title,” said Toygar.
An exciting time for everyone at the club. The optimism brewing in the air can only signal greater things. Back to back champions and now cup finalists, Piccadilly FC are on the up.
But what is Toygar’s ultimate plan? Emulate history “We want to emulate what the district line have done since 1996; they have won Division One ten times since the creation of the league in 1996.”