Hype Train Football Club has entered the world of grassroots football in time for a competitive league debut for the 2019/20 season. After years of planning, and a long campaigned effort to join a league as a start-up team, we were eventually confirmed as a new member club for the East Berkshire League. Here, we provide details about the league, our efforts to advance the league's image, and who we'll be playing in our inaugural season. All aboard.
Joining the East Berkshire Football League (EBFL)
The EBFL is a competitive league based in the south east of England, consisting of 28 teams spread across 3 divisions for the 2019/20 season. The league is an affiliate of the Berks & Bucks FA, which is based in Abingdon.
The Berks & Bucks Football Association is the County Football Association for Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. All of the leagues under the Berks & Bucks umbrella sit just below the bottom of the Football Association's National League System.
If you are unaware of what it takes to get in to a Saturday league as a team starting from scratch, it is not an easy ride as you are playing catch up with established clubs that have already built foundations from scratch. Firstly, you have to reach out to a league, apply and provide as much detail as you can about said team, undertake an interview in-front of the league's entire committee, be recommended for election as a new member club, before being sworn in at an AGM meeting.
Some grassroots leagues might not touch new teams altogether, as we found out when applying for the EBFL's sister league, the Thames Valley Premier League at the same time.
Our journey at The Hype Train to join a Saturday league lasted over a year and on Thursday 13th June 2019 we were formally welcomed into the EBFL at their AGM meeting at Burnham Football Club without any objections.
Making graphical improvements to the EBFL
Below, and in our title graphic, we have promoted an image of our own design, in what we hope will be the next official crest of the East Berkshire Football League. One element that the league is sorely missing at this current time is in its design department (which is no fault of their own or anyone else's) and as part of our service to improve the standing of the league, Hype Train FC General Secretary, Robert Austin, has submitted designs to revamp the EBFL's visual outlay.
Our proposed logo draws inspiration from traditional league crests, which features an outer circle bearing the extended league name, and an inner circle with relevance to the beautiful game and the area - though as football has grown into a global game we thought it best appropriate to forgo any local symbols or crests, instead focusing on the basics, with the football and faded ball pulling focus on the league's main priority, the game itself.
The crest's colours (blue/white/red) are quintessentially British and incredibly appropriate for the area, with the EBFL predominately located in the Berkshire region. The potential logo is also social media friendly and would look good when transformed in to a winners medal or trophy, or embroided on to apparel.
We are currently working with the EBFL, who have already expressed a fondness for our designs, to make this a reality heading into the 2019/20 season, so expect a few updates between now and August.
EBFL 2019/20 Season: When and where will HTFC be playing?
Having recently been granted entry into the East Berkshire Football League (EBFL) at their AGM on Thursday 13th June 2019. We will play our first competitive league match on Saturday 31st August 2019 in Division 2 (third-tier) of a 28-team league structure.
The division we enter features half a dozen teams from the same division from the 2018/19 season, a Slough Heating 'A' team to complement their Premier Division side, and 4 new teams, ourselves included.
New teams (4/12):
Barton Rovers, Berks Elite, Hype Train FC and Sandhurst
Teams staying in Division 2 (6/12):
Eaton Wick, Phoenix Old Boys, Townmead, Langley Hornets, KS Gryf Reserves, Iver Heath Reserves
Other teams (1/12):
Slough Heating 'A'
Eton Wick were the highest finishers from Division 2 last season still in Division 2. They finished in 4th place with 35 points from 22 games, with Langley Hornets finishing in mid-table in 6th place with 31 points.
Townmead (9th), KS Gryf Reserves (10th), Phoenix Old Boys (11th) and Iver Heath (12th) finished at the bottom clubs in the division last season and will be aiming to improve their standing this upcoming season.
Sandhurst, Barton and Berks Elite are established teams that will be stepping in to Division 2, whilst ourselves at Hype Train FC as a start-up club will be competing in our inaugural season, meaning we will be acting as the biggest wildcards in the 2019/20 campaign.
League Insight by General Secretary, Robert Austin:
Starting a football team has been incredibly exciting as you final design elements and start to get your roster of players together, but it hasn't been until now when the league was announced, that those nervous jitters started creeping in. At long last after a couple years of planning, it all finally feels real.
Hype Train FC initially applied for the Thames Valley Premier League (TVPL), housed within the Berks & Bucks FA, with many opposing teams in the immediate area. The league made sense to our players due to experience in its league structure and to our local geography, though that may not even be enough to get in. Even when you have ticked every requirement, and you are ready to rock and roll as a team, some leagues might not want to bank on a team that is just starting out, and that is a reality you will will face (as we did) with established leagues that don't want to take on start-up teams that might have a high chance of folding in its debut year.
The TVPL put us in to contact with the East Berkshire Football League, and from day one they were welcoming and inviting. At our committee meeting where myself and Sam (Club Chairman) talked all things Hype Train, they were very positive, receptive and embracing for our ideas about helping to improve the league.
Coming in to the league as a young 20-something management team (and Rod Stevens), we came in with a modern view of running clubs and we have been shown nothing but support by other clubs and EBFL committee members. From providing highlights, to logo re-branding and putting a social spotlight on the league, they've really let us take the ball of responsibility in shaping our future within the league, and that's been such a welcome bonus to everyone running the club behind the scenes.
I'd just like to take the chance to say thank you to the EBFL for taking a chance on a start-up team, you won't regret our inclusion one bit. I'd also like to shout-out to Stoke Poges's man behind the scenes, Daren Columb. I've met and spoken with Daren several times to get myself acclimatised to the league and what football in the East Berkshire area can offer, with his experience and stories invaluable as we start our own personal journey. Daren is just one person with his heart in the right place in the EBFL and we can't wait lining up against other like-minded teams this season.
The next step for HTFC is beginning our pre-season on June 26th, ahead of our competitive league debut on August 31st 2019. All Aboard.
Want to know more about The Hype Train?
The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.
We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.
In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles.
The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.
You can follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, follow Hype Train FC on Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel for exclusive content, or visit our website here at www.thehypetrain.co.uk