Seventh consecutive promotion for UEL men's football team
Goalkeeper Robins the hero as Premier Division beckons for record-breaking UEL
Victory over both the University of Exeter and Cardiff University 1st teams sealed UEL's seventh consecutive promotion - a national university record.
The side finished top of the BUCS South Eastern 1A table after finishing the season with seven wins in ten games, including a 100 per cent home record. This led them to a three-way playoff against Exeter and Cardiff to decide who would gain promotion to the top division.
UEL comfortably saw off Cardiff University 2-0 in their first game, thanks to goals from Joshua Adeji and Liam MacDevitt.
In a tense final game against the University of Exeter, first-half goals from Johan Caney-Bryan and another from Adeji saw UEL off to a bright start. But Exeter began the second half on the offensive and pulled a goal back within five minutes.
This made for a nail-biting finish and, with ten minutes left to play, Exeter were awarded a penalty. UEL goalkeeper Richard Robins responded by making a brilliant save only for the celebrations to be cut short when the referee ordered the penalty to be retaken. Remarkably, Robins pulled off another save, capping a man-of-the-match performance and securing a tight 2-1 win.
Afterwards, Robins paid tribute to his team-mates for their remarkable progression in such a short space of time.
He said, “This is a magnificent achievement for the men’s football team as they have now established themselves as one of the best university football teams in the country.
“Although ample credit should be given to the first-team squad for this season’s success, it must be noted that the extraordinary achievements this year are just another chapter of the UEL Football Club legacy.
"The club’s rise since its emergence in the bottom division, Tier Seven, to the BUCS Premier Division, with seven consecutive promotions is something that’s hard to replicate.”
The team also made the quarter-finals of the BUCS Football Trophy in a hugely successful season before they were narrowly defeated by eventual finalists, the University of Essex.
Yassin Abidou, head coach of men’s football at UEL, also hailed his team's performances this season and said he was looking forward to the challenge ahead in the Premier Division.
“After gaining six consecutive promotions, the pressure was on the boys to deliver and they haven’t let me down this season," he said. "They’ve gone above and beyond for the team, I couldn’t be prouder of their achievements.
“Next season will be a real test of skill and character for them but if they play anywhere near the level they’ve reached during the past seven years, I know they’ll be able to handle the step up.”
Football scholarships are available for men and women at the University of East London. For more information visit uel.ac.uk/sportsscholarships.