28th January 2019 - Lebeq legend wants United to finish the job
By Simon Parkinson
LEBEQ legend George Philipou is backing his beloved club to go on and "finish the job" with the promotion line so tantalisingly close.
The famous Bristol amateur club’s founder member and long-serving former Sunday secretary has more recently relinquished most of his commitments but continues to keep a keen eye on affairs, as well as "keeping minutes of club meetings."
Lebeq United, these days the flagship wing of their Stapleton Road-based set-up, headed into away combat with Wick with a five-point lead over second-placed Frampton United to protect.
And the 61-year-old Philipou, who had until recently been helping out with Saturday secretarial duties as assistant to another Lebeq stalwart, Errol Thompson, said: "Our United team seem to be in a much better position now to go up than in previous years.
"There seems to be more strength in depth, helped by having more experienced players in such as Mitchell Page, Aaron Cornwall and Kevin Camargo amongst many others.
"There’s still quite a long way to go, but getting good victories over main rivals like Frampton (5-0) and Ruardean Hill (4-1) has given us impetus, and although we didn’t beat Stonehouse last weekend we at least got a goalless draw."
Philipou admitted: "Last season was very disappointing. We’d been in the ascendancy for much of it but hit a bad patch around November/December. We picked up again and then suffered another little wobble and handed the title and promotion to Thornbury who, to be fair, deserved to win it.
"For us it was extremely sad after all that potential but now we’re in a much healthier position. Everything seems to be going for the team now and unless there’s an absolute disaster, they’ll go on and win the league and hopefully gain that place in the Toolstation or Hellenic League.
"They’ve learnt a lot from last season and I’m sure that determination to succeed will spur them on to finish the job."
Philipou recalled: "As founder member with Owen Smith back in 1982 of what was solely a Sunday side, we went on to enjoy enormous success, the most successful ever side in Bristol.
"We went on to win about 20 league championships and had eight GFA county cup wins, and we won the Fry Club Cup ten times which is a record. And of course we were runners-up in a national FA Sunday Cup final at Anfield in 2007.
"I knew our main Sunday side had been struggling more recently and it was a real shame when they folded recently.
"I was very sad to see it end that way after 36 fantastic years although not altogether surprised. I know there had been problems with fines etc but for me it was as much about the fact we were still winning too easily and the players were getting fed-up of teams pulling out of playing them.
"Perhaps the lads had become blasé: they didn’t have that competitive edge because they didn’t usually need it.
"Still, it’s been our main goal as a Saturday side for some time to gain promotion from the County League and I know the club is ambitious enough to go on and on if possible and make it to the Southern League and even the National League in time.
"These are exciting times. The enthusiasm seems to be there from the current crop of players and management and I think Lebeq will just carry on moving forward."