In the summer of 1995 the players and officials of Maccabi Association London (MAL) decided that they had reached the limits of Sunday football and that a new challenge was required.
The Hertfordshire Senior County League was a popular choice and the club made its debut in the 95/96 season under a new name of MALEX. Four years later the club had made many friends but had narrowly missed out on promotion from Division 1 in every season.
During the 1999 close season, the club revised its management structure, and decided to change its name to LONDON MACCABI LIONS, whilst retaining its all-Jewish status. This brought in an influx of new players, from a number of Maccabi League clubs, including champions Scrabble. Under the management team of Bobby Fisher and Adam Solomons the 1st team lost only three league games in their first season as they won the Division 1, and also reached the semi-finals of the Aubrey Cup.
The club grew into one of the strongest outfits in the Premier League but had to wait to land its first major honour in 2007 when Lions beat Metropolitan Police to lift the Herts Centenary Trophy. This was supplemented by the Reserves who were also promoted as champions, in 2002, and made it to three Herts Reserve Cup finals, winning one in 09/10.
After a decade in the Herts Premier, in 2009/10 now under the stewardship of Tony Gold and Steve Grenfell, Lions won the Herts Senior County League for the first time in the club’s history, winning promotion to the Spartan South Midlands League in the process.
The following season – the club’s first in the South Midlands Division One – they added a second Herts Centenary Trophy beating Letchworth Garden City Eagles 3-2 in the final.
Lions were able to go one better in 2012/13; winning the South Midlands Division One title and promotion to the heady heights of the South Midlands Premier Division. The club also made their debut in the FA Cup, winning 4-0 against Clapton.
Now just one league away from semi-professional football, it was a tall order for a team missing a number of players who had departed following promotion, and 2013/14 saw Lions suffer their first ever relegation at the end of a difficult season.
Having steadied the ship and changing its name to MACCABI LONDON LIONS, the club has decided to return to the Herts Senior County League for 2015/16 while it seeks to produce the best Jewish footballers from its growing youth system.
The youth set-up at Lions – started by David Hyman and the late Philip Greenwold in 2000 – now has over 30 teams, from U7s to U18s, which makes it one of the biggest community clubs in Hertfordshire. Alongside the club’s Sunday teams and Masters, Rowley Lane is a hive of footballing activity throughout the week.
Following residencies at a number of temporary venues including Copthall Stadium, 2002 saw the Lions in our permanent home at Rowley Lane, Arkley.
Due to a lack of floodlights and a stand, Lions senior team had to ground share at St Albans City, Broxbourne, and Hemel Hempstead Town in order to play in the South Midlands League. However, first team football returned to Rowley Lane in 2015/16 as the new Alan Mattey Stand and floodlights will more than meet the club’s needs in the future.
We have always tried to conduct ourselves with sportsmanship and pride as well as striving for victory. We look forward to continuing this into the future.