Whatever happened to the class of 1995?
We find out what happened to the first ever Non-League ‘Lions’ team twenty years after the club’s forerunners, MALEX, made their debut in the Herts County Senior League in August 1995:
Gary Blumberg (Goalkeeper)
The Cat was a truly inspirational captain in thew club’s debut season. The popular South African Maccabiah stopper eventually emigrated to the US where he is a Sports Lawyer, but remains a cult figure amongst his team mates.
Paolo Nadonovsky (Right Back)
A Brazilian full back who was as skillful as you can imagine, but his spell with us was stop-start over the first season as injuries took their toll, and Paolo’s Lions career was sadly fleeting.
Jason Portman (Left Back)
Jason was another one whose first team career was short-lived, as he was challenged in the left back role by Jon Steinberg and Peter Lazard and rarely featured in the Saturday side again.
Steve Gordon (Centre Back)
The MALEX ‘Stevie G’ was an uncompromising centre-half rather than marauding midfielder, but Steve played for the first team followed by Lions A on a Sunday for some years. Now manages our Under 11 Whites.
Jon Wohlgemuth (Centre Back)
An early fixture in the MALEX rearguard, an experienced and cultured centre half who is reportedly still playing having been sighted playing against Lions Veterans in recent years.
Paul Wise (Right Midfield)
One of the clubs ‘founding fathers’ and former committee member. Was player-assistant in the opening seasons of non-league football. Wisey had fantastic footballing vision and was a mainstay in the Saturday and then Masters teams until injury eventually forced retirement a few years ago.
Craig Henry (Centre Midfield)
‘Clog’ is a Lions legend. One of the most wholehearted footballers there is and still playing today for Lions Veterans, having appeared for every team within the club at some stage.
Bradley Lazarus (Centre Midfield)
Another long-serving player; Bradley’s technique was – and still is – as good as anyone who has donned a blue shirt; and he won’t be afraid to tell you. The creative spark then and now, Brad still stars in the Veterans team.
Nathan Kosky (Left Midfield)
An attacking force for 8 years with Lions’ 1st and Reserve teams, made his debut – and scored the winner – on that day. Now retired as a player, he manages the Under 10s and is on the club committee (including manning the website!).
Jason Bookbinder (Striker)
At the time, ‘Bookers’ was the young, fiery prospect of the team. An aggressive but popular striker, Jason was always a handful for the opposition and played regularly in the first team for several seasons, including spells in defence, before moving on.
Jon Zneimer (Striker)
Along with Bookbinder, Jon gave the Lions physical attacking power in those days; enabling others to get goals as much as scoring them himself. Injuries eventually took their toll, but Jon now has returned to help the Under 9s.
Danny Reuben (Sub)
‘Reubs’ is another enduring part of the Lions history having played for every senior team along the way and serving on the committee. Back then he was a skilful attacking midfielder, but seems to have actually got fitter over the years, if not better. He still plays for – and co-manages – the Lions Veterans team.
David Kyte (Sub)
It remains fitting that the first ever Lions goal (an overhead kick) was scored by David Kyte. He has been instrumental in turning us from Sunday side to the huge community club of today. David was a sometime defender, sometime midfielder and often manager. He allegedly has just hung his boots up from Masters team and remains Club President.