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 each season.
During the summer of 1999, 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 national 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 had to wait to land its first major honour until 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 Spartan 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 Spartan South Midlands Division One title and promotion to the Premier Division. The club also made their debut in the FA Cup, winning 4-0 against Clapton.
On the edge of semi-professional football, the step up was a tall order for a team now missing many of its promotion winning side, 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 decided to return to the Herts Senior County League for 2015/16. Seeking to promote a new generation under manager Andy Landesberg. There was immediate reward by winning the Anagram Records Trophy followed in 2016/7 by an unprecedented treble of silverware in an incredible season that yielded the Herts County Premier title, Aubrey Cup and Herts Centenary Trophy.
With many of the squad now having come through the club’s massive youth set up; the club is once again is back in the Spartan South Midlands League, and the future looks bright!
Our Junior section was started by David Hyman and the late Philip Greenwold in 2000 – and 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. We are proud that a number of our first team squad have played ‘through the ranks’ since they were kids.
Following residencies at a number of temporary venues beginning at the International University in Bushey, and including Copthall Stadium (now Allianz Park) and Gosling Stadium, 2002 saw the Lions find a permanent home at Rowley Lane, Arkley.
Due to a lack of floodlights and a stand, Lions senior team needed to ground share at St Albans City, Broxbourne, and Hemel Hempstead Town in order to play in the Spartan South Midlands League for 5 seasons.
However, first team football returned to Rowley Lane for 2015/16 as the new Alan Mattey Stand and floodlights will more than meet the club’s needs in the future in the renamed Alpha Stadium.
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.