JOHN THIRKELL has claimed that Langley Football Club is the place to be in the East Berkshire Football League this season.

Langley revelled in a treble-winning campaign last term which included a first-ever Premier Division title plus the Ascot & District and East Berkshire League Cups.

Thirkell and his side began the defence of the league title with a 3-0 win against FC Beaconsfield, runners-up last season, on Saturday. Dean Papali struck twice with Paolo Cicero also on target at Harvey Park.

The manager knows that every match will be difficult this season but he believes the team has improved and are at least capable of matching their previous successes.

Thirkell told the Observer: “It was an end-to-end match and Beaconsfield never gave up. They kept on fighting but we just had a little more quality in the end.

“We’ve got a big squad and I’m looking forward to the new season. We will take it one game at a time and every single one is important. We hope to do what we did last year and try to do a little better.

“The players we’ve got in have made us stronger and we’re keeping the ball, which is what I like, get it down and play. We’re a better side now because we keep the ball well with players who have come in to strengthen the side.

“We’re playing proper football, so the team has moved forward, but you’ve still got to earn the right to play and work hard in training. The players are taking it seriously in training and so am I.

TWEET: Paolo Cicero scores with this free-kick to make it 2-0 on Saturday.

“I want my players to enjoy the game and put everything into it. It’s about enjoying your football so if you can get people playing with a smile on their faces everyone is going to get more out of it.

“I think Langley FC is the place to be at the moment.”

Langley are away to Frontline, champions of Division One last season, this Saturday (2pm) and Thirkell expects another tough match.

He said: “We had a right old wrestling match with Frontline last year. They fight for every ball so it’s going to be a big game.”

Check out our Observer sports Facebook page. Search: Robert Observer Sport and like, follow and share today.