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20th anniversary of a legend’s arrival

By David B28/5 21:01Tue May 28 21:01:59 2019

Views: 413

Our friendly at Staines Town on 30 July this year will be 10 days after the 20th anniversary of Bontcho Guentchev’s first appearance for Hendon in our opening preseason game of 1999–2000, also against Staines at Wheatsheaf Lane, before it was rebuilt. As a friendly is not an official game, it is therefore not his debut – that came as a substitute on the second Saturday of the season at Hitchin (which was filmed by Sky Sports News).

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Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrival

By Dessie29/5 11:34Wed May 29 11:34:44 2019In response to 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrivalTop of thread

Views: 737

David, I think you are forgetting that at around the same time we also welcomed Mavuto Sakala, possibly the worst striker I have ever seen in a Hendon shirt. I think it would be fitting to mark this anniversary as well.

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Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrival

By David B29/5 12:56Wed May 29 12:56:21 2019In response to Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrivalTop of thread

Views: 364

I was using legendary in the totally positive sense.

Sakala’s miss at Hampton was surpassed by Mick Kiely’s in the 7-0 loss to Kingstonian at Hampton and – most damagingly – Blaise O’Brien’s one at Margate when we were 2-0 up on the last day of the season and lost 4-2 to finish in a relegation position.

To my knowledge, Paul Parker (briefly at Heybridge) and Bontcho are the only two men to play in a football World Cup semi-final and then in the Isthmian League (Bobby Moore managed in the League for Oxford City but didn’t play). I can think of other players who appeared in a World Cup semi-final and in the Isthmian League, but it wasn’t football and the World Cup appearances came later.

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Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrival

By Whispering Minotaur30/5 08:17Thu May 30 08:17:10 2019In response to Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrivalTop of thread

Views: 283

I have a question - what makes a player a legend?

Bontcho, whilst undoubtedly one of the most talented players we've had at the club, made less than 100 appearances for us. His son, Lubomir, made over 150 appearances. Is he a legend? Does it make Luke Tingey, who reached the 150 appearance mark in the season just gone a legend?

Personally, I feel the term legend is used far too often, particularly here at Hendon. I'm well aware others will disagree.

For me a club legend is someone who has been with the club for many years, whether it be behind the scenes or on the pitch, or who achieve someone incredible during their time at the club - such as Niko Muir's 40 goals last season. Apart from his 45 minutes in goal at Carshalton, did Bontcho really do anything that amazing while he was with us - other than his undoubted influence on the squad due to his experience in the game?

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Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrival

By David B30/5 09:38Thu May 30 09:38:27 2019In response to Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrivalTop of thread

Views: 298

Bontcho is, to me a Hendon legend. I totally agree that legend status is totally overused, but in my eyes numbers don’t make legend; it is intangibles. I watched quite a lot of Hendon reserves when Bontcho was there and you only had to look at how the reserves and younger first-team players reacted to him; they utterly adored him.

Bontcho was the epitome of Frank Murphy’s football ethos: style, swagger, skill and smile on face. He was a 30-something player, who, nine months earlier, had scored in the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) round of 16 for CSKA Sofia, was three years removed from playing at Euro 96 and five years after his World Cup semi-final appearance and yet he was willing and happy to be a squad player at Hendon in the sixth tier of English football. His first goal for Hendon was an overhead scissors kick (and he nearly repeated it against Blackpool in the FA Cup 2nd round – which would probably have set up a club-history-changing third round tie at Arsenal), and he came off the bench to replace Richard Wilmot in goal to turn a one-goal deficit into a 2–1 win at Carshalton, a couple of days after the hugely disappointing FA Cup exit on an utterly dreadful Claremont Road pitch against Dagenham & Redbridge.

When he was at Hendon at the end of his first season, Ipswich needed to win at home to make the Championship playoff on the final day (they did), but half a dozen fans traipsed to Heybridge to watch Bontcho playing for Hendon instead – that is how much thousands of Ipswich fans loved him. In spring 2001, he appeared in all 11 games in 16 days at the end of our maddest ever season.

Hundreds of Hendon players have spent many more seasons with the club, won more trophies, received more honours, scored more goals, made more appearances, but Bontcho had that je ne sais quoi that made him such a special player and person.

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Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrival

By Whispering Minotaur30/5 10:14Thu May 30 10:14:07 2019In response to Re: 20th anniversary of a legend’s arrivalTop of thread

Views: 299

Fair enough - I guess it's a bit different when you're able to be around more than just watching first team games and get to know the players.

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