IF THERE IS a sudden shortage of lamb available in the south east of England any time soon you can probably blame it on Phoenix Sports!
The south east London club clinched the Southern Counties East League title with a 1-0 win at Erith & Belvedere last Wednesday – their 27th of the campaign.
They’ve lost just one league game all season and kept a mammoth 29 clean sheets in all competitions – exactly the reason why lamb might just be in short supply.
Boss Steve O’Boyle works at Smithfield meat market in the capital alongside Dartford’s Ryan Hayes, and he wasn’t sheepish about using his connections to good use, enticing left-back Danny Moore to sign in the summer.
The deal breaker? A leg of lamb clean sheet bonus!
“We’ve got a lot of good, honest lads here and money isn’t a big thing to any of them,” O’Boyle told The NLP.
“Our defensive record has been unbelievable. I was desperate for a left-back in the summer so did all I could to get Danny in.
“The only problem has been every time we keep a clean sheet, he keeps bugging me for a leg of lamb – he must be living off the stuff. One of the other lads is only on a fiver clean sheet bonus, so luckily we haven’t crippled the club!
“I work nights so there have been some long days for me, especially after midweek games. When you lose it really takes out of you, but after a win, the customers get some great deals!”
This isn’t the first time O’Boyle has included a meat incentive in a deal, but fortunately this one has benefited both parties.
“When I first took over at Phoenix I signed a striker called Raffa Akala and he was on a leg of goat goal bonus,” he said.
“That one didn’t really seem to work though as I don’t ever remember him scoring!”
Sports will take their place at Step 4 in the Ryman League next season – their highest ever position – after two promotions in just three years.
O’Boyle added: “We won the Kent Invicta in my first season at the club and this is only our second year in this league. There’s a lot of money floating about so to do what we’ve done is a fantastic achievement.
“We had a five-year plan to try and get into the Ryman League so we’re a few years ahead of schedule!”