UCFC’s goalkeeper, Jonny Harvey, gives us the run down.
Ahead of the 2018-19 UCL sports season, there is much to look forward to, as well as look back on as we prepare for the beginning of the new year. Somehow, I managed to secure an interview with University College Football Club’s nest Welsh goalkeeper that happens to be on a year abroad (no, there wasn’t a wide plethora of choice). Yes of course, I’m talking about the infamous Jonny Harvey – with over 2,000 friends on Facebook as well as shamelessly posting and plugging every single project he’s involved in, you must’ve heard of Jonny Harvey. If not, then you must know him as the Gordon Banks of the record-breaking UCFC 1st XI. By season’s end, this team capped off the most successful season in UCL 1st team football history, pulling off the incredible feat of retaining the LUSL League and Cup double, claiming the elusive BUCS League title and ascending to Division 1. It truly was a fantastic season and who better than to speak with the man who kept seven clean sheets across the season, including one in the LUSL Cup Final.
So Jon, if you can, summarise for me just how well the firsts did last season and what you think was key to that success?
We were coming off the back of a really successful season the year before, but our main aim was always to win the BUCS League so to achieve that was great. In all, we managed to retain the LUSL Cup for the third year running, the LUSL league for the second year running and became the first team in UCFC’s history to win the BUCS League and get promoted to Division 1. I think our success came down to a couple of factors, perhaps most obviously Alex Kozak and Dr Goals [Viktor Kärcher] combining to score over 100 goals between them in the season. It was also a massive boost having so many incredible freshers (both first year and masters) join the squad to fill the holes that were left from other departing members. Otherwise, we really couldn’t have done it all without Cockers’ captain Noah putting his massive head to good use to lead us through the season.
What were the best and worst moments of the season?
The best was without doubt the moment when we found out we’d won the BUCS League.We’d lost to Essex the week before, perhaps due to my own fault, meaning that if Kent beat LSE we’d have to go up to Kent and get a result there to win the league, which was a pretty stressful prospect. That day, we had just beaten Chichester 8-1 but we were unaware of what had happened elsewhere until Noah got a call from the LSE captain saying they’d beaten Kent, confirming us as champions. That night ended up being a pretty good one. Worst, I’d have to say, is losing Varsity. We’d beaten them earlier in the season, we’d won the LUSL Cup two days earlier and we really should have put them away to top off the best season ever, so to lose on penalties was a really, really bitter pill to swallow.
The 1st XI is known for being a tight- knit group of lads with a lot of banter. What was the funniest moment of last year?
A cup final, albeit for any team, is a huge deal. Describe what it was like to play in Varsity as well as the cup finals two years in a row?
When I first came to UCL, I had the goal of making the Varsity team in my final year, so to find myself walking out of the tunnel as a fresher was an incredible experience. I’ll never forget the rush of stepping out onto the pitch and hearing the crowd go absolutely wild…there truly isn’t anything like it. The cup finals are amazing as well, and for the last couple of years they’ve come two days before Varsity, which makes for a pretty intense weekend, especially if you win! Yeah, there’s really not a lot better than a Varsity or cup final clash.
What makes UCFC such a great club compared to other sports at UCL?
Well, for starters, we’re the biggest club week in week out in terms of active members, fielding seven teams. I’d also say we’re just a huge club of really good mates – of course we do have the typical hierarchy of freshers and seniors, but we don’t treat the freshers badly like some other sports clubs do. Most importantly, and especially this year, we’ve worked on making UCFC a club rather than a collection of teams. Our teams are really successful, our socials are great, and our tours are even better – I wouldn’t want to be part of any other club.
On your year abroad in Australia, what will you miss the most about UCFC?
Football is such a massive part of my week at UCL. I train on a Monday, and then play on a Wednesday and Saturday, meaning the footy lads have become some of my closest [and only] mates, so I’ll really miss the bus journeys, the banter, and the very high standard of football. Also, I loved being social sec this year and seeing the socials just get bigger and better every week, so it’s going to be sad seeing pics and videos of all the boys at socials and Loop while I’m stuck in a Thursday morning tutorial, time difference and all.
Your good mate and former fellow social sec Max Tyson will begin his time as president of the Men’s FC. Although you’re not going to be a part of it, what can footballing freshers expect under the reign of President Tyson?
Yeah, thanks for rubbing that in. Tyson absolutely loves the club, he really helped drive it forward last year and will continue to do the same this year. To be fair, Fridge [former president Kurt Heaven] did some amazing work so Tyson is just standing on the shoulders of a giant, but he’ll be sure to put his own spin on things – picture a really camp dictatorship. He’s got a real focus on getting as many freshers into the set-up as possible because they’re just so important to the club, so if I was a fresher I’d be really excited at the prospect of trialling and getting into UCFC.
And finally, what are you looking forward to upon your return next year?
Socials, Loop and finally returning to a country where you can buy VKs.
This article was originally published in Issue 721 of Pi Magazine.