Dubai: Dubai-based football club Gulf United were crowned champions of the UAE Second Division League for the 2022/23 season this weekend, after beating Al Hilal United 5-1.
This title comes on the back of their success from last season, being crowned the champions of the inaugural UAE Third Division.
The back-to-back promotion and league titles is a first in the history of UAE football and has created huge buzz and excitement around the club.
Gulf United, originally a football academy for players aged 7-23, was founded by a group of coaches in 2019 who wanted to bring their experience from around the world and help develop young talent in the region.
“We wanted to build a club and community that is driven on development, creating a brighter future for young people through the power of sport,” says Mo Jarad, Director of Football at Gulf United. “For us, this starts with the staff, with every role in the club we have experienced people who have been there and seen it all.
From the coaches to the boardroom, we have people who carry a wealth of experience, but more importantly, are aligned on the vision and purpose of our club”.
Gulf United have been competing with other privately owned clubs, in a growing section of the UAE FA’s league structure. The 2022-21 UAE Third Division final was played against Fleetwood United, sister club of Fleetwood Town, and this weekend Gulf United were crowned champions of the UAE Second Division season with their win against Al-Hilal United, also affiliated to a British club, Sheffield United.
Going into the final game of the season, Gulf United needed a win to secure the title, and it didn’t take long. Gary Hooper, who has played and scored in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League, opened the scoring 6 minutes into the game, followed by goals from Richard Peniket and Jamal Bartley in the first half. Al-Hilal midfielder Kojo Pele pulled a goal back with a marvellous free-kick in the 58th minute but was swiftly answered by goals from Mike Gbajie and Serge Essome, ending the game 5-1, with 5 different goal scorers for Gulf United.
Manager Steven Taylor, ex-Newcastle United defender with 192 premier league appearances across 12 Premier League seasons, who has also played in MLS (USA), ISL (India) and A League (Australia & New Zealand), has led Gulf United’s first team and has played a key role in their success. Taylor says, “100% of the credit deserves to go to the players, across the two seasons they have been phenomenal.”