Cheshunt Sports and Leisure LTD. Company registration: 07532736, VAT Number: 117532823.
Good Afternoon and welcome to Cheshunt stadium. We extend a special welcome to the players, officials and supporters of Bognor Regis Town.
The Rocks last visit to Theobalds Lane was remarkably only one day out from being a year to the day – Saturday 10th October 2020 – when a goal by substitute Reece Beckles-Richards separated the two sides and secured the points for the Ambers, the reverse fixture didnt take place in a curtailed season, when it did take place on a misty Tuesday night back in 2019 a brace from Dipo Akinyemi again secured the points for Cheshunt.
Cheshunt supporters are reminded that the postponed fixture at Leatherhead has now been rescheduled for Tuesday 9th November and the away match due at Kingstonian will be subject to change as Corinthian Casuals have an FA Cup tie at the ground, confirmation to be advised as soon as available.
Enjoy the game
Please note Cheshunt FC operates a No Dogs policy. (except Assistance Dogs)
You are responsible for your own children on the site, unless they are participating in an organised event at the site with qualified staff.
Good afternoon and welcome to Theobalds Lane.
In non-footballing matters I’d like to thank everyone who has written in with congratulatory messages following our Cheshunt Sports Village permission. It’s great to see the support of fans, parents and the local community as well as those from further afield. The scheme has appeared in many local magazine and trade publications and I was given the opportunity to discuss the development on BBC 3C Radio last weekend.
The permission is a significant step forward but there’s still a long way to go. We’ll be reaching out to Broxbourne Council and Herts County Council in the coming weeks and months whom, as landowners, will determine whether the scheme will be delivered. I look forward to working positively with the council as we have done for the last eight years and I’ll of course keep you updated of how things progress.
On football matters I was disappointed to go out of the FA Cup last weekend. I can take losing, but our performance was not at the level we have set ourselves this season, particularly coming off the back of an excellent performance against Brightlingsea Regent in the previous game.
On that note I must show my appreciation to Craig the players and staff, as well as Brightlingsea and our volunteers and fans for making the game happen while those around us were postponed. I like to think we do things the right way and in the spirit of the game.
I know Craig and the players will be itching to put things right after last Saturday. It’s a tough test against a very good Bognor side who are flying high at the moment. It makes for a great game ahead.
Enjoy the match.
Firstly I’d like to welcome everyone who has travelled up from Bognor for today’s game along with our match day officials and hope they enjoy a good game.
It’s been quite a week for us and emphasised the highs and lows of football. We entertained Brightlingsea on the Tuesday and a slow start resulted us going a goal down early on. Worse was to follow when Reece received our first red card of the season with over an hour to go. We’ve been very good overall this season with results not really mirroring dominant performances but this was a big ask.
The response was incredible. In monsoon like conditions not only did we come back to win but we did so absolutely dominating the game. We showed grit, determination, character and no little skill to get the three points.
This took us to the 3rd Qualifier in the FA Cup and with all due respect to AFC Sudbury, playing a side a division below a wonderful opportunity to progress. Added to that the confidence of the great win on Tuesday night.
We had an excellent report done, a solid game plan but basically threw it all out of the window. We were dreadful and as bad as in any game since I’ve been here. We must have had 70% possession but hardly worked their keeper at all. They had their game plan, stuck to it rigidly and got the job done. A wonderful opportunity lost but hopefully many lessons learnt. A lot of video replays to go over with the squad this week.
So we now have an ‘easy’ run of the first and second in the division sandwiching the FA Trophy winners. It’s a big challenge but I’m sure one we will relish.
Enjoy the game
Bognor Regis Town Football Club was founded in 1883 and their early years were spent playing friendly matches until they joined the West Sussex league in 1896. They enjoyed moderate success at this level, which included winning the league five years in succession in the early twenties. As a result they joined the Brighton and Hove District League in 1926, however, their stay was short as the following season they applied to join the Sussex County League where they remained until 1972.
The club enjoyed mixed fortunes in this league, winning the Division One Championship in the 1948/49 season and finishing runners-up in 1938/39. In 1951/52 the club finished runners up in the County League and reached the Sussex Senior Cup final for the first time, losing to Worthing. In 1954/55 the club won the Sussex Senior Cup for the first time, beating Horsham. They retained the cup the following season when beating Eastbourne United.
Relegation to Division Two in 1969 was to start a new era for the club. The Rocks, as they are also known, bounced back at the first attempt, winning Division Two, followed the next season by winning the Division One championship title, which was rewarded with a step up to the Southern Football League. In 1972, Bognor reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing away to Colchester United.
In 1970, a 21-year-old full back called Jack Pearce had arrived in time for the 1970-71 season. In 1976, he was to take on the managers’ job, at the age of just 26. Bognor were bottom of the Southern League and were struggling to survive financially and had lost all their best players but Jack Pearce managed to turn things round and as a result the job was his. This began a long period of success for the club.
In 1980 the club won the Sussex Senior Cup, beating Ringmer. The following year they finished Southern League Southern Division runners-up, reached the final of the Southern League Cup, where they lost to Bedford Town, and retained the Sussex Senior Cup, beating Peacehaven & Telscombe. They also won the Southern League Merit Cup for most goals scored in the season. The club switched to the Isthmian League for the following season, to reduce travelling time and costs, even though it meant having to drop a level. They won promotion from Division One at the first attempt as runners-up, whilst retaining the Sussex Senior Cup by beating Lewes. Success in the Sussex Senior Cup continued as the club set a competition record by retaining it for five years with wins in the final against Littlehampton and Lewes in the following two seasons.
The highlight of Pearce’s management career was on 21st November 1984 when Bognor Regis Town beat a Swansea City side including Dean Saunders and seven Welsh internationals in a first round FA Cup replay. Swansea had been in Division One just two years before. In the first tie at the Vetch Field the Rocks were unlucky to be held 1-1 but in the replay at Nyewood Lane they won 3-1 in front of a record crowd of 3,642. Only Jimmy Rimmer in the Swans goal saved the Welsh side from a thrashing as Bognor tore their visitors to pieces. The cup run came to an end at Reading in the second round. The season ended with a Sussex Senior Cup final defeat to Lewes. Bognor repeated the feat of reaching the FA Cup second round the following year, losing at Gillingham.
In 1986/87 the club achieved its highest placing in the Premier Division, finishing fifth, won the Sussex Senior Cup, beating Arundel, whilst also winning the AC Delco Cup, beating Hendon 3-2 at Windsor. This was the first cup success for a Sussex club outside of its own county. Further FA Cup success was achieved in 1988 when Division Four outfit Exeter City were beaten 2-1 at Nyewood Lane in the first round, before losing 1-0 at home to Cambridge United in the second round.
In 1991/92 the club finished 21st, but avoided relegation as Dagenham merged with Redbridge Forest and no Conference side was relegated to the Isthmian League. Jack Pearce stood down as manager, with Mick Pullen becoming player/manager. The reprieve lasted one season, as the club failed to win a league game until 28th December, and finished bottom. Bognor reached the Sussex Senior Cup final in 1994/95, before losing to Brighton at The Goldstone Ground.
Jack Pearce resumed the management role in 1995, coinciding with Bognor reaching the second round of the FA Cup again, where they lost 4-0 at Peterborough United, whilst also reaching the last 16 of the FA Trophy, where they lost 3-1 at home to Radcliffe Borough. Another Sussex Senior Cup final was reached in 2000/01, ending in defeat to Lewes at Eastbourne.
After several near misses, Bognor finally gained promotion back to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2002/03, when finishing runners-up to Carshalton. The following season, a tenth place finish was enough to claim a place in the newly-formed Conference South. They remained in this league for five seasons, with the ninth place finish in 2004/05 being the highest they achieved.
In October 2007, Michael Birmingham stepped up from being Jack Pearce’s assistant manager to become player/manager. After saving the club from relegation he stood down at the end of the season, to be replaced by Mick Jenkins, with Andy Awford as his assistant, at the beginning of a turbulent period for the club. Finances were already stretched when an arson attack destroyed the clubhouse in the opening week of the season, severely reducing the funds available. Jenkins and Awford resigned after a defeat on 3rd January, having overseen just two league wins. Darin Killpartrick took over as caretaker manager. Within days the club were deducted 7 points for fielding an unregistered player. Despite an improvement in the results, Bognor were relegated on 4th April 2009 with defeat at Welling. In all, 61 different players either played or were named as substitute during the season.
In June 2009 Killpartrick was confirmed as manager, with former player Jamie Howell named as his assistant, although they soon became joint managers. Another difficult season followed, with 1 win in the first 12 league games, leaving the club entrenched in the relegation places. A run of four straight away defeats in 11 days, ending away to Maidstone United on 22nd April saw the club relegated for the second year in a row. The club did reach the final of the Sussex Senior Cup, where they lost 4-0 to Brighton at Eastbourne.
Jamie Howell now took on the management role, with Killpartrick becoming coach. Season 2010/11 saw a significant change in fortune, and the club challenged strongly for promotion from the Ryman League Division One South. However, they missed out on the automatic promotion place when they could only draw away to already relegated Chatham on the final day of the season, thus allowing Metropolitan Police to draw level on 96 points, but having a goal difference of +61 to Bognor’s +60. To compound the disappointment, Bognor lost 3-1 at home to Dulwich Hamlet in the play-off semi final. Dulwich had finished 31 points behind them.
Following such a dramatic finish to the season, some doubted whether the Rocks could bounce back, but the following season they remained unbeaten at home in the league as they finished second again, this time missing out to Whitehawk by two points. After beating Godalming at home on penalties in an epic play-off semi final which finished 4-4, they overcame Dulwich Hamlet 1-0 in the final thanks to a headed goal from Stuart Axten and a penalty save from Craig Stoner in front of over 2000 spectators, to return to the Isthmian League Premier Division.
The following season, 2012/13, began well and the club were still flirting with the play-offs at the end of January. However a run of serious injuries to key players took its toll, and the club eventually finished fourteenth. The Sussex Senior Cup final was reached again, which brought a first visit to Brighton’s Amex Stadium, but a strong Brighton side won 4-0.
Season 2013/14 began with 1 point won from the first 4 games however, from that point, Bognor embarked on a marvellous run in the league to finish third. Despite opening the scoring in the play-off semi final, Lowestoft struck in each half to win 2-1 at Nyewood Lane. The season finished with another Sussex Senior Cup final at The Amex, but again this ended in defeat, this time to Peacehaven and Telscombe.
Season 2014/15 saw another slow start, with only 3 points from the first 21. A good run took Bognor to the fringes of the play offs at the end of February but, once again, a long injury list hampered attempts to sustain the challenge and the club finished fourteenth.
Season 2015/16 was arguably the clubs most successful season. Second place in the league, missing out on the championship by just one point, followed by a play-off semi final defeat at home against Dulwich Hamlet were accompanied by an appearance in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2004, with victories over National League North side Lowestoft and National League South side Oxford City. But the highlight of the season was the wonderful ten match run to the semi finals of the FA Trophy, with dramatic victories at home against National League sides Altrincham and Torquay United, whilst also beating Bath City, Maidstone United and Sutton United from National League South, culminating in a two legged semi final against Grimsby Town. The quest to reach Wembley unfortunately ended in a 3-1 aggregate defeat.
Despite losing several key players at the end of the season to higher placed clubs, Bognor found themselves on top of the Ryman Premier Division by early November 2016. Despite a run which saw only 2 league defeats in 24 matches, Bognor were pipped to the championship by Havant & Waterlooville, when they failed to win either of the last two league fixtures. However, they managed to beat both Wingate & Finchley and Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 at home in the play offs to return to National League South after 8 seasons. An impressive crowd of almost 3,500 saw the final and in fact over 9,500 spectators watched The Rocks’ last four matches of the season. Shortly after the end of the season it was announced that Jamie Howell had resigned as manager to move to Eastbourne Borough.
Jack Pearce again took over as manager for the 2017-18 season, but after a good start the team suffered a bad run of injuries to key players. Relegation back to the Isthmian League followed. Season 2018-19 saw another mid-table league position but the Sussex Senior Cup was won at the Amex Stadium, Brighton with a 2-1 victory against Burgess Hill Town.
BOGNOR REGIS TOWN – PLAYER PROFILES
AMADOU TANGARA – Goalkeeper
Amadou is an experienced ‘keeper from the Ivory Coast. Formerly with Kingstonian, Cheshunt, Merstham and Dulwich Hamlet.
ASHTON LEIGH – Midfield
Joined in 2018 from Wessex League side Baffins Milton Rovers, and has impressed with his calm, determined play and ability to score vital goals.
CALVIN DAVIES – Defender
Former Portsmouth defender who joined Bognor in 2016 and quickly became a favourite with his strength in the tackle. Sadly missed two seasons with a serious knee injury but has come back as good as ever.
JOE HANCOTT – Defender
Had a short spell on loan from Portsmouth two seasons ago, and has joined this season on a permanent basis. Became Portsmouth’s youngest ever first team debutant at just over 16 years old.
CRAIG ROBSON – Defender
Re-joined the club in the summer, having played with distinction for several years at Nyewood Lane earlier in his career. Moved from Bognor to Dagenham & Redbridge and then to Barnet, Billericay and Havant & Waterlooville.
TOMMY FARR – Defender
A local lad who was promoted this season from the Youth team, and has already impressed with his determined style of play.
JOE DANDY – Defender
Versatile defensive player who was previously with Portsmouth and Finnish second division side Pallo-Lirot. Previously spent time on laoin at Bognor from Fratton Park.
JAMES CRANE – Defender
Played for the club for nine years before leaving to join Worthing for one year, returning to Nyewood Lane in 2020. Previously played for Arundel, Heart of Midlothian, Reading, and Cypriot sides Famagusta and AEK Larnaca. Scored Bognor’s goal of the season against Altrincham three years ago.
JOE COOK – Defender
Powerful central defender with an eye for goal. Joe joined from Havant & Waterlooville in 2020, having played on loan at Bognor prior to this.
ETHAN ROBB – Midfield/Defender
Signed for the club in 2020 following his release from Portsmouth. Can play in midfield or central defence and spent time last season on loan at Brentford.
ASHTON LEIGH – Midfield
Joined in 2018 from Wessex League side Baffins Milton Rovers, and has impressed with his calm, determined play and ability to score vital goals.
CHARLIE BELL – Midfield
Having played twice for Portsmouth’s first team last season, Charlie was released at the end of the season. Despite interest from other EFL sides, he has opted to join the Rocks.
JAKE FLANNIGAN – Midfield
Jake spent time at Nyewood Lane last season on loan from Havant and Waterlooville and has now joined Bognor on a permanent basis. Began his career at Southampton where he featured in the first team. Has also played at Hampton & Richmond Borough.
HARVEY WHYTE – Midfield
Played for the club during two loan spells before signing permanently six years ago from Havant & Waterlooville. Great ball control and a blistering pace makes him very popular with the Rocks faithful. Son of 1980’s Rock’s favourite Dallas Whyte. Began as a winger but is now an accomplished attacking midfielder. Club captain.
GAVIN McCALLUM – Midfield
Canadian international who scored v. Venezuela in his first start. Joined Bognor from Dartford in the summer and has played for many clubs including Yeovil, Weymouth, Havant & Waterlooville, Sutton United, Hereford, Licoln City, Eastbourne Borough, Barnet and Welling United.
JORDY MONGOY – Forward
Jordy has played, and scored, for Hastings United, Lewes and IK Gauthiod in Sweden before signing for Bognor in 2019.
KAYNE FRIEDRICK-ROBERTS – Forward
Began his career at Fulham before joining Manchester United’s Youth set-up where he played regularly for their Under 18s and UEFA Youth League sides. After leaving Manchester his footballing career took him to Greenwich Borough and Lewes before moving to IK Gauthiod in Sweden’s second tier.
NATHAN ODOKONYERO – Forward
Developed in Chelsea’s academy before joining Lincoln City. Moved to Bognor in the summer and quickly impressed with his goal scoring ability.
HARRISON BROOK – Forward
Recently released by Portsmouth, this young player joined the club during September hoping to further his career.
JACK PEARCE – Team Manager
Now in his 52nd year with the club after joining as a player from Portsmouth, Jack has been player, player-manager, manager, chairman and is now first team manager/Vice Chairman of the club.. He is also a highly respected FA Councillor of many years standing and was appointed to the Main Board of the FA last year. Was named Vice Chair of the FA’s Main Board in July. Was also appointed as Chairman of the National League in the summer.
ROBBIE BLAKE – Head Coach
Made over 500 appearances in the Football League and the Premier League, including scoring the winner for Burnley against Manchester United. Robbie was previously first team coach at Portsmouth before making the switch to Bognor three years ago.
Manager Craig Edwards
Reece Beckles Richards
Bognor Regis Town FC
Manager Jack Pearce
Kayne Diedrick Roberts
Mr Graham Swanton
Mr Dumitru Vasilie Mr. Lucas Wood
LOOK BACK IN AMBER
By Jim Tuite
v Hemel Hempstead Town
FA Vase 2nd qualifying round
Saturday 10th October 1998
This afternoon we look back 23 years to the day the Ambers travelled to Vauxhall Road in the FA Vase and came away with a fine 4-2 victory against County Rivals, Hemel Hempstead Town.
Tom Loizou’s side, relegated the season before, had started the league campaign brightly as Loizou had boldly predicted, only having lost one game (0-2 at Flackwell Heath) and so looked for a little cup glory to accompany his sides form. Hemel, the Isthmian 3rd division Champions, had continued their winning ways and were firm favourites to win. However, the Ambers spoiled the party with the help of an own goal and strikes from Robert Boyce, Pani Paynayotou and a man who was soon to become an Ambers legend, Darrell Cox.
Brought in from the obscurity of East London’s Crown and Manor side by Tom Loizou the previous season, Cox had made 13 appearances and scored 3 goals. Job commitments (he worked and later managed a bookmakers and Saturdays were compulsory) made his appearances irregular but Loizou kept that quiet from the club, fearing a backlash against his player, so he went along with the impression that he didn’t 100% rate him. Cox would net 10 times in 39 appearances that year as the Ambers bounced back into division two.
In the years that followed, Cox would make the number nine shirt his own, finishing top goalscorer in 2001/02 and 2002/03 and attracting the attention of several Football League sides as well as his Mother’s home Island, Grenada. Early in 2004, he received a call from a Scout acting on behalf of the Grenadian FA asking him if he would be interested in joining the squad for their CONCACAF region 1st round World Cup qualifier against Guyana? A disbelieving Cox agreed and was set to fly out to St Georges when he was injured in a league game at Heybridge and had to pull out. Grenada won 5-0 but Cox was kept in the squad for the second leg in Blairmont, Guyana a month later.
Training with the squad, which included Blackburn’s Jason Roberts and soon-to-be-team-mate Byron Bubb, Cox flew onto Guyana and sat on the bench and looked on as Grenada won 3-1. Warming up on the touchline on March 14th 2004 was the nearest Cox – and Cheshunt – ever came to a full international appearance as he was never selected again.
Grenada incidentally played the USA in the second qualifying round, losing 2-6 on aggregate, and have never qualified for a World Cup
Cox would go onto make 235 appearances and score 103 goals before leaving in the summer of 2005. He returned for two seasons in 2006, increasing his tally to 298 appearances and 140 goals and then returned for a final time in 2010 to add 15 goals in 18 appearances to give him a grand total of 155 goals and secure himself as Cheshunt’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Football is the most popular sport worldwide, and there are so many children who do not have the same opportunities to safely play the game that they are so passionate about.
In the UK, children are often buying new pairs of football boots every season, as they so quickly outgrow their old pairs. This means that their used football boots are often left in near-perfect condition.
Our goal is to give these football boots a second chance and to bring joy to children who don’t have the same opportunity.
Cheshunt FC teams are collecting boots for this very worthwhile charity, please check your cupboards for any boots you may be able to bring along to the club and donate.
Date: Sunday 10th October, 10:00 am
Location: Hatfield House, Great North Road, Hatfield, AL9 5AB
Or take part virtually!
Willow’s annual run is back for 2021 and this year we are transforming our event into a running festival – we can’t wait to welcome you back!
Run with Willow is a great race for beginners and experienced runners alike, so join in by taking part in our junior 1k, 5k, or 10k, and discover Hatfield House like you’ve never seen it before!
There’ll be a great run-specific warm-up, music along the course, food and games stalls, and a physio on hand to ease any aches and pains before or after your run. Plus Willow’s own Tiny Tots Scamper for the very little ones, the toddlers and the babies in prams and pushchairs.
Family and friends are welcome to join the cheering teams and everyone will have access to Hatfield House’s Stable Yard, with its lovely shops and superb cafe. It is more than just a running race, it’s fun for all the family.
The scenic course takes runners on a route that goes through the picturesque grounds of Hatfield House, providing a unique opportunity to explore hidden parts of the estate not normally open to the public. Even if you can’t join us at Hatfield House, you can still earn yourself a Willow medal and t-shirt by signing up to our virtual option and taking on your chosen distance at a time and location that suits you.
10K over 18s – £22.50
10K 14-17-year-olds – £12.50
5K over 18s – £15
5K 14-17-year-olds – £8.50
Junior 1K (under 14s) – £5.00
Virtual entry – £5.00
All runners will receive a bespoke Willow medal and finishers t-shirt in honour of their achievements.
Run with Willow is a fundraising event and we encourage everyone to raise as much as they can. Our minimum sponsorship pledge is £50. You will find links to your online fundraising page in your confirmation email. Every penny you raise will help us to continue providing Special Days for seriously ill 16 to 40-year-olds.
Registrations Now Open!
Thank you to our amazing supporters:
On the 26th October 1963 in the Freemasons Tavern on Great Queen Street in Holborn, London, the first meeting of the Football Association took place. The main item for discussion was to create a codified set of rules, that would “embrace the best and most acceptable points of all the various methods of play under one heading of Football”. Eleven clubs, all based in London, attended the meeting after Ebenezer Cobb Morley, the captain and founder of Barnes, had written to Bell’s Life newspaper, suggesting that football needed set rules and a governing body similar in structure to how the Marylebone Cricket Club ruled cricket.
Apart from Morley’s Barnes Football Club, the other ten representatives in the put that night were Civil Service, the Crusaders, Forest of Leytonstone, No Names Club of Kilburn, Crystal Palace, Blackheath, Kensington School, Perceval House of Blackheath, Surbiton and Blackheath Proprietary School. One small area of London, Blackheath, with a population of a few thousand that provided three of the clubs who were willing to codify the game of football for the first time in the world.
Up until this point, the way the game had been played had varied based on geography in the UK. The rules created by the world’s oldest club, Sheffield FC, for example, differed from those used at Rugby School, whilst in London a number of private schools had their own versions. With the game becoming more popular, Morley’s idea was to “form an Association with the object of establishing a definite code of rules for the regulation of the game”.
The captains, secretaries and other representatives of a dozen London and suburban clubs who saw Morley’s letter and responded playing their own versions of football headed to Holborn to agree on a new approach for football in England.
At that historic meeting, Mr Francis Maule Campbell, from Blackheath FC, was elected treasurer. However, by the sixth meeting of the ground, less than two months later, Campbell withdrew Blackheath FC from the new structure, created under the name of the Football Association, after hearing that some of the more “robust” rules that his side played to in South East London would be outlawed.
Campbell wasn’t alone in challenging the rest of the newly found association on the rules to play under. G.W Shillingford, representing Perceval House, another Blackheath-based school which was originally chosen as a founding member of the Football Association, also disagreed with the majority. ‘Football’, they thought, would be a blend of handling and dribbling. Players would be able to handle the ball: a fair catch accompanied by ‘a mark with the heel’ would win a free kick. The sticking point was ‘hacking’, or kicking an opponent on the leg, which Blackheath wanted to keep.
Eliminating hacking would “do away with all the courage and pluck from the game, and I will be bound over to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice.” Campbell was reported to have said after leaving the group, further explaining that the rules that the FA intended to adopt would destroy the game and all interest in it.
Other clubs took the decision to follow Blackheath’s lead and in December 1870 Edwin Ash, secretary of Richmond Football Club published a letter which said, “Those who play the rugby-type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play.” On 26 January 1871 a meeting attended by 22 clubs was held at the Pall Mall Restaurant, in London, the result of which was the formation of the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
The third club who attended the meeting in Holborn from Blackheath was the Proprietary School, which in effect was a feeder club for Blackheath, who also went by the name of Old Blackheathens Club where old boys of the school continued to play football together.
Blackheath in the twenty first century may be better known for its trendy cafes and bars, the wide open heath and the traffic jams on one of the major routes in and out of the capital but it can claim to be a major part of the history of three sports in the UK.
Today, seven of the original twenty two founder members of the RFU still exist with Blackheath playing their rugby in the third tier of English rugby just down the road from Blackheath in Eltham, a stone’s throw from Step 4 football club Cray Valley PM. However, from the founding members of the Football Association only Civil Service FC, who now play in the Southern Amateur League’s Senior Division One, are the only surviving club (the Crystal Palace club is not the same as the Premier League club of the same name today).
However, with three of the FA’s original eleven member clubs and one of the founders of the RFU, it is fair to say that the epicentre of the footballing world was for a short period of time was in SE3, London.
Pre-dating Football and Rugby though is Golf which was introduced to England via Blackheath as well, with the first English course to be open, in 1608, being the Royal Blackheath Course. The Royal Blackheath Golf Club claims to be the oldest such club in the world, although today is based just down the road in Eltham on land once owned by Henry VIII.
Missing a game you’ve been looking forward to is probably one of the most annoying things that happens to a football fan. Sometimes its because the weather decides that the fixture needs to be shelved; recently it’s been because the Corona virus has dictated that we aren’t allowed into any stadiums. Perhaps though the most aggravating one is when travel decides you aren’t seeing the game you wanted hoped to..
I’ve had too many of these over the years.
I’ve been stuck on a train on the outskirts of Bolton in a complete British Rail meltdown is created by a derailment over 100 miles away. I’ve been stuck on the M6 turn off within sight of Villa Park listening to the game on the radio and knowing whether to laugh or cry as my team take the lead. Then arriving at the stadium as Villa equalise and it ends 1-1!
On another occasion I was in France when I was told the tale of a certain Arsenal fan who’d been trying to scale the walls of the Auxerre stadium only to fall from his climb straight into the huge paladin that he’d been using to elevate himself. He hurt himself so badly he was in the first aid room throughout the game.
Another Arsenal fan I know (Martin Buchan) once travelled to watch Arsenal play Winterslag in Belgium. Unfortunately he and his travelling companion hadn’t explored the town as it was pouring all day. If they had it might have struck them that there weren’t any other Arsenal supporters in the town, and their plight only emerged when they asked for a cab to the stadium. The bar owner said the ground was over 100 miles away and they then realised they’d travelled to Ghenk instead of Ghent!
Another mate made the long journey from Tottenham to Anfield only to be told within sight of the stadium that the game had been called off.
This kind of stuff happens to football fans. Its part of the deal, part of the experience and part of what makes us the rare breed we are.
I can remember being in the Cheshunt Sportsbar a couple of seasons back when the late postponement led to an impromptu party with George and Fletch making an unexpected debut as Cheshunt’s answer to Wham! You don’t forget things like that!
It just kind of happens doesn’t it? You should expect it. You shouldn’t mind should you? Wrong!!
I missed the Hitchin v Cheshunt FA Cup tie victory because a simple 83-mile journey took me 4 hours and 30 minutes! I was fuming and I’d paid in advance for my bloody match ticket!
How can it be beyond the wit of man to design a road system that can cross a bloody river from Kent into Essex or South London into East London, I swear to God if we gave the pencil to a ten-year-old for their school project they’d be able to come up with something better than the Dartford or Blackwall Tunnels!
Still I’m told it was a great performance, with some great goals and that a good time was had by all. I’m pleased for them I really am although I sincerely wished it had rained and been about minus fifteen with a freezing cold wind coming in from Siberia. Its lucky I’m not the vengeful sort isn’t it?!
If like me and many others you have a story of travelling woe or misfortune then please send them into the club and I’ll be happy to share your tale because as my old mate Steve Brandon used to say ….’in life there’s nothing as funny as misfortune, just so long as it’s someone else’s’!
Stay Safe and look out for my Football Travel Guide which will be out soon.
RECREATION Ground, Aldershot. Circa 2001-02 season. I had made my way pitchside, waiting for Aldershot Town manager George Borg to emerge back from the tunnel for post-match interviews.
Behind me were two young boys, aged between four and seven I’d say, kicking a football between them on the pitch (don’t tell the groundsman, I’m not sure they were allowed).
I knew at the time one of the lads (the younger one I think) to be the son of Stuart Cash, the Aldershot Town assistant manager. He had come along with his Mum to cheer on Dad from the directors’ box – I’m guessing his first football memory.
That young boy is now, of course, Matty Cash, Aston Villa’s talented young right-back, signed from Nottingham Forest for a cool £16 million just over 12 months ago.
These days, having helped Terry Brown guide AFC Wimbledon into the Football League, Stuart is enjoying the lap of luxury at Premier League grounds up and down the country following his son in a similarly proud show of family loyalty and support.
Matty’s plight to the very top got me thinking about players who were brought up in the Non-League way. Yes, there’s the Jamie Vardys, Andre Grays and Nick Popes of this world who earned big moves to the top, but how about those with a professional grounding but nurtured off-the-field from a grassroots background.
Indeed, Matty doesn’t have to look far to see that he’s in good company. His Aston Villa teammate Tyrone Mings is another taught the Non-League way from his father Adie, who spent six years in charge at Chippenham Town.
It was there where Tyrone was spotted by then Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy, who spent £10,000 to bring him to the Championship. The rest, as they say, is history.
Adie later followed his son into the Premier League and is now a scout at Chelsea.
And how about one of the top-flight’s newest stars, Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher? He is the youngest of four brothers with his siblings all having played at Non-League level.
Jake Gallagher, 28, enjoyed a solid career at the likes of Welling United, Aldershot Town and Dorking Wanderers, while twin brother Josh served a number of clubs at Steps 3 and 4, such as Staines Town, Met Police, Leatherhead and Farnborough. Third brother Dan, 24, is currently at Dorking Wanderers.
It’s groundings such as these which have completely changed the perception of Non-League football from the upper echelons over the years.
No longer is life outside the professional game seen as a poor relation, a kick-and-rush fest played on a quagmire of a pitch, it’s now a hotbed of playing and managerial talent with a refreshing purity about it.
And if it hadn’t have been for the lure of Non-League and grassroots football then perhaps young Matty Cash might never have got his clear passion for the game.
The Ambers wash away Regent in a second half torrent of quality football in monsoon conditions.
Kick off was delayed ten minutes to account for traffic delays, but on a night when only two of nine matches scheduled were taking place, no one was going to complain about ten minutes.
Previous matches between the two teams have always been combative close encounters and this one met expectations early with Regent striker Ken Feyi proving a handful for Kassarate & Crowther at the heart of the Ambers defence and a physical Harry MacDonald breaking up Cheshunt play for Regent, at least until he ran into Mo Camara.
Brightlingsea open the scoring on the quarter hour when a quickly taken free kick saw the Cheshunt midfield stood still releasing an attack down the Regent left resulting in a low driven cross that Feyi muscled his way onto the end of, slamming the ball into the roof of the net from close range. The goal appeared to buoy Brightlingsea & their confidence grew, while Cheshunt were taking too long to regroup. Regent forced a number of corners & looked dangerous on the attack. Thirty five minutes in and the turning point of the match occurred, Reece Beckles Richards chested a ball down on half way and was driven towards his own goal by Billy Wales jostling through the back of him, eventually bowling the Cheshunt man over and his momentum taking Wales over the top of the tumbling Beckles Richards, as the Cheshunt man attempted to regain his footing Wales went over his leg and rolled around (as if taken out at the knees by Chopper Harris) , the referee was well placed and called a halt to proceedings, Wales, having been sent off himself in Regent’s previous match, knew exactly what he was doing in staying down feigning injury, the referee instead of calling for the physio was in too much of a rush and brandished straight red, when most in the ground would have considered a yellow each was probably the correct call, especially when Wales, eyes on the referee throughout, and objective attained, jumped straight up and strolled back to his post.
The sending off, rather than disadvantage Cheshunt appeared to galvanise them, first to everything now, a promising Regent throw, in Cheshunt territory was picked off by Taylor Miles, a short pass to Zack Newton was returned to the advancing Miles who in one stride curled a magnificent pass with the outside of his right foot around the Regent centre half & into the path of the sprinting Ken Charles, there was only one winner in that race, and a touch to settle, then the striker hit a low drive across the keeper into the far side of the goal. 1-1 and the Ambers could go into half time all square and plot how to manage the second half with ten men.
The weather closed in and torrential rain greeted the players as they emerged for the re start, the Ambers started the second half as they had finished the first, with the effervescent Taylor Miles at the heart of their advances, Newton & Charles’ pace troubling the visitors and forcing them to sit deep, leaving space for Cheshunt to build their moves. Midfield maestro Joe Re took advantage of the space to move forward in a central position, urged to shoot by the Cheshunt Ultras, he did just that, beating the keepers despairing dive , only to see his shot rebound off the inside of the post, however….fastest to react was Zack Newton racing in to slot his sixth goal in five games.
The rain continued to drive down & credit must go to both teams & officials for their play in difficult conditions, The slick surface suited Cheshunt’s fast passing game, while Brightlingsea sought to overload the Cheshunt right with their extra man but, with the exception of one long range shot turned around the post expertly by George Marsh, the Cheshunt defence stood firm. Mo Camara continued to make his presence felt in the centre of the pitch, winning his headers & holding up the ball well until his colleagues became available, and it was he who was fouled on the edge of the Regent box as frustration saw a defender attempting an impossible challenge from behind, in a dangerous position. Ken Charles struck the 25 yard free kick, dipping late it beat the keeper to his left to make the points safe, and make Charles top goal scorer for Cheshunt, and moving him into the top three sharpshooters for the League.
The much anticipated Herts derby between 2nd placed Cheshunt and top of the table Herts Vipers delivered an excellent match between the two favourites for the league title.
Cheshunt, with new signing Victoria Wotton making her Amber debut, started the strongest, and went 1-0 up after only 13 minutes, when top scorer Fran Gamble found the back of the net to add to her impressive goal tally this season.
Herts Vipers pressed for the equaliser, but with another seven shots on goal between the two sides in the first half, the defences held strong and Cheshunt went into the break with a slender 1-0 lead.
The second half started much like the first ended, with both teams, making the most of the multiple substitutions allowed, had plenty of chances to score. It was the Vipers who managed the next goal, when on 64 minutes, an unfortunate own goal by Kellly Smith who whilst attempting a clearance headed the ball into her own net.
With the clock ticking, it was the Ambers who scored next when Karesha Iton struck on 78 minutes for the hosts to once again take the lead.
With the match 3 minutes into time added on, Vipers substitute, Hall scored with an excellent strike from outside of the box with almost the last kick of the match.
The match finished 2-2 and with both sides still unbeaten in the league, Herts Vipers stay top with 10 points from 4 matches, and Cheshunt stay second with 9 points from 5.
“The Isthmian Football League strongly supports the FA statement that there should be a zero-tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly, any form of discriminatory abuse whether it by reason of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex and sexual orientation or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association.” (The FA 0800 085 0508 / Kick it Out 020 7253 0162).The Isthmian League and all Member Clubs in the League are committed to promoting equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and providing access and opportunities for all members of the community.”