|Divisions||Premier Division (1935–present)|
Division One (North) (1988–present)
Division One South (2018–present)
|Number of teams||20 each in Premier and South|
16 in North
|Level on pyramid||Levels 9–10|
|Feeder to|| Isthmian League Division One North|
Northern Premier League Division One East
Southern League Division One Central
(from Premier Division)
|Relegation to|| Anglian Combination |
Essex Alliance League
Essex & Suffolk Border League
Suffolk & Ipswich League
|Domestic cup(s)||League Cup|
First Division Cup
|Current champions|| Histon (Premier Division)|
Swaffham Town (Division One North)
Hashtag United (Division One South)
|Current: 2021–22 Eastern Counties Football League|
The Eastern Counties Football League, currently known as the Thurlow Nunn League for sponsorship purposes, is an English football league at levels 9 and 10 of the English football league system. It currently contains clubs from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, eastern Cambridgeshire, eastern Hertfordshire, southern Lincolnshire ,and north and east London and is a feeder to Division One North of the Isthmian League.
During the early part of the 20th century there were several leagues covering East Anglia, including the Norfolk & Suffolk League, the East Anglian League, the Essex & Suffolk Border League and the Ipswich & District League, whilst some of the larger clubs (including Ipswich Town and Cambridge Town) played in the Southern Amateur League. Suggestions of forming a league to cover the whole region had been made since the early 1900s, but intensified after Norwich City were promoted to Division Two of the Football League in 1934 and saw a significant rise in attendances.During the 1934–35 season there was a strong movement in Harwich and Ipswich for the formation of such a league and after canvassing, a 'Meeting of Representatives of East Anglian Football Clubs' was held at the Picture House in Ipswich on 17 February 1935. The ten clubs in attendance were Cambridge Town, Harwich & Parkeston and Ipswich Town from the SAL, Colchester Town and Crittall Athletic from the Spartan League, and Gorleston, Great Yarmouth Town, King's Lynn, Lowestoft Town and Norwich CEYMS from the Norfolk & Suffolk League. Although Cambridge Town and Norwich CEYMS later decided against joining, a further four clubs were recruited; Bury Town and Thetford Town from the Norfolk & Suffolk League, Chelmsford City from the London League and Clacton Town from the Ipswich & District League.
The first season commenced on 31 August 1935 and ended with Harwich and Lowestoft level at the top of the league with 26 points each. Although Lowestoft had a better goal average, the championship was decided by a play-off match held at Layer Road on 29 August 1936. The match ended in a 3–3 draw and the two were declared joint champions and allowed to hold the trophy for six months each.At the end of the first season Ipswich left to join the Southern League and were replaced by their reserve team.
At the end of the 1936–37 season there were concerns about the league's viability. All five Essex clubs had left to join the newly established Essex County League, whilst Thetford had resigned after finishing bottom of the league, leaving only six remaining clubs. However, four new members (Colchester United reserves, Cromer, Newmarket Town and Norwich CEYMS) were recruited. The following season the league expanded to 13 clubs as two of the Essex clubs rejoined (the Essex County League had been a failure with only five members completing the season and was not continued).
The 1939–40 season started on 26 August, but was abandoned after the outbreak of World War II. After the war ended in May 1945 a meeting was held in late June to see whether the league could be restarted. However, a further meeting on 28 July decided that too few clubs were ready to resume footballing activities as many were unable to sign players and some grounds remained under the control of the armed forces. The league finally resumed for the 1946–47 season with ten clubs.
Prior to the start of the 1948–49 season the league was expanded to 16 clubs, largely through the addition of the 'A' teams of four London clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. The following season Gillingham reserves joined, becoming the only Kent-based club to ever play in the league (Dartford also applied to join at the same time, but were rejected).In 1951 the league gained its first Cambridgeshire club with the admission of Cambridge United, and by 1955–56 the league was up to 20 clubs, of which five were reserve or 'A' teams. Although a succession of clubs leaving the league saw it reduced to fourteen clubs by 1964, it quickly regained numbers and was back up to 18 members two years later. In 1976 the league was renamed the Eastern League, but returned to its original name six years later. The league was among the first to be sponsored by an external company when, in the late 1970s, it was sponsored by local building societies Magnet and Planet, and Town and Country. More recently it has been sponsored by building supplies company Jewson, Ridgeons, and current sponsor Thurlow Nunn.
There had been occasional discussions about adding a second division to the league since its formation, but in 1983 it seemed about to become a reality. However, it was then delayed by the Football Association at the request of the Essex Senior League. The idea was resurrected during the 1987–88 season and a meeting was held to discuss it on 22 November 1987. The league contacted 21 clubs who were considered potential members, of which fifteen were interested in joining. A further four clubs were contacted and another (Long Sutton Athletic) asked for details. Ultimately fourteen clubs applied to join the league; eight from the Peterborough & District League (Downham Town, Huntingdon United, King's Lynn reserves, Ortonians, Somersham Town, Warboys Town and Yaxley – Parson Drove also applied later in the year, but were rejected), three from the Anglian Combination (Diss Town, Fakenham Town and Wroxham) and three from the Essex & Suffolk Border League (Bury Town reserves, Hatfield Peverel and Little Oakley). All were accepted except Hatfield Peveral and Little Oakley, whose grounds were deemed inadequate, whilst Ortonians later withdrew after difficulties getting their reserve and 'A' teams into the Peterborough & District League. Mildenhall Town from the Cambridgeshire League and Ipswich Wanderers from the Ipswich Sunday League were later invited to join, whilst Halstead Town were persuaded to transfer from the Essex Senior League after Ortonian's late withdrawal, allowing the inaugural Division One season in 1988–89 to start with 14 clubs.
On 3 October 2017, the FA ratified the creation of a new Step 6 (level 10) division in the league, Division One South, which started playing in the 2018–19 season.It covers the rest of Essex, as well as East London and parts of North London and east Hertfordshire and is intended to enable promotion to the Essex Senior League and relegation to the Essex Olympian League.
Division One North
Division One South
Over sixty clubs have previously played in the Eastern Counties League, including several reserve and 'A' teams. The league's geographical span has previously stretched from Gillingham in Kent in the south to Boston in Lincolnshire in the north and Eynesbury in Cambridgeshire in the west. In the 1940s and 1950s it contained up to four 'A' teams from London.
Between its inception in 1935 and the formalisation of promotion and relegation between the ECL and its feeder leagues in 1983, several clubs applied to join the Eastern Counties League but were rejected, or were approached by the league but turned the offer of admission down. These included:
Applied to the league but were rejected
Approached by the league but declined
The champions of the league have been as follows:
|Season||Premier Division||Division One||League Cup|
|1935–36||Harwich & Parkeston/Lowestoft Town (joint)||Harwich & Parkeston|
|1936–37||Crittall Athletic||Harwich & Parkeston|
|1937–38||Lowestoft Town||Great Yarmouth Town|
|1938–39||Colchester United Reserves||Lowestoft Town|
|1939–46||No competition due to World War II|
|1946–47||Chelmsford City Reserves||Colchester United Reserves|
|1947–48||Chelmsford City Reserves||Colchester United Reserves|
|1948–49||Chelmsford City Reserves||Tottenham Hotspur 'A'|
|1949–50||Tottenham Hotspur 'A'||Chelsea 'A'|
|1950–51||Gillingham Reserves||Wisbech Town|
|1951–52||Gillingham Reserves||Gillingham Reserves|
|1952–53||Gorleston||Colchester United Reserves|
|1953–54||King's Lynn||King's Lynn|
|1954–55||Arsenal 'A'||Lowestoft Town|
|1955–56||Peterborough United Reserves||Gorleston|
|1956–57||Colchester United Reserves||Peterborough United Reserves|
|1957–58||Tottenham Hotspur 'A'||Colchester United Reserves|
|1958–59||Colchester United Reserves||Tottenham Hotspur 'A'|
|1959–60||Tottenham Hotspur 'A'||Chelmsford City Reserves|
|1960–61||Tottenham Hotspur 'A'||March Town United|
|1961–62||Tottenham Hotspur 'A'||Bury Town|
|1962–63||Lowestoft Town||Abandoned due to severe weather|
|1963–64||Bury Town||Bury Town|
|1964–65||Lowestoft Town||Haverhill Rovers|
|1965–66||Lowestoft Town||Lowestoft Town|
|1966–67||Lowestoft Town||Lowestoft Town|
|1967–68||Lowestoft Town||Chatteris Town|
|1968–69||Great Yarmouth Town||Lowestoft Town|
|1969–70||Lowestoft Town||Sudbury Town|
|1970–71||Lowestoft Town||Wisbech Town|
|1971–72||Wisbech Town||Wisbech Town|
|1973–74||Sudbury Town||Clacton Town|
|1974–75||Sudbury Town||Great Yarmouth Town|
|1975–76||Sudbury Town||Lowestoft Town|
|1976–77||Wisbech Town||Sudbury Town|
|1977–78||Lowestoft Town||Lowestoft Town|
|1978–79||Haverhill Rovers||Cambridge City reserves|
|1980–81||Gorleston||Great Yarmouth Town|
|1981–82||Tiptree United||Tiptree United|
|1982–83||Saffron Walden Town||Sudbury Town|
|1983–84||Braintree Town||Lowestoft Town|
|1984–85||Braintree Town||Tiptree United|
|1985–86||Sudbury Town||Tiptree United|
|1986–87||Sudbury Town||Sudbury Town|
|1987–88||March Town United||Braintree Town|
|1988–89||Sudbury Town||Wroxham||Sudbury Town|
|1989–90||Sudbury Town||Cornard United||Sudbury Town|
|1990–91||Wisbech Town||Norwich United||Histon|
|1991–92||Wroxham||Diss Town||Norwich United|
|1993–94||Wroxham||Hadleigh United||Woodbridge Town|
|1994–95||Halstead Town||Clacton Town||Wisbech Town|
|1995–96||Halstead Town||Gorleston||Halstead Town|
|1996–97||Wroxham||Ely City||Harwich & Parkeston|
|1997–98||Wroxham||Ipswich Wanderers||Woodbridge Town|
|1998–99||Wroxham||Clacton Town||Sudbury Wanderers|
|2000–01||AFC Sudbury||Swaffham Town||Lowestoft Town|
|2001–02||AFC Sudbury||Norwich United||Clacton Town|
|2002–03||AFC Sudbury||Halstead Town||Wroxham|
|2003–04||AFC Sudbury||Cambridge City reserves||Maldon Town|
|2004–05||AFC Sudbury||Ipswich Wanderers||Halstead Town|
|2005–06||Lowestoft Town||Stanway Rovers||AFC Sudbury|
|2007–08||Soham Town Rangers||Tiptree United||Needham Market|
|2008–09||Lowestoft Town||Newmarket Town||Leiston|
|2009–10||Needham Market||Great Yarmouth Town||Needham Market|
|2011–12||Wroxham||Godmanchester Rovers||Stanway Rovers|
|2012–13||Dereham Town||Cambridge University Press||Wisbech Town|
|2013–14||Hadleigh United||Whitton United||Newmarket Town|
|2014–15||Norwich United||Long Melford||Norwich United|
|2015–16||Norwich United||Wivenhoe Town||Mildenhall Town|
|2016–17||Mildenhall Town||Stowmarket Town||Mildenhall Town|
|2017–18||Coggeshall Town||Woodbridge Town||Brantham Athletic|
|Season||Premier Division||Division One North||Division One South||League Cup|
|2018–19||Histon||Swaffham Town||Hashtag United||Long Melford|
|2019–20||Season abandoned due to COVID-19 pandemic|
|2020–21||Season curtailed due to anti-COVID-19 lockdown regulations|
Stowmarket Town Football Club is a football club based in Stowmarket, Suffolk, England. The club are currently members of the Isthmian League North Division and play at Greens Meadow.
Chelmsford City Football Club is a football club based in Chelmsford, Essex, England. Currently members of the National League South, the sixth tier of English football, they play at the Melbourne Community Stadium.
F.C. Clacton is a football club based in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England. The club are currently members of the Essex Senior League and play at the Rush Green Bowl.
Dereham Town Football Club is a football club based in Dereham, Norfolk, England. They are currently members of the Isthmian League North Division and play at Aldiss Park.
Brantham Athletic Football Club is a football club based in Brantham, Suffolk, England. They are currently members of the Eastern Counties League Premier Division and play at Brantham Leisure Centre.
Norwich CEYMS Football Club is an English football club based in Swardeston, near Norwich, in Norfolk. They currently play in the Premier Division of the Anglian Combination, having previously played in the Eastern Counties League. It has been suggested that the world's oldest football song, "On The Ball, City", was used for CEYMS before being adopted by Norwich City.
The Norfolk & Suffolk League was a football league covering the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk in England.
The East Anglian League was a football league in the East Anglia region of England.
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The Essex County League was a short-lived football league in England in the 1930s. The league was established in 1937 and seen as a threat to the viability of the Eastern Counties League, which had only been formed two years earlier. However, it failed to attract enough clubs to join and lasted only a single season before folding.
The 2012–13 Eastern Counties Football League season was the 71st in the history of Eastern Counties Football League a football competition in England.
London 3 North East was an English rugby union league that was the eighth level of club rugby union in England and was available to sides from north east London, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Promoted clubs move into London 2 North East. Relegated teams tended to drop to Eastern Counties 1 or Essex 1 depending on geographical location, with new teams also coming from these leagues.
Eastern Counties 1 is an English level 9 Rugby Union League. From the 2017-18 promoted teams move up to the newly created London 3 Eastern Counties with the league champions going up automatically, while relegated teams drop down to Eastern Counties 2. Teams in this league tend to be based in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk or Suffolk. In the past teams from Essex used to take part until the 2003–04 season when they formed a new league - with Essex 1 being the top division. Each year some of the 1st XV clubs in this division also take part in the RFU Junior Vase - a level 9-12 national competition.
The 2014–15 Eastern Counties Football League season was the 73rd in the history of Eastern Counties Football League, a football competition in England.
The 2015–16 Eastern Counties Football League season was the 74th in the history of Eastern Counties Football League, a football competition in England.
The Eastern Counties Rugby Union (ECRU) is the governing body for the sport of rugby union in the counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk in England. Clubs in the old Huntingdonshire and the Soke of Peterborough are affiliated to the East Midlands Rugby Football Union. The union is the constituent body of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for those counties. The ECRU administers and organises rugby union clubs and competitions in those three counties and administers the Eastern Counties county rugby representative teams.
The 2016–17 Eastern Counties Football League season was the 74th in the history of the Eastern Counties Football League, a football competition in England.
The 2017–18 Eastern Counties Football League season was the 75th in the history of Eastern Counties Football League, a football competition in England. It was also the last season to have a single division at Step 6.
The 2018–19 Eastern Counties Football League was the 76th season in the history of Eastern Counties Football League, a football competition in England. The season saw Division One divided into two sections.
The 6th (Volunteer) Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment was a part-time infantry unit of the British Army part of the Territorial Army (TA). Originally formed in 1971 from the expansion of many cadres, the battalion would eventually be disbanded in 1999 and formed sub-units in the new East of England Regiment. Today, the battalion's successors still form part of the Army Reserve (AR) component of the Royal Anglian Regiment's only remaining reserve unit, the 3rd (V) Bn.