Enfield F.C.

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Enfield
Enfield 1893 logo.png
Full nameEnfield Football Club
Nickname(s)The E's
Founded1893 (reformed 2007)
GroundWoodside Park, Bishop's Stortford
Capacity4,525 (525 seated) [1]
ChairmanSteve Whittington
Manager Jamie Cureton
League Essex Senior League
2020–21 Essex Senior League (season curtailed)

Enfield Football Club is a football club traditionally based in Enfield, Greater London, England. Between the 1960s and 1980s, Enfield were one of the most successful non-league clubs in England, winning the FA Amateur Cup, FA Trophy and Football Conference twice. However, after selling their Southbury Road ground in the 1990s, the club declined, eventually folding and reforming in 2007.

Contents

They are currently members of the Essex Senior League and play at Woodside Park in Bishop's Stortford; which they share with owners Bishop's Stortford F.C..

History

Early years

John Bruce Skinner founded Enfield Football Club in August 1893 as Enfield Spartans, and the club spent its initial season playing friendlies. The start of the 1894–95 season saw the club play league football for the first time when it joined the Tottenham & District Junior Alliance League. The club made the move to the larger Tucker's Field and joined the North Middlesex League in 1896. In 1900 the club dropped the Spartans from the end of its name – this name is now used by a local Youth Football Club – and also made the move to Cherry Orchard Lane. This picked things up at the club and in the 1901–02 and 1902–03 seasons it won back-to-back league titles and so attained ‘senior’ status. The 1903 saw the club join the London League Division Two. It won the title in 1911 and so gained promotion to the Premier Division. Most of the next 50 years, the club played in the Athenian League.

After the First World War, Enfield disbanded. Members of Grange Park F.C., which had been a local junior club before the war, held a meeting at the Bell Inn, Baker Street, Enfield in May 1919 with a view to stepping up to senior football and taking on the mantle of Enfield. The decision to become the "new" Enfield was taken the next month. [2]

Isthmian League years

They enjoyed little success until the arrival of Thomas Lawrence in the early 1960s. Lawrence was a charismatic centre forward who attracted much stronger players to the club. His career as a player was cut short when he fractured his skull playing for Great Britain in an Olympic Games qualifier. Successful as a manager, he did even better later in business. Lawrence's arrival was the origin of the success of Enfield, that lasted 30 years. It was not until 1961–62 that the club won the league title for the first time, and a second successive title in 1962–63 won them entry to the Isthmian League. They won seven further league titles, and were one of the first two Isthmian League clubs to join the Alliance Premier League in 1981. During their period in the Isthmian league they made their first appearance in the FA Amateur Cup Final. After taking an early lead their goalkeeper, Malcolm Mitchell broke his arm, and Roy Thomas, a winger, went into goal. No substitutes were allowed and Crook Town won 2–1.

Alliance/Conference years

During the early 1980s, Enfield was among the strongest Conference sides, winning the title in 1982–83 and 1985–86, and the FA Trophy in 1981–82 and 1987–88. Their form slipped and they were relegated to the Isthmian League in 1990. Despite a run of seven consecutive top-three finishes they remained in that league, being denied promotion after winning the title in 1995 because the Football Conference were not satisfied with the club's financial credentials.

They won their most recent conference title in the final season of the re-election system, in which the Football League members had to vote on whether or not to replace one of the bottom four teams in the Fourth Division with the champions of the highest non-league division. However in the ballot which followed Enfield received just 7.5 votes, while the four league sides applying to retain membership received between 61 and 64 votes. [3]

After Southbury Road

In 1999, the club sold its Southbury Road stadium, and began ground sharing with several nearby clubs. Eventually, the board decided on a long term ground share with Boreham Wood, 10 miles away. Fearing that the club would never return to its home borough and the team would continue to struggle near the foot of the league, a group of fans set up a supporters' trust. The trust hoped to become involved in the running of Enfield F.C. and to bring about the club's return to play in the Borough of Enfield. For months, their attempts to help were rebuffed by chairman Tony Lazarou. In February 2001 a deal to transfer control of the club to the Trust was proposed, but Lazarou stalled on the deal for several months and by the beginning of June nothing had happened. [ citation needed ]

When the club sold Southbury Road, £750,000 from the sale had been placed into an escrow account, for the use of the club in building a new ground. In 2001, chairman Lazarou asked Enfield Council to hand the money over to him even though he had not identified a site for a new ground; after Lazarou threatened legal action, the Council handed over the money. After this, a group of supporters formed their own club, Enfield Town F.C., [4] based in Brimsdown, "to keep football alive in the borough of Enfield". [ citation needed ]

After these events, Enfield F.C. struggled in the Isthmian League Premier Division, and was relegated in 2003. The 2003–04 season was even worse, finishing bottom of Isthmian League Division One North. In 2004–05 Enfield F.C had moved to Wodson Park, Ware and came second in the Isthmian League Second Division, winning promotion to the Southern League Division One East.

Lazarou owed Enfield Football Club a vast amount of money from the sale of the ground at Southbury Road. A Football Association hearing stated he should repay to the club a sum believed to be in the region of £200,000.

During the close season at the end of the 2006–07 season, Enfield had no choice but to liquidate due to the debts owed to the inland revenue by former chairman Lazarou, forcing the club to resign from the Isthmian League Division One North. Enfield Town F.C. approached Enfield F.C. proposing a merger, but the Enfield F.C. officials opted to remain a separate club, and reformed as Enfield 1893. [4]

Reformed club

The reformed club joined the Essex Senior League and were runners-up in their first season. After finishing as runners-up again in 2008–09, they were league champions in 2010–11. However, they were not promoted as their ground failed the grading criteria. The club dropped the 1893 suffix from their name in 2019, reverting to the original club's name.

Ground

The reformed club groundshared with Broxbourne Borough V&E from the start of the 2009–10 season, at Goffs Lane, [5] This groundshare lasted for one year, with the club finally moving back to the borough of Enfield in 2010, after merging with Brimsdown Rovers and moving into their Goldsdown Road stadium, which they shared with Enfield Town for the 2010–11 season, prior to Town moving out at the end of the season. A new groundshare was entered with Harlow Town in 2014, before moving to share with Bishop's Stortford in 2019.

Honours

See also

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References

  1. Directions to BSFC Bishop's Stortford F.C.
  2. "Simply The E's" by Alan Diment, info added 23 May 2009
  3. Twydell, Dave (2001). Denied F.C. The Football League Election Struggles. Harefield: Yore Publication. p. 23. ISBN   1874427984.
  4. 1 2 Porter, Chris (2019). Supporter Ownership in English Football: Class, Culture and Politics. Springer. p. 160. ISBN   9783030054380.
  5. Cosgrove, Sarah (26 March 2009). "New home at Broxbourne's Goffs Park for Enfield 1893 Football Club". This is local London. Newsquest Media Group. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  6. "Memorandum Of Procedures For Dealing With Misconduct Occurring". Docstoc.com. 24 April 2010. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-04-09.

Coordinates: 51°52′21.381″N0°11′31.2498″E / 51.87260583°N 0.192013833°E / 51.87260583; 0.192013833