Harlow Town F.C.

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Harlow Town
Harlow Town F.C.png
Full nameHarlow Town FC
Nickname(s)The Hawks
Founded1879;142 years ago (1879)
Ground The Harlow Arena, Harlow
Capacity3,500 (500 seated)
ChairmanTom Cunningham
ManagerDanny Chapman
League Southern League Division One Central
2020–21 Isthmian League South Central Division (transferred)

Harlow Town Football Club is an English football club based in Harlow, Essex. The club is member of the Southern League Division One Central and plays at The Harlow Arena.

Contents

The club is best known for its exploits in the 1979–80 FA Cup, in which it reached the fourth round, eliminating two Football League sides Southend United and Leicester City before losing to Watford at Vicarage Road.

History

The club was originally formed in 1879, playing its first match on 18 October 1879 against Saffron Walden. In those early days the club, just known as Harlow, played friendly matches against local opposition until the formation of East Herts League in 1896. In 1898 the club merged with Netteswell and Burnt Mill and were briefly renamed Harlow and Burnt Mill F.C., but the merger was reversed in 1902.

The Sportcentre, Harlow Town's home from 1960-2006 Harlow Town Football Club.jpg
The Sportcentre, Harlow Town's home from 1960–2006

The club moved into the Spartan League in 1932 and were granted Senior Status in 1937, competing in the FA Cup and Essex Senior Cups for the first time. At this time Harlow had one of the smallest populations for clubs competing at this level, a far cry from today where the population is around 86,000.

Over the years Harlow, which became a New Town in the early 1950s, expanded beyond recognition, and the football club grew with the town. In 1954 the club joined the Premier Division of the London League. In 1960 they won the League Cup, and moved to the newly built Sportcentre on Hammarskjold Road. In 1961 they switched to the Delphian League. In 1963 it merged into the Athenian League and the club were placed in Division Two. After finishing third in 1963–64, they were promoted to Division One. [1] Due to Harlow's facilities at the Sportcentre, the club attracted well-known teams to the area during this period. In July 1966 Harlow Town arranged a friendly match against Uruguay, who were staying nearby in preparation for that summer's FIFA World Cup. Uruguay defeated Harlow 6–1. In 1968, S.L. Benfica reached the European Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, and prepared for the final at the Sportcentre; their team included the 1966 World Cup Golden Boot winner Eusébio.

In 1971–72 the club won Division One, and were promoted to the Premier Division of the Athenian League. In 1973 the club switched to Division Two of the Isthmian League, renamed Division One in 1977. In 1978–79 they won Division One and were promoted to the Premier Division.

The 1979–80 season saw the club make its best-ever run in the FA Cup. They entered at the preliminary round, beating Lowestoft Town, Hornchurch, Bury Town, Harwich & Parkeston and Margate to reach the first round proper for the first time, where they defeated Leytonstone/Ilford 2–1. In the second round they drew 1–1 away at Football League side Southend United before winning the replay at the Sportcentre 1–0 in front of 5,000 spectators. The club were then drawn away to Second Division leaders Leicester City. After a 1–1 draw at Filbert Street, Harlow famously won the replay at the Sportcentre 1–0, watched by a club-record attendance of 9,723. In the fourth round Harlow were drawn away to Watford, losing 4–3. [1]

In the 1981–82 season the club were relegated, but returned to the Premier Division after a single season in Division One. However, two consecutive relegations in 1984–85 and 1985–86 saw the club drop into Division Two North. In 1988–89 they won the division and returned to Division One.

The club's plans to leave the Sportcentre for a new stadium on Roydon Road collapsed during the 1991–92 season, and the Isthmian League closed the Sportcentre after it no longer met league requirements. The team fulfilled the remainder of their home games at local venues including Sawbridgeworth, Bishop's Stortford, Ware and Aveley. The club dropped out of football for the 1992–93 season.[ citation needed ]

Upon being voted back into the Isthmian League for the 1993–94 season after upgrading the Sportcentre, the club were forced to drop into Division Three. In 1997–98 they were promoted to Division Two, and the following season were promoted to Division One. In 2004 the club were transferred to Division One East of the Southern League, but returned to the Isthmian League in 2006.

In October 2006, the club moved to its new ground at Barrow's Farm. After finishing as runners-up in Division One North in 2006–07 they won the promotion play-offs and were promoted to the Premier Division after defeating A.F.C. Sudbury in the final. However, they were relegated back to Division One North at the end of the 2008–09 season. [1]

In January 2010, new owners took control of the club, with former manager Tommy Cunningham returning to the club alongside business partner John Barnett. The 2010–11 season saw Kevin Warren become the Hawks manager, but a run of defeats led to Danny Chapman replacing him at the helm. Chapman then turned the tide and took the club to the Division One North play-offs after finishing fourth, but failed to reach the final after being defeated by Wingate & Finchley.

At the start of the 2014–15 season Harlow Town launched The Harlow Academy, a youth set-up which incorporated 21 youth teams playing at The Harlow Arena. After a tightly contested league campaign, Harlow missed out the league title and automatic promotion by one point, finishing behind Needham Market Another play-off campaign beckoned, but Harlow lost 4–3 to Thurrock in the semi-finals after extra-time.[ citation needed ]

The 2015–16 season saw Harlow Town go on a club record streak of 12 consecutive wins between 19 December 2015 and 13 February 2016, propelling themselves into the play-offs, finishing the season in third place, setting up a third consecutive appearance in the play-offs. The Hawks hosted A.F.C. Hornchurch in the final at the Harlow Arena, where 1,655 spectators saw Harlow claim promotion to the Premier Division with a 3–1 win.[ citation needed ]

In the 2016–17 season Harlow achieved a new club record highest league finish of tenth in the Isthmian Premier Division, their first campaign at that level since 2009.[ citation needed ]. The 2017–18 season was a fierce relegation battle in the Isthmian Premier division, with Harlow Town eventually finishing one place above the relegation zone.

The Club once again fought against relegation throughout the 2018–19 season, however the challenge proved too great and Harlow Town finished bottom of the league table, seven points from safety. With the Hawks heading back to Step 4, they were allocated to the Isthmian League South Central division. Despite starting the season strongly and leading the league table at once stage, a run of poor results leading up to Christmas saw Harlow Town fall off the pace. As a result, Danny Chapman resigned as manager in January 2020, after nine years in the role, to be replaced by Mark Holloway.

The start to the 2020 season was one of turmoil, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing disruption to the campaign preparations. Dave Collis replaced Mark Holloway as Manager in October, and Collis himself was relived of his managerial duties in December after a run of nine consecutive defeats, to be replaced by former Manager Danny Chapman who stepped back into the role after some time away from the game.



Club officials

RoleName
ChairmanTom Cunningham
Chief ExecutiveTim Sewell
Director of FootballTom Cunningham
ManagerDanny Chapman
Club SecretaryDonna Harvey
PresidentRon Bruce

Managerial history

YearsManager
1879–1957Selection Committee [lower-alpha 1]
1957–1958Rick Barrett
1958–1959Dennis Bow
1959–1964Jack Kavanagh
1964–1966 Ralph Wetton
1966–1967Ken Driver
1967–1969Bryan Atkinson
1969–1971Brian Somers
1971–1973Roy Thomas
1973–1974Jack Price
1974–1975Gordon Sedgley
1975–1976Len Gamblin
1976–1982Ian Wolstenholme
1982–1985Gwyn Walters
1985–1994Dave Edwards [lower-alpha 2]
1994–1995 Len Glover
1995–1997Dave Greene
1997–1999Eddie McCluskey
1999–2002 Ian Allinson
2002–2003John Kendall
2003–2006Tommy Cunningham
2006–2008 Ryan Kirby
2008–2009Glen Alzapiedi
2009Anthony Anstead
2009–2010Marvin Samuel
2010–2011Kevin Warren
2011–2020Danny Chapman
2020Mark Holloway
2020Dave Collis
2020-presentDanny Chapman
  1. Harlow Town did not have their first manager until 1957, as they had a Selection Committee for the first 77 years of their history.
  2. Edwards lost his job as manager in 1992 after the club went into administration, but was instantly re-instated in 1993 when the club returned to the Isthmian League.

Recent history

SeasonDivisionPosition FA Cup FA Trophy Essex Senior Cup Alan Turvey Trophy
2006–07 Isthmian Division One North 2nd (promoted)Preliminary round1st qualifying roundQuarter-finalsThird round
2007–08 Isthmian Premier Division 15th2nd qualifying round1st qualifying roundThird roundSecond round
2008–09 20th (relegated)First round1st qualifying roundThird roundFourth round
2009–10 Isthmian Division One North 22ndPreliminary roundPreliminary roundFourth roundThird round
2010–11 4th2nd qualifying roundFirst roundThird roundSecond round
2011–12 7thPreliminary round3rd qualifying roundQuarter-finalsSecond round
2012–13 21stPreliminary roundPreliminary roundThird roundSecond round
2013–14 4th2nd qualifying roundPreliminary roundQuarter-finalsQuarter-finals
2014–15 2nd1st qualifying round1st qualifying roundFourth roundSecond round
2015–16 3rd (promoted)4th qualifying round2nd qualifying roundThird roundFirst round
2016–17 Isthmian Premier Division 10th2nd qualifying roundSecond roundFourth roundFirst round
2017–18 21st3rd qualifying round3rd qualifying roundQuarter-finalsFirst round
2018–19 22nd (relegated)1st qualifying round2nd qualifying roundThird roundFirst round
2019–20 Isthmian Division One South Central 14thPreliminary RoundExtra Preliminary RoundThird RoundGroup Stage

Stadium

The Harlow Arena ground BarrowsFarm.jpg
The Harlow Arena ground
YearsGround
1879–1960Green Man Playing Fields
1960–2006Harlow Sportcentre
2006–presentThe Harlow Arena

In their long history, Harlow Town have had three home venues. From the club's formation right up until 1960, the club played their home games at the Green Man Playing Fields, with its first competitive game coming against Bishop's Stortford Nonconformist Grammar School. Harlow Town's last game at its original home was against East Ham United on 30 April 1960, with Harlow winning the game 2–1.

For the start of the 1960–61 season, Harlow had moved to a new home on Hammarskjold Road, to the newly built Harlow Sportcentre, the first Sports Centre in England. The Town's first competitive game in their new home was against Epping Town in the London League on 27 August 1960, with the game finishing in a 1–1 draw. The Sportcentre hosted some of Harlow's greatest moments, including the FA Cup giant-killings of Southend United and Leicester City in the 1979–1980 season. Harlow's final full season at the Sportcentre came in 2005–06, with their last scheduled game against Spalding United in the 2006 East Anglian Cup final, but due to delays at the new ground, the final game at the Sportcentre was on 2 September 2006 in an FA Cup Preliminary Round match against Saffron Walden Town, the team Harlow faced in their first ever match.

Eventually, Harlow moved to their new home at Barrow's Farm in October 2006, with the opening match at the new ground on 18 October with Harlow defeating Ware 2–0. The official record attendance at the stadium is 2,149, against Macclesfield Town, then of League Two in the FA Cup First Round Proper on 8 November 2008; Macclesfield won the game 2–0. In the summer of 2013, following investment from the owners, a brand new 3G playing surface was laid to allow regular use of the pitch by the local community without impacting the turf. This coincided with the re-branding of the ground to The Harlow Arena, as a primary venue for Harlow and its residents.

Honours

Records

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Harlow Town at the Football Club History Database

Coordinates: 51°46′15.740″N0°4′4.159″E / 51.77103889°N 0.06782194°E / 51.77103889; 0.06782194