A short history of Enfield Town Football Club
Supporters are the lifeblood of a great football club.
speaking as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
about Enfield Town Football Club
on 6th November, 2000 in the House of Commons.
Enfield Spartans were formed in 1893, and played at Cherry Orchard Lane. Soon they changed their name to Enfield F.C. and moved to Southbury Road Stadium, where they were to remain until 1999. They became founder members of the Athenian League, but success was sporadic, until about 1958. Under the presidency of Sir Jules Thorn, the team was strengthened particularly by Tommy Lawrence, who was a prolific goalscorer, and was famed for his diving headers. Success followed success, but somewhat unluckily, the Conference was won the year before promotion to the Football League became automatic.
Unfortunately, Enfield F.C. were relegated. There followed a string of extremely unlucky failures to attain promotion. One season, the goal difference was the same, but Enfield had scored one goal less than the champions. Another season, Enfield won the championship but the finances did not meet the standard set by the Conference.
Then Enfield F.C. stopped financing a team which could challenge for promotion, and slid down the Rymans League Premier Division. At this point, the chairman decided to sell the historic Southbury Road Stadium for developement of flats. Since the freehold was owned by the London Borough of Enfield, the council kept half the money, which meant that Enfield F.C. had to ground-share.
So Enfield F.C. moved out of Enfield, first to St. Albans, to which Chris Smith famously said "St. Albans is a wonderful place--almost as wonderful as Edmonton", and then to Boreham Wood. The performance kept sinking, and the gates kept sinking. The reserve team folded. The Football in the Community Scheme folded. Someone like Superman, Elton John or Silvio Belusconi was needed to set things aright.
Well, the supporters split into two camps. Some of them continued to support Enfield F.C. (founded in 1893), and others set up a new club called Enfield Town Football Club. The decision to set up the new club had been prepared beforehand, but had to be ratified by a majority of the members of the Enfield Supporters Trust.
Roughly 89% of the members voting in the ballot voted for the new club. I, personally, was a member of the Trust, but because I got my e-mail forwarding mixed up, I was unfortunately unable to cast my vote for the new venture.
Two days later, Enfield Town Football Club's application to join the Foresters Essex Senior League was accepted.
A mere thirty-one (31) days after the historic ballot, on 24th July 2001, Enfield Town Football Club played their first ever match. Appropriately, it was a joint home match against Brimsdown Rovers, with whom Enfield Town ground-share for the season 2001-2. The start of the match was delayed as more spectators than anticipated arrived at the entrance. The gate was 350. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
On 18th August 2001, Enfield Town played their first ever competitive match, away to Basildon United. There was tremendous support, although it was an away match. The result was a 3-2 victory.
The first ever cup match followed on Tuesday, 21st August 2001 in the Foresters Essex Senior League Cup. The match was away to Sawbridgeworth, and Enfield Town won this historic match 2-1.
The first team to win a point in a league match against Enfield Town was Southend Manor. Enfield Town were playing away on 8th September 2001, and the match finished in a 2-2 draw.
Back in Enfield
The first competitive home match was on 12th September 2001 in the Foresters Essex Senior League. Enfield Town won 3-1 against Leyton before a crowd of 516. This figure of 516 spectators includes Peter Clayton, F A Councillor and Secretary of the Middlesex FA, three senior Directors from First National and other sponsors, Lord Graham of Edmonton, formerly MP for Edmonton and Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, Yasemin Brett, the Mayor of Enfield, Joan Ryan, MP for Enfield North and PPS to Andrew Smith as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Andrew Love, MP for Edmonton and PPS to Jacqui Smith as Minister of State, Department of Health. A minute's silence was observed for the victims of the terrorist demolition of the World Trade Center in New York the previous day.