Edmonton FC

Edmonton F.C. was formed in 1921 from the ashes of the old St Martin’s Athletic club. They played their home games on a private sports ground in Montague Road. In May of that year they applied to join the London League and finished in 6th and 7th place in a sixteen team Premier Division in their first two years. They also achieved some success in the F.A.Cup. In the 1922-23 season when they defeated Polytechnic, St Neots & District, RAF Henlow, Biggleswade & District and Enfield before they were eventually beaten by Ilford in the fourth and final qualifying round replay, just one match away from the chance of facing Football League opposition. Their fortunes started to wane and in 1926 they were relegated to Division One. Another mediocre season followed at the end of which the club applied to rejoin the Premier Division. They were no doubt buoyed by the fact that the council had just built the Henry Barras Sports ground, complete with a running track, on a site adjacent to their current pitch on Houndsfield Road Rec., which they would now use. Attendances at Edmonton’s games had been poor and it was hoped that the improved facilities on offer would attract more fans to watch. With their place in the Premier Division secured, the ground was officially opened with a visit of a Spurs XI. A crowd of around 1,000 saw the professionals win 6-2 and this was to prove a premonition to the club’s fortunes. Goals were conceded with great regularity and by Christmas only one point had been captured. When people did turn up to watch games, due to the fact that the ground was not enclosed, most chose to watch without paying.

Matters came to a head in December when an appeal was issued in the local newspaper for financial support. The club had had only two home matches in ten weeks, but their seven home games so far had only realised £13 in gate receipts. They faced an annual rates bill of £50, owed money for works carried out over the past three years and the close proximity of Tottenham Hotspur did not help their cause. They had only been kept alive by the generosity of three local benefactors. In January they withdrew from the London League, incurring a £20 fine, and opted to become a Sunday team, taking their debts with them to their new status.

This should have been an end to the matter, but there was more indignity to follow. Back in November, Edmonton had been due to travel to Romford to play a cup tie. It was a very foggy day and the owner of the coach company decided it was too dangerous to travel. Edmonton advised their hosts, who then claimed expenses for costs incurred of £2 10s 2d (£2.51). Edmonton appealed against this, stating that costs should be shared. As soon as they played their first game as a Sunday team, the London F.A intervened. They saw the club’s move as an intention to avoid their financial obligations and immediately banned all 35 players registered with the London League until they paid their share of the fine, as well as stopping the club from playing any matches. The matter was eventually settled, but the name of Edmonton Football Club disappeared from the scene.

It was not until 1947 that steps were taken to give the area a senior amateur football club. Edmonton Borough was formed in 1947 and followed their predecessors into the Premier Division of the London League, with their reserves playing in Division 2 of the same league. The Henry Barrass Sports Ground remained as their home and plans were put forward for a hut to be erected to enable the club to hold social functions on site. The first match for the new club was a friendly against Chelsea reserves and a crowd of 1,620 saw the visitors win by 7-4.

For three seasons the club failed to finish within the top half of the table and there were no lengthy cup-runs to get the fans excited. The level of support was disappointing and was greatly reduced when fixtures clashed with Spurs home games. The lack of covered accommodation was identified as another factor keeping the fans away and eventually the council rectified the situation in time for the start of the 1949-50 season when a structure was erected on the south side of the ground, protecting around 500-1,000 fans from the elements.

Meanwhile in North London, Tufnell Park Football Club was an amateur club with a proud history dating back to 1907. Since losing their home ground in Holloway, they had been nomadic. Edmonton Borough had a ground, but little to offer by way of heritage or support. The two clubs decided to merge to form Tufnell Park Edmonton in the summer of 1950, keeping Tufnell Park’s membership in the higher standard Isthmian League. A new stand was built on the north side of the ground providing seats for 550 spectators and concrete terracing was laid beneath the existing cover on the south side. With improved dressing rooms and refreshment facilities, a new era in the clubs history dawned.

Any optimism soon disappeared. Tufnell Park had finished bottom of the Isthmian League for the two seasons prior to the merger and the next two seasons showed no improvement. At the end of this four year period, the club realised that they were not strong enough to compete in the Isthmian League and in April 1952 they resigned from the league and sought a place in the Delphian League, where they could start the process of rebuilding not just their team but also their supporter base. Eventually they were accepted into the Premier Division of the Spartan League where the next two seasons saw mid-table finishes, while a run to the third qualifying round of the F.A.Cup was the best for some time. In 1954 a switch was made to Delphian League where the club saw out the decade. Sadly throughout the 1950’s there was little to enthuse the fans. The highest league placing was 9th and still there was no success in cup competitions.

In 1960, the club changed its name back to Edmonton in the hope of generating more local support and to increase awareness of the clubs location. Three years later the club won its solitary league title in unusual circumstances. The bad winter of 1963 created a fixture backlog which was not going to be completed in time, so the league was abandoned and an emergency competition was devised between two seven team Eastern and Western sections. Edmonton had been in a mid-table position when the league was suspended, but now won the Western section before defeating Hertford Town (Eastern section champions) in a two-legged play off. In so doing, they created a piece of history as the last ever champions of the Delphian League, which was disbanded with the teams forming Division 2 (third tier) of the Athenian League.

This success was a rare blip from their usual mediocrity and it was not until the late 1960’s that the club’s fortunes revived. The club reached the third qualifying round of the F.A.Cup in successive seasons, won their league cup on two occasions and after a couple of near misses, promotion to Division 1 was achieved with a runners-up placing in the 1969-70 season. In 1972 the club submitted a list of improvement works that they wished Enfield Council to consider carrying out to their ground. When they received a negative response, plans were instigated for a merger with neighbouring Wood Green Town. The Barrass Stadium was vacated immediately with home matches switched to Coles Park in White Hart Lane. Edmonton Football Club remained for one more season before the merger was completed in 1973 and the name changed to Edmonton & Haringey. A re-organisation of the Athenian League also saw the club gain a place in the top division, but in 1976 they finished bottom of the table and the final link with Edmonton was severed that year when another name change resulted in the club being rechristened Haringey Borough.