Enfield Town FC
A Supporters Trust owned club, Enfield Town was the first wholly supporter owned and run club in the country. Assisted by Supporters Direct, the club have laid a lot of the groundwork for others like AFC Wimbledon and FC United as well as advising those setting up Supporters Trusts at other non league clubs. Set up following the sale of Enfield FC’s Southbury Road Stadium, the Supporters Trust tried to assist the then Board in securing a return of Enfield FC to the Borough of Enfield. After failing to achieve that, the Trust voted to set up a new club within their home borough.
The club was founded on 23 June 2001 and within the space of 31 days they had been elected to membership of the Essex Senior League, arranged a groundshare with Brimsdown Rovers at their Goldsdown Road ground, gathered together a squad of players and coaches and played their first game, a friendly fixture with their landlords. There were plenty of familiar faces for the fans to watch as manager Jim Chandler and the vast majority of the playing staff had previously been with Enfield FC. Jamie Andrews had the honour of scoring the new clubs first ever goal. Their competitive debut ended in a 3-2 victory away at Basildon United while a crowd of 516 were in attendance when “Town” played their first home match on September 12th 2001. A 3-1 win over Leyton maintained the clubs unbeaten start to the season, which extended into October. The league campaign developed into a two horse race with Leyton pipping “Town” to the title with Concord Rangers a distant third. There was cause for celebration in the cup competitions as Enfield collected their first three pieces of silverware. They beat Pitstone & Ivinghoe 3-1 at Ware to become the first winners of the Cherry Red Books Trophy, the Essex Senior League Cup was secured after a penalty shootout success against Leyton while three days later the Middlesex Charity Cup found a place in the boardroom after victory over Wealdstone, again after penalties.
Enfield Town Now -There are six video interviews with those currently involved with Enfield Town Football Club.
The initial season’s success was built upon and the Essex Senior League title was secured for the first time, “Town” finishing four points clear of second placed Concord Rangers. A double triumph was registered when Saffron Walden Town were vanquished in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy final at Burnham by a single goal. The Middlesex Senior Cup Final was also reached, but Ryman Premier Division Hendon proved far too strong for “Town”. The club were only denied promotion to the Ryman League due to a delay in carrying out the necessary improvements to their stadium.
The following season saw Enfield Town drop back to fourth place in the league, but the League Cup was regained at the expense of Sawbridgeworth Town. The club were initially invited to join the Ryman League, but this offer was later withdrawn in favour of Ilford, who had finished the season one place above “Town” in the Essex Senior League.
Using this disappointment as a motivation, Enfield Town finished the season as Essex Senior League champions, securing the title in the penultimate game of the campaign with a 2-0 win at nearest rivals Burnham Ramblers. This time they were not to be denied promotion, but instead of the Ryman League, “Town” found themselves playing in Division One East of the Southern League, alongside Enfield F.C.
The two Enfield clubs had met twice previously in cup competitions and the interest generated had resulted in sizeable crowds. “Town’s “ then record crowd of 562 saw them win 4-0 in the Middlesex Charity Cup in 2003-4 while twelve months later 614 witnessed Enfield emerge victorious in the F.A.Vase by 1-0. With “Town” in the hunt for promotion, the Easter meeting of the two clubs at Goldsdown Road drew an attendance of 802, not only a new record crowd, but also the seasonal best for the division. A third place finish denied “Town” automatic promotion and condemned them to the lottery of the play-offs, where they were defeated by Wivenhoe Town in the semi-final.
After just one season in the Southern League, the club switched across Ryman League Division One North, but the outcome to the league campaign had a familiar ring to it as a third place finish was a prelude to further play-off disappointment, this time at the hands of AFC Sudbury. It was also the last season when Enfield FC and its offspring would compete head to head. Enfield FC’s licence to trade was not renewed and an offer was made by the board of Enfield Town to bring the two parties together, which was declined.
“Town’s” fortunes took a dip during the season and for the first time in their brief history they had to settle for a mid-table finish. There was some consolation when the Middlesex Charity Cup was won for the second time, beating Hillingdon Borough 4-1 after extra time, though this had to be held over to the start of the following season due a waterlogged pitch. Manager Jim Chandler resigned as manager in February 2008 to be replaced by Stewart Margolis.
Exits from all the cup competitions before Christmas and another mid-table finish meant that this was the club’s most disappointing season so far on the pitch. Off the field, Enfield Council approved recommendations that the club become the tenants of a newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth Stadium, giving the club a ground of its own for the first time. At the end of the season manager Stewart Margolis was sacked and replaced by joint managers Steve Newing and Del Deanus.
After a brief hiatus, “Town” return to form saw them once again challenging for promotion. A good run of results in the New Year saw them finish in fourth position and they won their first ever play-off match with a 3-2 semi-final win over Wingate & Finchley. Sadly the promotion dream came to an abrupt end four days later at the hands of Concord Rangers. A disappointing May Bank Holiday weekend was capped off with defeat by North Greenford United in the Middlesex Charity Cup final two days later. At the end of the season Del Deanus was forced to step back from his role as joint manager due to his ongoing battle with motor neurone disease.
“Town” maintained a chance of reaching the end of season play-offs right up until the last week of the season, but finished one place and one point behind Brentwood who took the final spot. The final home match of the season saw the club bid farewell to their Goldsdown Road home as the redevelopment of the Queen Elizabeth Stadium reached its closing stages.
“Town” started the season playing their home matches at Cheshunt’s Theobalds Lane ground. The first match at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium was a Middlesex Charity Cup tie with Harefield United on November 9th, which resulted in a 2-1 win. The official opening fixture came seven days later when a Tottenham Hotspur XI were beaten by the same scoreline before a gate of 969. Inspired by their new surroundings, the team lost just one home league match in the remainder of the season and were pipped for automatic promotion to the Ryman Premier Division by Leiston in the final game of the season. The play off semi-final with Grays Athletic was won after a penalty shootout while a solitary Walid Matata goal was enough to beat Needham Market in the final and secure promotion.
A bright start to the Ryman Premier Division season promised much, but as the games passed the higher standard of opposition started to show in the club’s results. The boost provided by the mid-season signing of the vastly experienced Scott McGleish gave the club some breathing space as his goals earned “Town” the points to edge away from the lower reaches of the table. Two sad departures occurred during the season. In September club record appearance holder, record goalscorer and player coach Rudi Hall left the club after ten years service while in November Del Deanus lost his brave fight with Motor Neurone Disease.