Thursday, 17 September 2009

Forgotten Football - Rainham Town FC

Deri Park makes up part of the depressing list of grounds in the London area to disappear in the last twenty or so years. As in so many cases, with the ground went the club and it was no different in the case of Rainham Town FC.

The club were formed in 1945 and moved to Deri Park in 1948 after playing their initial matches at Rainham Working Men's Club Ground. The first match at Deri Park was played against near neighbours Woodford Town who were beaten 4-1.

During the 50's and 60's the club switched between the Delphian League, Athenian League and Metropolitan League. The Metropolitan League in the early 60's had the third teams of most of the top London professional sides. In 1963 Rainham won the shield for the highest placed Amateur side.

From 1964 the club played in the Athenian League Division Two and by the early seventies had sank to the depths of having to apply for re-election. Happier times were to follow when the club finished runners up to Alton Town and promotion to Divsion One was achieved.

The club installed floodlights at this time and on 23rd October 1974 Orient visited Deri Park in a match to mark the official 'switching on', Rainham lost 4-1.

From 1977/78 the club joined the Isthmian League where they were to stay until they folded and went out of business. This season also marked there best run in the FA VASE where they reached the 5th Round. Victories versus Canvey Island, Tiptree United, Crown &; Manor, Egham Town and Diss Town set up an away tie with Almondsbury Greenway where they lost 2-1. Almondsbury went on the beat Burnham in the QF (after a 2nd match as the original tie at Almondsbury which they won 2-0 was ordered to be replayed as the pitch was ruled too small) before loosing out to Blue Star in the SF 4-2 on agg. Greenway were a force to reckoned with in the Vase at that time as in 76/77 they reached the 5th round, 77/78 semi final, 78/79 finalists.

Rainham's best performance in the FA Cup came when they reached the 3QR in 1958 beaing Aveley, Brentwood & Warley and Ilford before loosing out to Chelmsford City. The following season victories versus Leytonstone and Brentwood & Warley moved them into the 3rd QR again where they lost to Woodford Town. In 1993 the club played their last FA Cup fixture versus local rivals Purfleet being soundly beaten 5-1. Also in 1993 the last Vase fixture was played versus Hanwell Town resulting in a 5-2 defeat.

Rainham lost versus Colchester United AET in the semi final of the Essex Senior Cup in 1981/82 and in 82/83 they lost 4-1 to Southend United in the 2nd round of the ESC. They played the Shrimpers again that season in the Essex Thames Side Trophy, two late goals by the football league side broke Rainham's resistance with the final result being 3-2 to the Roots Hall team.

1993/94 was the last season played for Rainham Town in the Second Divsion of the Isthmian League where they finished bottom with a playing record of 4 wins, 2 draws and 36 losses out of 42 games. Shipping 116 goals and scoring only 24. The season was an immense struggle with the club leading a nomadic existance after leaving Deri Park playing firstly at Purfleet and then at Aveley's Mill Field. With no prospect of moving back to their home town the club sadly folded.

Vistors to Deri Park will inform you of a rickety old main stand with a leaky roof that moved if their was a gust of wind. This is what made characteristic old grounds like this one on Wennington Road so brilliant to visit. A far cry from the modern all seated stadia of the FA Premier League but all the more endering with it.



  1. Tim Venables, Paraguay25 February 2010 at 00:56

    we had a striker called Stevie Kirby and he scored away to Woking in the Diadora League Cup (we lost 4 -1). We were four fans and we travelled down on the team bus. I also remember going away to Leatherhead (on the train this time) and Justin Fashanu was playing for them and I also remember playing away to some team near Burnham on Crouch. I emigrated in 1994 and it was quite sad going back in 2002 and seeing that Deri Park is now housing.

  2. Watched them in the 1950's, when still at school. Local derby was v Dagenham in the Delphian League. How fortunes change! Fave players of the era - George Bumpstead, "Unca" Pearson, Ron Grainger, Eddie Curley, Johnny Hewitson, Arthur "Canonball' Sanderson, and more..... I sometimes travelled on the players' coach to away matches. Memories!

  3. Can anyone remember Frederick Smith who collapsed and died while coaching Rainham town FC in 1959 he was my dad and I trying to learn about him.
    MY E.mail is

    Many thanks
    Anne Warren

  4. I played a trial at Deri Park for the Reserves v Brentwood & Warley, who were top of the Division at the time. The game was played on a cold day, 27th December 1958.

    I arrived at the ground at the time I was ordered to do so. I was the only player there until a second triallist joined me. Brentwood arrived and we began to worry about having to face the Division leaders on our own. Then a third player arrived, a first teamer working his way back after an injury. About 15 minutes or so before the kick off time the rest of the team arrived, straight from a Boxing Night party and showing all the signs of a boozey night.

    We were put to the sword, losing, if my memory serves me correctly, 8-1. The only real contribution I made was jumping over onto the terraces to retrieve the ball and providing the pass to our other trialist to score our solitary goal in the final minutes. He and I were chuffed to bits but we drew a caustic comment from one of the regulars in the dressing room afterwards, "thought we'd won the F.A.Cup".

    But the overriding memory I have is of the crowd that day. The visitors brought a collection of officials, wives, kids and girlfriends who, together with a few Rainham officials, were seated in the stand. The paying public consisted, literally, of one man and his dog, and I'm not sure the dog paid to get in.

    When we ran out onto the pitch the 'crowd' was by the tunnel. When we lined up the 'crowd' moved into the covered area opposite the stand, our right hand side of the pitch. Our star player was playing at Right Half. Once we kicked off the human part of the 'crowd' kept up a barrage of abuse aimed at our star player. The poor lad's intelligence, sexual inclination, parentage etc etc were questioned constantly. The dog remained mute. At half time I asked the player in question why he was the subject of the abuse. The player didn't know why and didn't know who the old man was. "He turns up at every game I play and screams abuse at me. In a bigger crowd I can't hear him so much, but today......."

    I was dreading the second half when I would be next to the crowd but he had moved round to the terrace in front of the stand to be near our star. I was very relieved!

    I never heard from Rainham Town again but I'm sad the ground is now a housing patch.

  5. I would like to hear from anyone who has contributed to this blog and particularly those who have memories to share about the post-war days (1945-60) and their sporting experiences in East London and suburban Essex.
    My research is all part of a project for the International Centre for Sport, History and Culture at De Montfort University in Leicester. I am exploring the regeneration and revival of sport in those years - not just football - and the comments on this blog are fascinating (bobfin and TomG. Please let me hear what you have to say about those days when sport was struggling to re-establish itself during the years of austerity.
    So please get in touch with me at or alternatively at
    Really do look forward to hearing about your memories. It may sound like trivia - but it has a lot of social significance. Thank you. David Williams

  6. I like this app and I look take to your future posts on further development. Good luck!

  7. i played for rainham town in 1981/2 making my debut against hornchurch i will try to dig out some programmes i played against i think billericay when i was injured the replcement keeper was injured and a third keeper outfield player went in goal peter cox

  8. Does anyone have any pictures of players in 1966, in particular, Ken Whiley

  9. my nan was actually the treasure of rainham town football club i travelled a lot with the club to away games on the team coach and even when we had to ground share with thurrock (purfleet back then) and grays aswell. i used to love going to deri park

  10. Does anyone remember the friendly match with the Italian team "2 Settembre 1971" played in 1974?

  11. I played for Rainham Town in the early 90's under the management of Mick Acland during the last seasons at Deri Park and then when we played at Purfleets Ground.
    I remember playing in the Woking game previously mentioned, and i still have the match programme.
    I also remember your nan Brad, was her name Maureen?

  12. I had a few years on and off there in early 80's, Ted Hagger manager then but also played for Micky Connoly and Mike Acland on and off. Good bunch of lads, pitch was dustbowl in summer and orrible in winter! Grass was tough to find. Happy memories.

  13. Paddles O'Maddles.9 January 2016 at 02:55

    Was at Rainham Town as a schoolboy back in the early Seventies when the Coates brothers, Johnny Phillips, Bobby Newman and Doddy Rice were playing. You trained under the training lights 'coz the floodlights hadn't been built yet and you couldn't see a thing in certain corners ! If it was too cold training consisted of running to Wennington Church Hall, training for an hour, then running back. The game against GS2 Settembre Genoa ended 2-2 as I got the last ten minutes of that as a 14 year old sub. They were a works team and as hard as f**k. ��

    1. Hi,
      I have just seen you comments today 30th January 2017 after I decided to google Rainham Town who I used to play for in 1973/74 so I thought I would respond.
      I played in the same team as the five players you mentioned above, I remember them all Johnny and Tommy Coates, Johnny Phillips, Bobby Newman and Doddy Rice, we must know each other.
      Also in the team from who I can remember are Dennis Boynton the club captain, Johnny Gowlett,Jimmy Hendricks and Peter Dawkins.
      Me, Doddy, Peter and three other mates (non footballers) all went to Majorca together in the summer of 1974, Doddy was my room mate on that holiday, that's 43 years ago, where have the years gone !
      Bobby Gray was the manager at the time I was there and he had a coach working with him who's surname was Hill (I can't remember his first name), but I do remember the runs we had to Wennington Church Hall on freezing nights then the training and run back, great days and happy memories. I played for the team in October 1974 when we played Leyton Orient for the opening of our floodlights, great bunch of team mates.
      Hope you can respond and exchange names if you want.

    2. Hi, sorry I saw your reply only today.. I'm a gs duesettembre 1971 genoa player and I heard about this friendly match in seventies against Rainham Town abd I'd like to know if anyone has any picture or match program about that match, it would be great! Thank you! My email is

  14. I played for Rainham from 1967 - 1971 in 2 spells. Athenian League - some good teams around then. Managers were Larry Hutson, then Graham Deacon. Deri Park was right on the marshes - you'd get eaten alive by the midges when you trained on Summer evenings! We had some good players - I remember Roy Yallop, Ray Archer, Dave Lutkin, DAve Bellet, Billy Wickens, Joey O'sullivan, Johnny Coates, Bobby Newman, Alan Kiff. Some great times and good games esp. local derbies with Aveley - blood and fur on the walls! I scored a good few goals there before moving on to Barking. Deri Park was a dust bowl or a mud patch - there was no in-between! Great days though....

  15. I played with Colin at this this time. I can confirm it was a dust bowl. Other players at that time were Ken Tyson, Roy Girkin, Tom McAllister, Vic Pomfret, Keith Belsham, Vic Davies, Dave Beamish, Steve Baker, Alan Taylor, Peter Lee. I still have the programmes and paper cuttings of those days. A game I recall was in 1969 against Hendon in the FA cup. They were the Man Utd of amateur football at that time. We were winning 1-0 with a few minutes to go when the scored. We got hammered in the replay. Colin was a very good player and very quick. I played left back and did get booked a few times. But very few wingers got passed me. You had to play at Deri Park to understand what amateur football was all about. Really happy days. Alan Hammond

    1. Alan
      I remember you playing at left back in the Graham Deacon/ Taffy Reynolds days. Good times and plenty of laughs, in particular away games and training nights.
      If you have any programmes or cuttings and you have the time could you send them on to me at
      I could then prove to my son that I did play a bit!

    2. I watched them with my dad they were good games

    3. Alan. Only just saw your post on here. I remember you very well and you're right, not many wingers got past you unscathed! Love to get copies of any progs etc you might have - mine are very limited. Good to hear from you!

    4. Hi. If you give me your details I will try and take copies for you of the progs.

      Be safe


  16. So pleased to see my dad, Vic Davies, listed here -also his good mate Kenny Tyson! He's told me all about the Hendon game...a few times ;-)

    Are there any programmes or photos of the team from that time?

    1. Hi Neil
      I have some Rainham town programmes with your dad Vic and Kenny Tyson's names in them from the sixties and seventies and also paper cuttings. If you give me a contact number or email I will send copies to you. Unfortunately no photos, if anyone has photos of the team from that era I would love to see them. Alan Hammond

  17. Hi, I am the daughter of Ron Boulton who played for Rainham in the mid seventys. Would be great if any of his ex team mates remember him and would like to get in touch.

    If so please email

  18. I played with the coates brother Ted hagger was the manager in the 80s

  19. So did I remember going into.the club house after playing hornchurch
    And seeing the cowboys gun fighting anyone remember that

  20. Played on and off for Rainham for many years under Mick Acland. Still see Mick regularly.
    Dave Fisher