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.



CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO ENLARGE IN ORDER TO READ THE TEXT
source http://fchd.info/

7 comments:

  1. Tim Venables, Paraguay25 February 2010 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.

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  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!

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  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
    peterwarren@bigpond.com

    Many thanks
    Anne Warren

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  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.

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  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 davidwilliams@dwmedia.co.uk or alternatively at david171238@gmail.com.
    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

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

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  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

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