Manager Gary McCann (from February 2005) and assistant Freddie Hyatt (from February 2006) have worked wonders at Hendon over the past few years. It's safe to say they are both rated at club legends among the Hendon following.
Hendon, like so many London based clubs, lost their historic and well loved home ground in 2008. Local rivals Wealdstone ran out 1-4 winners on the 20th September 2008 to draw the curtain down on 82 years of the beautiful game at Claremont Road. After a nomadic spell of playing games at Harrow, Staines Town and Northwood the club have ground-shared at Wembley's Vale Farm stadium which is around 6 miles from their spiritual home.
At the end of 2003/04 the club could have joined the newly formed Conference South division on the re-organisation of non-league football as they had finished in fourth position in the Isthmian Premier Division. This was declined and the club have remained in the Premier Division since.
At the end of the 2005/06 season they were facing relegation to the Isthmian First Division but due to Canvey Island's resignation from the Conference they gained a reprieve and have finished 7th, 16th, 10th, 15th and 7th last season where they missed out on a play-off place by just four points.
Incredibly they have been in the top division of Isthmian football since 1963 with their last championship coming in 1973 when they topped the then Isthmian League Division One ahead of Walton and Hersham and Leatherhead.
McCann has signed Dean Cracknell form Welling United who was involved in the Blue Square South play-off final defeat to Dartford. Scott Cousins, Darren Currie, Dave Diedhiou, Jerome Federico, Berkley Laurencin, Michael Lewis, Carl McCluskey, Michael Peacock, Scott Shulton and Ryan Wharton have all signed on from last season as well.
BIGGEST HOME LEAGUE CROWD OF 2011/12 - 401 v Wealdstone
FACT ABOUT THE CLUB - The club's orginal colours were blue. From 1997 through to 1999 their kit was changed to the original blue but following numerous supporter complaints the green was duly restored back to the iconic green shirts non-league fans know so well.
FACT ABOUT THE AREA -
1) Republic of Ireland International Gary Breen was born in Hendon in 1973. He played for Charlton Athletic, Maidstone United, Gillingham, Peterborough United, Birmingham City, Coventry City, West Ham United, Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers before ending his playing-career with Barnet where he was coach and Assistant Manager.
2) Hendon was also mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1087 where it was called 'Hendun' meaning 'at the highest hill'
Alan Dowson has been in the hot-seat at Kingsmeadow since January 2007. He took over when the club were in the Isthmian Division One (South) having suffered two relegations in 2001 (from the Conference after a three season stay under manager Geoff Chapple) and 2005 (from Premier Division). They were crowned champions in 2009 achieving promotion back up to the Premier Division where they have finished 5th, 7th and last season in 11th place last season. When they finished in 5th place (2009/10) they went on to the play-off final where they lost at Boreham Wood.
The glory years for the club came in the 1930's when they won the FA Amateur Cup in 1933 (beat Stockton in a replay) and more recently in the 1990's when the Isthmian Premier Division was won in 1998 and with it promotion to non-league's top division. 1999 and 2000 saw the FA Trophy won and retained at Wembley Stadium where they beat Forest Green Rovers and Kettering Town. The 2000 final was the last played at the old National Stadium.
The K's stay in the Conference saw them finish 8th, 5th and 21st where they were relegated as mentioned above in 2001. Their 5th placed finish in 1999, saw them ahead of Stevenage Borough, Yeovil Town, Hereford United and Doncaster Rovers, who are all teams to have reached the Football League since.
In 2000/01 the club went on a glory FA Cup run beating Devizes Town (4th QR), Brentford (1st Rd), Southport (2nd Rd), Southend United (3rd Rd) before narrowly losing to Bristol City at home 0-1 after a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate. The giant-killers became giant-killed in the next season's competition when Wessex League side Brockenhurst beat them in the 2nd QR.
In 1998 West Ham United paid The K's £150,000 for Gavin Holligan whom went on to make only one appearance for East London side as substitute for Joe Cole in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield. He was loaned to Leyton Orient, Exeter City and back to Kingstonian before transferring to Wycombe Wanderers in 2001. He also played for Crawley Town, AFC Hornchurch/Hornchurch, Havant and Waterlooville and Lewes. He is now striker turned Soul Singer as this soulculture.co.uk article from 2010 explains.
Bobby Traynor is their main goal threat having scored 19 times last season to make his career total of 154 in 256 games for The K's. They also have the highly experienced Gary MacDonald as club captain. He started his career at Portsmouth before playing in the football league for Peterborough United and also playing the Conference for Woking, Ebbsfleet United and Hayes & Yeading United.
The club moved into Kingsmeadow in 1989 and fans of the old Enfield FC will remember a few trips in the 1990's. The ground has changed and been further developed over the past decade with AFC Wimbledon moving in and since purchasing the ground from the K's making them landlords in 2003.
BIGGEST HOME LEAGUE CROWD OF 2011/12 - 468 v Carshalton Athletic.
FACT ABOUT THE CLUB - Bobby Traynor is some way off the club's record scoring total as Johnny Whing scored 295 times during his time with the club between 1948 to 1962.
FACT ABOUT THE AREA - In Kingston you can see several disused red telephone boxes. They have been tipped up to lean against one another. It is sculpture named 'out of order' by David Mach which was commissioned in 1988 as part of the landscaping for the new Relief Road.
Enfield Town fans will know all about Leiston as, of course, they were our title rivals gaining automatic promotion and the Division One (North) championship in their last game of the season.
Rhys Darg, whom impressed for AFC Sudbury against Enfield Town last season, has signed for the Victory Road club after international clearance was received allowing his move from Swedish side Ytterhogdal IK.
Manager Mark Morsley has been busy this pre-season preparing for the club's first campaign at Step 3 of the non-league ladder. From last season's squad Neil Calver, Mark Goldfinch, Shane Wardley, Jemel Fox, Michael Brothers and Blake Saker have all departed allowing Oliver Mann, Thomas Wray, Danny Thrower and Sebastian Dunbar to sign up.
The Cold End also says watch out of Ollie Mann who has signed from Eastern Counties side Brantham Athletic. The striker was scouted by a number of football league sides during his time at Athletic and played a practice match for Dagengham and Redbridge. He has scored over 110 goals in 108 matches over the past three seasons so providing he can adjust to the jump from Step 5 to Step 3 football I can see him making a big impact on the goal scoring charts in the Premier Division.
Thomas Wray also joins from Brantham Athletic and is a centre-back. He has played for Leeds United at under 17 and under 19 level as well as three Northern Irish clubs in Institute, Dungannon FC and Ballymena.
Midfielder Danny Thrower has joined from rival's Needham Market and will be another welcome addition to the squad. Although not involved towards the end of the season for the marketmen he scored 15 goals in 49 starts last season which is an impressive return.
Sebastian Dunbar joins from Ipswich Town where the 20 year old was a regular in the reserve team.
Head Coach Steve Ball has also left to join Colchester United in a coaching capacity. He has been replaced by Steve Foley whose signing is quite a coup for the Suffolk club. He has worked with Norwich City, Ipswich Town and Watford. During his spell at Carrow Road he won the Championship coach of the year award.
BIGGEST LEAGUE CROWD FOR 2011/12 - 455 v Potters Bar Town
FACT ABOUT THE CLUB - In 2008 Leiston (then a Step 5 Eastern Counties League side) faced Lewes, then a (Step 1) Conference National side in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round. Leiston won a replay 1-3 at The Dripping Pan and went onto to play Fleetwood Town in the 1st Round Proper losing 2-0 in a replay at Highbury after 1,250 had seen a 0-0 draw at Victory Road. Leiston will play Lewes in the Ryman Premier Division this season.
FACT ABOUT THE AREA - Famous American test and fighter plane pilot Chuck Yeager whom first broke the sound barrier in 1947 flew out of RAF Leiston during his career.
Aside from many seaside trips Town have got to look forward to in the forthcoming season we also have an away day to the county town of East Sussex and Lewes FC's The Dripping Pan ground to plan.
The town is the location of several significant historic buildings which include Lewes Castle, Lewes Priory (the remains of) and the sixteenth century timber-framed Wealden hall house. This building is known as Anne of Cleves House because Henry VIII gifted it to her as part of their divorce settlement although she never resided there. There are many others to read about and see so a stroll around town is recommended.
Lewes FC have played at The Dripping Pan since 1885 with most of the ground being rebuilt in recent years following their upward journey through the non-league to eventually reach the Conference a few years back. One side of the ground is still just a grass bank with a concrete walk-way at the top from where many spectators get a birds-eye view of the action. On the other three sides of the ground are two terraces (one covered) behind the goals and the main Rookery stand. The ground also affords some wonderful views of the surrounding South Downs.
Lewes Railway Station is only a short walk away from the ground from which you can reach London Victoria form in just over an hour...... or Newhaven, Brighton or Eastbourne if you want to visit the coast nearby.
Lewes rivals over the past few years have been Eastbourne Borough who are currently in the Blue Square South and Worthing whom are in the Ryman Division One (North) so the games with nearby Brighton based Whitehawk FC will be well looked forward to by both sets of supporters.
Over the past decade they have had their most successful period since formation which has unfortunately culminated in two relegations back to the Ryman Premier along with reported financial problems and the fighting off of numerous winding up orders.
Lewes joined the Isthmian League in 1977 and made their way to Division One until in 1990/91 they suffered their first ever relegation. They bounced back up in 1991/92 but two successive demotions saw them in Division Three for the 1994/95. A 2nd bottom finish in that season saw the club survive by the skin of their teeth and then in 1998 when Jimmy Quinn took over the rise to non-league's top division began. Quinn took them through two divisions into Division One (South) and then when Steve King was appointed boss in 2003 there was a jump to the heights of the newly formed Conference South division for 2004/05.
During Quinn's stay they also reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup where they lost to Stoke City at The Britannia Stadium.
Lewes had won the Isthmian League Division One (South) title (which was then Step 3) in 2004 and would of been promoted to the Isthmian Premier (Step 3 on the newly reorganised pyramid) so had to win a series of play-off matches against Yeading, Basingstoke Town and Kingstonian to win a place in the Conference South (new Step 2). They had been denied promotion in 2002/03 as The Dripping Pan had been deemed not up to standard for Isthmian Premier football.
Their first two seasons at Conference South level saw them finish in the play-off positions but due to The Dripping Pan not being up to Conference National ground gradings they were barred from entering the end of the season play-offs.
The new Rookery Main Stand was constructed and in 2007/08 they secured promotion to the Conference National division. There were already signs of cracks appearing in the fairy-tale journey as Steve King departed on the final day of the season and financial problems were reported.
Kevin Keehan took over as boss but only stayed until March 2009 when youth team coach Steve Ibbitson took over as financial problems built up with the club facing three winding up petitions from HRMC in just four months.
Lewes stay in the Conference National lasted just one season and took in trips to Torquay United, Oxford United, Wrexham, Mansfield Town and York City. They finished bottom of the table with just six wins in 46 matches.
Ibbitson stayed on and secured a 19th place finish in the Blue Square South division but left in October 2010 to be replaced by Tim O'Shea who had formerly managed Croydon Athletic. The club were relegated for the second time in three seasons and rejoined the Isthmian League they had left in 2004.
The King returned to The Dripping Pan (as in Steve) and a play off place was maintained until in January 2012 following a confidential investigation Steve King was suspended by the club and subsequently left his post a week later. Under 18's manager Simon Wormull took over as manager and the club finished in 6th place (just three off of a play-off place). Wormull started his career as a youth-team player at Tottenham Hotspur and went onto play for Brentford and Brighton & HA along with a host of non-league teams.
To say the last 10 years at the club has been eventful is a slight understatement.
The Rooks became a member owned club in July 2010 and in December 2001 counted Nigella Lawson, Steve Coogan and Come Dine With Me narrator Dave Lamb as members/shareholders.
Enfield Town fans will get to see Wormull's Lewes side in action at The Queen Elizabeth Stadium this Sunday as they take on Fisher FC in the Supporters Direct Shield at 1pm followed by Enfield Town v Wrexham in the Supporters Direct Cup at 3.30pm.
BIGGEST HOME LEAGUE CROWD FOR 2011/12 - 1,013 v Harrow Borough
FACT ABOUT THE CLUB - The Dripping Pan is named because historically it's where local monks used to dry water from the local river to make salt.
FACT ABOUT THE AREA - The Vanguard Way, a long distance walk of around 66 miles from East Croydon to Newhaven on the south coast runs through countryside the East of the Town.
PART FOUR COMING UP FEATURING LOWESTOFT TOWN, METROPOLITAN POLICE, MARGATE AND THURROCK.