WOODFORD TOWN FC HISTORY
Founded in 1937, as a result of a public meeting for the express purpose of having a senior amateur club in the borough. A piece of waste ground was rented from the council and "officials, players and supporters worked prodigiously throughout the lose season" to get it ready.
Woodford Town FC was apparently a one-time hotbed of successful amateur football. In the post-war years, Town were much-loved by their many fans and much-feared by their rivals in the game.The club produced a succession of international players at amateur level. Jimmy Greaves played out his career for Woodford Town before retiring.
The club were trying to relocate to a ground within the borough of Redbridge since losing the rights to their Snakes Lane home in 1992. They were playing football at Clapton's ground until Woodford Town were kicked out of the Essex Senior League about 2003.
Dave Ashford Story
At the end of the 1965 season, I left Epping Town and joined Woodford Town who were playing in the higher standard Metropolitan League (feeder to Southern League), which included Tottenham A:- Arsenal A:-West Ham A and Wimbledon Reserves. Also in the League were Sheppey Utd. from Kent.
Having signed for Woodford Town, I subsequently accepted a position in Shipping at the expanding Felixstowe Docks, commencing in July 1965. I played pre season & a few games for Woodford at the start of that season and was selected to play at Sheppey on August Bank Holiday Monday 1965. Unfortunately due to work commitments and lack of transport on my behalf, I had to call off against Sheppey.
On the Tuesday morning I was looking through the Sports pages in the Daily Express, when I saw that the Sheppey, Woodford game had made the national press, and that the referee had abandoned the game after 85 minutes. It took me a day or so ( no mobiles or social media back then), to ascertain the circumstances
It started with Woodford's outside left Les Williamson punching a Sheppey player and knocking him out. He was carried off. One down 21 to go! Woodford's star player, who had enjoyed time with Wolves, midfielder
Tommy Long, ( check him out with former Sec.Roy Gray and Vice Chairman Doug Pipe
as to his pedigree), was injured by a vicious foul by the opposition. Long scored from the resultant penalty. Sheppey kicked off following the penalty but Woodfords player- manager Brian Webb, an evil player in the Chopper Harris- Johnny Giles- Norman Hunter mode, immediately targeted the culprit who had injured his mate, and ran 60 yards to retaliate. Which he did by kicking the Sheppey man in the testicles. Webb was sent off. Two down 20 to go!
At this point everyone on the pitch was fighting the opposition, with some of the Woodford players, who worked in Smithfield and Billingsgate markets, leaping over the pitch barriers and fighting with the home crowd. The referee abandoned the game,
sending off the remaining 20 players left on the field of play. Fines and bans were imposed by Essex County F.A., and the Woodford player manager, Webb received a heavy fine and was banned from the Woodford ground for several months.
I was very pleased I missed that particular game and continued my career, picking up only one booking throughout in the Old Ipswich Sunday Combination League.
Fred Oram Story
Dear old Woodford. One thing worth mentioning is that Johnny Haynes and Jimmy Greaves both played for them, though not quite at the same time. Haynes played as a youngster around 1953; Jimmy finished his career there in the Athenian League in 1979, playing alongside a rather rotund Joe Kinnear. I believe Jimmy's final 'proper' game was at Dorking in November. The likes of Glenn Roeder and Laurie Cunningham also showed off their skills at Snakes Lane with a club known as Orient FC (Woodford), which was in fact Orient's under-18 team based at Woodford for one season (73-4 season) while Town were either defunct or playing Sunday football. Presumably Woodford was chosen because of the swamp-like qualities of the pitch, good preparation for playing at Brisbane Road in those days before the sainted Charlie Hasler became groundsman
As an ex Woodford Town player I have many happy memories of the few seasons playing for the Town. I played in the 1956/57 era when the club Secretary was Bob Gulden and the Manager was Les Male brother of George Male the Arsenal player. On a few occasions Alec Stock, then the Orient Manager and later with Arsenal took training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I have a number of club programs and newspaper cuttings. Here is one team that I recall, Peter Syrett, Tony Berrecloth, Terry O'Shea, Brian Lees, Ted Williams, Derek Rigg, Tony Orciel, Ted Rogers, Eric Stevens, Les Blackett and Fred Oram (me).Happy Days.
My worst moment in my football career was Woodford Town 1966, I was playing for Loughton town as goalkeeper and after a trial at Woodford was signed on as no.1 I trained all summer with them and on the first game I was not contacted didn't turn up and was horrified reading the local press [Goalkeeper fails to turn up] the replacement ended with 10 stitches in his head against West Ham. I was so horrified I bottled and never went back playing after that for Chigwell Town. I have regretted that day all my life.
I played for Woodford Town 1980/81 with Joe Kinnear as player coach. We even had Martin Chivers come to watch us. I've got some old programmes & cuttings from the local rag with highlights etc. I remember scoring in a friendly against Oxford City when Bobby Moore was their manager & we drew 3-3. Lovely times down Snakes Lane. Night club was called Woody's & money helped pay the player’s wages.
I knew a guy named John Benstead that got released by West Brom I think as a youngster and ended up at Woodford Town around 1984/5, played for the reserves under John Bennett before making the step up to the 1st team under Lyndon Lynch. If I recall, I also remember Norwich coming down for a friendly which had Chris Woods in goal. Also remember the Orient game when Orient won a free kick, local lad Steve Castle took it quick and Colin Foster scored with a header in the 89th minute or something. Great memories of the place, especially the night club, Woodys and Strangers.
My Mother in Law died very recently and amongst her possessions was a letter to her dated 15/6/1943 from the Secretary of Woodford Town Football Club. It says how sorry they were that her husband, Bill Davison', was 'reported missing'. He was, in fact, in a Prisoner of War camp and eventually died in 2001. He was Captain of Woodford Town FC prior to the war and I have a Woodford Town FC Captain's medal of Bill's.