ESSEX and football go together like fish and chips. Although bordering on London, and therefore a county that feeds a lot of the capital’s clubs with supporters, Essex also has its footballing identity: Southend United and Colchester United may be the most identifiable of clubs, but there’s a few grey areas as well.
Here’s just some of the articles we’ve produced on Essex football:
January 31, 2016: Tilbury – still exotic
It sounds unlikely, but I always felt there was something vaguely exotic about Tilbury. As a child, Tilbury meant sea-faring vessels arriving from far-flung places or going off around the world. A rare treat was sitting in a car, close to Tilbury Fort and watching the ships creep along the Thames Estuary. Tilbury promised travel and adventure.There was history,too. In 1588 Queen Elizabeth addressed her troops at Tilbury – “My beloved people” – as England came under threat from Spain. And in the 1950s, Tilbury gave thousands of West Indian migrants their first glimpse of their new home as they walked down the gangplank of the Windrush
November 18, 2015: When Aveley ruled the world
We all identify the Reliant Robin with the BBC TV series Only Fools & Horses, but back in 1969, a blue three-wheeled car acted as an improvised team coach for Benyon County Primary School.
October 23, 2015: The decline of hinterland football
It should come as no surprise that Thurrock is tailor-made for football. It’s on the fringes of Greater London – despite some people tagging Thurrock as the “east end”, Greater London ends at Havering. That’s not to say that Thurrock isn’t full of folk that have come out of “the old East End” or at least had grandparents from places like Bromley-by-Bow, Poplar, the old docklands and Stepney. South Ockendon, for example, had a huge estate built in 1969 that housed the London refugees, and it was popularly called “the GLC estate”.
November 29, 2014: The Canvey hotbed
In the early 21st century, some of the best football ever seen in the Isthmian Premier Division came from the much-derided island of Canvey. Essex man has never got full credit for his contribution to non-league football and in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, the Thames Estuary made its mark on the game. As well as Canvey Island’s own efforts, Grays Athletic, Thurrock/Purfleet and East Thurrock United all came into view, but on Canvey, football fans – if only they realised it – had never had it so good.
August 10, 2014: Calling in on Colchester United
Colchester were mostly seen as an old Football League fourth division side and in 1990, they fell through the trapdoor into the Conference. They won their way back, however, in 1992, winning the non-league double of Conference and FA Trophy. In 2006, they achieved a remarkable promotion to the Championship, but by 2009, they were in League One, where they have stayed ever since. On the opening day of 2014-15, they hosted Oldham Athletic.