The Non-League 100

The Non-League 100: Bromley 1949 – glorious men of Kent

bromleyBROMLEY is often considered part of London rather than Kent, a county more associated with cricket than football. But in the immediate post-war years, Bromley made an impact on amateur football and had a team considered to be one of the best in the 1940s and 1950s.

Bromley will forever be known as the club that won the first FA Amateur Cup final at Wembley in 1949. A crowd of 90,000 watched them beat Romford by a single goal.

Bromley were also Athenian League champions in 1948-49, finishing four points clear of Hendon, losing three games in 26.

The Bromley team included players who were among the finest in amateur football at the time. Defender Ken Yenson was an England international, while brothers Tommy and Charlie Fuller enjoyed successful careers in the game. Charlie was an England international and also played for Dagenham.

Eric Fright, a half-back, was a member of the Great Britain Olympic squad in 1948, as was Tommy Hopper, who scored the winning goal in the FA Amateur Cup final. It was Bromley’s third triumph in the competition.

But the man who ranked among the post-war amateur greats was George Brown, the club’s centre forward and a future England amateur captain. Brown, a tough and daunting centre forward, played for the club from 1938 to 1961, scoring 570 goals in the process. In 1948-49, he netted 129 times and on 13 occasions, grabbed three or more.

In the 1948-49 FA Amateur Cup, Bromley beat Maidenhead, Wimbledon, Barking and Pegasus on the way to a two-game saga with Leytonstone in the semi-final. They were also won the Kent Amateur Cup in that memorable campaign.

The following season was bound to be an anti-climax and Bromley finished third in the Athenian League. But in 1950-51, they were champions again, finishing four points ahead of Walton & Hersham. They also reached the semi-final of the FA Amateur Cup, losing to Bishop Auckland after a replay at Elland Road. They were also winners of the London Senior Cup.

Bromley left the Athenian League in 1952 and were champions of the Isthmian League in 1954. They never reached the FA Amateur Cup final again.

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