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The Enfield Town Media Files
(otherwise known as "what they said about us in the local and national press")
THE TIMES (29th September 2003): "In an article entitled "Enfield offshoots fall to penalty " Walter Gammie of The Times brings readers up to date with our ground progress after our F.A.Cup tie with Carshalton Athletic:
BOTH camps were pleased after a hard-fought FA Cup second qualifying round tie at the Goldsdown Road ground that Enfield Town share with Brimsdown Rovers. Carshalton escaped unscathed from a bumpy stretch of scrubland that barely passes for a football pitch and put behind them successive defeats that had seen them lose their place at the head of the Ryman League. Enfield Town acquitted themselves well before a crowd of 501, their third highest, as they enjoy their third season since they were formed by supporters disillusioned with the running of Enfield.
Supporters were able to take in the rapid progress to establishing the covered terracing, stand, turnstile block and toilets that will bring facilities up to the required standard. The pitch will remain a problem until it rains. Weeks of dry weather, an untimely bout of shingles that afflicted the Town groundsman and over-use have contributed to a playing surface that does nothing to help the club's cause.
Having secured the victory, thanks to a penalty converted by Dave Marvell in the 43rd minute, Billy Smith, the Carshalton manager, happy to be back at the helm at the club he managed for nine seasons up till 1995, could afford to be sympathetic. "It's a shame for them. They're a good footballing side and it can't be doing them any favours," he said.
Jim Chandler, the Enfield manager, felt the penalty award, against Dave Allen as he ran across Des Boateng to try to cover a good ball from the right by Mark Hawthorne, was harsh. But where he felt the match slipped away was in the absence of Town's three regular strikers. "I'm positive that if any one of them had been playing one of the three early chances we had would have gone in," he said. Simon Miller, the main culprit, nonetheless troubled Carshalton throughout and in the 56th minute Peter Wood did well to clear Miller's shot off the line.
Town fancy an extended run in the FA Vase but their next cup assignment is something special. The Middlesex Charity Cup has given them their first chance to lock horns with Enfield. It's tomorrow week. And that crowd record could well go.
THE TIMES (5th May 2003): "In an article entitled "Growing ambitions on Conference agenda " Walter Gammie of The Times brings readers up to date with our progress amidst the restructuring of the Non League Pyramid:
THE clubhouse at Brimsdown Rovers rocked to the celebrations of Town's first league title in their second season on Saturday, but they will have to win it again to climb on to the same rung as Enfield, whose former disaffected supporters founded Town. Work on the covered stand and perimeter fencing, needed to satisfy the Ryman League, will be completed by August. Town ended their season by winning 7-0 away to Ilford Town, whose 500-strong crowd was mainly visiting support. With more than 100 paying weekly sums by direct debit, Town are a model of a supporters' club.
CO-OPERATIVE-NEWS (17th November 2001): In an article entitled "Football co-op sends club top of the league " Martin Street gives his own impression on the ETFC story:
WHAT do you do if you've reached the end of your tether with your Chairman, your football club has been made homeless and its fans are powerless? If you support Enfield FC, you say: 'Enough's enough, let's start our own club'.
In early September the newly formed Enfield Town Football Club made their home debut in the Essex Senior League. Nothing too remarkable in that, you might think, but between the end of last season and the beginning of this one, a group of dedicated fans worked tirelessly to make it happen.
The new club was established after members of the Enfield Supporters' Trust voted to start again. The old side was limping along in the lower reaches of the Ryman Premier League and playing in Borehamwood - way out of their home borough - following the 1999 sale of the Southbury Road stadium in Enfield. The resultant loss of revenue and fan base meant that supporters faced the very real possibility that the club would fold.
Exasperated Es' supporters set up a trust under the auspices of Supporters Direct; a government-funded initiative that offers support and advice to supporters who wish to play a part in the life of their clubs. All models recommended are based on democratic, mutual and not- for-profit principles. In the case of Enfield Town, this meant registering the Enfield Supporters Society as an Industrial and Provident Society.
The trust is one of 38 established over the last year or so. By Christmas 2001, it is hoped that 50 trusts will be in existence.
"The old club died when it left Enfield," said Enfield Supporters' Society Ltd (and now also Enfield Town) Chairman Dave Bryant. "Everyone knew it was going nowhere."
Last June members voted 263 to 34 to start afresh at Spartan League club Brirnsdown Rovers, whose Goldsdown Road base, though small, is in Enfield. Since then things moved swiftly. Enfield Town was admitted to the Essex Senior League (four divisions below the Ryman Premier) and the old club's remaining directors, apart from Enfield FC's Chairman, jumped ship. Former manager Jim Chandler returned, recruiting a number of players. Though sponsorship deals have been negotiated, Enfield Town will be run and - to a large degree financed - almost entirely by its members.
There is a huge sense of empowerment generated by the new club, but success could bring problems. Rapid progress up the pyramid will hasten the need for a new ground, but spare land is at a premium in an area that has seen non-League grounds fall by the wayside at an alarming rate. Finding a new ground is now an absolute priority for the new co-operative.
Local support is strong. The first home game was attended by Lord Graham (former MP for Edmonton), Andy Love, Labour/Co-op MP for Edmonton and Joan Ryan MP, for Enfield North. All three MPs (and Stephen Twigg) are incredibly supportive and are all fully paid-up members of the trust.
Incidentally, the team won that game 2-1 and are top of the league at the time of writing. An exciting new season has only just begun.
THE TIMES (21st August 2001): In an article entitled "Enfield's new order ready to recall the good old days " by Walter Gammie, this article gave a glowing report on the world of Enfield Town:
THERE was an unmistakeable sense of pride and belonging when old friends were re-united at the Gardiners Close home of Basildon United as they flocked behind the banner of Enfield Town FC. There were "good luck" balloons tied to the railings, a newly adapted Enfield flag to hang behind the goal and a supporter showing off a poster for the Foresters Essex Senior League match destined for a place behind glass on his living-room wall.
Only 50 days before, these self-same supporters had met as members of the Enfield Supporters Trust to discuss their disillusion with Enfield Football Club and decided that they had taken enough of seeing one of non-league football's most powerful forces dwindling to a homeless club, struggling to maintain its place in the Ryman League premier division as tenants of Boreham Wood.
The supporters regarded Tony Lazarou, the Enfield chairman, as villain of the piece for selling the club's home at Southbury Road without having negotiated a new one and going back on a promise to hand the club to the supporters in a deal that would have allowed him to keep much of the money from the ground sale that was held in a joint fund with the council.
Les Gold, of the Supporters Club, said: "There was always an excuse why he didn't do it. He promised us but, when the day came, he changed his mind over it. We haven't seen him since Enfield played Preston North End at St Albans in an FA Cup replay in November two years ago."
By a vote of 263 to 34, the Supporters Trust decided to form a new club and approached Roger Reed, the Enfield secretary, for advice on setting it up. Reed said: "I am a supporter as well and I shared most people's views, so I did the spadework to make sure that everything went through because I knew what it took to form a senior club."
Now installed as Enfield Town secretary, Reed added: "First we had to find a ground and without the help of Brimsdown Rovers we wouldn't have been able to play. Then we had to find a league and the Essex Senior League were good enough to admit us and you have to get the paperwork right to gain senior status with the county FA. It took a lot of nights."
The reward for his labours came from looking round the Basildon ground. "If a club is its supporters, then they are here," Reed said. "What is pleasing to me is that we are seeing people here we haven't seen at the old Enfield club since it left the borough."
There was no trouble finding a manager. Jim Chandler is a salesman at Smithfield. He turns up for work at 3am and gets back home at about 10am. The rest of the day, give or take a couple of hours' sleep, is dedicated to football. More specifically, for the past 15 years it had been dedicated to Enfield Football Club.
Chandler's rise, that took him from youth team manager to reserve team manager to first team manager, came to an end last season when he was replaced, his shock and bitterness leading him to lodging a claim for unfair dismissal that is to be heard shortly.
He spent last season awaiting a call to be restored to his position by the supporters who were waiting for Lazarou to hand over the club. It never came. "As far as I'm concerned, we're still Enfield Football Club whatever happens to the other team," he said. "We've had to go down three leagues, but if it means we can rebuild and have the right people behind the scenes, which wasn't the way it was, we are delighted to do it."
Chandler put together a team in six weeks. Most are former Enfield players whom he says should be playing at a higher level.
The Essex Senior League, as shown by their 3-2 opening day win away to Basildon, is going to be a tough test, but Enfield Town have already acquired enviable resources from 150 season-ticket holders, sponsors and supporters.
They cannot play at their adopted home of Brimsdown Rovers until next month because the ground is shared with the local cricket club and Chandler has no doubt where Enfield Town's priority must lie. "What we need now is for the council to go ahead and get us a ground," he said. "We know we can get a grant from the Sports Trust. We don't want any money from the council, we just need a bit of land and once we're back in the borough, I think the good times will come back."
THE TIMES (20th August 2001): In an article entitled
"Quinn puts gloss on Town
Basildon United 2 Enfield Town 3
NEW club, new season, last-gasp victory, euphoria: in a nutshell, Enfield Town's first competitive match on Saturday. The mutual admiration evident at the finish of the Foresters Essex Senior League match between supporters who formed the club in reaction to their disaffection at the running of Enfield and Jim Chandler, the former Enfield manager, and his squad of largely former Enfield players was understandable. Twice ahead through goals by Kevin Riley, twice pulled back by penalties converted by Johnny Doyle, Enfield Town clinched victory two minutes from time with a header by Bradley Quinn. A perfect ending for supporters rediscovering that if grass-roots football means standing on a grass bank recently shorn of six-foot nettles and hurling abuse at a referee, they loved it. Alan Bird, the Basildon United substitute, also gave the referee a mouthful - he was sent off. That upset Steve Wheeler, the Basildon manager, as did the loss of a point. Otherwise, he was pleased as punch. Hours spent with Doyle bringing up to scratch a ground closed towards the end of last season because of disrepair had been well worthwhile. A crowd of 220 paid at the gate, when 30 is the norm, drinkers spilt from clubhouse on to car park, football ran seamlessly into an Elvis night - Basildon United became the first to enjoy the Enfield Town effect. The newcomers will make not just their supporters happy this season but also the treasurers of the clubs that they visit.
BASILDON UNITED (4-4-2): P Terry 5 - G Axcell 5, C Tranter 6, T Barnes 5, D Parker 5 - B Reiley 5, S Hickey 5 (sub: D White, 81min), S McCarthy 5 (sub: A Bird, 81), J Doyle 6 - L Smith 5, M Waite 5. Substitute not used: M Day. Sent off: Bird.
ENFIELD TOWN (4-4-2): A Hall 5 - L Smart 6, S Snowden 6, B Brotherton 5, M Negus 5 - R Watson 6, J Ridout 7, K Riley 7, N Morgan 5 (sub: B Quinn 6, 69) - D Clarke 5, R Antoine 5. Substitutes not used: G Byrne, M Seller. Booked: Snowden, Antoine, Riley.
Referee: J Kreyling 5.
WHEN SATURDAY COMES (August 2001): In an article entitled "Suburban Divide" by Tom Davies, the details of the formation of Enfield Town were given in detail:
What do you do if you've reached the end of your tether with your chairman, your club has been made homeless and its fans are powerless? If you're supporters of Enfield FC you say "sod this, let's start our own club". Later this month the newly formed Enfield Town FC will make their debut in the Essex Senior League.
The new club was established after members of the Enfield Supporters Trust voted overwhelmingly to start again from the bottom and ditch their old side, limping along of late in the lower reaches of the Ryman Premier and playing in Borehamwood, way out of their home borough, following the sale of their Southbury Road stadium in 1999. Enfield Town will be run and, initially at least, financed almost entirely by its membership.
Enfield were until recently a distinguished non-league club, having won 12 titles since the Sixties, including the Alliance (precursor to the Conference) in 1986, the last year before automatic promotion to the league came in. Their real troubles began when the chairman Tony Lazarou decided to sell Southbury Road for housing in a deal with the landowner, Enfield Council, arguing that moving was the only way for the club to clear it's debts.
The trouble was, Lazarou hadn't established an alternative home. He eventually set his sights on sharing Cheshunt FC's tiny ground on the other side of the M25, but Broxbourne Council refused planning permission and Lazarou ditched the plan. By now, Enfield were already homeless.
Exasperated, E's supporters set up a trust under the auspices of Supporters Direct as they sought to step up the search for a new ground back in Enfield. The trust appeared to have effected a breakthrough earlier this year when it struck a deal with the chairman that would have allowed him to walk away with £600,000 of the £750,000 that had been held in a joint council/club bank account after the Southbury Road sale - in return for relinquishing control of the club to the fans and clearing its debts. But Lazarou claimed the rights to a retail unit on the old site that he'd been promised as part of the ground sale (although the council maintains this was only on condition that he found a new ground), and the deal collapsed. Fans began to feel drastic action was needed.
"The old club died when they left Enfield," says Supporters Trust (and now also Enfield Town) chairman Dave Bryant. "Everyone knew it was going nowhere." In June the trust's members voted 263 to 34 to start anew at Spartan League club Brimsdown Rovers, whose Goldsdown Road base is small but, importantly, in the borough of Enfield. Since then things have moved swiftly, Enfield Town were admitted to the Essex Senior League (four divisions below the Ryman Premier) and the old club's remaining directors, apart from Lazarou, jumped ship. Former manager Jim Chandler, who left amid acrimony in December, returned and has recruited a number of his old charges. Sponsorship deals are being negotiated, and local support appears high.
It's a huge risk though. The sense of empowerment generated by the new club as well as the vicarious pleasure in sticking one over on the old chairman could quickly dissipate if they fail on the pitch and find themselves trampling around the wilds of Essex year after year. Success, too, could bring problems. Rapid progress up the pyramid will hasten the need for a new ground, but spare land is at a premium in an area of suburban London that has seen non-league grounds fall by the wayside at an alarming rate in the past 15 years.
Meanwhile the old club finds itself stuck out at Borehamwood with a threadbare squad, next to no support - gates had already slumped to around 150 last season - and a chairman who hasn't attended a game in almost two years. An intriguing season looms.
THE BIG ISSUE (Aug 6-12 2001): In an article entitled "Pitch Invasion", by Gibby Zobel, The Big Issue ran a story on Supporters Direct which included a piece on Enfield Town:
Last year, The Big Issue conducted a survey of soccer's social conscience and found most of the top clubs severely wanting. Since then there has been an explosion in organised fan power.
Supporters Direct was set up, backed by £250,000 of government cash.The organisation helps fans set up their own trusts to take a financial stake in the running of their clubs. It's the first gvernment- funded initiative directly to promote mutual forms of ownership in 25 years, according to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
This time last year only four clubs had Supporters' Trusts. Now there are 29, with another 17 at advanced planning stage. Supporters Direct has been contacted by 140 clubs.
Northampton Town were the pioneers back in 1992, when a Trust was set up to save the club from bankruptcy. They secured the right to elect a director to the board, and the results are palpable: first-class facilities for disabled people at Sixfield Stadium, an energetic anti-racism policy , one of the first equal-opportunities policies and an active football in the community scheme.
An all-out buy-out is rare, but in April, the Chesterfield Football Supporters Society acquired UK Sports Group Ltd and a controlling 78 per cent stake in the club. The club is now owned and run by the fans, like Lincoln City before it.
The ultimate fan-takeover of control of a club has been played out in a saga in Middlesex. Fed-up supporters of Enfield FC, once regarded as the heavyweights of non-league football, have simply formed their own club, Enfield Town FC.
"The supporters were so disillusioned. Our club was left homeless when the chairman sold the ground. He wanted to ground-share outside the borough. For two years we tried to find a compromise and in the end we decided to start afresh," said chairman Dave Bryant.
Enfield's former manager, several players and 90 per cent of the fans have abandoned the club, formed in 1893, in favour of a break-away outfit - even though they've had to drop four divisions. Just a month old and yet to kick a competitive football, Enfield Town will be wearing the same colours, white and blue. They have also yet to gain their own monicker. "nicknames evolve. They are called the E's, so maybe we'll become the Town E's," says Bryant.
And for Enfield? "There will be no insults, twisted facts or ill-will emanating from us," says general manager Edward Penn. It may take years, but the first derby match between the two clubs promises to be quite an occasion.