Monday, 26 August 2013

Heybridge Swifts FC

Monday 26th August 2013 Kick Off 15:00 hours                             
Ryman League North Division
Heybridge Swifts 0 v Maldon Town FC 0
Scraley Road Stadium                                                                                

The club was formed as Heybridge FC on the 1st November 1880 and it was a number of years before they played their first league match in the North Essex League. The “Swifts” prefix was adopted after the 2nd World war and there has been clubs called Heybridge FC & Heybridge Swifts FC during the early 1920’s.

For the first 70 years of the last century the club played in the local leagues working their way through to become founder members of the Essex Senior League in the 1970-71 season. The switch to senior status was a difficult at first, but three successive championships saw a move up to the Isthmian League in 1984, and solid progress was made culminating in winning the Division Two North title in 1989-90 then runners up to Oxford City in Division One in the 1995-96 season, with richly deserved promotion to the Premier Division. This was the era of Garry Hill, later to move onto St. Albans City & Dagenham & Redbridge as manager. Promotion to the Premier division was achieved in 1997/98 but the following year a struggle against relegation ensued under ex Colchester boss Roy McDonough who was soon replaced by local boy Robbie Nihill, turning things around to rescue the side and retain their Premiership status.

Swifts have enjoyed some considerable success in the cups, revelling in the role of underdogs. In 1986/87 the last 16 of the FA Vase was reached; and then in the FA Trophy in the 1996/97 season Swifts lost in the quarter finals to Woking, having beaten Kidderminster and Worcester along the way. Four years ago a long trip to Runcorn in the last 16 of the Trophy as the Ryman League's last representatives saw Swifts defeated 2-1.

The FA Cup has brought notable glory, losing to Barry Fry's Barnet in the 4th qualifying round in 1990/91, then getting to the first round proper in 1994/95 defeating Boston United and Nuneaton Borough before losing to Gillingham in front of 4,614 spectators. The First round proper was reached again in 1997/98 but a trip to the south coast was not fruitful with Bournemouth winning 3-0; then again in 2003/04 when TV Cameras saw Bristol City triumph 7-0.

To look back at these achievements means that the village side from Essex have come a long way in a short space of time. Who, in the early 1960's when the club nearly folded having been evicted by their landlords would have dreamed that by the turn of the millennium the field that was purchased as a carrot field has seen much hard work, blood, sweat and tears that have turned it into a stadium to be proud of. The original dressing rooms have seen a club house built alongside; with two stands seating 550, covered terracing for 600 and terracing around the complete playing area giving the ground a capacity of around 3,000.

Carr's Flour Factory

Handy for Chelsea away.
Prehistoric Fords

The old flour factory and gatehouse.

A Capri in the hand, is worth two in the bush

Welcome to Essex - home of the "Cut and Shunt" car manufacturing process. 

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