Blimey. Can you believe it’s July? Or, to put it another way, that we’re now comfortably into the second half of 2017? Now, the upside is that we’re closing in on a brand new football season. And, for anyone who looked for the Confederations Cup to provide a short-term football fix, the new season is a most welcome thing. Not that our Remember Them series hasn’t given you something to tide you over while you wait for the big kick-off. So, we’ll crack on with our latest reminiscipackage. This time, our wander down memory lane takes us to Thurrock.
Or is it Purfleet?
Thurrock or Purfleet: Who Are They?
It’s not often that Boro’ can claim to be older than another football club. We bet you couldn’t name five clubs who were formed after 1976. Here’s one to get you started, however. Thurrock (who play in Aveley) were only formed in 1985 (as Purfleet). Now, an 18th birthday is seen as a big deal. To mark their coming of age in 2003, the Fleet changed their name from Purfleet to what they now go by. So, when we ask do you remember them, it’s fair enough to reply “no” – because we’ve only ever known them as Purfleet. You still with us there?
Thurrock: Us and Them…
Yes indeedy. Our time with the Fleet was brief enough, spanning four meetings long before 2003. The first, at their gaff, came in October 1988; our first season back in Vauxhall Opel League Division 2 North after we were relegated from Division One, and their first after stepping up as Essex Senior League champions. From the very start, goals were a feature of our games. The first meeting ended 2-2, before the return at BHW saw us edged out by the odd goal in five. The Fleet went onto win promotion that campaign, five points ahead of Boro’.
And, yet, Thurrock’s rapid rise was to be halted. The club were back in D2N after a season in Division One, and that put them up against us once more. Now under the leadership of Cloughie, club records fell by the wayside during the 1990-1 Vauxhall Football League Division 2 North campaign for Boro’. There were 122 league goals, of which six came against the Fleet. And the 107 points, of which six came against, yep, the Fleet. First, the 3-0 win at our place in December 1990; second, the 3-1 win at theirs in March. We weren’t much longer for D2N…
Thurrock: And Then What?
So, up we went to Division One. Thurrock weren’t far behind, however. As we were winning the 1991/2 Diadora League Division One title, the Fleet were winning the Division Two title. Two years later, they came second in Division One and won promotion to the Premier Division. In yet another quick of coinkydink, that was the same season that we won promotion from the Premier Division. Now, we’re not suggesting you can’t script this type of thing, but it’s a little bit weird innit. No? The Conference, however, eluded them.
After that, Thurrock settled into the Ryman Premier Division. In 2004 (post-name change), the club took their place in the new Conference South division and came as close to the Conference National as they’d ever been, losing in the playoffs to Eastbourne Borough after finishing third. That was to be their peak. In 2012, the Fleet dropped back into the Isthmian League and endured another wretched campaign to earn a second successive relegation. They’re now back in the Premier Division after a case of ‘third time lucky’ in the Div One playoffs.
Did we mention that Mark ‘Stimmo’ Stimson is their gaffer at the mo? No? Ah well…
Thurrock/Purfleet: Boro’s Record
P4 W2 D1 L1 F10 A6 – League Points: 7, Cup Meetings: 0, Win Rate: 50%
BoroGuide’s Thurrock club profile – for old time’s sake…