Far from the madding crowd of the regular football season, it’s now a case of sitting tight and waiting on this new-fangled thing called a World Cup. Right? No doubt you’re lining up your picks for Russia; ready to chance your arm over at novibet.co.uk. The gaffer’s Tunisia to tear it up on the biggest footballing stage would be an outside bet and a half. But so would Bromley to make the Football League, and they weren’t far off last term.
Before we get to that, however, a bit more about The Ravens… and what we’ve been and done with them.
Bromley: Who Are They?
So, this is a story that goes back to 1892. In the first few years, Bromley jumped around; a founder member of the Southern, London and Spartan Leagues inside their first 15 years. There was also the double-title-winning, pre-World War One spell in the Isthmian League too, with FA Amateur Cup success on the side. It would be the Athenian League, however, that’d became a more permanent home from 1919. And success came quickly.
In their fourth season, the Ravens were crowned champions. And the FA Amateur Cup was back in their trophy cabinet once more before World War Two. After the War, a league and cup double lit up their 1948-9 campaign. In 1951, however, a third Athenian League title saw them move on. Or back. To the Isthmian League. And they picked up as they left off; not finishing out of the top three in their first five years back (with one title win).
After 1961 and another Isthmian League title, it sort of dried up for Bromley. They drifted towards the bottom of the table and, from the mid-1970s onwards, found themselves in relegation battles. There were times those battles were lost. The ship was somewhat steadied as the 1980s rolled on; doing a few seasons in the Isthmian League Premier Division and then a brief hiatus in Division One.
Us And Them…
In 1991, Boro’ were promoted into Division One. In that same year, Bromley were promoted from Division One. But we caught up a season later, setting up our first meeting in the process. And we’ll tell you this for free now – there is a *beautiful* symmetry to our head-to-head record. They came to us at the end of October 1992 and bagged the only goal in a 1-0 win. Steve Cox and Martin Gittings, however, got Boro’s own back six weeks later.
One win apiece for Boro’ and Bromley in that 1992-3 campaign; us finishing 7th and the Ravens 17th. So, into a second season together, and old habits died hard. A brace from Gitts at their gaff in early November earned us a second consecutive 2-1 win at Hayes Lane. But our charge to the title that term took a mid-March stumble as they won 1-0 at ours. Again. It was our first league defeat since New Year’s Day that season.
And Then What?
Our promotion to the Conference meant leaving Bromley and the Diadora League behind. For them, Premier Division status was maintained until 1999. From 2004, the Ravens roared back. If Ravens could roar. Back in the Premier Division (2005) they came, then onto Conference South (2008). In 2015, they booked their place in the Conference National for the first time in their history. And there has been steady progress since.
You can argue that 2017-8 has been Bromley’s best season for a good while. In finishing the 2017-8 Vanarama National League season in 9th, the Ravens fell just three points short of the playoffs; their 75 goals a better tally than eventual champions Macclesfield Town. Not only that, but there’s a Wembley appearance upcoming; contesting this season’s FA Trophy final against Braintree Town. Is a long wait for silverware about to end?
Bromley: Boro’s Record
P4 W2 D0 L2 F4 A4 – League Points: 6, Cup Meetings: 0, Win Rate: 50%
• BoroGuide’s Bromley club profile – for old time’s sake…