Heybridge Swifts: Remember Them?

Right then, here a starter for 10. Can you give us any other team with such an elegant name as Heybridge Swifts? Yeah – we very much doubt it...

Right then, here your starter for 10. Can you give us any other team with such an elegant and gracious name as Heybridge Swifts? Yeah – we very much doubt it. But then we are also half expecting you to come at us with Luton Town or Grays Athletic. And that doesn’t reflect well on you, unfortunately. Or maybe us. Depends how you look on it.

What is certain, however, is that modern football is just a bit cynical. It ain’t that long ago to a time when things were fun; innocent, even. Sure, the journey to the Football League was top banana for anyone looking to make a HBO original drama series. But even the best trips have highlights along the way. And nothing screams bright blonde highlights like the early 1990s.


Who are Heybridge Swifts?

Formed in 1880, the Swifts did little outside county-wide competitions for a good few years. It wasn’t until 1984 (more than 100 years later) that Heybridge moved into the wider world by joining the Isthmian League. And this only came after winning three Essex Senior League titles on the spin. Most of the Swifts’ honours, unsurprisingly, revolve around this and other county comps up ’til that point. But coming into the Isthmian fold ushered in a new era…

… as we’d find out.


Why do we know Heybridge Swifts?

We were both the new kids on the Servowarm League Division Two North block for the start of the 1984-5 season. And we both took to life in the competition nicely, both going close to promotion. We each beat the other 3-1 indoors and we each ended on 78 points. It wasn’t quite enough for promotion at the first time of asking, however. And it was the Swifts who edged it on goal difference.

The following year saw us go up as champions, which meant there was a three-year gap ’til we’d come up against each other again. Then it was their turn to claim the title in 1989-90; rising up to Division One and leaving us behind. Of course, it took just one more year for us to catch up. So, you can kinda see that we were quite the equals with the Swifts at this time. And we both had our moments when it came to the bragging rights.


What is our record against Heybridge Swifts?

Overall, we’re the ones with more to smile about. For all the tussles we enjoyed with the Swifts, seven of our 12 meetings went in our favour. Just one of them ended as a draw – and that was a 2-2 stalemate at home in November 1989 during their title-winning push. But there’s a twist, as is often the case. And Swifts who laugh last, laugh longest; a 5-1 defeat in the Eastern Floodlit League being where we left things with them.

Heybridge Swifts: Boro’s Record

Our head-to-head: P 12 — W 7 — D 1 — L 4 — F 24 — A 18 — Pts 22 — WR 58%
Our last tango: Heybridge Swifts 5-1 Stevenage Borough, 21 April 1994


What happened to Heybridge Swifts?

Our two most recent encounters with Heybridge Swifts actually came after we’d gone up to the Diadora League Premier Division, with them staying put in Division One. And both of them were cup ties during the second half of the 1993-4 campaign too. It doesn’t look good for us on paper, with two mini-upsets. But it didn’t stop us from marching onwards and into the Conference. The Swifts, meanwhile, had plateaued.

In 1996, the Swifts finally made it up to the now-named Ryman League Premier Division. For more than 10 years, they held their own – and twice came close to earning a spot in the Conference South. But it went wrong for them during the 2009-10 campaign just as it was going right for us. Since then, they’ve competed in the eighth tier. This was despite winning the playoffs in 2017-8, but falling short of promotion due to a weird points-per-game rule that saw the five best teams go up. The Swifts were sixth.


• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Heybridge Swifts club profile

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Pete H is the head of the BoroGuide team; helping to keep the show on the road for the best part of two decades – all because of his love of Boro'. He was relatively late to the scene; first rocking up at Broadhall Way during the 1995-6 season. But that's mainly because he was too young to pledge allegiance before then. There have been more than enough highs (Easter Monday '96) and lows (Kettering '02) since then, however, to keep him occupied. Yes, and the 2010 title win...


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