For a time, it wouldn’t be too wide of the mark to consider Enfield FC as non-league royalty. But what part did Boro’ play in their life story? And what happened to them; how did the Es rise to the top and what made the good times stop? Well, we’re here to find out exactly how our paths came to cross and in which direction we both ended up going. It may end up being one of those relationships we’re better off forgetting. For those of you there at the time, we apologise for opening those old wounds. But it’s all water under the bridge – right?
Who are Enfield?
The birth of what we’d come to know as Enfield Football Club is up for debate. We can trace the line back to 1893, when the club formed as Enfield Spartans. After binning the Spartans name in 1900, they joined the London League and then on to the Athenian League in 1912. A couple of seasons in, the First World War got in the way of things and – afterwards – the club is said to have disbanded; members of junior side Grange Park deciding to go senior and take on the Enfield name in 1919. So, it’s up to you where the line actually starts.
After this point, the Es spent their time competing in the Athenian League without much to write home about. They finished as runners-up in the 1934-5 campaign – but it wasn’t until the 1960s that things got interesting. Thomas Lawrence came in as boss and led the club to back-to-back Athenian titles. The second of these would be a line in the sand as Enfield joined the Isthmian League in 1962. And the success continued; going at it hard during the first four seasons and then claiming three titles on the spin to end the 60s on a high.
A brief lull followed, before the titles came back a-rollin’ in; another three-in-a-row starting with the 1975-6 campaign, as well as the honours for 1979-80. This run of success meant they were seen as part of the non-league elite and joined the Alliance Premier League (or Conference) in 1981. The first season saw them come runners-up and win the FA Trophy. The following season, they went one better and were crowned champions. But, due to the archaic election system in place, were denied a deserved crack at the League.
It happened again to Enfield in 1986; the last year of the election system. And, from there, the bubble would soon burst, despite a second FA Trophy win in 1988.
Why do we know Enfield?
Enfield fell away from the top of the Conference and went down at the end of the 1989-90 season. It’d be their first time back in the Isthmian League for 10 years. But there was no sign of the Es being sorry for themselves; sticking close to the top of the table and making a real fist of trying to earn their place back in the Conference. The 1990-1 campaign saw ’em miss out on the title by four points, although the gap was slightly larger the next season.
As the Es kept trying – but falling short – in their bid to return to the Conference, we were on the way up. In the Es’ third season back in the Isthmian League, they were joined by a soaring Boro’ side. And what a test it’d surely prove to be for us as we went into the 1992-3 Diadora League Premier Division season. So, how did it go? Based on how things went, good – right?
What is our record against Enfield?
Our first-ever match against Enfield (competitive, at least) came on Boxing Day 1992. It was keenly contested in front of nearly 1,000 fans. But Boro’ came up just short; the Es edging us by a single goal at Southbury Road. Before the return fixture, there was a Full Members’ Cup tie at BHW. That didn’t go well either, with a less-than-full strength side going down 2-0.
So, all eyes on the home league match on Easter Monday – and hopes of getting off the mark against the north Londoners. It was comprehensive, that much is true; Enfield winning 3-0 and making their strength well and truly known. And, while we finished 20 points behind the Es in seventh, they’d come a distant third to champions Chesham United and Stalebuns City.
At least it gave us a useful marker of where we were – and where we wanted to be.
The next season saw us go on to lift the Diadora League Premier Division title. But this doesn’t mean our record against the Es got any better. Our visit to north London before Christmas was a bit of a nightmare; Boro’ barely making a dent in a 3-0 defeat. And any hopes of finally getting something out of our battles in the return at our place were very much misplaced; Enfield snatching the three points in front of nearly 2,000 people.
It means our head-to-head form looks very bad indeed. No points. No goals.
Enfield: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 5 — W 0 — D 0 — L 5 — F 0 — A 15 — Pts 0 — WR 0%
Our last tango: Stevenage Borough 0-1 Enfield, 09 April 1994
What happened to Enfield?
Enfield ended up finishing five points behind us that season. While we went up, it seemed as if it’d only be a matter of time before the Es followed. But it didn’t happen. And we ain’t all that sure why either. The Diadora League Premier Division was theirs at the end of the 1994-5 campaign, but it was second-place Slough that came up. It wasn’t ’til the 1999-00 season when their hopes of returning to the Conference started fading; the club finishing a lowly 14th that term.
To be fair, things started happening off the field. Their Southbury Road ground was sold in 1999 and the Es started ground sharing – including a residency at Boreham Wood. Amid the off-field goings-on, the football suffered; Enfield suffering a double relegation to end up in Division Two for the start of the 2004-5 season. At this point, the club were now calling Ware‘s Wodson Park home. A group of supporters had also left to form a new club called Enfield Town in order to return football to their home London borough.
In 2007, things reached a head. With debts dating back to the ground sale (and a former chairman), the club shut. A new club, resisting a merger with Enfield Town, set up under the name Enfield 1893. They started out in the Essex Senior League, where they are still today.
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Enfield club profile