It’s not often that a team’s record is wiped from the books. It’s only happened to two sides in our history. And Epping Town were the first. Yep, long before the demise of Chester City stopped us from passing 100 points in 2010, the Essex outfit hit the rocks in 1984. But we aren’t going to skip to the end just yet. There’s still a bit of finer detail to go through before we get there. And, sometimes, there’s a thrill to be had in making that journey. Even if that is only 25 miles across the county border.
Who are Epping Town?
We didn’t know where it all started for the Essex side. At first, we picked up the scent with them joining the Spartan League for the 1936-7 campaign. Then, however, we found what we can only recommend as an epic article for those of you who are interested. We’ll link to it further on. But it tells us the original club formed back in 1888; doing their thing in district competition until that point in 1936. It also brought them up against Stevenage Town.
After the Second Word War, things get a little unclear to start with. It looks like they stuck with the Spartan League; moving onto the Parthenon League in 1954. Then, in 1955, we find them back on the radar in the London League. FCHD records go blank for four years in 1965, but it does seem as if they stayed put in the London League. It just took on a bit of a different name. Then, in 1969, came the move to the Metropolitan League.
Why do we know Epping Town?
After an unsuccessful first season in the Metropolitan League, the second campaign saw them win the title in 1971. As founder members of Metropolitan-London League Division One that summer, the Essex side recorded two more title wins in the next three seasons. With such a successful run under their belt, the club opted to join the Athenian League in 1974; winning the Division Two title at the second attempt.
A decent first crack at Division One came next – and it seemed to be enough to convince ’em that it was time to join the Isthmian League. And that’s what they did in 1977; moving into Division Two. It proved a much harder proposition and they failed to make a massive impact on the competition. And, with the days of title wins and promotions seemingly now behind them, it meant we’d find ’em waiting when we joined the competition ourselves.
What is our record against Epping Town?
By the time we made the move into the Servowarm League Division Two North, however, us and them were old flames. Our first-ever encounter would actually come in the 1981-2 campaign. It was the Eastern Floodlit Cup that threw us together. And we started with our 2-1 home win in late September ’81. In the return nearly six months later, we couldn’t find a winner at their place; settling for a 1-1 draw.
The Eastern Floodlit Cup ain’t all that, though. Yeah – beating a side at a higher level than us at that point in time is something positive. But it doesn’t count for much, does it? So, it’s a better idea to judge us on our league form against the Essex club. Except it isn’t. After a 4-2 home defeat in November ’84, we were then soundly beaten at Stonards Hill in March ’85. From unbeaten to clean swept in the space of the season.
Epping Town: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 4 — W 1 — D 1 — L 2 — F 5 — A 9 — Pts 0 — WR 25%
Our last tango: Epping Town 3-0 Stevenage Borough, 16 March 1985
What happened to Epping Town?
Then again, do Epping’s two wins count for much in the grand scheme of things? Well, no. The club were kicked out of the league with one match of the campaign left; their record in the bin. So, those results were chalked off our stats and we only keep them in for posterity. But the reason it all went wrong is quite the tale; laid bare in all its detail here. For anyone interested in the story, it’s all here. We’ll just sum up the main highlights – or lowlights.
A new board came into the club during the 1980s and, apparently, weren’t particularly nice chaps. Stan Bowles was a marquee signing in 1984 – but things just weren’t going right. It soon spread onto the pitch too; “disciplinary points mounting and fines remaining unpaid”. The players and management left and new arrivals didn’t cut the mustard. Makes you ask how we managed to lose twice to them.
Anyway, some aggro involving a club director (turning out as a player) at Leyton Wingate seemed to be the straw that broke the Isthmian League camel’s back. Just three years to go before their 100-year birthday, the club were booted out; their story coming to its end and the name ‘Epping Town’ lost to history.
That was, however, until 2018. A team that started out as Coopersale (1976) changed its name to Eppingsale (1992) and then Epping (1999). In 2018, though, Town became part of the club’s name; with it, the hope that former glories – mainly of the 1970s – would be returning to Stonards Hill. Or, at least, wherever they’re now forced to play. The path now starts back in the Essex Olympian League.
With thanks to David Bauckham
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Epping Town club profile