Bedford is perhaps one of the largest towns to never have a Football League club of their own. Or should that be ‘professional’ club? Either way, that ‘wrong’ is unlikely to be righted any time soon; not least when they’re getting relegated to the eighth tier in 2023. It’s a long way for us to fall (or for them to climb) before we’ll get a guarantee of regular league fixtures. Of course, the Eagles are one of those sides we’ve met regularly in pre-season. It’s the competitive games that are the problem.
Bedford Town: The Facts
Meadow Lane, Cardington, Bedford, MK44 3SB
You can be really picky with this tale and say that, for the Eagles, life starts in 1989; the club reforming after running into difficulties. For the club itself, however, their belief is that everything goes back to 1908. And in a way, it does. Initially, that incarnation somehow wound up starting in the Northamptonshire League.
It was after World War Two that things really take off for the Eagles. Well, that’s if you believe they date back that far. The club joined the Southern League and would firmly establish themselves as one of the best sides in that competition. It is a fact reinforced by finishing second two years on the bounce in the 1950s. There is also the subject of a failed Football League election bid in 1955. Alas, they got no votes.
The Eagles kept applying to join the Football League every season between 1965 and 1973 – as well as two years later in 1975. Only Yeovil Town are said to have more failed bids at Football League membership. That as it was, the team continued ploughing along in the Southern League. By this point, though, relegation and promotion became a semi-regular thing for them. As far as we know from research, the Eagles disbanded in 1982. The reason? Well, selling their old ground with failed plans for a new one doesn’t help.
After reforming in 1992, the club joined the South Midlands League. In their second season, they claimed the Division One title; promotion to the Premier Division part of the equation. They’d go onto win the whole bloody thing a year later, which preceded a move into the Isthmian League. Again, they were successful at this; going from Division Three to Division One in no time at all. In 2004, the Eagles once again took a spot in the Southern League – before competing in Conference South in one solitary 2004-5 season.
How to get to Bedford Town – Travel Information – Distance: 24 miles
Go north on the A1 to Sandy, before coming off to join the A603 for Bedford. Head through Moggerhanger and Willington. Just as you get to the junction for the Bedford bypass, you’ll find the ground on the right-hand side.
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