Epsom & Ewell Football Club

Epsom & Ewell Football Club

Image: http://images.pitchero.com/ui/128586/sm_1279454619_10.jpgThe Club was founded in March 1918 as Epsom Juniors Cricket Club and played throughout the summer.In the autumn, Epsom Juniors F.C. came into being and they played a handful of games from what is now known as Alexandra Recreation Ground. Competitive football followed as the club entered the Surrey Junior League in 1919, and then became founder members of the Sutton & District League in 1920. A change of name in July 1922 to Epsom Town F.C. heralded the start of a very successful era. By now resident at the Horton Hospital Sports Ground, they were unfortunate to lose 2-1 after extra time at Dorking F.C.'s Pixham Lane ground to Caterham Mental Hospital in a replay of the Surrey Junior Cup Final. However, they won three other trophies that season, the Leatherhead Hospital Shield, the Sutton Hospital Cup, and the Epsom Hospital Cup. In addition, the Club also won the Sutton & District League, and under the forward thinking of their Chairman Hugh Bradley, they took the step forward into Intermediate Football, where they won the Southern Suburban League without losing a match. Senior football was granted the next season, as they were unanimously accepted into the Surrey Senior League for 1924/25, where they finished third.

In September 1925, the club relocated to the old Ewell F.C. ground at West Street, which was purchased through the generosity of the Club's future President Robert Bradshaw. In 1925/26 the Championship of the Surrey Senior League was attained, and the following season, they did the "double", defeating Egham 1-0 at Egham in the League Charity Cup. Election to the London League was next, and the title was claimed in the club's first season there in 1927/28. Unfortunately, they were unable to repeat this, although they would finish runners-up in 31/32, 32/33, 34/35, 36/37 and 37/38. Cup Honours were limited, although they lost 3-2 to Redhill in front of 4,600 at Guildford City in their first Surrey Senior Cup Final, having seen off Wimbledon 4-1 in the semi-final! Also, the club won the Surrey Charity (Senior) Shield in 1933 with an impressive 5-0 win over Woking at Kingfield.

However, the proudest moment of the club's pre-war history was an appearance in the First Round Proper of the F.A.Cup in 1933/34. Woking (after a replay), Nunhead, Tooting & Mitcham, Beddington Corner, and Leytonstone were defeated, and a crowd of 9,485 at the Lea Bridge Speedway Stadium witnessed a 4-2 loss against the hosts Clapton Orient. At the end of that season the club changed its name to Epsom F.C. while in 1936 the closure of their Reserve team enabled the newly formed Ewell and Stoneleigh to spend two years there ground sharing while in the Surrey Senior League, and local works team Venners Sports were tenants in the final completed pre-war season.

In 1939 a newly formed team, Epsom Town (no connection to the earlier team) shared the ground with Epsom F.C. However, this arrangement was suspended when war was declared, and the parent club folded for the duration. In the meantime, Club Chairman Charles Pettett threw in his lot with Epsom Town in an attempt to keep morale up in the town by keeping the football flag flying. It was successful, as the club competed throughout the war years, winning the Surrey Combination in 1939/40, and reaching the Surrey Senior Cup Final in 1944, losing 3-1 to Tooting & Mitcham, at Sandy Lane. After the war, Epsom F.C. started up again, continuing in the London League and reclaimed their ground, leaving Epsom Town homeless. Temporary homes were found at Kings College, Lavender Avenue, Mitcham, and then at the Old Halleyburians Rugby Ground in Ruxley Lane, as they competed for a season in the newly created Corinthian League, but disbanded at the end of the 1945/46 season.

In 1949 Epsom F.C. departed the London League, and entered the Corinthian League themselves, but despite a 3-2 win over two time Champions Walton & Hersham in their first home match, they would not win away in the League for nearly three years. They did reach the Corinthian Memorial Shield Final in 1952, going down 2-1 to Champions Hounslow at Eastbourne after leading at half-time. Things continued to improve with the signing of the famous ex-Amateur International Pat Lynch from Hendon. The club achieved their highest ever placing of third in 1952/53, and in 1954 reached the Surrey Senior Cup Final for the third time in their history, losing unluckily 2-0 to Corinthian Casuals in front of 6,159 at Selhurst Park, and in 1955 they won the Surrey Senior Shield with a 1-0 win over Carshalton Athletic at West Street.

There was a massive new player influx in 1955 after the club appointed their first ever manager in Kingstonian legend Doug Whitehead. The Corinthian League double was almost achieved in 1956/57, but two losses in the final week, along with defeat in the Cup Final 2-0 to Maidenhead United at Dorking, ensured that the club got neither, only finishing fourth. However in 1960, they finally got their hands on the Shield with a 2-0 revenge win over Maidenhead United at Vale Farm, home of Wembley F.C.. This was the last season with the club for veteran Ernie Watkins, who had played for the club for fifteen seasons since the end of the war. He would go on to play for eight more years at Banstead Athletic before retiring in 1968 aged 47!

Next Page: Club History From 1960s to 1990s

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League Tables

The Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Football League » Premier Division

1 Cove 9 25
2 Ashford Town (Middx) 9 24
3 Spelthorne Sports 8 22
4 Camberley Town 10 19
5 Molesey 8 18
6 Windsor 8 14
7 Mole Valley SCR 9 14
8 Hartley Wintney 7 13
9 Colliers Wood United 10 13
10 Bedfont Sports 10 13
11 Chertsey Town 10 12
12 Epsom & Ewell 8 11
13 Raynes Park Vale 7 11
14 Frimley Green 9 10
15 Horley Town 9 9
16 Farnham Town 11 7
17 Guildford City 9 7
18 Knaphill 9 6
19 Westfield 8 5
20 Badshot Lea 9 5
21 Hanworth Villa 9 4

Last updated Sunday 21st September, 18:57

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