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Club history


Early years

The club was formed in 1901 by rich and influential families of the likes of Barings, Villiers and Lord Chelsea for the benefit of bringing sport to the poor and underprivileged youth of the East End of London. Various clubhouses were used in the early years and eventually the sportsground at Hackney Marshes known as "The Wilderness" was used, this started a period of great success in the thirties for the club's football, cricket and rugby sides. The success continued into the forties, fifties and sixties with many famous players coming from the club, Alf Ramsey and Len Wills are just two to have played for the club in the past. The club became founder members of the Aetolian League in 1959 and followed other former member clubs into the Greater London League as founder members in 1964, winning the championship at the first attempt in 1964–65. The club played at several different venues during this period. After becoming founder members of Metropolitan-London League Division One in 1971, and finishing third in 1973–74, the club moved to the Essex Senior League in 1975 and have stayed with the competition ever since.

Struggles and stability

The first few years in the Essex Senior League were relatively successful for the Manor, with the club well established in the top half of the division. However, the club finished bottom in 1981 and they rarely rose out of the bottom 6 for most of the next 20 years, finishing last of all again in 1997, when they won just one league game.

Before the 2003–04 season long-serving Chairman Reg Curtis appointed Kirk Whitelock as manager. Under his stewardship the club stabilised, finishing 9th, 12th and 13th in his three full seasons in charge. However, the club's disciplinary record during this period was poor with red cards an all too familiar occurrence. Half way through the 06–07 season Whitelock stepped down, handing the reins over to his ambitious assistant manager, Graham Chester.

Modern times

Chester immediately set about building a new team around the goals of Anton Stephenson. By February the team found themselves in two Cup Finals and a top-four league position. The Manor were defeated in the first of those finals by Concord Rangers, but turned the tables in the second final to win the Essex Senior League Cup 3–2 against the same opponents. It was the club’s first senior cup win for nearly 70 years. The team finished 4th in the Essex Senior League; however, Graham Chester resigned at the end of the season to take over at Isthmian League Division One North club Tilbury.

Former Manor player Billy Cove was appointed as manager, but his reign was short lived. He oversaw just five games as manager at the start of the 2008/09 season, winning once, before resigning. He was replaced by former Ilford and Waltham Forest manager Kevin Durrant. Durrant spent four years at the club, during which they finished in the top eight of the League on two occasions, with a best finish of 6th place. There was also some cup success with three semi-final appearances across the Essex Senior League Cup and the Gordon Brasted Trophy. The highlight of his reign was the club's run in the Gordon Brasted Trophy during the 2010–11 season, where Manor defeated Basildon United (4–0), London APSA (2–1) and Witham Town (1–0) to qualify for the final against Burnham Ramblers. Despite Courtney Linton giving Manor the lead, they were eventually beaten 4–2 after extra time, their second defeat in four years in the final of that competition. At the end of the 2011–12 season, which had seen a major transition in the team, Durrant announced his intention to step down as manager. 2012–13 saw Manor bring in young Luke Giddings as manager with assistant Kieren King. The season proved a tough one but Manor finished in fifth place. At the end of the season, Luke stepped down to take the reins at Enfield 1893, taking most of his players with him. Kieren King was then promoted to manager for the 2013-14 season; he added the experienced John Benstead to work alongside him as his assistant. Rebuilding the squad took place and whilst they had an unbeaten pre-season, their first competitive match saw them lose 2–1 away to Haringey Borough. King resigned in December for personal reasons and Benstead took over the hot seat where he guided them to an 11th position finish in the league losing just twice out of their final 15 games of the season. 2014-15 was a difficult start to the league campaign and despite being in the bottom half of the league for a considerable time, Manor finished 14th and reached 2 quarter finals. 2015-16 saw Manor's opening day end in a goalless draw against London Bari.

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