FORMATION, MERGERS, and NAMES.
The Club's roots lie in the car industry which has long been a staple of the economy in this corner of East London and Essex, and give us several 'sister' clubs both locally and nationally. Previously know as Ford United F.C. which dated from a 1958 or '59 merger between two older clubs, Ford Sports F.C. (Dagenham) and Briggs Sports F.C., both of which were founded in 1934. Up until WW2, the latter actually began life as Briggs Motor Bodies F.C. and entered a team in the London League under that name between 1935 and '51. The Ford United Club was in serious problems at the start of 1995/6 season, however, as sponsorship was lost and disbanding seemed a real danger, until Vice-Chairman George Adams enlisted Sky Sports as sponsors, rescuing the Club. Nicknamed 'The Motormen', they play in Blue Shirts and White Shorts. The name of Ford United was to end forever when the club was changed at the start of the 2004/05 season to Redbridge Football Club in a bid to gain more local support and become firmly established as the highest placed football club in the London Borough of Redbridge.
Briggs Sports played at the Victoria Road ground, now famous as home of Dagenham & Redbridge. Ford United's old ground was the Ford Sports & Social Club in Rush Green. Romford F.C. shared the ground in 1995/6, providing valuable funds at a difficult time. Sadly, this pleasant ground was ruled unacceptable to the Isthmian League in summer of 2000 since its owners, Ford Motor Company, would grant only a yearly lease, so some 40 years of history there came to an end. A new home was leased at Oakside Stadium, and the previous lessees (Barkingside F.C.) are now the tenants.
Briggs Motor Bodies won the London League in 1937 & '39, actually pipping Ford Sports to the title in '37 - the first of two successive runners-up spots. The London League Park Royal Cup (for lower division clubs) was won by Briggs Sports in '37 and their reserves in '50. Ford Sports' membership of this league ran from 1935 to '53, winning Div 2 East in 1939. Briggs played in the Spartan League from 1945, winning East Div 1 in 1947, and the League Cup in '57, '58, and '59. They enjoyed unparalleled success in the Premier Division, as their positions from'49/50 to 58/59 read; 1st,2nd,1st,2nd,2nd,2nd,1st,1st,1st,1st: following the merger on the back of 4 titles, the next Spartan winners were Staines Town. Ford Sports also played in the Spartan League between 1938 ? 48 and '50-'58.
The newly merged club joined the new Aetolian League in 1959/60, and became the first Champions, a feat they repeated in 1962: in between, they were runners-up in '61 when they also won the League Cup. Fortunes of both the club and the League began to wane in the 60's, whereupon we switched to the Greater London League in 1964. This was won in 1971, a year after being runners-up and capturing the League Cup. From 1971-74 we played in the Metropolitan London League.
In 1974 they moved to the Essex Senior League, and here we were champions in 1992, runners-up in '94, and remained until earning promotion to the Isthmian (Ryman) League in 1997, on the back of another Essex Senior League title (and League Cup final appearance) and a much improved ground. We finished in 5th spot in our first season, and with Jeff Wood contributing a league's best 35 goals, Ford Untied won Division 3 in 1999, scoring 110 goals in 38 games in the process - also the best in the League. We continued our rapid rise in 2000, when we romped to promotion. Wood bagging a remarkable 42 goals as we finished 3rd in Division 2.
We continued our rapid rise in 2000, when we romped to promotion. Wood bagging a remarkable 42 goals as we finished 3rd in Division 2. Another two successive promotions followed firstly with a 3rd place finish in season 2000/01 and then by becoming champions of the Ryman Division 1 in 2001/02. This coincided with a change of ground to the Oakside Stadium in Barkingside which was quickly updated to an A-grading so being able to host Ryman League football. Ryman Premier football was finally achieved but started with the departure of manager Denis Elliott and in came Craig Edwards whose first season in charge saw a 15th place finish as well as London Senior Cup runners up. The following season saw the club finish in 13th position which meant that we would qualify to enter the Nationwide Conference South in season 2004-05.
Ford United started season 2004-05 in the newly formed Nationwide Conference South under the new name of Redbridge FC in an attempt to gain more support and become recognised as the highest placed football side in the London Borough of Redbridge. Unfortunately this proved to be a bridge to far for the club both on and off the pitch and we suffered relegation and a bottom place finish whilst also losing manager Craig Edwards halfway through the season as he was to be replaced with Ex Ford United and Fulham goalkeeper Jim Stannard. One success to come out of this season was the excellent Redbridge FC Under 18's side who as well as winning the Eastern Junior Alliance League and Cup also captured the Essex Pelly Cup and made it through to the 3rd round of the FA Youth Cup only to be beaten by previous winners Middlesbrough. The following season saw the club back in the Ryman Premier League but a second successive relegation was soon to follow which saw the club playing in the newly formed Ryman Divison One North.
A change in management halfway through the season saw Ilford manager and ex Ford United player Allan Fenn join the club but was unable to stop the side from a bottom place finish. The following season was disappointing with a 16th place finish and resulted in Fenn being replaced in the summer break by ex Wimbledon and Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth. Dean led us to a 3rd place finish and a play off final only to see us lose out in a dramatic penalty shoot out to Canvey Island.
Unfortunately after only one season Dean moved on to become the new manager of Conference South side Newport County and this resulted in most of the squad breaking up. Ex Ford United player Jay Devereux , previously manager of Barking and most recently reserve manager at Dagenham and Redbridge took over last season and his first task was to rebuild the squad from scratch after the majority of the team moved on during the summer break. His first season finished with a respectable 9th place finish after a season which was hampered with floodlight problems at the Oakside and after the side got off to a slow start the next campaign and without a financial budget he decided it best to leave the club.
First team coach Dave Ross took charge for Redbridge's game at Harlow Town, where they drew 3–3 after being 2–0 down and stayed as manager for the remainder of the season. Poor winter weather affected the side at the start of 2010, the team initially struggled with a fixture pile up but Ross managed to keep the side in the league avoiding relegation.
The 2010–11 season proved to be one of the most turbulent in the club's history. Manager Dave Ross brought in Kris Taylor to form a management team. After a bad start to the season, which saw the club sitting bottom of the league and Ross was eventually asked to step down. Kris Taylor was confirmed as first team manager on 1 October 2010, after talks broke down with Kevin Durrant who looked all set to join the club. Taylor's tenure ended in December 2010 when his work commitments affected the amount of time demanded to run a club of this stature meant he was unable to give 100% to the management of the team. First team coach Jody Brown was appointed manager on a short-term basis just before Christmas 2010 and he was able to bring some stability and stave of relegation with three games of the season still remaining.
Chairman Dan Holloway moved quickly at the end of the season to make the changes that will bring the structure and stability needed at a football club at this level. Terry Spillane was appointed first team manager after a highly successful spell with Stansted with Jody Brown reverting to a coaching role.
The team ended the season well finishing 6th place just 4 points off the play off positions. However, soon after the season finished, Chairman Dan Holloway resigned from the club due to personal reasons and, with the playing budget due to be cut, manager Terry Spillane felt it was not possible to move the team any further and he and his footballing staff left to join fellow Ryman One North side Maldon&Tiptree.
A new joint management team made up of Del Robinson and ex Gravesend and Northfleet legend Steve Portway took charge for the 2012/13 season. After a poor start to the season, the team improved in the second-half of the season and fought off survival on the last-day to finish 20th and secure another season at Ryman Level. During pre season Jim Chapman stepped down as chairman and sold the club to London Bari Chairman Imran Merchant who took control bringing with him Ricky Eaton who will be joint managers alongside ex Redbridge manager Dave Ross. He will be hoping to bring some much needed stability to the club for the future both on and off the pitch.
After just one season Imran stepped down as Chariman due to personal reasons and ex Chairman Jim Chapman took over once again. The management team of Ricky and Dave stayed on and became directors of the club making changes off the pitch including refurbishing the ball court into a modern 3G surface available to hire. On the pith however with no playing budget the team found the going tough and ended the season in 23rd place but escaped relegation back into the Essex Senior League when we were handed a reprieve due to Southern League side Clevedon Town being demoted over a ground grading rule.
Ford Sports(Dagenham) first played in the FA CUP in 1934/5 losing at Romford. We reached the 1st Round for the first time in 1998/88 when we were defeated 3-0 by Preston North End and then again in season 2003/04 when we faced Port Vale. A deserved 2-2 draw at Vale Park followed with us only narrowingly losing 2-1 in extra timeto an own goal at the Oakside Stadium in front of nearly 1500 fans. On 29 October 2011, Redbridge reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time since 2003 after beating Conference National side Ebbsfleet United 2–0. In the First Round they drew 0–0 with Oxford City and won the replay 2–1 after extra time, thanks to goals by Nathan Gordon and Ben Bradbury. They played League Two leaders Crawley Town in the Second Round, where they were beaten 5–0, against a side four divisions and 106 places above Redbridge in the league pyramid.
In 1998/99 we also reached the FA Vase 5th Round (last 16), going down to eventual finalists Bedlington Terriers. Briggs Sports were a very successful cup team, and even reached an FA Amateur Cup Semi-final (1953/4) played in front of 58,000 people at St. James' Park, Newcastle, in which they were beaten 5-1 by Bishop Auckland. On the way, they disposed of Bournemouth Gasworks, St Albans, Bromley, and Pegasus. Ford Sports reached the Amateur Cup 1st Round in 1939 & '46; Briggs Sports made Round 4 in1959, Round 3 in '57, Round 2 in '49, '56 and '58, and Round 1 in '53. In 1959/60, Ford United beat Woking and Salts before losing a 3rd Round replay to Hayes; they also made Round 2 in '62 (beat Walthamstow, lost to Wimbledon), and Round 1 in '61, '63, '64, and '65, after which Dagenham usurped their erstwhile pre-eminence in the area.
Briggs were winners of the Essex Senior Cup in 1940 (wartime cup), 1950, '51 & '52. They also lifted the prestigious London Senior Cup in 1956 and '57. Ford Sport's won the East Anglian Cup in 1941. Ford United's only Essex Senior Cup final appearance to date was in 1964, losing 4 ? 3 on aggregate to Tilbury. We did however win the Essex Senior Trophy in 1991 and '92, defeating Braintree Town and East Thurrock United respectively, and the revamped London Senior Cup was captured v Hanwell Town in 1994, and v Southall in 1998. Both of these latter trophies were regained in 2001. In 1996, we were semi-finalists in both the Essex Senior and East Anglian Cups.
Ford United won the Essex Elizabethan Cup twice in their first 4 years of existence, and again in 1971. We lost to Billericay on penalties in the 1992 Essex Thameside Trophy final. The club also picked up Essex Sportsmanship Awards in 1978, '80, & '81.
Honours: Briggs Sports Reserves: London League Div 1 runners-up 1950,'51. Essex Intermediate Cup winners 1953, '54, London Intermediate Cup Final 1955. Ford United Reserves: Essex Intermediate Cup finalists 1960; Essex & Herts Border Combination League champions & League Cup winners 1995; Harry Fisher Memorial Trophy winners 1994, finalists 1996; Ford United 'A' Essex Junior Cup finalists 1962. Ford United IV reserves were disbanded during Romford's ground share spell, but they are now back in the Essex & Herts Border Combination. A new Youth side was started by Dennis Elliott in the late 1990's, producing many senior players.
Probably the most successful ex Ford United player was Peter Brabrook; an outside right who joined Chelsea in 1954 and went on to appear 488 times in the League with The Blues, West Ham and Orient. He also played 3 times for England (including a World Cup-tie v USSR), represented England U23, Youth, and the League, and won the FA Cup and Cup Winner's Cup with West Ham. Playing in the 1954 Amateur Cup Semi was Les Allen, then 16, who went on to score 112 goals in 291 League games for Chelsea, Spurs and QPR, as well as representing England U23 and the Football League XI. Mick Flannagan went on to play for QPR, Charlton, Crystal Palace and Spurs; and others who progressed to the pro' ranks included Jimmy Stannard (Fulham, Southend, Millwall, Gillingham goalkeeper), Nicky Hammond (Arsenal, Swindon), Laurie Abrahams (Charlton), Doug Barton (Reading, Newport), John Dunn (goalkeeper at Chelsea, Torquay, Aston Villa and Charlton)and most recently Glenn Poole who recently played at Brentford. The England Amateur and Great Britain Olympic sides of the '50s and '60s contained Derek Shewring, Ernie Childs, George Bunce, and Alf Noble (later at Colchester). Numerous players have gained Essex representative caps/badges: Seniors: Ernie Childs, JL Morgan, HW Jarvis, AGH Smith, RL Bumpstead, R Hammond, HW Green, C Guiver (all Briggs Sports), D Harris (Ford United) Juniors: SE Clark (Ford Sports), E Smith (Briggs Sports). Roger Bond holds the appearance record. Jimmy Chapman although now retired from the game managed to combine his role of goalkeeper and Chairman for many seasons.