A Brief History of Thurrock Football Club by Norman Posner
Thurrock Football Club was founded in April 1985 but until the start of season 2003-04 had played under the name of Purfleet Football Club.
The beginnings of the Club were quite meteoric for in just nine seasons the Club had gone from junior level playing on a roped off pitch to the Isthmian Premier Division -one of the country's leading Non-league Competitions.
The change of name in 2003-04 paid dividends as the Club gained its highest ever League placing in, by finishing third and thus qualifying for Conference South following the Football Association's restructuring of the Non-League game. For the first time in its history the Club reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup when in front of live Sky Television cameras they held Second Division Luton Town to a 1-1 draw at Ship Lane. In the replay they gave a good account of themselves before going down 3-1. Another first for the Club was the winning of the Essex Senior Cup, defeating Aveley 3-1 at Southend United’s Roots Hall to take the converted trophy. Also into the Thurrock trophy cabinet went the Isthmian League Cup in which they defeated Dunstable Town 5-1 in the final
The following season the Club finished third in the new Conference South and thus qualified for the Play-offs but were defeated by Eastbourne Borough in the Regional Semi-final. For the second consecutive season the club made it through to the First Round Proper of the FA Cup and were once again chosen for live television. This time the BBC were at Ship Lane for Match of the Day Live when League One Oldham Athletic were the visitors. In an undistinguished game a single goal just after half-time saw Oldham to victory. The Essex Senior Cup was retained, when in the final a 1-0 victory was gained over Halstead Town. In the traditional Champions v League Cup winners the Club defeated Canvey Island 3-2 to take the Isthmian League Charity Shield.
The following season the Club finished in 10th place in Conference South. At the end of the season the Club parted company with its long serving manager Colin McBride and appointed Hakan Hayrettin in his place.
Hayrettin had to find a completely new team as most of last season's squad followed McBride to AFC Hornchurch. The club struggled for most of the season and did not secure its Conference South status until the last day of the season when a 3-0 win over Sutton United and results elsewhere going their way gave a final place of 18th
The following season started in much the same form picking up just four points out of a possible 24 but a stunning second half of the season saw the Fleet finish up just six points away from a Play-off spot.
The following season saw the club finish in 20th place but survived relegation from the league due to the collapse of Team Bath.
The 2009/10 was an excellent one for Thurrock, with the team undefeated in its first nine games and reaching the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup before losing to Oxford United. A 1 -0 win at Woking saw the club reach it's highest ever league position of second in Conference South but a poor end of season run saw a fall to a final position of 10th.
2010/11 saw three managers and relegation after a poor season. Once again the club was reprieved, this time due to the expulsion of Rushden & Diamonds from the Conference.
Unfortunately things did not improve in the following season and saw Thurrock embark on a new challenge in the Ryman League Premier Division for the 2012-13 season under new manager Mark Stimson. At the end of the season Thurrock were controversially relegated after the season had ended after the authorities deducted Thurrock three points in May after the season was over.
The next season the club was positive in many ways but ended in disappointment as the club missed out on the play-offs on goal difference following defeat on the last day of the season.
Season 2014-15 the club made it to the Play off Final but in a game best forgotten were defeated 5-0 by Brentwood Town.
The following season the club finished league runner-up to AFC Sudbury and thus once again were in the Play offs. But again it was disappointment as they were beaten 2-0 at home by AFC Hornchurch in the Semi-final.
Last season, third in the table once again saw the club qualify for the Play-offs and it was to prove third time lucky. A 1-0 victory at home to AFC Hornchurch in the Semi-final and a 1-0 win at Maldon & Tiptree in the final saw Thurrock return to the Premier Division. It was a good year all round as the Reserves were Champions of the Essex Senior League Reserve Section.