Wednesday, 7 November 2018

We Come To Bury Town And To Praise Them

Bury Town FC vs Aveley FC

Saturday 3rd November 2018
Ram Meadow

Bury Town

Bury Town History

The club was established by William Lake Initially named Bury St Edmunds Football Club, the first committee of the club elected to choose royal blue as the club's colours. In 1885 they were one of eleven founder members of the Suffolk FA and voted to change their name to Bury Town. In 1895 the club's name reverted to Bury St Edmunds, then to Bury United in 1908 and back to Bury Town in 1923.

The club joined the Norfolk & Suffolk League in 1899, but left midway through the 1901–02 season. They subsequently became members of the South East Anglian League in 1904 and finished bottom of the league in 1905–06. They rejoined the Norfolk & Suffolk League in 1920, leaving again in 1929 and rejoining again in 1932. During this time they also played in the Essex & Suffolk Border League. In 1935 the club moved into senior football by becoming founder members of the Eastern Counties League. They gained their first honour when they won the Suffolk Senior Cup in 1936–37, a trophy they retained for the next two seasons. 1937–38 saw the club achieve its best pre-war league position of runners-up, before the competition was suspended due to the outbreak of World War II. Bury Town won the Suffolk Senior Cup for the fourth time in 1945 before resuming league action in 1946.

In 1958–59 Bury Town became the first ever winners of the Suffolk Premier Cup and went on to retain the trophy for the next three seasons. In 1961–62 the Eastern Counties League Cup was won for the first time and then in 1963–64 the club won the Eastern Counties League Championship for the only time in its history, recording a "treble" by winning the League Cup and the Suffolk Premier Cup for the fifth time. This success prompted the club to join the Metropolitan League in 1964 when once again, they won the Suffolk Premier Cup. During the 1965–66 campaign, Bury Town recorded yet another “treble” winning the Metropolitan League Championship, the Metropolitan League Professional Cup and for the seventh time, the Suffolk Premier Cup. In 1967–68 the Blues won the Metropolitan League Cup for the only time and finished runners-up in the league.

The Metropolitan League title was won for the second and final time in 1968–69 when the club reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history; 3,000 spectators saw the Blues hold Third Division leaders Bournemouth to a goalless home draw at Kings Road, but the replay at Dean Court was lost 3–0. The 1970–71 season was the club's last in the Metropolitan League when they finished as runners-up and also lifted the Suffolk Premier Cup for the eighth occasion. In 1971 the club switched to the Southern League but poor results prompted a return to the Eastern Counties League in 1976. A year later they won the Suffolk Premier Cup again.

In 1986–87, which proved to be Bury Town's last season in the Eastern Counties League, the club enjoyed another good run in the FA Cup reaching the fourth qualifying round. The Blues were drawn away to Football Conference leaders Enfield and forced a 0–0 draw before 842 spectators. A record crowd of over 2,500 saw the visitors win the replay at Ram Meadow. In 1987 Bury rejoined the Southern League and experienced mixed fortunes in the Southern Division. The 1995–96 season saw the club accepting a transfer across to the Midland Division. After completion of only one season in the Midland Division, Bury Town were relegated back to the Eastern Counties League. Despite relegation Bury won the Suffolk Premier Cup, beating Woodbridge Town in the final.

Bury saw little success until the 2004–05 season with the club finishing second in the league and winning the Westwood Shield, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Vase for the second time. The following season saw the club finish second in the league again, allowing them promotion to Division One North of the Isthmian League, as well as reaching the semi-final of the FA Vase. Two seasons later the club were transferred into Division One Midlands of the Southern League as part of a geographical reorganisation. In the same season they reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in forty years, losing 4–2 away to Conference North club Alfreton Town.[8] The 2009–10 season ended with the club winning 3–0 on the final day of the season to claim the title,[9] earning promotion to the seventh level of English football, where they were placed in the Isthmian League Premier Division. The following season they won the Premier Cup for a tenth time, defeating Needham Market 2–0 in the final, and also finished third in the league, qualifying for the play-offs, where they lost 2–1 at home to Lowestoft Town. In 2011–12 the club won the Isthmian League Cup. After finishing bottom of the Premier Division in 2014–15 season they were relegated to Division One North. 


We were unable to attend the match so I am indebited to Mick Daly who made some brilliant notes and took a few photos to allow us to publish a meaningful blog - so over to Mick

We left Parkside in the mini-bus at 11:50 and after a pick up in Brentwood and a refuelling stop headed up the M11 with 8 of the players and 6 committee members and supporters. 

A clear run saw us arrive at Ram Meadow arund 1.35pm - 1hr 45 mins for the 80 mile journey.

Ticket Prices

Adults £9
Concessions £5
Children 10-16 £2
Under 10's Free

This is an excellent pricing structure and is slightly cheaper than most of the away grounds we've visited this season


Our usual in-depth analysis will need to wait for the weekend as I haven't got my hands on a copy yet but Mick very kindly picked us up a copy for our collection - must remember to pay for it on Saturday.

Club Shop

The last couple of clubs we've visited have been a bit lacking in the shop department but this one was next to the gate and Mick purchased a pin badge for Sam's collection for £4 (the most expensive one so far this season)


Parkside Potts indulged in a burger and chips which he reported was nice and at a reasonable price of £3 for the burger and £1.50 for the chips.

Unfortunately the pies had sold out by half-time so Mick had to settle for chips and a tea which were ok


The bar was friendly and welcoming and had the advantage of two TV's showing the Man Utd Premier League match on sky.

An added bonus was the presence of a hand pump delivering Flander's Field - a specially brewed Greene King ale for rememberance day - not a bad pint. Sadly this had sold out by 5pm


A good grass pitch bordered by a quirky looking stand and changing rooms on one side and a low stand on the other. A sugar refinery could be seen behind the trees at one end  and the town and abbey at the other

Travelling Support

Due to various circumstances the travelling Miller's army was considerably lower than normal - a combination of work, closure of the dartford tunnel, illness and other unforseen issues had prevented a significant proportion of the Sons Of Aveley from attending.

Respect to Pottsy, Fred & Family and Old Man Pete for achieving what others failed to do.

The Match

A very well observed minutes silence for the Leicester helicopter tragedy took place before kick off.


1. David Hughes
2. Jake Pitty
3. Sam Mvemba
4. James Love
5. Connor Witherspoon
6. Sam Cross
7. Shad Ngandu
8. Andy Freeman
9. Tom Richardson
10. Jason Raad
11. Alex Akrofi

Subs: Gibbs, Doyle, Gard
Subs Not Used: Reid, Martin


05: Bury have a couple of half chances but the Millers defence is able t oclear

07: A chance for Bury but Ollie Hughes drags his shot wide of the upright

20: YELLOW CARD - Tommy Hughes for a late tackle on Sam Mvemba

26: Freeman plays in Akrofi who slots it past the Bury keeper but t ono avail as the lino raises his flag

29: Jake Chambers bens a dangerous free kick into the wall and Aveley clear

36: Jason Raad has a curling shot well saved by the keeper

45+1: Tom Richardson is played in by Raad but his snap shot is straight at the keeper

Half-Time - A fairly uneventful first half sees the Miller's holding the hosts 0-0

Second Half

50: Jason Raad curls a free kick over the wall but agonisingly it creeps an inch the wrong side of the post.

64: SUB - Jason Raad goes off to be replaced by a fit again Freddie Gard

65: GOAL - Freeman collects the ball in the box and fires it past the Bury keeper - Bury 0-1 Aveley

67: Freddie Gard has a go from the edge of the ares but puts it wide

70: GOAL - Free kick from Sam Cross rebounds off the wall straight to Tom Richardson who taps it in - Bury 0-2 Aveley

75: SUB - George Doyle replaces Shad and Harry Gibbs comes on for Sam Mvemba

83: GOAL - Chambers-Shaw volleys int othe bottom corner to get Bury back into the game - Bury 1-2 Aveley

88: RED CARD - Alex Akrofi is shown a straight red for an off the ball incident - He'll miss the FA Trophy game on Saturday against Beaconsfield

90+5: RED CARD - Millers down to 9 men as James Love sees red for a second yellow late tackle. Another player to miss the cup tie next week

Full Time: Millers hold on for an historic win - Final Score Bury 1-2 Aveley

Fantastic result and the fans go wild behind the goal - All the lads come over to celebrate with the Millers who made the 160 mile round trip


Great atmosphere in the bar afterwards, everyone sitting together and chatting

Journey Home

A clear run sees the minibus arrive back at Parkside at 7.30pm. A cracking day out for those who were able to attend.

Next up we have Beaconsfield Town at home in the FA Trophy on Saturday afternoon.

Many many thanks to Mick who took the trouble to not only collated enough notes to let us write the blog but also got his hands on a programme and badge for Sam's collection

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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Why We Support Aveley FC

I've been a West Ham United supporter for as long as I can remember and my first real football recollection was sitting in the living room with the curtains drawn when I was 7 watching the hammers take on Fulham in the 1975 FA Cup Final.

For those of you who don't remember it West Ham won 2-0 with two goals from Alan Taylor against a Fulham team that included Alan Mullery and Hammers legend Bobby Moore. 

Incidentally there was only one non-English player in either team and that was Irishman Jim Conway (Fulham). How times have changed. I look at Premier League team sheets now and struggle to pronounce half of the names.

So this was the start of my love affair with the boys from Upton Park. 

As soon as I was earning a wage I attended as many home games as I could (which was difficult as I was working 5 saturdays out of 6)

This was in the days when Tony Cottee and Frank McAvennie were scoring goals for fun. 

In 1990 I got married and had better uses for the gate money (so my wife told me) so that was the end of attending live matches with the boys in Claret & Blue.

In 2010 the most unlikely thing happened, Dagenham & Redbridge (my dad's home town) were promoted to League 1 and he decided he wanted to go back to support the team he watched as a child, mostly by squeezing through gaps in the fence in the 1940's and early 50's.

Not having anyone to go with, and there not being any large enough holes to squeeze through, he asked if I wanted to accompany him to home games. Why not I thought and over the course of the season we attended most of the games at Victoria Road which unfortunately ended with the Daggers being relegated to League 2. By this time I was hooked, and at the start of the next season we purchased season tickets which we maintained for the next 2 seasons until eventually my dad was finding it difficult to travel to games and reluctantly we let our tickets lapse.

I'm still an avid follower of both the Hammers and the Daggers but now didn't have the funds to finance a regular attendance or anyone willing to come with me.

Then a few years later my son Sam, who by now was taking an avid interest in both teams results, asked if we could go to a live game. Absolutely I said and we then started to attend 3-4 games a season. Now Sam has an autistic spectrum condition (Aspergers) and isn't always comfortable in crowded situations so taking him to Upton Park was a definite no-no, but Dagenham was  lot calmer situation and we enjoyed out semi-regular outings.

Again we struggled to justify the expense of the match tickets and the petrol so we stopped going apart from, where possible, the last home match of the season.

Then, in 2017, some building work began on part of Belhus Park just about a mile from our house. 

"What's that" asked Sam one afternoon when we were driving past. 

"It's the new stadium for Aveley FC" I replied

"Do Aveley have a football team?" enquired Sam

"Yes" I said, "they play at the rundown looking place at the top of the bypass"

"Why have we never been to watch them then" he asked 

"I don't know, I never gave it a thought" 

And that was that - I promised to take him to the first home game of the 2017/18 season and then promply forgot about it....until July 2017 when Sam reminded me of my promise and we then wandered over to Parkside to watch Aveley FC kick off their first cmpaign in the new stadium.

Firstly we were very impressed with the ground and the facilities. Being fairly shy and retiring folk we found a couple of seats as far away from the assorted supporters and stayed there for the entire duration.

I can't remember anything about the game other than Sam had a great afternoon and asked me when the next game would be taking place.

We then attended all of the home games (apart from the Norwich Utd one due to illness) for the rest of the season and purchased half-season tickets once I knew that Sam wasn't going to get bored.

To be honest Aveley were dire and 2 months into the season the manager was sacked and replaced with James Webster who slowly rebuilt the squad and the standard of football got better and better.

As with West Ham and D&R years before I was again hooked on watching the live action game. Over the second half of the season we swallowed our nervousness and got involved with some of the fans sitting in 'our' part of the stand. Rather than loud shouty football fanatics they turned out to be the nicest collection of people you could hope to meet.

I'd like to say at this point that everyone at the club that season was fantastic and made us feel welcome even though we just used to arrive 5 mins before kick-off and fled as soon as the final whistle went.

Sam insisted on dragging me to the Q&A session in the clubhouse one evening where the management tean and senior players were available to field fans questions. Because of this we met Richard who in the course of conversation offered to put on a special event for the parents, carers and kids from the local autistic society so they could get cheap entry, meet the mascot and have photos taken with the players.

Aveley's improved form meant we finished nicely in mid-table rather than the relegation dog-fight we all expected earlier in the season.

With our new found confidence we purchased early-bird season tickets for the 2018/19 season and attended as many of the pre-season friendlies as we could. 

Richard and Craig (CEO) agreed that the season opener against Dereham Town would be the best time to invite the autistic group and between us we managed to bring 60 people from NAS Thurrock to enjoy the 6-0 drubbing of Dereham in the sunshine which was so successful we intend to do it again this season when the weather gets a little warmer.

Through this event we met Graham Gennings (the club chairman) who offered Sam the chance to travel on the team coach to the away fixture against Dereham later in the season. 

When I asked Sam if this was something he would like to do he answered "Does that mean we're allowed to go to away games then?"

"Of course" I replied. 

"Anyone can go to an away game"

I then realised from the look on his face exactly what I'd done. So, we're no longer just home fans, Sam wants to attend as many of the away games as he possibly can and because two men can't possibly be capable of organising a trip to and then attending an away game the wife is insisting on coming along as a chaperone. She is now coming to home games too so I think she is secretly enjoying it.

We are now attending 1st team games at Home and Away plus the reserves, U18, U14 and now Veterans games at home plus friendlies

 I said it earlier but in just a short period of time we have become accepted into the 'Aveley Family' and really enjoy not only the football but the interaction with the staff, fans and players. 

At West Ham you are just a statistic, at Aveley you are a part of a warm friendly club that realy appreciates the support from the fans

Sam and I will be Millers forever and we hope we can put something back into the club over the coming seasons

Thanks Aveley FC for making Parkside a fun place to go and all your efforts to be all inclusive of fans with special needs

Come On You Millers!

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Thursday, 25 October 2018

Great Wakering Rovers - Essex Senior Cup 3rd Round

Great Wakering Rovers vs Aveley FC

Essex Senior Cup 3rd Round
Tuesday 23rd October 2018 7.45pm
Burroughs Park

Great Wakering History

The club was formed in 1919 by soldiers demobbed after World War I and finding employment in the local brickfields. 
They first played in one of Southend's oldest leagues, the Southend & District League, where the Rovers stayed until 1982. Rovers were one of the league’s most dominant clubs, especially in the 1960s and 1970s and to this day remain so on record. The switch in 1982 saw the club move to the newly formed Southend & District Alliance Football League, but sadly this league folded in 1989 leaving Rovers with a decision to move back to the Southend & District League or take a step up in standard. 
With what most Rovers feel to be the best squad amassed by a manager, in this case Eddie Nash, Rovers took the decision to step up to intermediate level and joined the Essex Intermediate League.

Rovers remained in the Essex Intermediate League for three seasons, winning the championships of Divisions Three and Two in successive seasons. After the latter, Rovers successfully applied to join the Essex Senior League and found themselves in Step 5 of the Non-League pyramid, which for a village club was a tremendous feat.
In the 1994-1995 season Rovers narrowly beat Sawbridgeworth Town FC for the Essex Senior League title. 
Rovers defence of the Essex Senior crown would falter the following season, finishing 2nd behind Romford. In the 1996-1997 season Rovers would also finish second again, behind Ford United by just three points. 
The 1997-1998 season would be Rovers worst season in the Essex Senior League, finishing 7th, and 36 points behind winners Concord Rangers. 
The club's final appearance in the Essex Senior League saw them finish 2nd behind Bowers United. However, due to Bowers United failing to meet ground grading requirements for promotion, Rovers were promoted to the Isthmian League in their place. With Isthmian League Division Three on the horizon for the 1999-2000 season, Rovers move into Step 4 of the league pyramid was complete.
At the very first attempt Rovers were promoted to Division Two finishing behind East Thurrock Utd by three points. Promotion to Division Two gave Rovers some stiffer opposition and the season finished with Rovers in mid-table. 
In 2002 the Isthmian League then reorganised and Rovers found themselves in a new look Division One North, finishing mid-table but more than holding their own in what was a very competitive league. 
For the 2006-2007 season Rovers found themselves in familiar territory, switching back to the Isthmian League Division One North, where we finished 12th. Two further seasons saw Rovers finish 13th and stabilise themselves as a Ryman League club.

2011/12 saw the team relegated to the ESL    
In 2014, they won the ESL by one point on the final day of the season, and were promoted back to the Isthmian League.

2016/17 season was probably the most turbulent the club has ever experienced. Seeing two Chairman leaving their posts, together with two Managers also losing their jobs. In total 71 players were used in the fight against relegation without any success. They were finally relegated after two seasons at step 4 in the FA Pyramid returning to the Essex Senior League.

2017/18 They went on to win the league at the first attempt, earning promotion back to the renamed North Division of the Isthmian League.

In a change to our normal routine Sam and Jean stayed at home in the warm whilst I grabbed a lift with Ryan to make the supposedly shortish journey (28 miles) to Burroughs Park. 

Unfortunately the A127 was very slow going and the journey took about 75 mins - luckily we left in plenty of time and arrive at the ground around 7pm. We easily found a space in the car park (If it was for a weekend game this probably wouldn't be the case as the car park is relatively small) and headed over to the turnstiles.

I think we caught the staff unawares as they said they weren't yet open and we could wait in the bar - they obviously took pity on us with our crestfallen faces and decided to let us in anyway.

Ticket price was £10 which we felt was quite high for an Essex Senior Cup match and was expecting it to be nearer to a fiver, however we paid the gentleman on the gate and entered the ground. 

A nice couple then sold us programmes and 50/50 tickets (Damn I forgot to see if I'd won) before we set off to the snack bar to see about some food.

Snack bar

Having not had time to eat tonight I perused the menu as the two ladies were opening up the serving window and decided on a  Quarter Pounder with onions priced at £3. The service was ultra-fast so I assume they had cooked the burgers ahead of time and then warmed them up at point of sale - the burger was well cooked and tasty and thoroughly recommended for anyone coming back for the league game later in the season.


The programme was priced at £1.50 and was printed on light cardstock. It consisted of 24 pages in full colour. Just the 2 pages of adverts, 4 pages about Aveley and our players. 2 pages of football related columns and the usual stats and match reports. All in all a very nicely presented programme at a reasonable price.

The Ground 

A nice compact ground with covered seating on both sides although no covered areas behind the goals. The trees behind the far goal afford some much welcomed protection from the wind which was making it quite a chilly evening.

Club Shop

It seems that the club shop is currently closed while a decision is made regarding it's future due to staffing problems. Our quest for a club crest pin badge was obviously stopped dead in it's tracks although a club official said that if any become available later in the season then they'll bring one over to Parkside to add to Sam's collection.

The Team

1. David Hughes
2. Wyan Reid
3. Sam Mvenba
4. James Love
5. Joe Russell
6. Sam Cross
7. Marcus Millner
8. Shad Ngandu
9. Tom Richardson
10. Jason Raad
11. Alex Akrofi

Subs: Chris Bourne, Andy Freeman, George Doyle, Freddie Gard, Connor Witherspoon

The Gaffer
George & Roachy Talking Tactics

Warming Up

The Match (Sorry it's a bit sketchy)

We kicked off a couple of minutes late and we proceded to set up the Sons of Aveley flags behind the goal that Aveley would be attacking in the first half.

Aveley started off quite brightly and went ahead in the first half with a well placed header from Alex Akrofi. David Hughes then made a first-class save to thwart a rovers attack.

Jason Raad puts a shot wide of the target from distance.

40 - Hughesy to the rescue again with a good save from a long range shot

44 - Goal to Wakering - Long punt forward leads to a mixup at the back and the No.9 punishes us.

45 - Goal Millers -  Milner hits the crossbar from distance, ball falls to Wyan Reid out wide and the cross is knocked home by Shad. GWR 1-2 Aveley


All GWR from the 2nd half kick-off anf the pressure pays off. No.10 heads home Wakering's second of the night.

65 - Andy Freeman replaces Marcus Milner and then nearly puts us ahead - denied by a great save from the keeper

Shad picks up a knock and is replaced by George Doyle

George Doyle
What can I say! Jason Raad picks up the ball wide on the right, drives into the box, beats a couple of players and then drags it back across goal to finish in the corner - fabulous solo effert puts the Millers back in front Wakering 2-3 Aveley

Akrofi plays in Tom Richardson whose shot is parried by the goalkeeper - Tom slips as he goes for the loose ball and the keeper recovers - so close to a fourth for Aveley.

85 - GWR level it up once more - another ball into the box is headed home by their No.9 GWR 3-3 Aveley

Chris Bourne replaces Wyan Reid - possibly with a penalty shootout in mind

90+3 - Great Wakering snatch it right at the death to send us crashing out of the cup at the first hurdle 

90+5 - Final Whistle

Thanks to Alex Akrofi who came over to the travelling fams to thank us for coming while we took down the flags and packed them away.

The Journey Home

With Southend playing at home and the road works on the A127 the journey home took about 2 hours and included a diversion through Rayleigh and a dash through Pitsea to get off of the A127 due to a closed slip road nearer home. When I arrived home the rest of the family were sound asleep and probably quietly pleased that they hadn't made the journey.

Next up for the Millers is the historic FA Trophy match at home to Dunstable on Saturday.

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