This is the first of an occasional series of historical posts relating to my home borough Havering *but Romfordiana sounds better than Haveringiana – to me at lest).
Havering has not produced very many people of note and history has generally passed it by. That does not mean to say that it is a wasteland – even though it looks that way at times! Anyway on to the subject of the post.
There has been a football club in Romford (with breaks from WWI to the late 20s and the late 70s to the early 90s) since 1876. The current incarnation plays in the Isthmian League first division, the eighth tier of the English football pyramid.
Romford FC has never played top-flight football but it did come tantalisingly close in the 6)s. In in1967 it won the Southern League and like many other fellow winners it applied for membership of the football league. Unlike other past champions including Southampton. Portsmouth, Ipswich QPR et al) its bid was unsuccessful.
But one has to go back to the 19th century for another highpoint. In 1881 Romford reached its furtherst point in the FA Cup competition.
Romford FC was one of 62 teams to compete in the 1800/81 FA Cup competition. In the first round the team met Reading Minster winning 1-0.
They received a bye in the second round. Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers, two teams who are still in the top echelons of English football, exited at this stage of the competition.
In the third round it met another Reading team, Reading Abbey, winning 2-0. Romford therefore fared better than Notts County who were beaten by Aston Vila.
A fourth round tie saw them play Marlow. A 2-1 victory meant that they progressed further than either Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa who were both defeated at this stage.
Glory beckoned. Three more games and Romford would raise the FA Cup. But first the team had to overcome AFC Darwen. Alas Darwen were too taleneted and they defeated lost by just fifteen goals in a tight and closely fought game (!)
Darwen were defeated I the semi finals and the competition was won that season by Old Cathusians who defeated Old Etonians.
Darwen subsequently gained admission to the football league but remained in the top flight for just nine eight seasons. The team now plays at the tenth tier of English football. Old Carthusians and Old Etonians now play in the Arthurian league for public school alumni. It is not part of the football pyramid…
Okay its not much of a story but how many of my posts are!