Essex Senior Football League

The Essex Senior Football League is an English men's football league. It contains clubs from the Essex FA, Hertfordshire FA, London FA, Middlesex FA and the Amateur Football Alliance.[1] It is a feeder league to Division One North of the Isthmian League and has a single division which sits at Step 5 (or Level 9) of the National League System.[1]

Essex Senior League
Essex Senior Football League Logo.png
Number of teams21
Level on pyramidLevel 9
Feeder toIsthmian League[1]
Promotion toIsthmian League Division One North[1]
Relegation toEastern Counties League Div 1 South[2]
Domestic cup(s)Essex Senior League Challenge Cup
Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy
Current championsHullbridge Sports
Most championshipsBasildon United (5 titles)[3]
WebsiteEssex Senior League Official Website
Current: 2021–22 season
The area covered by the Essex Senior League is coloured in teal.

Founder membersEdit

The Essex Senior League was formed in 1971 with nine founder members. The finishing positions for the 1971–72 season were as follows:

1 Witham Town
2 Billericay Town
3 Pegasus Athletic
4 Tiptree United
5 Saffron Walden Town
6 Basildon United
7 Heybridge Swifts
8 Southend United 'A'
9 Stansted

Promotion and relegationEdit

The Essex Senior League state that a club must finish in the top 3 to be considered for promotion to the Isthmian League Division One North.[1] However the process is governed by the FA Leagues Committee[3] who regulate relegations and promotions throughout the National League System. As of the 2014–15 season FA rules for Step 5 divisions such as the Essex Senior League stipulate that the champions should be offered the first chance of promotion. If the champions do not wish to be promoted or are not able to meet the entry requirements for promotion then the 2nd or 3rd placed team may be considered for promotion. Under normal circumstances, only one club can be promoted from a Step 5 league (i.e. the Essex Senior League) to a Step 4 league (i.e. the Isthmian League Division One).[4]

In exchange for the promoted club, the Essex Senior League would typically receive a relegated club from a Step 4 league.[1] Relegated clubs of Step 4 leagues are allocated an appropriate league based on their geographical locations.[4] Thus the Essex Senior League is most likely to receive one of the relegated clubs from the Isthmian League Division One North.

There was no relegation from the Essex Senior League into a lower league since there was no Step 6 equivalent to the ESL[1] until the 2017–18 season. Leagues including the Essex Olympian League (Step 7) sometimes acted as a feeder league to the Essex Senior League but promotion and relegation between the two leagues was not automatic.[5] A Step 6 division for Essex and East Anglia was announced in October 2017 to solve the relegation problem. Since 2018–19, the Eastern Counties League controls this new division.[2]

Champions, runners up and third place finishersEdit

Season Winner[3] Runners-up[3] Third place
1971–72 Witham Town Billericay Town Pegasus Athletic
1972–73 Billericay Town Basildon United Stansted
1973–74 Saffron Walden Town Billericay Town Coggeshall Town
1974–75 Billericay Town Basildon United Coggeshall Town
1975–76 Billericay Town Tiptree United Basildon United
1976–77 Basildon United Brentwood Billericay Town
1977–78 Basildon United Tiptree United Ford United
1978–79 Basildon United Canvey Island Eton Manor
1979–80 Basildon United Wivenhoe Town Canvey Island
1980–81 Bowers United Heybridge Swifts Wivenhoe Town
1981–82 Heybridge Swifts Wivenhoe Town Brentwood
1982–83 Heybridge Swifts Stansted Halstead Town
1983–84 Heybridge Swifts Bowers United Witham Town
1984–85 Maldon Town Witham Town Stansted
1985–86 Witham Town Wivenhoe Town Ford United
1986–87 Canvey Island Witham Town Purfleet
1987–88 Purfleet Brentwood Halstead Town
1988–89 Brightlingsea United East Thurrock United Ford United
1989–90 Brightlingsea United Woodford Town East Thurrock United
1990–91 Southend Manor Brentwood Burnham Ramblers
1991–92 Ford United Brentwood East Thurrock United
1992–93 Canvey Island Sawbridgeworth Town Bowers United
1993–94 Basildon United Ford United Canvey Island
1994–95 Great Wakering Rovers Sawbridgeworth Town Romford
1995–96 Romford Great Wakering Rovers Concord Rangers
1996–97 Ford United Great Wakering Rovers Concord Rangers
1997–98 Concord Rangers Basildon United Bowers United
1998–99 Bowers United Great Wakering Rovers Saffron Walden Town
1999–2000 Saffron Walden Town Southend Manor Burnham Ramblers
2000–01 Brentwood Saffron Walden Town Barkingside
2001–02 Leyton Enfield Town Burnham Ramblers
2002–03 Enfield Town Concord Rangers Ilford
2003–04 Concord Rangers Ilford Sawbridgeworth Town
2004–05 Enfield Town Burnham Ramblers Waltham Abbey
2005–06 A.F.C. Hornchurch Waltham Abbey Tilbury
2006–07 Brentwood Town Romford Barkingside
2007–08 Concord Rangers Enfield 1893 Barkingside
2008–09 Romford Enfield 1893 Takeley
2009–10 Stansted Witham Town Burnham Ramblers
2010–11 Enfield 1893 Stansted Witham Town
2011–12 Witham Town Southend Manor Takeley
2012–13 Burnham Ramblers Barkingside Takeley
2013–14 Great Wakering Rovers Haringey Borough Enfield 1893
2014–15 Haringey Borough Bowers & Pitsea Barking
2015–16 Bowers & Pitsea Basildon United FC Romania
2016–17 Barking Clapton FC Romania
2017–18 Great Wakering Rovers Basildon United FC Romania
2018–19 Hullbridge Sports Stansted Walthamstow
2019–20 No champions; season abandoned due to coronavirus pandemic
2020–21 No champions; season abandoned due to coronavirus pandemic

League winners recordsEdit

  • 5 times – Basildon United
  • 3 times – Billericay Town, Bowers & Pitsea, Concord Rangers, Great Wakering Rovers, Heybridge Swifts, Witham Town
  • 2 times – Brentwood Town, Brightlingsea United, Canvey Island, Enfield Town, Ford United, Romford, Saffron Walden Town
  • 1 time – AFC Hornchurch, Barking, Burnham Ramblers, Enfield 1893, Haringey Borough, Hullbridge Sports, Leyton, Maldon Town, Purfleet, Stansted, Southend Manor

Essex Senior League Challenge CupEdit

The Essex Senior League Challenge Cup is a knock-out tournament competed for by teams in the Essex Senior Football League.[3] Brentwood Town and Basildon United hold the record jointly for the most cup wins, each lifting the trophy four times (Brentwood Town in 1975–76, 1978–79, 1990–91, 2006–07, Basildon United in 1977–78, 1993–94, 1997–98, 2015–16).[3] As of the 2017–18 season the competition is referred to as the "Errington Challenge Cup" in recognition of the league's treasurer Margaret Errington who held the post for 26 years before dying in 2016.

Final resultsEdit

Season Winner[3] Score[3] Runners-up[3]
1972–73 Billericay Town 2–1 Saffron Walden Town
1973–74 No competition played
1974–75 Colchester United 'A' 3–1 Billericay Town
1975–76 Brentwood 3–0 Basildon United
1976–77 Billericay Town 1–0 Bowers United
1977–78 Basildon United 3–0 Bowers United
1978–79 Brentwood 2–0 Brightlingsea United
1979–80 Canvey Island 1–1,0–0,2–0 Basildon United
1980–81 Witham Town 4–2 Sawbridgeworth Town
1981–82 Bowers United 2–0 Halstead Town
1982–83 Heybridge Swifts 4–1 Bowers United
1983–84 Stansted 1–0 Brentwood
1984–85 Chelmsford City Reserves 2–0 Maldon Town
1985–86 Ford United 1–0 Coggeshall Town
1986–87 Purfleet 2–0 Burnham Ramblers
1987–88 Purfleet 2–1 Canvey Island
1988–89 East Thurrock United 3–2 Ford United
1989–90 Southend Manor 2–0 Burnham Ramblers
1990–91 Brentwood 2–0 Southend Manor
1991–92 East Thurrock United 2–0 Basildon United
1992–93 Canvey Island 3–1 Sawbridgeworth Town
1993–94 Basildon United 3–0 Sawbridgeworth Town
1994–95 Sawbridgeworth Town 2–0 Stansted
1995–96 Romford 2–0 Southend Manor
1996–97 Concord Rangers 1–0 Ford United
1997–98 Basildon United 1–0 Burnham Ramblers
1998–99 Bowers United 2–0 Great Wakering Rovers
1999-00 Saffron Walden Town 2–1 Southend Manor
2000–01 Southend Manor 2–1 Sawbridgeworth Town
2001–02 Enfield Town 1–1
(4–2 penalties)
2002–03 Ilford 1–0 Sawbridgeworth Town
2003–04 Enfield Town 3–2 Sawbridgeworth Town
2004–05 Waltham Abbey 4–1 Enfield Town
2005–06 AFC Hornchurch 2–0 Brentwood Town
2006–07 Brentwood Town 1–1
(5–4 penalties)
2007–08 Eton Manor 3–2 Concord Rangers
2008–09 Barkingside 2–0 Burnham Ramblers
2009–10 Bethnal Green United 4–1 Burnham Ramblers
2010–11 Stansted 3–0 Enfield 1893
2011–12 Witham Town 2–1 Burnham Ramblers
2012–13 Barkingside 9–1 Bowers & Pitsea
2013–14 Great Wakering Rovers 1–0 Sporting Bengal United
2014–15 Bowers & Pitsea 7–1 Clapton
2015–16 Basildon United 3–0 FC Romania
2016–17 Takeley 1–0 Sawbridgeworth Town
2017–18 Great Wakering Rovers 1–0 Sawbridgeworth Town
2018–19 Stansted 1–0 West Essex
2019–20 Not completed due to coronavirus disease pandemic
2020–21 Not played due to coronavirus disease pandemic

League and Cup DoubleEdit

On 14 occasions a team has won both the Essex Senior League and the Essex Senior League Challenge Cup in the same season. They are:

  • 1972–73 – Billericay Town[3]
  • 1977–78 – Basildon United[3]
  • 1982–83 – Heybridge Swifts[3]
  • 1987–88 – Purfleet[3]
  • 1992–93 – Canvey Island[3]
  • 1993–94 – Basildon United[3]
  • 1995–96 – Romford[3]
  • 1998–99 – Bowers United[3]
  • 1999-00 – Saffron Walden Town[3]
  • 2005–06 – AFC Hornchurch[3]
  • 2006–07 – Brentwood Town[3]
  • 2011–12 – Witham Town[3]
  • 2013–14 – Great Wakering Rovers[3]
  • 2017–18 – Great Wakering Rovers

Former membersEdit

Notable former Essex Senior League playersEdit

Several Essex Senior League players have also played for Football League or Premier League teams:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Brief History". The Official Web Site of the Essex Senior Football League. Essex Senior League. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b "New Step 6 announced". Essex Senior League. 8 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Essex Senior Football League Official Handbook Season 2014/15". The Official WebSite of the Essex Senior Football League. Essex Senior League. Retrieved 22 April 2015.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b "National League System 2014–15". The FA. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Essex Senior Football League". Non-League Matters. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Kightly: His story in pictures". Express & Star. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  7. ^ McLeman, Neil (1 September 2013). "Crystal Palace's Dwight Gayle goes from £200-a-week carpenter to Prem match-winner in two years". Mirror. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Stalwart former boss of football club dies at 83". Brentwood Gazette. 7 September 2011. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Non-league football: Stuart Wardley returns to Saffron Walden Town F.C." Saffron Walden Reporter. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Tilson a Southend great". Southend United Official. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  11. ^ Bazeley, Marc. "Brighton & Hove Albion legend Gary Hart bring experience to Royston Town". Cambridge News. Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Comprehensive list of Football Transfers". BBC. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Scott Forbes - Football Stats - No Club - 2000-2004 - Soccer Base".

External linksEdit