British Legion Team v Great Wakering Rovers Second Team (1953)
Left to right British Legion Team: 1) Eric Mathews, 2)Chris Wood 3) Alfie Buries 4)David wright 5) Joe Appleyard 6) George Hallums 7 )Eddie Tilbrook 8) Ernie Stubbs 9) Frank Campan 10) Tom Deadman 11) Fred Adcock
Front Row: 1) Frank Wall 2) Bert Strutt 3) Alan Betton 4) Joe Salmons 5) John Marshall Centre 7) Referee Laurence Church 8 )Alfie Buries 9 )Dennis Stubbs 10) Albert Dean 11) Bobby Smith 12) Mo Cornwall 13) Alan Bacon
THE FOOTBALL CLUB was formed in 1919 by men returning from the Great War and finding employment in the brickfields on being demobbed. They entered the Southend and District League for the 1919-1920 season, where they were the League’s most successful club, with a period in the sixties and seventies in which they dominated -winning all before them.
They left the Southend & District Football League for the start of the new season in a newly formed but ill-fated Southend & District Alliance Football League. This League folded in 1989 so the club had to make a decision whether to return to local football or step up a grade. By this time “Burroughs Park”. Had been laid and seeded for two years. So with the improved facilities available it was decided to step up a grade and join the join the Essex intermediate football league. They stayed in this league for three highly successful seasons, during which time they won the only major trophy that, had eluded them as a junior club, the Essex Intermediate Cup.
In April 1992 “Burroughs Park” received senior status and with the Rovers winning all they entered that season, it qualified for a successful application into the Essex Senior football league. So at the start of the 1992-93 a new life began for Great Wakering Rovers as a senior non-league football club. Whilst it was very much a learning process for the club they enjoyed a great deal of success in the Essex Senior Football league becoming champions once and runners up three times as well as having good runs in both the F.A, Cup and Vase.
During this period great strides were made on the improvements to “Burroughs Park”. The improvements were good enough to qualify for a place in the Ryman Isthmian Football League. “The Rovers” finished in second place behind Saffron Walden Town F.C who also had applied, to join the Isthmian but failed to meet the ground grading requirements for a place so Great Wakering Rovers F.C had their application approved and took their place in division three at the start of the 1999-2000 season. This proved to be another successful move for the club as they gained runners up spot and promotion to division two in their first season. The club is continuing to develop its ground with improvements to all facilities being made as finances allow.
PLAYERS WHO HAVE HAD FOOTBALL LEAGUE EXPERIENCE
The greatest claim to fame so far for “The Rovers” has been Les Stubbs who played for the club as a youngster in the late forties, before being taken to Southend United F.C where he made such an impact that he was brought by Chelsea F.C he returned via the same route to Southend United F.C and a season at non-league Bedford Town F.C then rejoining “The Rovers” 1962-63 season. Jackie Bridge joined Southend United in the late forties early fifties before having a long career with non-league Gravesend and Northfleet F.C then coming home to Great Wakering Rovers.
Frankie Banks [Hull City, Southend Utd ], GRAHAM FRANKLIN [Southend Utd] NEIL HARRIS [Millwall], IAIN O’CONNELL [Southend Utd] TERRY HOWARD [Leyton Orient ].
A Mini History
Formed 1919: Mainly by demobbed soldiers from the 1914-18 great war, who settled in Great Wakering after finding employment in the brickfields and on the farms.
Southend & District Football League
The Rovers competed in this League for fifty seven seasons (Sixty three years membership less six for the second world war). The club has distinction of being their most successful club,winning every major honour in the league several times over.
Southend and District Alliance Football League
Formed in 1982 and comprised of the best times from the Southend and District Football League and The Southend Borough Combination. Great Wakering Rovers played in this League for seven seasons until it disbanded in 1989.
In 1986 Great Wakering Rovers got permission to lease and turn 104 disused allotments in Little Wakering Hall Lane, into their own ground. With much help from Social Club President and former player Roger Burroughs. The transformation took place. A clubhouse was built purchasing materials from funds raised over many years and labour being supplied from the many professional Craftsmen who gave their time freely. The name “Burroughs Park” derives out of gratitude for the help given by Roger Burroughs in the grounds formation. The ground lay fallow for three years allowing it to settle and grass to grow, during that period the clubhouse took shape.
Essex Intermediate Football League
When the alliance league folded at the end of the 1988-89 season the club had to make an important decision to either go back and play local football or move up the footballing ladder and join the Essex Intermediate football League. With all the commitments made with the new ground and clubhouse it was decided to move upward and join the Essex Intermediate Football League for season 1989-90. This was highly successful period for the club picking up many hours during our short stay. The jewel in the crown being the much treasured Essex Intermediate Cup, which the club won in April 1992.
Essex Senior Football League
With ground developments at “Burroughs Park” meeting the required standard to that on Senior Non – League Football and with what was probably the most successful season then in the club’s history, the club decided to move on again and joined The Essex Senior Football League for the start of the 1992-93 season. The first match as a Senior club being at Maldon Town on 29th August 1992 which was a 0-0 draw. The club stayed in the Essex Senior Football League for seven seasons. In that time they were champions once and runners up three times. As a Senior Non-League club we had the righ to apply for the F.A Cup and the F.A Vase. We joined the Vase competition in season 1993-94 and the F.A. Cup in 1995-96. Finishing Runners Up in the League 1998-99 gave us the opportunity to apply for further advance up the non-league pyramid and what with the continued improvements to the ground. It met with the standards required for the club to join The Isthmian Football League. So our application was made.
The “Rymans” Isthmian Football League
With Great Wakering Rovers application being accepted and Burroughs Park meeting the criteria the club became members of the Isthmian League and competed in division three for season 1999-2000. The club gained promotion at first attempt moving to Division two for season 2000-2001 finishing in a creditable ninth position. Then in season 2001-2002 we finished in 7th position and took our place in the restructured Division 1 North for 2002-2003 and finished in 14th place.