After our last article about non-league football in South London, we received a flurry, a raging and dangerous flurry of messages demanding an explanation as to why their team had not been included in our list of six teams. It was never a definitive list, but we realise that much of South London was badly under-represented so in this article we've gone out of our way to rectify this issue. Along the way we decided that we might as well include all the teams we could find playing between the 6th and 10th tiers of the English football league system who currently play in South London boroughs. This means that the likes of Kingstonian, though traditionally a South London club, who are currently playing outside London and thus aren't in the list. We found 28. Just to stress, the previous article included Dulwich Hamlet, Greenwich Borough, Tooting & Mitcham United, Welling United, Fisher FC, and Cray Valley Paper Mills, so they will not be in this list.
Missing Bromley on the last list was poor. We'll accept that, it was poor, sorry. One of the most senior teams in South London, Bromley were founded back in 1892, and are this year celebrating their 125 year anniversary, also known as their quasquicentennial. Bromley are currently enjoying something of a golden age as they begin their third season in the National League Premier this upcoming season, having won the Conference South in 2015.
Many of you will know of Sutton United (in yellow) because of their FA Cup heroics, as they stormed to the 5th round and were defeated 2-0 by the rather more wealthy Arsenal. The heroics, however, do not end there, having confirmed their status as a National League Premier side for the upcoming season, they will be embarking on their first consecutive season in this tier of English football since the late 80s. Whether they will make it up to League Two at any stage remains to be seen.
Beckenham Town will play in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division during the upcoming 2017-18 season having beaten the drop by just one point. Playing at Eden Park Avenue, 'The Becks' will be hoping for a more positive season as they strive to get out of the 9th tier for the first time since they were reformed in 1971.
Playing in Tolworth in Kingston-upon-Thames, and formed all the way back in 1939 as a merger of Corinthian FC and Casuals FC, many at Corinthian-Casuals thought that this was the year that they finally lifted themselves out of the Isthmian First Division South. However, luck was against them again as they lost in the playoff final on penalties to Dorking Wanderers. Looking to possibly go one better this year, Corinthian-Casuals have a strong relationship with their Brazilian namesakes Corinthians, the latter's founding in 1911 having been inspired by a touring Corinthian FC.
Having initially been founded as Woolwich Town in 1959, the club became Erith Town when they moved to Erith in 1996, though have not changed their name again since leaving Erith in 2013. Currently playing in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division, 'The Dockers' stayed up last season by just three points, and will be looking to push on a touch this season, and properly consolidate their status in the division.
Forest Hill Park FC
Actually based in Catford, and one of the two teams playing at the Ladywell Arena, Forest Hill Park FC were formed in 1992 and are named after both Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park. We would probably say the link to the former is a little more obvious, regardless however, they currently play in the Southern Counties East League Division 1 and finished 12th last year.
AFC Croydon Athletic
A story that illustrates the power of football and sport in general, AFC Croydon Athletic were formed in 2012 by fans of Croydon Athletic, a club with a rather dramatic histoy, after the club's major shareholder, and chief arsehole, was jailed for his involvement in a major cricket spot-fixing scandal. Still owned by the fans, the club are currently playing at the Mayfield Stadium in Thornton Heath, and competing in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division, finishing a highly promising 7th last season.
Playing at the Meridian Sports & Social Club in Charlton, Bridon Ropes have a long history in Charlton, having been formed in 1935 as a works team of the British Ropes factory. Playing in the Southern Counties East League Division One, Bridon Ropes are a 'known' team in South East London who won the London Senior Trophy in 2014, besting the much larger Cortinthians-Casuals in the final 2-1.
F. C. Elmstead
Initially founded as Elmstead Rovers in 1958, the club became FC Elmstead in 1964, during which time they changed their colours from claret and blue to scarlet and blue, after the kit was accidentally boil-washed. With these rather fetching colours and a very proud scarlet cockerel on their badge, The Cocks currently play in the Southern Counties East League Division One, finishing 11th last year.
Phoenix Sports FC, the side in green, were formed back in 1935 as St. Johns Welling, and currently play at the Phoenix Sports Ground in Barnehurst. Having competed in the 10th tier and lower for a number of years, the club managed to achieve promotion from the Southern Counties East League, being crowned champions, and going up to the Isthmian League Division One North. Having competed manfully in that division, they have been transferred across to the the Division One South, and will be looking forward to more local fixtures.
Initially known as Thamesmead FC, the club became Thamesmead Town FC in 1985 when they moved to Bayliss Avenue. Having competed in the Isthmian League Division One North for the best part of a decade, truncated by a brief foray into the Isthmian League Premier Division during the 2012-13 season, the club have been, like Phoenix Sports, been transferred to the Isthmian League Division One South for the upcoming 2017-18 season.
hampton & Richmond Borough
Based in the suburb of Hampton in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, the club was known from its foundation in 1921 till 1999 as Hampton FC, when they changed their name to attract more supporters. Since changing their name the club has enjoyed something of a yo-yo existence, moving between the Isthmian Premier and the National eague South, in which they currently compete, on a couple of occasions. Having challenged for promotion to the National League Premier, or the Conference Premier as it was known then, back in 2009, the club are once again looking to challenge having made the playoffs last season in their first season back for four years.
Meridian VP FC
A club based in Charlton, currently playing in the Southern Counties East League Division One, the VP in their name stands for Valley Park, and was added back in 2013. Groundsharing with Bridon Ropes at the Meridian Sports & Social Club, they finished 17th last year, and will be looking to improve in the coming season.
Homlesdale F. C.
Having initially been founded as Holmesdale Baptist in South Norwood, Holmesdale FC (in yellow) are currently playing at Oakley Road in Bromley, and compete in the South Counties East league Division One. Having enjoyed their best year in almost a decade last year, finishing sixth, things are looking a bit brighter than they have done for sometime for the club.
V. C. D. Atletic
Vickers, Crayfrod & Dartford Atheltic Football Club were founded 101 years ago in 1916 as Vickers (Erith) FC by workers at the Vickers armaments factory in Crayford. They have played at their ground the Oakwood Sports Ground for the vast majority of their history and will compete in the Isthmian Division One South, having been transferred across from the Isthmian Division One North where they finished 15th last year.
Sporting Club Thamesmead
Sporting Club Thamesmead deserve a lot of praise for their particularly inventive name, which they only changed last year from Seven Acre & Sidcup upon moving to Bayliss Avenue in Thamesmead, where they groundshare with Thamesmead Town FC. A solid finish of 10th in the Southern Counties East League Division One gives them hope that they should be able to progress in the coming season and possibly challenge for the playoffs.
worcester park FC
Worcester Park FC currently play in the Combined Counties League Divsion One, and were properly founded in 1921. They have played at their ground Skinners Field since their inception, and have been consistently challenging for the title for a number of years, which they actually won back in 2011.
Having won the Southern Counties East League Division One last year, Glebe FC (playing in red and black) will be playing in the Premier Divison next season. Having won the London Senior Trophy back in 2016, it has been a very successful couple of years for the side since they moved to Foxbury Avenue in Chislehurst in 2014. They will be looking continue this success in the coming season, and firmly establish themselves as a side looking to get out of the Southern Counties East League.
If Cray Wanderers' claim that they were founded in 1860, 157 years ago, is true, they would be one of the oldest football clubs in the world. Regardless, they were certainly formed back in the 1800s, making them one of the oldest clubs in South London in any case. Having competed in numerous different leagues during their very long history, Cray Wanderers are currently competing in the Isthmian Division One South and playing at Bromley FC's ground Hayes Lane.
Having been founded back in 1905 as Mill Lane Mission, Carshalton play at the War Memorial Sports Ground. Currently enduring something of a low ebb, they will begin their fourth consecutive season in the Isthmian Division One South, having been relegated from the Isthmian Premier Division back in 2014. Having been in the Conference South just over a decade ago, Carshalton enjoyed a more positive season last year, just missing the playoffs in their first top half finish since 2009.
erith & Belvedere
Currently playing at Welling Untied's Park View Road, 2017 hasn't been kind on Erith and Belevedere FC so far, and has seen them relegated from the Southern Counties East League Premier Division, finishing bottom of the league. This comes only three years after they reached the heady heights of the Isthmian Division One North, and the Deres, formed back in 1922, will be hoping that they can bounce back straight away.
Colliers Wood United
Currently members of the Combined Counties League Premier Division, a division they have been runners up of on one occasion back in 2004, Colliers Wood United are the second biggest team in Merton since Raynes Park Vale were relegated. Founded all the way back in 1874 as Vandyke, Colliers Wood United were recognised by the FA back in 2011 for playing football for 100 years. Having only achieved one top half finish since 2008, The Wood will be hoping to improve sooner rather than later.
Stansfeld Oxford & Bermondsey
Established in 1897 by John Stansfeld, an Anglican priest and doctor who was on a medical mission in Bermondsey, Stansfeld O & BC FC recently moved to Foxbury Avenue in Chislehurst having taken over Southern Counties East League Division One side Eltham Palace. Having not enjoyed the best of seasons last year, for one reason or another, the club will be hoping for it to be different in 2018.
Having won both the London Senior Trophy and the Combined Counties League Division One Playoff, 2017 has been the most successful year in Balham FC's history, since they were formed back in 2011. That may not be saying that much, but when one considers that in just 6 years they have pushed themselves to a level that has taken some clubs many more years to get to, they should be applauded for putting Balham on the footballing map.
Raynes Park Vale FC
Raynes Park Vale FC, playing in blue, were formed in 1995 following the merger of Raynes Park ad Malden Vale. After a very length stay in the Combined Counties Premier Division stretching back over a decade, they were sadly relegated and now sit third in the Merton rankings behind Tooting & Mitcham and Colliers Wood United.
sutton common rovers
One of two men's sides playing at Ganders Green Lane in Sutton, Sutton Common Rovers have gone through a number of names during their life, and only changed their name back to Sutton Common Rovers in 2015, having been called Mole Valley SCR for seven seasons. They enjoyed a season of relative success this season as, having finished 12th in the Combined Counties Premier Division, they won their first Southern Combination Challenge Cup title.
Croydon FC, playing in blue, are one of the two Croydon teams on this list and they play their games at the romantically named Croydon Arena, which is, curiously, in South Norwood. Nicknamed The Trams after the Croydon Tramlink, which runs round the back of the ground, the club was founded in 1953 as Croydon Amateurs. Having played in the Isthmian League for most of their history, they lost their place when the league was restructured in 2006, and have been working hard to get back into the league ever since, currently plugging away in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.
Lewisham Borough FC
Last but not least is Lewisham Borough, who managed to finish bottom of the Southern Counties East League Division One but were spared relegation as Orpington asked to be relegated. Formed in 2003 through a merger of Moonshot AFC, Ten Em Bee (real name), and AFC Lewisham, Lewisham Borough have struggled to be consistently successful, having finished bottom 4 times out of the last 5 seasons. They will be hoping that this recent reprieve can spur them on to some sort of success.
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