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Hullbridge Village History

The Start of the club

The Football Club was formed before 1947.

The club were fortunate that Mr A.W.Moss the then proprietor of the Anchor Inn, a public house situated at the end of Ferry Road on the River Crouch, was also keen on football. Fortunate as he had a room known as Buffs Hall which was situated behind the Inn and he allowed it to become the clubs meeting place. It was here that the first official committee (7 members) were formed.

They were:-

March 1947 is an auspicious time for the club as it was then that they decided they would apply to play league football. They were affiliated to the Essex County F.A. that year and played their first season in the Southend and District League (established 1898) and played in Division II.

The club was originally named Hullbridge United and were fortunate that a Mr Brown allowed them to play on a piece of his land and gave them permission to convert an old cow shed into the changing rooms, however there was no possibility for any running water, let alone toilet facilities. The site of the this piece of land is now the Shangrila Caravan site which is near the junction of Pooles Lane and Kingsman Farm Road.

The original players must have been a very confident lot as their first strip was Green and Gold squares with White shorts and green socks ! Very lairy! Perhaps they hoped the opposition would not be able to pick them out from the greenery in the hedgerow alongside the pitch ! Malcolm Low recalls his mother stating that the colours were those on the flag flying outside the Anchor Inn. A set of shirts was purchased by ?? one of the Hullbridge Players, another ?? purchased a set of goal posts.

The clubs first match was away to South Basildon and Vange FC (now Basildon Town) , which they won 2-1In their first season they finished 7th behind the champions ?, 1949/50 by Benfleet United II. By the clubs third season (1950/51) they had become a very good team. They gained promotion to Division 2 by being runners-up to Stambridge United.

The following season they were even better, gaining promotion into the top Division, Division 1 by winning Division 2 and they also won "French" Cup. This was no mean feat as it was one of two cups, the other being the "Ramuz"Cup, which included all teams from all three divisions. From here things appear to go wrong.

Recollections recall that at this time the club had contacted Rochford Rural District Council to see if they could help in any way with providing better facilities for football to flourish in the village. None was forthcoming apart from a set of wooden goalposts. As a result players started to become unhappy and saw the grass was greener elsewhere and so the team began to break up. The team started losing regularly and then these defeats became heavy loses and things snowballed from there resulting in the team playing being relegated to Division III in three consecutive years.

Despite all this the club built its own pavilion which had no windows, no lighting, no running water and a primitive bucket (plus ditch) for sanitation. This was accomplished by fund raising by various means like, raffling various possessions of players and donors they also relied on the previously proven generous nature of the villagers. With some funding it was left to Committee member Mr Bert Harrison to put together a working party to build the pavilion.

Not long after Mr Harrison was elected onto Rochford Rural District Council and he was able to successfully argue the clubs cause. The Council were asked to provide a recreational area for the villagers with the result that the Recreation Ground in Pooles Lane was created. Despite this the club was still in a poor shape and they asked the help of a Mr Gardner who called upon the help of two friends Mr Joe Stevens and Mr John Saunders to find ways for village lads to play football at no or minimal cost. The three gents once again called upon the villagers generosity and an A.G.M. was called in 1955 where it was decided that the club should be renamed Hullbridge Sports Club and at that meeting various official positions were created that would ensure the continuation of football in the village.

With the hard work of the new committee and its members things started to improve on and off the pitch. With some of the money raised they were able to prove to Rochford Council they were not just a flash in the pan and managed to get the council to erect a stand-pipe for running water at the pavilion. With such new facilities now available the committee though it appropriate to paint the pavilion Green and they borrowed a spray gun from a local polisher only to find out that it required electricity, which there was none in the pavilion, to run it. However being a resourceful lot some bright spark had a light bulb experience and saw the light, quite literally! A nearby lamp post provided the necessary juice care of the Eastern Electricity Board.

Acknowledgement is made to the following contributions that this history was compiled from:-