Saturday, September 03, 1994

Braintree Town FC

Braintree Town 4 Newport IOW 2 - Southern League, Southern Division

Braintree is a town in Essex. The principal settlement of Braintree District, it is located 10 miles northeast of Chelmsford and 15 miles (24 km) west of Colchester. Braintree dates back over 4,000 years when it was just a small village. When the Romans invaded, they built two roads; a settlement developed at the junction of these two roads but was later abandoned when the Romans left Britain. The town was recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1085 when it was called Branchetreu and consisted of 30 acres (120,000 m2) in the possession of Richard, son of Count Gilbert.  Pilgrims used the town as a stop-over, the size of the town increased and the Bishop of London obtained a market charter for the town in 1190. The town prospered from the 17th century when Flemish immigrants made the town famous for its wool cloth trade.  In 1665, the Great Plague killed 865 of the population of just 2,300 people.  The wool trade died out in the early 19th century and Braintree became a centre for silk manufacturing when George Courtauld opened a silk mill in the town.  By the mid 19th century, Braintree was a thriving agricultural and textile town, and benefited from a railway connection to London. The wealthy Courtauld family had a strong influence on the town, supporting plans for many of the town's public buildings such as the town hall and public gardens established in 1888.

Braintree Town FC was formed in 1898 as Manor Works, the works team of the Crittall Window Company, from which they gained their nickname Iron.  The new club took over the fixtures of the recently-defunct Braintree F.C. in the North Essex League, and also took on most of the former club's players. They left the league in 1900, but returned in 1901. They won the title in 1905–06, 1910–11 and 1911–12. In 1911 they also joined Division 2A of the Essex & Suffolk Border League, remaining in the league until 1928. In 1921 they were renamed Crittall Athletic to be more closely identified with their parent company. In 1923 the club moved to a new ground on Cressing Road which had been built by their parent company. After winning Division 2A West twice, they were promoted to the Senior Division of the Border League in 1925. In 1928 they joined the Spartan League, and in 1935 were founder members of the Eastern Counties League. They won the league in its second season, but then left to join the newly established Essex County League. The new league folded after a single season (in which Crittall were runners-up) and the club returned to the ECL. After World War II the ECL did not resume in 1945, so Crittall joined the Eastern Division London League instead. After finishing second in their first season, they were promoted to the Premier Division. They were invited to rejoin the ECL in 1947, but turned the offer down and remained in the London League, where they won the League Cup twice before returning to the ECL in 1952. In 1954 they turned professional, but financial problems forced them to revert to amateur status and drop back down into the Border League at the end of the 1954–55 season. In 1959–60 they won the league and League Cup double. They switched to the Greater London League in 1964, and then to the Metropolitan League in 1966. They were renamed Braintree & Crittall Athletic in 1968, and in 1970 returned to the ECL again. In 1981 all links with Crittall were severed and the club was renamed Braintree F.C., before adopting their current name in 1983. They won their second ECL title in 1983–84 and retained it the following season. In 1986–87 they won the Essex Senior Trophy and the following season they won the League Cup. In 1991 the club stepped up to the Southern Division of the Southern League.

This Pieman visited Cressing Road for an entertaining 4-2 victory for the hosts over Newport (Isle of Wight). The journey was made by train from London Liverpool Street and involved changing at Witham. The walk from the railway station took around ten minutes.

Programme: 90p


Subsequent visit to Cressing Road

10 July 2015 - Braintree Town 2 Leyton Orient 1 - Friendly - Attendance: 729
24 October 2015 - Braintree Town 2 Harlow Town 0 - FA Cup, 4th Qualifing Round - Attendance: 727

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