1963. The year was a magnificent one. Doctor Who aired for the first time on November 23rd 1963. The day before saw JFK getting shot dead in Texas and Everton won the First Division whilst Manchester City where relegated down to the Second Division alongside Leyton Orient. The Beatles released their first album Please Please Me and Denmark won the Eurovision Song Contest which was held in London. That same year saw a football club being born in Basildon. They were originally called Armada Sports before changing their name in 1967 to the name we now all know as Basildon United.
1970 saw the club move to their current Gardeners Close home ground from the Gloucester Park Bowl ground that had been their home since their creation with floodlights being added in come 1979 to the ground.
1971 saw the club becoming one of the founding members of the Essex Senior League. The club achieved great success during their first spell in the league by winning it 4 times out during their first 9 years as a member club. A one season spell in the Athenian League soon resulted in the club jumping upto Division 2 of the Isthmian League where they stayed for 3 seasons before eventually gaining promotion upto Division 1 in 1984.
The mid/late-1980’s were tough for Basildon as they only managed 1 top 10 finish during their 5 seasons in the division before eventually succumbing to relegation back to Division 2 in 1989. Those 5 seasons in Division 1 resulted in the club entering the FA Trophy on 5 occasions with their furthest run being to the 2nd qualifying round before losing to V S Rugby away 4-0 in the replay. 2 seasons were spent back in the division before the club decided to drop out and rejoin the Essex Senior League once again come 1991 after 11 years away.
In their 27 years as members of the league, they won the league back in 1994 whilst winning the Challenge Cup twice in 1994 and 1998 and most recently the League Cup in 2017. The clubs runs in the FA Vase during this time have not replicated their furthest form that they replicated in the 1980-81 season where they reached the Quarter Finals apart from one occasion where they reached the Quarters only to lose Raunds Town 2-0 at Gardeners Way in the 1994-95 season.
The 1998-99 season saw the Bees go their furthest in the FA Cup to the 3rd Qualifying Round only to bow out to St Albans City following victories against Burnham Ramblers and Barkingside in the previous rounds.
Last season saw Marc Harrison and Liam Wallace join from local Essex Olympian League neighbours Basildon Town as manager and assistant manager after winning the league in April 2017. Their approach towards wanting young players in the side saw them win many plaudits from the non-league community and we contributed with Jack Renew and Zach Little-John being two notable players who joined the club on loan last season. The club finished 2nd in their final game of the season with a 1-0 victory over Redbridge at The Ho Ho Stadium 3 days after Great Wakering Rovers got promoted as champions.
We spoke with Bees fan @UmbrellaMan70 to find more out about the club.
What has it been like supporting Basildon over the last few years?
The last few seasons have been like a breath of fresh air. After years of nothing of happening, it makes a change to get a few people through the gate and create a buzz around the place.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming season ahead for the O’s?
Personally for me it’s all about survival in the Bostik North this season. After taking 27 years to get back to this level to stay up is paramount given we’ve seen the likes of Great Wakering, Barking and Burnham Ramblers all win the ESL and then come straight down within a few years.
Who are the key players that we should be looking out for this Saturday?
Look no further than the Bees strikers Marcus Bowers who won the Golden Boot in the ESL last year and new signing Brian Moses from Redbridge. Safe to say there should be a few goals this coming season.
We would like to thank UmbrellaMan70 for being the contributors to this feature that we will be posting ahead of every Concord game this season. We would also like to wish them both and all of the Basildon United fans all the best this season. His Twitter account is @UmbrellaMan70 so please feel free to give him both a follow.
View From The Opposition: Basildon United – Written By Andy Wilkins/ @andywilkins2015