Essex Senior Football League

The Essex Senior Football League is an English men's football league. It contains clubs from the Essex FA, Hertfordshire FA, London FA, Middlesex FA and the Amateur Football Alliance.[1] It is a feeder league to Division One North of the Isthmian League and has a single division which sits at Step 5 (or Level 9) of the National League System.[1]

Essex Senior League
Number of teams19
Level on pyramidLevel 9
Feeder toIsthmian League[1]
Promotion toIsthmian League Division One North[1]
Relegation toEastern Senior League[2]
Domestic cup(s)Essex Senior League Challenge Cup
Current championsHullbridge Sports
Most championshipsBasildon United (5 titles)[3]
WebsiteEssex Senior League Official Website
2019–20 season

Founder members

The Essex Senior League was formed in 1971 with nine founder members. The finishing positions for the 1971–72 season were as follows:

1 Witham Town
2 Billericay Town
3 Pegasus Athletic
4 Tiptree United
5 Saffron Walden Town
6 Basildon United
7 Heybridge Swifts
8 Southend United 'A'
9 Stansted

Promotion and relegation

The Essex Senior League state that a club must finish in the top 3 to be considered for promotion to the Isthmian League Division One North.[1] However the process is governed by the FA Leagues Committee[3] who regulate relegations and promotions throughout the National League System. As of the 2014–15 season FA rules for Step 5 divisions such as the Essex Senior League stipulate that the champions should be offered the first chance of promotion. If the champions do not wish to be promoted or are not able to meet the entry requirements for promotion then the 2nd or 3rd placed team may be considered for promotion. Under normal circumstances, only one club can be promoted from a Step 5 league (i.e. the Essex Senior League) to a Step 4 league (i.e. the Isthmian League Division One).[4]

In exchange for the promoted club, the Essex Senior League would typically receive a relegated club from a Step 4 league.[1] Relegated clubs of Step 4 leagues are allocated an appropriate league based on their geographical locations.[4] Thus the Essex Senior League is most likely to receive one of the relegated clubs from the Isthmian League Division One North.

There was no relegation from the Essex Senior League into a lower league since there was no Step 6 equivalent to the ESL[1] until the 2017–18 season. Leagues including the Essex Olympian League (Step 7) sometimes acted as a feeder league to the Essex Senior League but promotion and relegation between the two leagues was not automatic.[5] A Step 6 division for Essex and East Anglia was announced in October 2017 to solve the relegation problem. Starting in 2018–19, the Eastern Counties League will control this new division.[6]

Champions, runners up and third place finishers

SeasonWinner[3]Runners-up[3]Third place
1971–72Witham TownBillericay TownPegasus Athletic
1972–73Billericay TownBasildon UnitedStansted
1973–74Saffron Walden TownBillericay TownCoggeshall Town
1974–75Billericay TownBasildon UnitedCoggeshall Town
1975–76Billericay TownTiptree UnitedBasildon United
1976–77Basildon UnitedBrentwoodBillericay Town
1977–78Basildon UnitedTiptree UnitedFord United
1978–79Basildon UnitedCanvey IslandEton Manor
1979–80Basildon UnitedWivenhoe TownCanvey Island
1980–81Bowers UnitedHeybridge SwiftsWivenhoe Town
1981–82Heybridge SwiftsWivenhoe TownBrentwood
1982–83Heybridge SwiftsStanstedHalstead Town
1983–84Heybridge SwiftsBowers UnitedWitham Town
1984–85Maldon TownWitham TownStansted
1985–86Witham TownWivenhoe TownFord United
1986–87Canvey IslandWitham TownPurfleet
1987–88PurfleetBrentwoodHalstead Town
1988–89Brightlingsea UnitedEast Thurrock UnitedFord United
1989–90Brightlingsea UnitedWoodford TownEast Thurrock United
1990–91Southend ManorBrentwoodBurnham Ramblers
1991–92Ford UnitedBrentwoodEast Thurrock United
1992–93Canvey IslandSawbridgeworth TownBowers United
1993–94Basildon UnitedFord UnitedCanvey Island
1994–95Great Wakering RoversSawbridgeworth TownRomford
1995–96RomfordGreat Wakering RoversConcord Rangers
1996–97Ford UnitedGreat Wakering RoversConcord Rangers
1997–98Concord RangersBasildon UnitedBowers United
1998–99Bowers UnitedGreat Wakering RoversSaffron Walden Town
1999-00Saffron Walden TownSouthend ManorBurnham Ramblers
2000–01BrentwoodSaffron Walden TownBarkingside
2001–02LeytonEnfield TownBurnham Ramblers
2002–03Enfield TownConcord RangersIlford
2003–04Concord RangersIlfordSawbridgeworth Town
2004–05Enfield TownBurnham RamblersWaltham Abbey
2005–06A.F.C. HornchurchWaltham AbbeyTilbury
2006–07Brentwood TownRomfordBarkingside
2007–08Concord RangersEnfield 1893Barkingside
2008–09RomfordEnfield 1893Takeley
2009–10StanstedWitham TownBurnham Ramblers
2010–11Enfield 1893StanstedWitham Town
2011–12Witham TownSouthend ManorTakeley
2012–13Burnham RamblersBarkingsideTakeley
2013–14Great Wakering RoversHaringey BoroughEnfield 1893
2014–15Haringey BoroughBowers & PitseaBarking
2015–16Bowers & PitseaBasildon UnitedFC Romania
2016–17BarkingClaptonFC Romania
2017–18Great Wakering RoversBasildon UnitedFC Romania
2018–19Hullbridge SportsStanstedWalthamstow

League winners records

  • 5 times – Basildon United
  • 3 times – Billericay Town, Bowers & Pitsea, Concord Rangers, Great Wakering Rovers, Heybridge Swifts, Witham Town
  • 2 times – Brentwood Town, Brightlingsea United, Canvey Island, Enfield Town, Ford United, Romford, Saffron Walden Town
  • 1 time – AFC Hornchurch, Barking, Burnham Ramblers, Enfield 1893, Haringey Borough, Hullbridge Sports, Leyton, Maldon Town, Purfleet, Stansted, Southend Manor

Essex Senior League Challenge Cup

The Essex Senior League Challenge Cup is a knock-out tournament competed for by teams in the Essex Senior Football League.[3] Brentwood Town and Basildon United hold the record jointly for the most cup wins, each lifting the trophy four times (Brentwood Town in 1975–76, 1978–79, 1990–91, 2006–07, Basildon United in 1977–78, 1993–94, 1997–98, 2015–16).[3] As of the 2017/18 season the competition is referred to as the "Errington Challenge Cup" in recognition of the league's treasurer Margaret Errington who held the post for 26 years before sadly passing away in 2016.

Final results

1972–73Billericay Town2–1Saffron Walden Town
1973–74No competition played
1974–75Colchester United 'A'3–1Billericay Town
1975–76Brentwood3–0Basildon United
1976–77Billericay Town1–0Bowers United
1977–78Basildon United3–0Bowers United
1978–79Brentwood2–0Brightlingsea United
1979–80Canvey Island1–1,0–0,2–0Basildon United
1980–81Witham Town4–2Sawbridgeworth Town
1981–82Bowers United2–0Halstead Town
1982–83Heybridge Swifts4–1Bowers United
1984–85Chelmsford City Reserves2–0Maldon Town
1985–86Ford United1–0Coggeshall Town
1986–87Purfleet2–0Burnham Ramblers
1987–88Purfleet2–1Canvey Island
1988–89East Thurrock United3–2Ford United
1989–90Southend Manor2–0Burnham Ramblers
1990–91Brentwood2–0Southend Manor
1991–92East Thurrock United2–0Basildon United
1992–93Canvey Island3–1Sawbridgeworth Town
1993–94Basildon United3–0Sawbridgeworth Town
1994–95Sawbridgeworth Town2–0Stansted
1995–96Romford2–0Southend Manor
1996–97Concord Rangers1–0Ford United
1997–98Basildon United1–0Burnham Ramblers
1998–99Bowers United2–0Great Wakering Rovers
1999-00Saffron Walden Town2–1Southend Manor
2000–01Southend Manor2–1Sawbridgeworth Town
2001–02Enfield Town1–1
(4–2 penalties)
2002–03Ilford1–0Sawbridgeworth Town
2003–04Enfield Town3–2Sawbridgeworth Town
2004–05Waltham Abbey4–1Enfield Town
2005–06AFC Hornchurch2–0Brentwood Town
2006–07Brentwood Town1–1
(5–4 penalties)
2007–08Eton Manor3–2Concord Rangers
2008–09Barkingside2–0Burnham Ramblers
2009–10Bethnal Green United4–1Burnham Ramblers
2010–11Stansted3–0Enfield 1893
2011–12Witham Town2–1Burnham Ramblers
2012–13Barkingside9–1Bowers & Pitsea
2013–14Great Wakering Rovers1–0Sporting Bengal United
2014–15Bowers & Pitsea7–1Clapton
2015–16Basildon United3–0FC Romania
2016–17Takeley1–0Sawbridgeworth Town
2017–18Great Wakering Rovers1–0Sawbridgeworth Town
2018–19Stansted1–0West Essex

League and Cup Double

On 14 occasions a team has won both the Essex Senior League and the Essex Senior League Challenge Cup in the same season. They are:

  • 1972–73 – Billericay Town[3]
  • 1977–78 – Basildon United[3]
  • 1982–83 – Heybridge Swifts[3]
  • 1987–88 – Purfleet[3]
  • 1992–93 – Canvey Island[3]
  • 1993–94 – Basildon United[3]
  • 1995–96 – Romford[3]
  • 1998–99 – Bowers United[3]
  • 1999-00 – Saffron Walden Town[3]
  • 2005–06 – AFC Hornchurch[3]
  • 2006–07 – Brentwood Town[3]
  • 2011–12 – Witham Town[3]
  • 2013–14 – Great Wakering Rovers[3]
  • 2017–18 – Great Wakering Rovers

Former members

Notable former Essex Senior League players

Several Essex Senior League players have also played for Football League or Premier League teams:


  1. "Brief History". The Official Web Site of the Essex Senior Football League. Essex Senior League. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  2. "New Step 6 Announced – The Official Website Of The Essex Senior Football League".
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  4. "National League System 2014–15". The FA. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  5. "Essex Senior Football League". Non-League Matters. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  6. "New Step 6 announced". 8 October 2017.
  7. "Kightly: His story in pictures". Express & Star. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  8. McLeman, Neil (1 September 2013). "Crystal Palace's Dwight Gayle goes from £200-a-week carpenter to Prem match-winner in two years". Mirror. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  9. "Stalwart former boss of football club dies at 83". Brentwood Gazette. 7 September 2011. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  10. "Non-league football: Stuart Wardley returns to Saffron Walden Town FC". Saffron Walden Reporter. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  11. "Tilson a Southend great". Southend United Official. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  12. Bazeley, Marc. "Brighton & Hove Albion legend Gary Hart bring experience to Royston Town". Cambridge News. Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  13. "Comprehensive list of Football Transfers". BBC. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  14. "Scott Forbes - Football Stats - No Club - 2000-2004 - Soccer Base".
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