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    Saffron Walden Town


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Saffron Walden Town

Club Details

Saffron Walden Town
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Eastern Counties League - Division One

1 Catons Lane
Saffron Walden
Essex
CB10 2DU






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To get driving directions to Saffron Walden Town*, enter your postcode or address - e.g. AB1 1AB or 30 Smith Lane, YourTown

Club Info
Nicknames: The Bloods
Founded: 1872
Previous Club Names:
Previous Grounds:
Home Colours: Red/Black/Red
Away Colours:
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History
Saffron Walden Town is fortunate in having a well documented history - which as the oldest Senior Football Club in Essex - is a particularly rich one. Founded in 1872, Saffron Walden are the oldest club in Essex still in existence and the 23rd oldest in the world.

The club played on Saffron Walden common for 18 years but the only means of raising funds was to take a voluntary collection around the pitch and request a donation from spectators.

As a result efforts were made to seek a new ground where an admission fee could be charged.

The Meadow

When Arthur Smith was appointed headmaster of the Boy's National School in Castle Street in February 1890 he saw a piece of land from his school window. later that year, when he became secretary of the Town football club, smith negotiated the use of Loft's Lane with a certain Mr Archer. The ground became known as "The Meadow", for which the club paid Lord Braybrooke a rental of £3 per year.

For the club's first 27 years, the fixture list comprised of friendly games with the odd cup game. The club's first ever cup game was away at Upton park in the first round of the FA Cup. Saffron Walden lost 5-0.

The nickname of "The Bloods" came about as the result of the club colours of red and black.

Saffron Walden were founder members of the Essex FA in 1882. The first league game was in September 1889 with a 3-1 victory at Halstead Town in the Haverhill and district football League. It was not until 1909 that Walden won the title for the first time. At the same time, however, Saffron Walden were making progress in the Stansted and District League winning that title seven times between 1908 and 1924.

"Football under the best conditions"

That was the motto of Saffron Walden Town Football Club in the years following the First World War. Immediately after the war a fund was set up to find a new ground for the Club.

The Meadow had a sloping pitch - by 15 feet 2 inches from corner to corner. But enough money to move ground was not raised and instead, the cash was used to refurbish the existing site.

An "Iron Club" was set up to replace the canvas covering with a corrugated iron fence to surround the entire ground. there was a determined drive to make the ground one of the best in the Essex. In November 1929, new dressing rooms were opened to give players better facilities.

Prior to the Second World War, the Club took part in the Essex and Suffolk Border League and the North Essex League, before joining the Spartan League in 1933, a competition they stayed in until 1954.

The interruption of WW2 saw a dip in the Club's fortunes and after a reorganisation of the Spartan League, the Parthenon League was joined for one year in 1954-55, then the Herts County League in which the Club had no success until finishing as runners - up in the Premier Division in 1969.

Saffron Walden Town entered the Eastern Counties League in 1974 after winning the Essex Senior League in style in 1973 - 74, losing just two games. By the turn of the 1970's however the club was struggling, only just maintaining League status.

A century of goals

But in 1982-83, Saffron Walden enjoyed a remarkable season, winning the Eastern Counties League. Led by local legend John Ryan, Saffron Walden went on a 29 match unbeaten run, winning 24 games on the way. By the end of the season 107 goals had been scored and Walden were champions. In addition the club won the Essex Senior Trophy, beating Tiptree United 2 - 1 in the final. Striker John Tippett scored a record 51 first team goals in the process.

In 1996 a 'bombshell' was delivered when, playing in Division One of the Isthmian League, a rule change regarded the sloping pitch at Catons Lane as having "excessive undulations". The outcome was that Saffron Walden Town FC, after 12 years in the competition had to resign from the League and were effectively demoted two divisions in the pyramid when accepted into the Essex Senior League.

It took the return of local player Stuart Wardley (later sold to Queens Park Rangers) from Bishops Stortford and under new chairmanship the club's fortunes began to improve. In 1999-2000 the Bloods had their best season ever, winning five trophies including the Essex Senior League Championship, The Essex Senior League Cup and the South Midlands Cup.

Moving forward

Despite this, the club were unable to progress because of the sloping pitch but in August 2000 work started to dramatically reduce the slope.

The cost of the work and loss of gate receipts - when forced to ground share - meant the club now had a large overdraft. Tough measures and decisions have put the club on a sound footing.

There is, however, a noticable gap in the league history of Saffron Walden Town. In 2003-04, the club played in cup competitions and friendlies after finding themselves without a league to play in.

Walden had decided to move to a more appropriate standard of football and resigned from the Essex Senior League. The Football Association refused to let Saffron Walden move across the pyramid and was left in the cold. 2004-2005 saw the Bloods elected back into the Ridgeons (Eastern Counties) League after an absence of 20 years and with steady improvements are again making excellent progress.

2006-2007 saw Walden finish the League just outside the promotion places - in sixth position. But success in the South Midlands Floodlight Cup as well as reaching the Final of the Ridgeons League Division One Cup ensured that the Club continued to develop. In 2006-2007 Walden were the best supported club in the Ridgeons League First Division and also the third best supported club within Step Six of the football pyramid in the entire Country. The last two seasons have seen steady progress on and off the field and the emergence of a number of young players combined with an experienced squad provides reason for optimism this season.


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League Table


The Eastern Counties League - Division One League Table involving Saffron Walden Town:






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First Division Fixtures



The Eastern Counties League - Division One fixtures involving Saffron Walden Town:





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If however it simply does not look correct or parts are missing, please let us know directly.





First Division Results



The Eastern Counties League - Division One results involving Saffron Walden Town:





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* To our knowledge the above address is correct. However we recommend checking prior to travelling. If the address is wrong, we will update it as soon as we are advised. Any directions are given by third parties, we are not responsible for any mistakes given.



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