As so many of you are want to discuss the finer points of the two Enfield's I thought it would be an apt moment to take the opportunity to indulge you with some cultured writing regarding historic moments following Enfield Fc. This was first published in the programme for the FA Vase meeting last season. Enjoy.
Over the past decade I have fretted for those halcyon seasons when Enfield visited some of the more remote outposts dotted along the Non-League football itineray.
certain venues obviously stir up a more fragrent appeal - not least where the chances of a repeat visit are somewhat remote.Such an occasion was a visit to Horwich RMI(Now of course Leigh RMI) in March 1988 for a GMAC Challenge Cup Semi-Final. The competition is now no longer running, but was contested by clubs operating in the Premier Divisions of the Southern,Northern and Isthmian Leagues.
The match was played on a Sunday afternoon and the previous day, Enfield had visited Docklands to play Fisher Athletic- winning 3-2. Horwich however were not there for the taking and proved their mettle in a 3-1 victory- subsequently soon to win the Final 2-0 against Morecambe. The warm sunshine of a lovely early spring day helped to make the occasion memorable-while the Horwich ground,perhaps not full,appreciated by the less aesthetic.
One year later - almost to the day, Enfield made another poignant trip , this time to South Wales. It was an eerie feeling as I stepped on the train at Paddington because I know this fixture against Newport County at Somerton Park would be billed, as I wrote in the Enfield Gazette at the time - "The match that never was".
Newport had died earlier in the week but they had to be seen to be dead.This the last rites had to be carried out in all due ceremony.This entailed the Enfield side travelling to Newport only to find the ground shuttered and barred to allcomers-including the referee and his two assistants, the secretary of the Vauxhall Conference League and the only local Enfield Football reporter present.
I needed to collect my thoughts, so decided despite the intensity of the unrelenting rain,to walk from the Town centre to the ground. on my arrival, I encircled the outside of the enclosure- surveying the unkempt scene and general air of desolation. Still the rain poured down- the heavens perhaps weeping as the splatter of raindrops into the deep pot holes around the ground sounded their own mournful dirge. The final knell came as a distant church clock chimed the hour of 3.00pm. i paid my own obeisance, turned abruptly from the mournful scene and headed back towards the town. As I left a hot tear running down my cheek!
The now-defunct ground at Canal Street, Runcorn was not the most pre-possing of venues, but for Enfield, the ground had contrasting memories.It's external appearance was the epitome of what Southerners must have conjured up in their minds as a typical Northern enclosure. Barren,desolate and situated in mean surroundings, it was reminiscent of those inimatable Lowry Prints of a bygone age.
It was here in season 1982-83 that Steve King scored a vital equalising goal to ensure Enfield becoming League Champions. For all connceted with the clu b, it was a moment to savour and not even the sands of time will ever completely dim such a treasured memory.
yet seven years on- this same ground saw Enfield suffer one of their greatest humiliations- beaten 0-9!Over such an unmitigating rout, it may be wise to draw a thin veil...!
My excursions have taken me far and wide from Torquay to Blyth, with intermediate stops being made in the Principality and the Midlands. The North East as usual had its own particular brand of warmth and hospitality-while the trip to leicester in the FA Cup Third Round was soured by the aloof attitude of officialdom. In addition a number of Enfield supporters complained that their view of the game was impaired due to faulty seating arrangements.
Autumn lingered just a little longer when Enfield travelled to Torquay in mid-December 1995. The temperature was 57 degrees and arriving soon after Midday , I was priviledged to enjoy an afternoon of rare enchantment. One was only brought back to reality as the sun faded from sight and the splendour of Torbay Harbour become dimmed in the gathering gloom. That Enfield won at Plainmoor later that evening was the perfect embellishment to all that had gone before.
In utter contrast was the trip to Merthyr Tydfil in March of the following year for a FA Trophy replay. Nothing out of the ordinary occured as play got under way, but the alarm bells started to ring, when within 20 minutes or so the reporter covering the match for the 'South Wales Echo' suddenly announced that heavy snow was 'on it's way' from Swansea.'We'll get it alright 'he said. his words proved prophetic, for just before the interval a few flakes had started to fall. By the commencement of the second-half, the ground was a white carpet. conditions continued to worsen and after 70 minutes, the referee sounded out the two managers on their views, as to whether play should continue. aggreement was reached whereby the game should carry on but eleven minutes later with the snow now assuming blizzard proportions the inevitable happened and play was summarily halted! It meant that the whole exercise had to be repeated the following Monday night- with enfield victors by a single goal. With the Gazette going to press at 11:00am on Tuesday- it was a bleary-eyed scribe, that rolled into bed in the small hours!
The dark shadows which have blotted Enfield's landscape over the past few seasons are fast receding-thanks to the energies expended by a new regime.This afternoon, the old and the new take the strain.
May the spoils of victory go to the better side!
The Enfield Bard