FC United head south for a pre-season double header playing Isthmian League sides Enfield Town FC on Friday 12th July and Lewes FC on Saturday 13th July.
Friday 12th July ko 7.45pm
Enfield Town v FC United
The Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Donkey Lane, Enfield, Greater London, EN1 3PL
£8 Adults, £4 Conc/u21s, £1 u16s
Butler’s Bar at the QEII Stadium will have a choice of craft ales from local New River and Redemption breweries.
Saturday 13th July ko 3pm
Lewes FC v FC United
The Dripping Pan, Mountfield Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2XA
First up will be a trip to North London to play Enfield Town who last season finished in 10th position in the Isthmian League. Formed in the summer of 2001, they hold the distinction of being the first fully fan owned club in England and the story behind their formation, of growing dissolution with their owner and a proposal to form a new club which split the fan base, is one which will resonate with our supporters.
The original Enfield Town FC, which was formed in 1893, was one of the most successful amateur sides of the 60s and 80s, winning the FA Trophy and The FA Amateur Cup twice apiece and finishing twice champions of the Alliance Premier League (now known as the National League) but in the days where there was no automatic promotion they were not elected to the Football League. Their 2nd title in 1986 was especially unfortunate as they would become the last club to win under the old election process prior to automatic promotion being introduced the following season.
The 1990s saw relegation to the Isthmian League and in 1999 the sale of their old Southbury Road Stadium and a nomadic ground share existence away from the borough of Enfield.
The supporters were increasingly at odds with club Chairman Tony Lazarou which came to a head in early 2001 when a proposed deal to hand over ownership of the club to a supporters trust stalled and when there was still no progress in June 2001 the supporters formed a breakaway club, Enfield Town FC with a stated aim of keeping football alive in Enfield. Enfield FC would struggle on until liquidation in 2007 at which point those supporters who continued to follow the original club decided against moving to Enfield Town and instead formed the phoenix club Enfield 1893 which is now based in Harlow and plays in the Essex Senior League.
The newly formed Enfield Town started the 2001/02 season in the Essex Senior league, 3 divisions below the Isthmian League Premier Division where Enfield FC continued to play. They would finish their first campaign as runners up before winning the league the following season but were denied promotion over ground grading issues. They finally won promotion as Champions in 2005 and again into the Isthmian League Premier Division through the play-offs in 2012.
Construction of Enfield’s 2,500 capacity Queen Elizabeth II Stadium began in 1939 although this was suspended due to the Second World War and it would be 1953 before the stadium was completed and was used as an athletics stadium.
Named after the Queen for her Silver Jubilee in 1977 it was notable as the training base for some of the UK’s top athletes of their day including Sebastian Coe, Daley Thompson and Linford Christie. It fell into disrepair but in 2008 Enfield Town, who had ground shared since their formation, reached agreement with Enfield Council to refurbish the stadium to allow football which took 3 years before they moved into the stadium in 2011.
The stadium is renowned for its grade II listed art deco pavilion dating back to 1953.
The Enfield match is for the Brian Lomax Cup (previously known as the Supporters Direct Cup) FC United first took part in the Brian Lomax Cup (or Supporters Direct Cup as it was then known) in 2005 in only our 2nd ever match, losing 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow before gaining revenge the following year with a 2-1 win at Gigg Lane.
After losing the decider 2-0 at Wimbledon in 2009 , 2-0 away at Telford in 2010 and 2-1 away at Chester in 2011 we jointly lifted the trophy in 2015 after a 1-1 draw against Wrexham in our 2nd fixture at Broadhurst Park
Saturday 13th July; Lewes FC v FC United to be played at the Dripping Pan stadium in Lewes
The following day FC United head to the South coast to take on another fan owned club Lewes FC who finished in 11th place in the Isthmian League last season.
Formed in 1885, Lewes were founder members of the newly formed Conference South League in 2004 but ground grading issues prevented the club from entering the play-offs in each of its first 2 seasons in the league despite 4th place finishes. They carried out the necessary ground work and were promoted to the Conference as Champions in 2008 but manager Steve King and all but one of the squad left the club over the summer and they would only last one season in the top flight of non-league football. In 2011 Lewes were relegated to the Isthmian League and further relegation to the Isthmian Division One South followed in 2016 before promotion back to the Premier division after finishing runners up in 2018.
Having survived a winding up petition during the season, Lewes FC became fan owned in the summer of 2010 after long time owners Martin Elliot and Kevin Powell passed control to a consortium known as Rooks 125 (after the club’s Rooks nickname) and was converted into a Community Benefit Society.
The club hit the national press in 2014 after an idea of constructing corporate beech huts in the ground, which had apparently been suggested by a director as an April fool’s joke, was implemented and supporters could take up a corporate experience with a difference. The club’s Commercial Manager at the time Kevin Miller was quoted in the press; ‘We thought we’d dip our toe into the glamorous world of corporate hospitality. At this level we couldn’t stretch to Premier League-style luxury. That said, our prices are a little more reasonable than the Premier League.’
In 2017 Lewes would again hit the headlines when they launched Equality FC and became the first Pro or Semi-Pro side in the world to commit to equality of pay between their men’s and women’s sides.
Their Women’s side currently plays in Super League 2.
The 3,000 capacity Dripping Pan stadium has been Lewes’s home since the beginning and is one of the oldest continuously played in grounds in the UK. Prior to 1895 the site had been used for cricket with the first recorded match taking place in 1730. The perimeter walls around the ground are listed structures.
Travel with the team:
FC United supporters will be able to travel on the team coach to the fixture with prices set at £60 adults and £40 Under 18s.
There are 37 seats available for supporters to book and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
Please note that the team will not be staying in London after the Enfield match so supporters booking on the team coach should make their own arrangements for 2 nights accommodation in Brighton.
Please phone the FC United office on 0161 769 2005 or in person during office hours.
Full payment will be taken immediately and if anyone cancels, refunds will only be given if we manage to allocate your place to someone else.
Provisional itinerary- all timings are subject to change and confirmation:
Friday 12th July:
mid-morning coach departure from Manchester (Broadhurst Park and Chorlton Street pick-ups) for the journey down to Enfield Town FC.
Approximately 1 hour after the match depart Enfield for Brighton (arrival due approximately 1am).
Drop off in a central location.
Saturday 13th July:
lunch time departure from central location in Brighton to Lewes FC
Approximately 2 hours after the match coach departure back to Brighton
Sunday 14th July:
Lunchtime departure from central location in Brighton back to Manchester.