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Barling & Wakering Villages Plus
Great Wakering Rovers 100 Years of Non-League Football

Article Compiled by Richard Kirton

17 January 2018

Support and contributions from Roger Burroughs [Lifetime President], Eddie Ellis [Ex-President], Roger Sampson [Ex-Secretary], Alf Hallums [Ex-Treasurer], Fred Smith [Ex-Chairman & Player], Jim Laird [Committee Member], Daniel Ellis [Club Secretary], Dawn Beadle [Wife of the late Barry Beadle], David Axcell [Football League Referee], Phil Adcock [Son of John Adcock - 1st Team Player 1952 to 1961], Brian Everett [Ex-Player & Staff Member] and many others.

Great Wakering Rovers 2nd Eleven Team 1919 - 1920 Season

H. Milton • B. White • W. Glen • A. Cerson • H. Waters • J.Cerson
A. Church • A. Adcock • B. Adcock
G. Terrel • P. Rivers • G. Stubbs • A. Smith • A. Self


Pictured above is the earliest photograph of the Great Wakering Rovers 2nd Eleven team, 1919 - 1920 season. This and subsequent matches were originally played on a field, locally known as ‘Pikel’, situated south of Tinkers Lane (now New Road) and close to Samuel’s Corner. The official dictionary spelling for a small piece of enclosed land is a ‘Pightel’ but other variants include ‘Pightell', ‘Pyghtle', 'Pycle’ and ‘Picle'.

Those soldiers, fortunate enough to have returned from fighting in World War One, had to settle back in to the normality of rural life and most ended up working in local brickfields and farms. Many of the soldiers formed the local Great Wakering Rovers Club in 1918 and some wonderful team photographs from that period survive today and can be seen by following the following links to Gallery One and Gallery Two of this article.

On 17th August 2017, Jim Laird kindly arranged for two allotment holders in their early 70's, Alan Crosby and Alan Pitts, to come and talk to me since they had been supporters of Great Wakering Rovers Football Club over many years. They were very helpful and that same day, they convinced Gordon Butler to stop what he was doing on his allotment and come and talk to me. Prior to his retirement, Gordon explained that he and his partner George Bailey ran a local building company called Butler & Bailey for 40 yrs.

Gordon, now 82 years old, remembers the ‘Pikels’ very well and his interpretation of the term is ‘small pieces of land adjacent to a farm’, in this case Great Wakering Wick Farm, which was demolished by the military when they purchased the land and erected a high border fence.

On 24th August 1940, during World War II, a German KG53 Heinkel bomber was shot down and crash landed into the 3rd Pikel, close to Samuel’s Corner and as a lad, Gordon remembers the excitement of going to see the aircraft. Back then, there were 3 Pikels but they eventually merged into one.

After the ‘Pikels’, the club teams trained on The Common and played matches at the Recreation Ground, paying rent to Great Wakering Council for the use of the pitches. Today, Gordon manages an allotment in Little Wakering Road opposite the football club and as a supporter, remembers very well the times when The Rovers never lost a match.

Roger Sampson clearly remembered when the teams first Played at Burroughs Park in 1988 and when the club was issued their first Drinks license in 1989. The Rover’s original strip colours of dark grey shirt with a laced tie up collar, light blue shorts and white socks changed to the green and white strip around 1923. Since then, the green and white strip alternated through the years between green and white squares to green and white stripes.

Before parting company, Gordon shared his knowledge of the Great Wakering Pickle Factory, which was owned by Harry Ellis from the 1950s to the early 1970s. The factory site is now a small housing estate, situated where Trevor Goodwin ran his car workshop at the High Street end of Little Wakering Hall Lane. Bags of onions and barrels of vinegar were delivered to the factory and Harry distributed them to many local home workers who would peel the onions for which they were paid by the bagful. Harry would then arrange to get them back to the factory for bottling in vinegar.

Facts about the formation of Great Wakering Rovers and its very early years do not exist, so I decided to concentrate on the later years. I have had the opportunity to interview some past and present Club Officials such as Eddie Ellis, Alf Hallums, Roger Sampson, Fred Smith and Jim Laird along with Dawn Beadle, wife of the late Barry Peter Beadle. They are all knowledgeable people who have been involved in the club for many years.

Both Leslie Stubbs and Barry Beadle were talented players with the former playing professionally for Southend United and Chelsea. In total, eight of Great Wakering Rovers’ players turned professional and made it into the English Football League.

Great Wakering Rovers Timeline


The club was formed in 1919, mainly by soldiers demobbed after World War I and finding employment in the local brickfields. They first played in one of Southend’s oldest leagues, the Southend & District League in 1919 and remained members until 1982. They became the league’s most dominant and successful club ever, especially in the 1960's and 1970, by winning the league championship and cups more times than any other.


 In 1982 they switched to the newly formed Southend & District Alliance Football League but this league folded in 1989. It was felt to be the best squad amassed by a manager, in this case Eddie Nash and the decision was made to step up to intermediate level and join the Essex Intermediate League. ‘Rovers’ remained in the Essex Intermediate League for three seasons, winning the championships of Divisions Three and Two in successive seasons. After this, ‘Rovers’ successfully applied to join the Essex Senior League and found themselves in Step 5 of the Non-League pyramid, which for a village club was a tremendous feat. Sadly, this league folded in 1989 leaving ‘Rovers’ with a decision to move back to the Southend & District League or take a step up in standard.


 Negotiations with Great Wakering Parish Council were successful for the ‘Rovers’. The result was that 104 disused allotment sites were made available for the club to begin work on creating their own ground and clubhouse. The ground was given the name of “Burroughs Park” in recognition of all the help given to the club by local farmer and former player Roger Burroughs’


 With the Southend & District Alliance Football League folding, the club had to decide on where to go next should it go upwards or back to its roots in local football. With the club and ground taking shape it was decided to enter the Essex Intermediate League.


 Essex Intermediate League Division Three Champions.


Rovers narrowly beat Sawbridgeworth Town Football Club for the Essex Senior League title. Rovers had collected 71 points for the season and lost just three times although the title win was only won on goal difference (18). During that season ‘Rovers’ forward Paul Flack scored 28 goals, which included a haul of 4 goals away at Eton Manor as Rovers celebrated a 9-0 victory. Also included in his stunning season were two further hat tricks. That season his strike partner Neil Ramsey grabbed 20 goals as ‘Rovers’ hit home 82 goals. ‘Rovers’ defence of the Essex Senior crown faltered the following season, finishing 2nd behind Romford.


In the 1996-1997 season ‘Rovers’ would also finish second again, behind Ford United by just three points. The 1997-1998 season would be ‘Rovers’ worst season in the Essex Senior League, finishing mid-table, 7th, and 36 points behind winners Concord Rangers.

The club’s final appearance in the Essex Senior League saw them finish 2nd behind Bowers United. However, due to Bowers United failing to meet ground grading requirements for promotion, Rovers were promoted to the Isthmian League in their place. With Isthmian League Division Three on the horizon for the 1999-2000 season, ‘Rovers’ move into Step 4 of the league pyramid was complete. At the very first attempt ‘Rovers’ were promoted to Division Two finishing behind East Thurrock United by three points. Promotion to Division Two gave ‘Rovers’ some stiffer opposition and the season finished with them in mid-table.


The Isthmian League then reorganised and Rovers found themselves in a new look Division One North, finishing mid-table but more than holding their own in what was a very competitive league. In 2003 the club were embroiled in a relegation fight, although this was won convincingly as Rovers finished 15 points ahead of the relegation zone.


A further league reorganisation in 2004 saw the club switch to the Southern Football League Eastern Division for two seasons. The 2004-2005 season saw Rovers miss relegation by one point due to Erith & Belvedere FC being deducted three points. The 2005-2006 season Rovers bounced back to finish safely in mid-table. Rovers found themselves in familiar territory, switching back to the Isthmian League Division One North, where they finished 12th. Two further seasons saw Rovers finish 13th and stabilise themselves as a Ryman League club.


The 2009-2010 season brought a record number of points for the Rovers at Ryman League level, 64, but towards the end of the season manager Iain O'Connell took over at Ryman Premier side Margate leaving assistant Ryan Wilkinson and physio Cleve Taylor to take over temporary control with 12 games to go. During the close season of 2010, Ryan and Cleve were made joint managers with Danny Heath being promoted from reserve team manager to first team coach to join a new management team.


During the 2011-2012 season, after a poor run of results, Ryan Wilkinson and Cleve Taylor decided that it was time to move on and resigned, leaving coach Danny Heath as Caretaker Manager. After a short period, when new managers were interviewed, Danny Greaves was installed as manager and took charge for his first game on 29 October 2011, but saw his side lose 2-0 away at Leiston. Unfortunately, Danny's reign did not last long as his side lost 6 games in 6, scoring 4 and conceding 21, leaving Danny with no option than to resign.

 Once again Danny Heath took over as Caretaker Manager although Dan Trenkel was installed as the new Player-Manager within two games. Trenkel, a Rovers youth and reserve player, joined the first team for his debut on the 4th April 2001, had played over 300 games for the club and immediately made a start on shoring up the frail defence which had conceded 52 goals before his arrival. Dan Trenkel remained in charge of the Rovers, instilling a new sense of belief into his side.


Rovers found themselves in the Essex Senior League following a 3 year absence since winning the Essex Senior League and Cup double in the 2013-14 season. Iain O'Connell was chomping at the bit to bring in and build his new squad that he hoped was capable of promotion from the Essex Senior League once again.


100-year Anniversary

Roger Burroughs

[Lifetime President]

Roger is a farmer and contractor on Foulness Island and is also the Lifetime President of Great Wakering Rovers Football Club at Burroughs Park, Little Wakering Hall Lane, Great Wakering, Essex. He actually played for the ‘Rovers’ between the ages of 14 and 24 and Burroughs Park was named after him in recognition of his financial and constructional assistance for the club. Boasting floodlights, a clubhouse and tea bar, it’s highest attendance ever recorded was 1,150 for a pre-season friendly against Southend United in 2006.

He was a conventional farmer for 15 years, rearing 150 beef cattle, 130 sheep clones and turkeys and chickens, with ‘Marsh’, the butcher in High Street Great Wakering, being his closest customer. By 1986 he ceased farming livestock and concentrated on his arable crops which included wheat, peas and barley. Roger had the opportunity and tenacity to survive and decided to diversify and create a new business as a contractor and Haulage and Transport provider, licensed to operate vehicles under a National license for goods transport. Roger has always had a passion for heavy machinery and calls them his toys.

In 1995, Roger was President of The Rochford Hundred Agricultural Society, the year of its fiftieth anniversary. Also, for many years now he has been involved in the organisation of local Ploughing Matches and two of these matches in 1984 and 1995 can be seen on YouTube, both hosted at Tree Farm, Foulness Island, Essex.

In 2001 and 2002, Roger was President of the Essex Young Farmers, a youth organisation made up of 16-26 year olds and despite the name, you don’t have to be a farmer to join; absolutely anyone can be a member! Essex Young Farmers is run by its members, for its members, so everyone has the chance to have a say in what goes on. With 10 clubs across the county there really is something for everyone, be it organising events, playing sports, charity fundraising or simply enjoying the social side of it all!

If you ever get to see a local Ploughing Match, chances are that Roger will be there either in a supporting or organising capacity. The event at Hawkwell Hall Farm in Hockley in September 2017 was another great success and was indicative of the level of support that this iconic event attracts and the value that it gives to the community.

Eddie Ellis

[Ex-President 1990-2005]

Eddie is 74 years old and was born in York in 1943 and at 10 days old he and his mother moved to Southend-on-Sea. At that time, his father, Harry Ellis, was fighting in France during World War II and after the war in 1946 took his family to live in Germany for 3 years, working for Control Commission Germany. This was set up to support the Military Government, which was in place at that time and was gradually phased out to take over the role of ‘Local Government'.

On returning to the UK in 1949, Eddie’s father Harry, set up a local pickled onion factory and ran it until 1980. In 1960, Eddie left school and together with his brother Kenny, they set up their company ‘E & K Ellis’ with advice and assistance from their father. They initially supplied fresh peeled onions and later on, vegetables to the first wave of Supermarket chains, their first customer being Wallis in the east end of London.

In 1992, Eddie also became a General Haulage contractor running up to 7 lorries, delivering his fruit and vegetables throughout the UK. He gave up this business in 1998, his lorries having covered 3 million miles and he became a Taxi driver working for Andrews Taxis in Rochford.

Eddie First played football in 1957/58 for the Wakering Rovers minor team, initially as a ‘winger’ until he broke his leg. After his recovery, he played at full and half back positions and played for a total of 25 seasons. He took on the role of Club Secretary in the late 1960s, for 3 years taking over from Taffy Morgan.

Eddie’s father Harry, was Club President in the early 60s until he died in 1990, at which time Eddie took over as President until 2005. In 1967 when the club won the Charity Shield, Eddie was custodian of the Shield and it stood under his bed for a whole year. In 2005 Eddie had a heart problem which resulted in him giving up all associations with the club.

Roger Sampson

[Retired Club Secretary]

Roger Sampson, cousin to the late Barry Peter Beadle, is a friendly face to anyone familiar with Great Wakering Rovers Football Club and a man whose association with the club stretches way back to those historic days of the late fifties and sixties.

Like those who joined him in the classic line ups of over 40 years ago, Roger is Wakering born and bred, brought up to the sound of St Nicholas church bells and a true villager. Born on June 5 1943, he joined the Southend Minor League of Great Wakering Rovers Football Club as a 15-year-old youth player in September 1958 and in 1960, he started playing for the first team. Such were his talents as a hard, tough defender who was rumoured to have the hardest kick of a football on the local scene, he was hardly ever out of the first team.

Later in life he trotted out for the Rovers Veterans side and played continuously until he was fifty. “Sambo", as he is known to his friends, was highly regarded and acknowledged as one of the best defenders around at the time. His talents brought him many representative honours for the Southend and District League, the Southend Sunday League and The Wednesday League. The widespread domination of the Rovers on the domestic scene owed much to Roger's prowess.

Roger started work with Southend Fire Brigade in 1962 but this service merged with Essex County Fire Service in 1974 when he worked at Southend initially and latterly moved to Leigh Fire Station where he retired in 1995. He lives in Lee Lotts, Great Wakering and for many years has had an allotment which is adjacent to his back garden. The council agreed to him having a gate from his garden to the allotment which through the years has been very convenient for his many trips to the football club. His job as a fireman restricted his number of appearances per season because of shifts but it didn't get in the way of his passion for the game when he took over the administration of the fire brigade team. He subsequently took over as club treasurer and in November 1980 he took over as secretary from Gary Mumford, managing to combine the two administrative jobs. Roger’s faultless work as an administrator is on a par with his enthusiasm and he soon found himself with a position on the Southend and District League committee.

His knowledge was very influential in Rovers transition from the all-conquering side in the District league through to the Alliance league to Essex Intermediate to Essex Senior League to the Ryman Isthmian league and to today's Southern League division one. Such was his aptitude for administration that Roger picked up many awards and accolades and only an Essex Senior league ruling that officials can only be voted Secretary of the year once stopped him winning the award season after season.

It was in June 1999 that Roger had the shock of his life when he returned home from holiday only to find his house gutted by the very thing that he had spent a lifetime fighting, a fire. Having recovered from this dramatic event he was determined for Rovers to succeed and he he oversaw a big step up for them to ensure that their entry into the Ryman League went as smoothly as possible. Roger’s personal problems took a back seat as he guided the club with efficiently into the Isthmian League.

In 1975, Roger married Christine, who was Club Secretary at the time and they had two children, Terry and Jenny. Roger was forever grateful for all of the support and understanding that Christine gave him over the years which enabled him to continue the role of Secretary, which he thoroughly enjoyed. As well as being Rovers’ Club Secretary and a Spurs supporter, Roger was very much part of the construction team who transformed "Burroughs Park" into a fine football stadium. Not content with all this he could also be seen tirelessly marking out the pitch prior to each match as well as carrying out vital ground maintenance work.

"Sambo" was a vital cog in the club’s everyday existence, working with the utmost efficiency, which of course is Roger’s Trademark. Roger resigned as Club Secretary in 2011 and continued working as a groundsman until 2016 and after the arrival of his third grandchild he finally stopped working for the club having actually been a player for a total of 37 years. Roger is very proud of what the club has achieved through the years, developing from a village team playing in the local park to a well-run, semi-professional club, with a proper pitch, a stand and a clubhouse. He was named village citizen of the year for 2008 by Great Wakering Parish Council and was given a gift of a crystal bowl by the parish chairman, Trevor Goodwin. In response, he said “It's a great honour, and I was surprised when the council contacted me and said that I had been nominated”.

Alf Hallums

[Ex-Treasurer for 18 years]

Alf Hallums was born in Shoeburyness in 1927 and reached 90yrs old in December 2017. He attended Shoeburyness High School in Caulfield Road and he married a Wakering girl, Georgina Everard whilst living in Wakering. It was only last year that Alf gave up his allotment plot in Great Wakering village. In August 1956, Alf started working for AWRE Foulness as a Magazine operator earning 126 shillings a week. He worked there for 37 years as one of 300 staff employed during the peak of operations. He remembers Whitsun of 1956 very well since that was when he gave up smoking for good.

A few years later he was encouraged to apply a vacancy on the committee of the Rovers Football Club at the time when meetings were held in a room above the British Legion. He accepted the position but it was not long before he was asked to take on the role of Treasurer, despite having had no previous experience apart from his passion for working with figures. Remarkably, Alf recited the formula for Standard Deviation as:

I was taken back because although I had studied Calculus at school, I would never have remembered such an equation. Alf continued as Treasurer for 18 years, being responsible for securing insurance policies each year for the players, hiring football pitches and fund raising through various events such as dances at the village hall. Roger Sampson took over as Treasurer when Alf left.

Back in the late 1950s, it was a rule that all players had to live in Wakering and the first two players who breached this rule were Bill Pirie and Peter Dawson. Players had to come dressed ready for play since their dressing room was a little green shed which backed on to the bottom of Daisy Webb’s garden. It was a tiny shed 8’ by 6’ for 11 players with no toilets or wash basins. Players had to relieve themselves in a can which was poured outside. Daisy made the tea. Her bungalow was demolished to make way for 2 semi-detached houses (254 & 256 High Street, Great Wakering). The original football pitch had a ditch running right through it and the ball would often get lost in the ditch.

The picture to the right shows, from left to right, Cyril Bright, Alf Hallums and Arthur Burles in the Village Hall in Great Wakering. They are peeling potatoes for one of the various functions that the committee had organised. Tommy Davis the headmaster, arranged for the potatoes to be taken to the school kitchen to be cooked and taken back to the Village Hall.

Alf remembers when Roger Burroughs was a player in the 1st team and contracted dermatitis one season from the dust kicked up from his combine harvesting. Roger had to take his kit home and wash it himself. His grandfather ran the farm which originally sat where Hanningfield Reservoir stands today. Alf can recollect as though it was yesterday, his trips to away matches in Roger’s little white car.

Wakering Rovers had three teams:

1st Team – managed by Cyril Bright

2nd Team – managed by Arthur Burles (nickname ‘Gwenny’)

Juniors – managed by Jim Padbury

Also, there was John Collicut who played Centre Forward and Alf’s late brother, George Hallums who played Centre Half for years before emigrating to Australia. John Adcock, father of Phil Adcock played in goal and Roy Cornwell played on the wing with Barry Beadle on the other wing.

The picture below shows Alf Hallums on the left and Les Dillaway on the right. They are both holding collection boxes for fund raising purposes as they did at all matches.

Significantly, Alf remembers the floods of 1953 when he happened to be dancing in the village hall and stepped outside in the late evening to realise the extent of the flooding.

Alf fondly remembers most of the Wakering Rovers 1st Team players including Bernard Rawlings of Foulness who died quite recently. Other significant players include Jackie Bridge who ended up playing for Southend United and Les Stubbs who ended up playing for Chelsea after Southend United.

Alf has an original copy of the Rovers Song, which was written by Ernie Adcock and is reproduced on the left.

Fred Smith

[Ex-Chairman and Player]

Fred is a carpenter by trade and at 74 years old is still employed part-time by AWRE on Foulness Island. He has lived in Wakering most of his life and his football playing days go back to when he played for his School Team.

In 1957 and not long after leaving school, he started playing for Wakering Rovers when he was 15 years old and then for the 1st team when he was 16. He played at ‘left half’ (position 6) most of the time and suffered in his early 20’s with a broken collar bone then not long after, with a broken ankle.

In 1966, when he was 23, he was spotted by the manager of Heybridge Swifts while he was playing in a cup final at Maldon. He was encouraged to join their team and he ended up playing for the team for two seasons.

After that, he returned to Wakering Rovers and played until 1969 and a year later played in the ‘Veterans Team’ as goalkeeper, alongside Barry Beadle and Roger Sampson.

After he had just finished building his house, Fred drifted away from the club for a few years. Then, not long after the building of the new Clubhouse for Wakering Rovers had started, Fred and several others helped Roger Burroughs with its construction. Fred was later approached by Roger Burroughs who asked him if he would take over from Trevor Lovell as Chairman of the club and he readily accepted.

Fred considers himself as very fortunate in having some really good managers under him from the start including Eddie Nash and Kevin Maddocks. Fred remained as Chairman of up to 20 committee members for about five years and after that took on the responsibility of groundsman, looking after the football pitch until 2012 when he gave up his involvement with the Club.

He remembers well, the installation of the northern seated football stand, it being an ex-farm building from and solicited from another farmer, Roy Millbank. The seating was unbolted and transported from the old Bolton Wanders ground of Burnden Park. It took two trips for Roger Sampson, Roger Burroughs, Jim Laird and Fred Smith to go the ground, unbolt the seats and transport them to Wakering. There was always plenty to do and Fred’s expertise was also put to good use, this time as a welder with the construction of the southern stand which only cost £5000 to build.

The chairman of South Thurrock, Tom South asked Fred if he could use the six old floodlights from Rainham Football Club. They were gratefully accepted and were used at Wakering as the original ‘diesel generator’ floodlights

Not a lot of people would know this, but Fred remembers when Jimmy Greaves stopped playing football he started an Insurance Business in Leigh-Sea, just off the Broadway and close to what used to be Richardson’s fabric shop near the church.

There are two Photograph Galleries near the end of this article and Fred is pictured in his role as Chairman in the 7th photograph down in Gallery Two.  His father, Jack Smith can be seen in the 1922-23 and 1931-32 team photos in Gallery One. The boy Mascot sitting at the front of the Team Photograph of 1932-1933 in Gallery One can also be seen later as a player (4th photograph down, photographed at the Kursaal – 4th person from the left) in Gallery Two.

As the weather warmed up in the early 90’s, Fred always remembers the very pronounced smell of the cockle shell base which surrounded the pitch. League rules stated that there had to be hard standing all around the football pitch and cockle shells from Leigh Cockle Sheds were used. Wakering was the only club in the country in the early 90’s to have such a base but they were replaced with concrete slabs as soon as possible.

I am very grateful to Fred in helping me to compile his memorable recollection of his life with the Rovers. Since retiring from his football activities, he is constantly busy with his hobbies of fishing and construction of remote controlled aircraft and boats. His latest project is the construction of a 4 ft long model Barge, named ‘Celia Jane’ which is a work in progress.

The late Norman David (“Nobby”) Johnson

[Ex-Bar Manager]

To his vast following of family, friends and acquaintances he was known as ‘Nobby’, an acclaimed goalkeeper in local leagues in his youth and then, for many years, the man known far and wide as Mr. Great Wakering Rovers. Aside from his family, the football club was his love and passion.

It was early one Sunday morning in February 2002, that Nobby rang Roger Sampson to say that they had been robbed and along with his colleague Len, had suffered serious injuries after being attacked by hammer-wielding robbers who stole takings as they cashed up. Roger rang the police and other committee members and rushed immediately to the club.

Roger was the first to turn up and saw Len sitting there holding his face beside his 12-year-old daughter and Nobby was lying behind the bar having been left with a fractured skull after he went to get up and get the keys. Nobby had managed to get to the phone in the kitchen leaving a trail of blood. When the ambulance arrived, there was no hesitation, Nobby was immediately rushed off to hospital.

Two weeks after being released from hospital, Nobby was rushed back complaining of chest pains and awoke from his sleep to find a crowd of doctors and nurses standing around his bed in the middle of the night. He complained of a few pains in his chest in the previous weeks and the doctors thought that it was angina. He went to sleep at about 11.30pm because the pain wasn't so bad and the next thing he remembered was waking up at 12.15am to find doctors standing around his bed telling him that he’d had a cardiac arrest. He did not know that he had been resuscitated until the next morning.

Even after he was attacked and badly injured, Nobby recovered and returned to continue to build the football club’s reputation but regrettably, Nobby passed away in July 2010. Southend Crematorium was packed with a standing-room only congregation to pay tribute and respects to the Southend born football fanatic who became a local legend in his own lifetime, cut short in his 65th year. Glowing tributes from another well-known local amateur footballer, Johnny Heiser, and Rovers club official Roy Kettridge were applauded by mourners at the service, which was conducted by Reverend Frank Smith, himself a former well-known local player and referee and one-time team mate of Nobby.

A memorial match for Nobby was held at Burroughs Park Ground on 28 October 2010 with a second match held on 28 July 2011. The Club erected a covered terrace at the back of the clubhouse to protect those wanting cooked food & drink from the elements, something that the late Nobby Johnson had inspired to do before his untimely death. In his honour, Rovers have named the terrace 'Nobby’s End'. Albeit a comical name, it is a name that Nobby would have approved of, such was his sense of humour.

Many might remember Nobby’s shop ‘Southend Sports Trophies’ in Sutton Road, Southend. The shop stood between Wentworth Road and Cromwell Road and immediately opposite Jones Memorial Recreation Ground.

Brian Everett

[Ex-Goalkeeper and current Turnstile Operator]

Brian, now 77 years of age, is pictured right on 20th June 2017 at the Summer Flower and Homecraft Show, organised by the Thorpe Bay Horticultural Society and held at the St. Augustine’s Church Hall.

Brian took home the Rose Trophy and the Cramphorn Trophy for the most points gained by a gentleman at the Summer Show.

Brian has been involved in the Great Wakering Allotment Society for 51 years and his other main passions in life have been football, cricket and exhibiting at  horticultural shows.

Brian currently manages the gate at Great Wakering Rovers and has been involved both as player and staff. His brother Derek Everett, also played as a 1st and 2nd team defender for the Rovers but for many of his later years has been involved as committee member of the Foulness Heritage Centre. Brian mainly played as goalkeeper for all three teams between 1957 and 1973 ending up in the 1st team during the last few years. He is also pictured in the back row of the 1967 Great Wakering Rovers team photograph.

Brian used to live next door to David Axcell, a League Football Referee, in Little Wakering and was employed as a plumber by Hubbards the builders in Christchurch Road, Southend for 50 years until he was 65. The company has since moved to Purdeys Industrial Estate in Rochford.

Brian has always stood up for the interests of Wakering residents and this was recently demonstrated when he challenged plans for housing developments in the village. He is quoted as saying I feel the proposed development plans for Great Wakering are unsound on the grounds that the land is Grade One farmland of the highest quality. Roads from the village are inadequate to deal with the existent amount of traffic without the possibility of extra housing. Also, the local primary school at this time is bursting at the seams with children being ferried to other schools.”

Brian started playing for the Rovers at the age of 17, in the under 18 youth team in the Southend Minor League. At age 18 he moved up to the reserves and soon became a regular 2nd Team player. At that time there was an abundance of good players including 3 goalkeepers. He moved for 2 seasons, playing for Shoeburyness Old Boys and went on a continental tour for a fortnight, playing in France, Austria and Switzerland, a trip that he fondly remembers and enjoyed.

Brian returned to play for the Rovers in the newly formed 3rd team and in the 1967/68 season each of the 3 teams won their respective divisions plus their league cups; French, Ramuz and Ellis (Harry Ellis – proprietor of the pickled onion factory). Also, the 1st team won a Charity Shield at Roots Hall. The 1967 photograph shows a line-up of all 3 teams together with all the cups they had won.

Brian moved up to the 2nd team and finally to the 1st team for the 2 years before his retirement. Then there was a big gap until 1992 when he volunteered for the job of turnstile operator and assisting with the maintenance of the pitch when the club moved up to Senior Level. Brian can still be seen on the turnstile and his wife Hilary assists with issuing the programmes. He married Hilary in 1967 and they have two children, a boy and a girl. Brian has never aspired to becoming a committee member.

Great Wakering Cricket Team at Basildon in 1962According to Brian, there was an outstanding passion for most footballers to play for Great Wakering Rovers. The club has always been successful and most of the players were local lads.

Great Wakering Cricket Club has been running for as long as the Rovers and significantly five of the football players also played cricket during the summer months, namely, himself, Tommy Beadle and his younger brother Barry Beadle, Les Stubbs and Danny Baynes.

Brian played for the cricket club every summer since he was 14 years old up until 1994. Goalkeeper John Adcock, although not in this photograph, also played cricket along with Mick Burles and Jamie Padbury.

Brian and Danny Baynes have been friends since he was 14 years old. Danny is 2 years younger and has had a varied employment record. He was another excellent goalkeeper for the 1st team. Danny played cricket alongside Brian and for 25 years they both opened each match innings, Brian’s achievements include 7 centuries and his highest score was 120 not out, at a match on Canvey Island.

Jim Laird

[Committee Member]

Jim Laird, 69 years old, came to Great Wakering from the Edmonton / Tottenham border in North London. He has always been passionate about football and in 1991 at age 43yrs, he started to get involved in Great Wakering Rovers Football Club.

Jim has worn a variety of hats and I have personally known him for many years now. One of his regular tasks has been the organisation of transport for the teams for away matches. He has contributed much of his time to ensure the smooth running of the club, including more menial jobs such as mowing and white-lining as well as secretarial positions, safety officer and press liaison. The picture to the left shows him having just completed cleaning the floor of the players changing room.

He, along with Jim Johnson has promoted and managed the youth teams over the years, including my own son Trevor. Both were always there for the boys and expertly guided them every step of the way, and for that, all of the parents are very grateful.

Jim is not only a committee member but a stalwart to the day to day running of the club. He looks back to the good old days when local people including parents and committee members had more time to spare to help out with the running of the club. I cannot thank Jim enough since he has identified key people for me to talk to, and helped me enormously with the production of this history of Great Wakering Rovers.

David Patient

[Football Chairman & Assistant First Team Manager]

In October 2017, I spoke to David Patient the current football chairman and first-team assistant manager to Iain O’Connell of Great Wakering Rovers. David was football manager at Great Wakering Rovers from 2005 to 2009 but has returned following the departure of John Galley in June. David’s support for Wakering has remained steadfast.

David has been involved in non-league football now for 37 years, but not as a player owing to a motor accident in his early days of driving. His time has been spent as coach, assistant manager, manager and chairman with just three football clubs: Wakering, Barking and Aveley.

David currently lives in Hockley but he spent many years working for Dagenham Motors who started trading in 1981. In 1991, he was appointed as a Director on the Executive Board and resigned in late 2002. At their peak, Dagenham Motors ran 23 dealerships and functioned successfully for thirty-six years before going into liquidation. Ford Retail Group Limited was the major shareholder and they took over ownership of the dealerships and are trading as ‘TrustFord’.

David stated that Great Wakering Rovers was in a stable financial position and their results are improving. His objective is to continue stabilising the club on and off the pitch over the coming season, at a time when Wakering are currently fifth in the league standings.

Iain O’Connell

[First Team Manager]

Back in February 2017, this was Iain O’Connell’s brief ‘You have ten games to save Great Wakering Rovers from relegation to Step 5’ with the club admitting he faced an “extremely hard task”.

Iain was a former Rovers player and manager who has been brought back to the club to replace Keith Wilson who had left his coaching role at National League South side East Thurrock United to take the reins at Rovers at the beginning of November.

Keith was sacked since he was unable to turn the club’s fortunes around and they are now bottom of the Ryman North after a run of nine defeats in 11 games.

Rovers had just ten league games left and would have needed an almighty turnaround if they were to avoid relegation with the club, at the time 12 points adrift of safety.

A Great Wakering statement read: “The Rovers committee met tonight to discuss recent results and performances and agreed by majority decision to sack Keith Wilson as first team manager. It was not a decision taken lightly, with a must-win crunch game against Soham Town Rangers in just five days time. However, we felt the need to make a bold decision due to a run of results that has seen us record just two points from 30, drop to the bottom of the table and see the gap increase between us and second from bottom Wroxham. The committee would like to thank Keith Wilson for his hard work and effort in what has been a very difficult time and wish him all the best for the future”.

“Next, we wanted to move quickly to bring in a replacement and despite a small shortlist being drawn up, we felt one person stood out. We contacted Iain O’Connell immediately and he thankfully accepted.

“Whilst we agree that Iain has an extremely hard task to save the club from relegation, our decision was also based on who we felt could lead the charge for promotion from the Essex Senior League, should we be relegated this season.”

Danny Greaves

[Ex-First Team Manager]

In late October 2011, former Shrimpers striker Danny Greaves, was appointed the new Great Wakering Rovers manager. He is the son of the late Jimmy Greaves having played nearly 50 league games for Southend scoring 14 goals and from the outset he was aiming for promotion.

 Danny, was Rovers’ tenth boss after Ryan Wilkinson left at the beginning of October 2011 following a 7-0 away defeat to Waltham Abbey. Danny’s assistant was ex-Tiptree striker, Adam Flint but he kept the club’s Danny Heath as coach. Apparently, he is believed to have said to the Evening Echo newspaper “Wakering has been in my life since I was 16, when I used to play against them in pre-season friendlies for Southend. It has always been in my life, and I’ve always felt it is a smashing club and a very well-run club. I think success here would be promotion. I’m under no illusions that it will be easy, but ultimately, we want to go up. Being realistic for this season, the main aim is to consolidate results and to build a team that people want to come and watch. But there are a lot of points still to play for and we want to finish as high as we possibly can. There was nothing wrong with Iain O’Connell’s reign or Ryan Wilkinson’s reign, and they are both good friends of mine. But what I’m saying to players, staff and supporters is this is a new dawn and if people want to come back they will be welcomed with open arms.”

Danny took over as manager the following Saturday, when Rovers took on Leiston away but after just 6 games he decided to resign. Despite many changes to the squad that he inherited from previous manager Ryan Wilkinson, his new players did not perform as he had expected. Results therefore suffered and he realised that it was going to be a tough task to get Rovers back on the front foot and playing with confidence and determination. It was a tough start to the 2011-2012 season and Rovers had conceded over 45 goals already, the worst in the whole Ryman League. The Rovers Committee agreed to release Danny from his duties with immediate effect and thanked him for his efforts.

Great Wakering Primary School Football Team 1951/52

I have included this school photograph because many of the players are still alive today.

Mr John Edwards • David Grigg • Roger Sampson • Danny Baynes • Peter Robinson • Barry Beadle

Brian Mead • Freddie Smith • John Collicutt • Michael Burles • Johnny Grandsen

Key Players

No less than eight players from Great Wakering Rovers turned professional and made it into the English Football League. The profile of just one of them, the late Les Stubbs, is highlighted directly below. Also, Barry Beadle became a very talented player with great potential but sadly passed away early under sad circumstances.

Les Stubbs (b. 18 December 1929 d. 01 February 2011)

Leslie "Les" Stubbs was an English footballer born in Great Wakering, Essex. He started out playing mainly as an inside forward with his local side, Great Wakering Rovers before signing for Southend United.

He made his debut for Southend in 1948 and scored 45 goals in 88 games over the next four seasons. In November 1952, he joined Chelsea for £10,000 having been persuaded by Blues manager Ted Drake that he was capable of playing in the top tier.

His career with Chelsea started slowly and Stubbs played just five games in his first season, without scoring. However, he scored nine goals in thirty league games in 1953–54 and in the next helped Chelsea win their first League title. He scored five goals that season, including a crucial stoppage time equaliser against Chelsea's main rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, paving the way for team mate Roy Bentley's winner a minute later. He then helped Chelsea win the Charity Shield.

His later years at Chelsea saw his playing opportunities reduced by the emergence of talented youngsters such as Jimmy Greaves, Peter Brabrook and Ron Tindall. Les looked after Jimmy Greaves who was an apprentice at Chelsea at the time. Les was best man at Jimmy Greaves’ wedding and remained good friends. Les made only sixteen appearances in his final two seasons, though he did play for the representative London XI side which competed in the 1955–58 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

He ended his Chelsea career with 123 appearances and 35 goals to his name and left in 1958 to re-join Southend for a further two years, scoring 3 goals in 23 games. He later turned out for Bedford Town before re-joining Great Wakering Rovers, where he remains the most successful product of that club.

When Chelsea won the FA Premier League title in 2004–05, Les and his surviving team mates from the 1954–55 title-winning side, such as Roy Bentley, Stan Willemse, Frank Blunstone and Jim Lewis were invited to the trophy presentation.

Barry Peter Beadle (b. 09 Nov 1942 d. 06 October 2003)

The following tribute from the committee of Wakering Rovers Football Club says it all about Barry Peter Beadle: “The village of Great Wakering and many, many people who have followed football in this area, were stunned by the news of Barry's sudden death last Monday morning. How do we begin to equate the life of a man that was a larger than life personality, a true character in every sense of the word, tireless worker always believing in those that worked and played for our club and builder of dreams?

Barry wasn't just liked by a lot of people, he was a character that cared deeply and therefore loved by many. Born on the 9th November 1942 to Tom and Doris Beadle, Barry was the youngest of four children, eldest brother being Tom then sister Peggy and brother Arthur.

Barry even went to school in the village, but when he left school he was urged by his father Tom to pick up a trade. Barry did this with great success, as he became a carpenter and found much work in and around Great Wakering. He never advertised for work, it was all done by recommendation. It was often said if he ever ventured beyond Star Lane for work he was to take a map and a compass with him to ensure his safe return to the village. Whilst at school Barry developed his love for sport (mainly football). He and his schoolmates often played together at school or on the Recreation Ground and it was this group of village lads that included the likes of Freddie Smith, his cousin Roger Sampson and Tony Thorpe that persuaded in the summer of 1958 the committee of Great Wakering Rovers to form a youth section.

Barry spent just one season in the youth side before making his first team debut in September 1959. The same group of lads were also cricketers and played regularly throughout the summer months. Barry's outstanding football ability could have quite easily taken him on to play at a much higher level, but he chose to play for the Great Wakering Rovers sides that dominated local football throughout the 60's and 70's. He gained many representative honours for the District League, Sunday League and Essex, and was widely accepted to be the best footballer in this area.

It was in 1966 that he married a staunch Rovers supporter and village girl Dawn Belton and between them they have two sons, Darren and Dean. When it was time to hang up his boots Barry concentrated on putting his vast knowledge back into the game and entered into management on two fronts, on Saturdays with the Rovers in the Essex Intermediate League and on Sundays as the manager of the all-conquering Great Wakering Colts side that included son Dean. Prior to that he and Dawn became a

strong supporter of Priory Athletic Colts for whom Darren played and it was from this connection that the whole family took part in exchange tours to Germany, to Hamburg, Breithart & Idstein and guess what? The Germans loved him as well.

The progression of the football club into senior non-league football saw Barry take up a new role as the club's bar manager, a job he said he would help out with fourteen years ago for just a couple of months and was still doing it at the time of his untimely death. Barry was also chairman of the social club and president of the Colts. It was through football in 1990 that Barry received a life-threatening injury whilst playing for Great Wakering Rovers Vets. As he was preparing to take a throw-in he pulled the ball back over his head for extra leverage and suffered a freak accident when the action trapped a nerve at the back of his neck. In the months that followed it was becoming apparent that Barry was losing the use of his limbs down one side. In consultation with a surgeon he was informed that if left untreated he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. For such an active man, the thought of this was intolerable but there was hope in a risky operation that could cure the problem.

Thankfully the operation was a complete success and still wearing his neck brace he returned to his managerial duties at the time, but it was the end to Barry's playing days. His love for football never died but his competitive spirit yearned for an outlet, so he took to playing golf and helped form the Great Wakering Rovers Golf Society and again with the help of Barry's magic formula it has turned out to be a roaring success with over sixty members competing on a regular basis. Not sure of what to buy Barry for his sixtieth birthday present, club members, persuaded by Barry's new-found passion, bought him a new set of clubs.

Barry had one or two sayings that he often used. When being offered a drink from the bar he would say, "It would be rude not to", or if someone was reminiscing and said "If only" he would always say "If the dog hadn't stopped for a s*it he'd have caught the rabbit". Another phrase he always used was "You’re always the same sometimes". It’s ironic that Barry, who died on Monday, had his bags packed to go with Dawn to see Darren in Australia, leaving on the next day. Everyone I am sure will have their own special story to tell or their own special memory of Barry as he took an interest in people and listened to them. He took them in to his heart and cared about them. The mould has been broken, he was unique but he will live forever in our hearts.”

Peter Stanley Sampson (b. 9 July 1927 d. 16 May 2009)

Peter Stanley Sampson, Roger Sampson’s older brother, was a professional footballer, born in Great Wakering, in Essex, and attended Great Wakering School, for whom he once scored 72 goals in a single season. He was the cousin of former Chelsea player, Les Stubbs but spent his entire Football League career with Bristol Rovers and who also went on to play for Trowbridge Town after retiring from the professional game.

He initially trained as a butcher, before being called up to the army and stationed in West Africa during World War II. He bought himself out of the army for £65, and returned to England to sign as n 1948, and had a thirteen-year-long career with them, making 340 league appearances and scoring four goals during that spell. He moved to Trowbridge Town in 1961, where he stayed for two years before taking over as assistant manager of his former youth club, Oldland.

Away from football, Peter Sampson had run a poultry business with his Bristol Rovers teammate Vic Lambden, while playing in Bristol, and after his retirement from the sport he worked as a gardener and a milkman in his adopted home town of Cadbury Heath. Towards the end of his life he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and spent his last few years living at a nursing home in Congresbury near Bristol. He died on 16 May 2009, aged 81.

John Adcock (Goalkeeper)

Phil Adcock is Treasurer of Great Wakering Cricket Club and has fond memories of his father, John Adcock and his football days. John came out of the army in 1952 and started playing for Great Wakering Rovers the same year. In his later years, John was a self-employed painter and decorator in the village and his best friend was John Mead, a carpenter from North Street, Great Wakering.

John, pictured left played as goalkeeper in the 1st team until 1961 and is the tallest player in the photograph to the right pictured directly above the cup which is being held by the captain, Doug Hallums.

In the same photograph, Doug Hallums (holding the cup) was apparently one of the best players the Rovers has ever had and Roger Sampson is standing behind John Adcock’s left shoulder. After John stopped playing he became club secretary during the 70s and 80s.

Phil mentioned an unrelated 'Sloppy Adcock', who played a little football in the mid to late 50’s. His real name was Bill and he was the brother of Ernie Adcock. Bill was a bricklayer and was linesman for several years during the Tommy Davies era and was renowned for his errors of judgement. ‘Sloppy’ is pictured in the 1931-1932 Team Photograph in Gallery One.

David Axcell (Football League Referee)

David Axcell was born in Southend in 1945 and is a former Echo proof reader who spent a short spell working on the sports desk. I was lucky enough to be able to talk to him on 9th January 2018 when he confirmed that he qualified as a referee for the Essex County Football Association in March 1963 and has refereed at fourteen Football League matches for Chelsea. He was also an association football international referee and has officiated at several World Cup qualifying matches played in many competing countries.

David was one of the linesman in the FA Cup Semi-Final when Liverpool met Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Sheffield on 15 April 1989 - the day of the Hillsborough Disaster that saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives and 766 injured. David is reported as saying just how badly he was affected by watching those dreadful scenes of bodies being laid out on the pitch and I can verify that since when I mentioned it to him he preferred to say no more about the event.

David is pictured right later that same year, talking to Arsenal's Kevin Richardson on 12 Nov 1989. David lived in Little Wakering for a while, next door to Brian Everett, and now lives in Westcliff. He is still refereeing today at the age of 73 having refereed many matches for Great Wakering Rovers 1st Team and to this day still referees their under 16 and under 18 matches.

David was nominated for the 2007/08 season as Referee of the Year for the Essex Veterans Football League. This particular season saw an amazing increase of 11 teams on the previous season with 60 teams playing in six Divisions.

March 2018 is quite a significant date for David since it marks being a qualified referee for 55 years. He was the first referee to wear a coloured top. I have to say that it was a pleasure talking to him and I was appreciative of him giving up his time since he had a busy day ahead including another of his passions, that of bowls.

Essex Intermediate Football League

In 1989 the pitch and clubhouse were ready to be used and so The Rovers stepped up from playing local league football to play Intermediate level and joined the Essex Intermediate Football League.

Building and ground improvements continued and in 1992 the ground was graded and accepted for Senior status and the club took it's place in the Essex Senior Football League for the 1992-93 season. Building continued further, extending the newly built clubhouse in order to provide bigger changing room facilities in accordance with senior status rules.

The Isthmian Football League

The Isthmian League is a regional men's football league covering London, East and South East England featuring mostly semi-professional clubs. It is sponsored by Bostik, and therefore officially known as the Bostik League. It was founded in 1905 by amateur clubs in the London area. It now consists of 72 teams in three divisions; the Premier Division above its two feeder divisions, the North and South divisions. Together with the Southern League and the Northern Premier League, it forms the seventh and eighth levels of the English football league system. It has various regional feeder leagues and the league as a whole is a feeder league mainly to the National League South.

Before the Isthmian League was formed, there were no leagues in which amateur clubs could compete, only cups. Therefore, a meeting took place between representatives of Casuals, Civil Service, Clapton, Ealing Association, Ilford and London Caledonians to discuss the creation of a strong amateur league. All the clubs supported the idea and the Isthmian League was born on 8 March 1905. Membership to the league was through invitation only. The league was strongly dedicated to amateurism; the champions did not even receive a trophy or medals; the league motto was ‘honor sufficit’.

The following extract is taken from the book ‘First Hundred Years of the Isthmian Football League’:

Great Wakering Rovers (1999-2004)

Ground: Burroughs Park, Little Wakering Hall Lane, Great Wakering, Essex.

Colours: Green & White shirts White shorts.

Nickname: The Rovers.

Formation: 1919.

Formative years: Southend & District 1919-1982. Southend Alliance 1982-89 and Essex Intermediate 1989-92.

Senior leagues: Essex Senior 1992-97 (champions 1995).
Isthmian era: Promoted to Division 3 as Essex Senior League runners-up in 1999, winning promotion to Division 2 as runners-up the following season. The club finished in ninth and seventh respectively in 2000-01 and 2001-02 before re-organisation placed the club in Division 1 North. Restructuring for 2004-05 allocated the club to the Southern League Division 1 East, where they just avoided relegation.

The Building of Burroughs Park

The Committee at Great Wakering Rovers Football Club are immensely proud of their ground, because it was built by members giving of their own free time to give the club a proper home to play its football.

In This old green lockup cabinet stores the mowers and other ground maintenance equipment and originated from Clock House Lane near Lakeside shopping centre in Grays.1985 The Rovers acquired a long lease from the local parish council on 104 disused allotments. From the very start, volunteers came forward with their various professional skills to start the football club's dream.

The help of local farmer, businessman and lifelong Rovers man Roger Burroughs was paramount in this plan as Roger provided the heavy machinery and equipment to clear the land, dig the drainage and remove any excess soil and rubbish. He aided with the creation of the pitch area, which when laid, was seeded and left for two years to settle and grow. The club of course were extremely grateful of this massive support that would otherwise have taken a number of years to achieve and in recognition of its gratitude, named it's ground after Roger and 'Burroughs Park' was born.

The old green lockup cabinet above stores the mowers and other ground maintenance equipment and originated from Clock House Lane near Lakeside shopping centre in Grays.

In 1989 the pitch and clubhouse were ready to be used and so The Rovers stepped up from playing local league football to play Intermediate level and joined the Essex Intermediate League. Building and ground improvements continued and in 1992 the ground was graded and accepted for Senior status and the club took it's place in the Essex Senior League for the 1992-93 season. Building continued further, extending the newly built clubhouse in order to provide bigger changing room facilities in accordance with senior status rules.

After seven highly enjoyable years in the Essex Senior League, the club won promotion to the Ryman Isthmian Football League and competed in Division Three in 1999-2000. This move saw the end of a feature that was much talked about by visitors to Great Wakering, and that was the hard-standing area around the pitch, which was made of tons of crushed cockle shells obtained from the local shellfish industry at Leigh-On-Sea. The shells were not accepted at our new playing level. During the close season of 1999, a workforce of committee and club members built the spectator stand on the allotment side of the ground.

A new external fence was built and the existing stand was improved by adding the old seats from Bolton Wanders old ground of Burnden Park. It took two trips for Roger Sampson, Roger Burroughs, Jim Laird and Fred Smith to go the ground, unbolt the seats and transport them to Wakering. A new covered stand was also added in the summer of 2000, almost directly opposite the seated stand.

In 2009-2010 season, The Rovers Chairman, Roy Kettridge was successful in their liaisons with the local council to gain access to old allotment land next to Burroughs Park. During the summer of 2009, a tall perimeter fence was erected, protecting gardens and allotments from wayward balls, as well as preventing those playing on the adjacent recreation ground from entering. The land was stripped of old vegetation and de-stoned by volunteers, management and players, as well as the Chairman himself and then seeded.

Currently, players use the training ground for pre-match warm ups as further improvements are required for its long term usage, such as collapsible goal posts, line painting and general area upkeep.

Rovers erected a covered terrace at the back of the clubhouse to protect those wanting cooked food & drink from the elements, something that the late Nobby Johnson had inspired to do before his untimely death in July 2010. In his honour Rovers have named the terrace 'Nobbys End'.

Albeit a comical name, it is a name that Nobby would have approved of, such was his sense of humour. During the close season of 1999, a workforce of committee and club members built the spectator stand on the allotment side of the ground.

The Future of Non-league Football

Great Wakering Rovers Clubhouse from the PitchNon–league clubs rely on a steady income throughout the season which comes from the turnstiles, club shops and club houses. Inclement weather creates periods of time when clubs have no games, due to unplayable pitches through snow, rain or frost and postponed games affect clubs financially. Artificial 4G pitches are a viable option and if installed, fewer games would be called off. There are obviously many other criteria and it is difficult to predict the future for Great Wakering Rovers since they have always been very successful and benefited from dedicated Club Officials on hand to promote a sense of achievement through hard work and allegiance. Worthy of note is the fact that the stalwarts of Great Wakering Rovers are in their late 60s and early 70s and there does not appear to be many people coming forward to fill their shoes. Club officials are passionate about Great Wakering Rovers and hope that it remains successful for a further 100 years.

It has been a real pleasure compiling this history of Great Wakering Rovers Football Club. I have had the pleasure of talking to many conscientious people over many months, in particular Dawn Beadle, who has devoted a lot of her time to the club and still attends many events with her cousin, Roger Sampson. I am grateful to all of the committee members and supporters who have assisted me and in particular, Jim Laird who has been as passionate as myself to find out as much about the history of the club. The Official Website of Great Wakering Rovers is updated on a regular basis as is their dedicated Twitter page.

Gallery One    Gallery Two

Great Wakering Rovers

Burroughs Park, Little Wakering Hall Lane, Great Wakering, Essex, SS3 0HH

Tel: 01702 217812

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Club Officials

Club President

Club Football Chairman

Vice Chairman

Club Secretary
Treasurer & Memberships

Commercial & Media Manager

Press Officer

Website Editor

Programme Editor

Club Photographer

Bar Manager

Social Secretary

Committee Members

First Team Manager
First Team Assistant Manager


Reserve Team Manager

Roger Burroughs

David Patient

Mike Lee

Elaine Pitts

Roy Kettridge

Dan Ellis

Susan Watts (www.rebelsportsphotography.co.uk)

Jim Johnson

Elaine Pitts

Andy & Carole Knight, John King, Jim Laird, Maisie Hare, Roy Kettridge, Jim Johnson

Iain O'Connell
Dave Patient
Neil Richmond
Cleve Taylor

Tom Harding

Football League Players

Les Stubbs (Chelsea, Southend United)

Alan Hull (Leyton Orient)
Jackie Bridge (Southend United)

Terry Howard (Chelsea, Leyton Orient)
Frankie Banks (Hull City, Southend United)

Graham Franklin (Southend United)
Neil Harris (Nottingham Forest, Millwall)

Iain O’Connell (Southend United)


1989-90 Micky Wright

1989-90 Frank Banks

1990-94 Ben Embery & Steve Jackson
1994-97 Kevin Maddocks

1999-2001 Eddie Nash

2001-04 Alan Hull
Jan 2004-Feb 2005 Tony Cross

Feb 2005 Iain O’Connell

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