Harlow Town F.C.

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Harlow Town
Harlow Town F.C.png
Full nameHarlow Town FC
Nickname(s)The Hawks
GroundThe Harlow Arena, Harlow
Capacity3,500 (500 seated)
ManagerDanny Chapman
LeagueIsthmian League South Central Division
2018–19Isthmian League Premier Division, 22nd of 22 (relegated)

Harlow Town Football Club are an English football club based in Harlow, Essex. The club are members of the Isthmian League South Central Division and play at The Harlow Arena.

The club is best known for its exploits in the 1979–80 FA Cup, in which it reached the fourth round, eliminating two Football League sides Southend United and Leicester City before losing to Watford at Vicarage Road.


The club's first match was played on 18 October 1879 against Saffron Walden. In 1898 the club merged with Netteswell and Burnt Mill and were renamed Harlow and Burnt Mill F.C. and rejoined the East Herts League. The merger was reversed in 1902.

Soccer field with low, pitched-roof building in background
The Sportcentre, Harlow Town's home from 1960–2006

In 1954 the club joined the Premier Division of the London League. In 1960 they won the League Cup, and moved to the newly-built Sportcentre on Hammarskjold Road. In 1961 they switched to the Delphian League. In 1963 it merged into the Athenian League and the club were placed in Division Two. After finishing third in 1963–64, they were promoted to Division One.[1] Due to Harlow's facilities at the Sportcentre, the club attracted well-known teams to the area during this period. In July 1966 Harlow Town arranged a friendly match against Uruguay, who were staying nearby in preparation for that summer's FIFA World Cup. Uruguay defeated Harlow 6–1. In 1968, S.L. Benfica reached the European Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, and prepared for the final at the Sportcentre; their team included the 1966 World Cup Golden Boot winner Eusébio.

In 1971–72 the club won Division One, and were promoted to the Premier Division of the Athenian League. In 1973 the club switched to Division Two of the Isthmian League, renamed Division One in 1977. In 1978–79 they won Division One and were promoted to the Premier Division.

The 1979–80 season saw the club make its best-ever run in the FA Cup. They entered at the preliminary round, beating Lowestoft Town, Hornchurch, Bury Town, Harwich & Parkeston and Margate to reach the first round proper for the first time, where they defeated Leytonstone/Ilford 2–1. In the second round they drew 1–1 away at Football League side Southend United before winning the replay at the Sportcentre 1–0 in front of 5,000 spectators. The club were then drawn away to Second Division leaders Leicester City. After a 1–1 draw at Filbert Street, Harlow famously won the replay at the Sportcentre 1–0, watched by a club-record attendance of 9,723. In the fourth round Harlow were drawn away to Watford, losing 4–3.[1]

In the 1981–82 season the club were relegated, but returned to the Premier Division after a single season in Division One. However, two consecutive relegations in 1984–85 and 1985–86 saw the club drop into Division Two North. In 1988–89 they won the division and returned to Division One.

The club's plans to leave the Sportcentre for a new stadium on Roydon Road collapsed during the 1991–92 season, and the Isthmian League closed the Sportcentre after it no longer met league requirements. The team fulfilled the remainder of their home games at local venues including Sawbridgeworth, Bishop's Stortford, Ware and Aveley. The club dropped out of football for the 1992–93 season.[citation needed]

Upon being voted back into the Isthmian League for the 1993–94 season after upgrading the Sportcentre, the club were forced to drop into Division Three. In 1997–98 they were promoted to Division Two, and the following season were promoted to Division One. In 2004 the club were transferred to Division One East of the Southern League, but returned to the Isthmian League in 2006.

In October 2006, the club moved to its new ground at Barrow's Farm. After finishing as runners-up in Division One North in 2006–07 they won the promotion play-offs and were promoted to the Premier Division after defeating A.F.C. Sudbury in the final. However, they were relegated back to Division One North at the end of the 2008–09 season.[1]

In January 2010, new owners took control of the club, with former manager Tommy Cunningham returning to the club alongside business partner John Barnett. The 2010–11 season saw Kevin Warren become the Hawks manager, but a run of defeats led to Danny Chapman replacing him at the helm. Chapman then turned the tide and took the club to the Division One North play-offs after finishing fourth, but failed to reach the final after being defeated by Wingate & Finchley.

At the start of the 2014–15 season Harlow Town launched The Harlow Academy, a youth set-up which incorporated 21 youth teams playing at The Harlow Arena. After a tightly contested league campaign, Harlow missed out the league title and automatic promotion by one point, finishing behind Needham Market Another play-off campaign beckoned, but Harlow lost 4–3 to Thurrock in the semi-finals after extra-time.[citation needed]

The 2015–16 season saw Harlow Town go on a club record streak of 12 consecutive wins between 19 December 2015 and 13 February 2016, propelling themselves into the play-offs, finishing the season in third place, setting up a third consecutive appearance in the play-offs. The Hawks hosted A.F.C. Hornchurch in the final at the Harlow Arena, where 1,655 spectators saw Harlow claim promotion to the Premier Division with a 3–1 win.[citation needed]

In the 2016-17 season Harlow achieved a new club record highest league finish of tenth in the Isthmian Premier Division, their first campaign at this level since 2009.[citation needed]

The 2017-18 season was a fierce relegation battle in the Isthmian Premier division, eventually finishing one place outside the relegation zone. This would be club captain and ex Senegal international Ibrahima Sonko last season in football.

The Brian Tubb organisation-1971

It had threatened to be the usual boring annual meeting of Harlow town FC. The team had had  a poor season, the club was in debt-as usual-and there was not too much hope for the future. The treasurer stood up and began making his annual complaints about lack of funds when all of a sudden there Was an interruption. An unfamiliar figure suddenly started spouting about how much he had banked for the club in the last few months and how he had enough to satisfy most of the creditors. Hardly a soul in the room know who the man was and what on earth he was going on about. But within months, everyone had heard of Brian Tubb! He was dismissed by most of the harlow town diehard fans as being pompous, uninformed and much much too ambitious. I wonder how his many detractors felt as they gaze down from the new £15,000 grand stand and watch Harlow perform against spurs under floodlights, second  to none in the amateur world and certainly up to football league standard. I wonder how they felt as they sat, drinking in comfort, watching the colour television in the clubroom. Perhaps some of them would have even ventured over to him and offered him congratulations. They should have done for ‘tubby’ had performed a minor miracle in less than four years. What is more important, he has read the club of atmosphere that prevailed between players And committee men during the past few years. I served on the committee for a short time and was considered a spy for the players. However players and committee mingled after matches and there was always a hot cuppa for wives and girlfriends at half-time in the committee room. How did Brian Tubb become involved with Harlow town? It all started when he answered an advertisement in the local paper for a Pools promoter. “ I knew nothing about the job at the time but I soon got the hang of it” an architects assistant with Harlow development corporation for some years, Brian built up a large football pool In the area and club funds began to rise steadily. Not content with one club Brian spread his wings further and Ilford, we are facing possible extinction, called him and his team of canvassers in as a last desperate measure. The results were an outstanding success. Ilford were generally acknowledged as one of the top Isthmian league clubs. Their colleagues and near neighbours Walthamstow Avenue, sent for Brian Tubb, so did Woodford, Dagenham and several others. The Brian Tubb organisation was born! A colourful 36-year-old, Brian was appointed chairman of Harlow town July 1971 and his first task was to find a manager capable of lifting the club out of the doldrums. Ted Hardy was considered along with a few others, but whilst he hovered between Bishop Stortford and Harlow, Roy Thomas was snapped up from spartan very good hoddeston , who had just completed the league and club double with the hearts County charity cup thrown in for good measure. Thomas was given a free hand to select and run the team exactly the way he chose. And on August 14, 1971, Harlow travel to Dorking for the first match of the new season and won 5-0. They had gone on to secure promotion to the Athenians League Premier division and built up a fine reputation that season.

Club officials[edit]

Role Name
Chief Executive Tom Cunningham
Manager Danny Chapman
Assistant Manager Spencer Knight
First Team Coach Mark Holloway
Goalkeeping Coach Huseyin Gozutok
Club Secretary Ray Dyer
President Ron Bruce

Managerial history[edit]

Years Manager
1879–1957 Selection Committee[a]
1957–1958 Rick Barrett
1958–1959 Dennis Bow
1959–1964 Jack Kavanagh
1964–1966 Ralph Wetton
1966–1967 Ken Driver
1967–1969 Bryan Atkinson
1969–1971 Brian Somers
1971–1973 Roy Thomas
1973–1974 Jack Price
1974–1975 Gordon Sedgley
1975–1976 Len Gamblin
1976–1982 Ian Wolstenholme
1982–1985 Gwyn Walters
1985–1994 Dave Edwards[b]
1994–1995 Len Glover
1995–1997 Dave Greene
1997–1999 Eddie McCluskey
1999–2002 Ian Allinson
2002–2003 John Kendall
2003–2006 Tommy Cunningham
2006–2008 Ryan Kirby
2008–2009 Glen Alzapiedi
2009 Anthony Anstead
2009–2010 Marvin Samuel
2010–2011 Kevin Warren
2011 – present Danny Chapman
  1. ^ Harlow Town did not have their first manager until 1957, as they had a Selection Committee for the first 77 years of their history.
  2. ^ Edwards lost his job as manager in 1992 after the club went into administration, but was instantly re-instated in 1993 when the club returned to the Isthmian League.

Recent history[edit]

Season Division Position FA Cup FA Trophy Essex Senior Cup Alan Turvey Trophy
2006–07 Isthmian League Division One North 2nd (promoted) Preliminary round 1st qualifying round Quarter-finals Third round
2007–08 Isthmian League Premier Division 15th 2nd qualifying round 1st qualifying round Third round Second round
2008–09 20th (relegated) First round 1st qualifying round Third round Fourth round
2009–10 Isthmian League Division One North 22nd Preliminary round Preliminary round Fourth round Third round
2010–11 4th 2nd qualifying round First round Third round Second round
2011–12 7th Preliminary round 3rd qualifying round Quarter-finals Second round
2012–13 21st Preliminary round Preliminary round Third round Second round
2013–14 4th 2nd qualifying round Preliminary round Quarter-finals Quarter-finals
2014–15 2nd 1st qualifying round 1st qualifying round Fourth round Second round
2015–16 3rd (promoted) 4th qualifying round 2nd qualifying round Third round First round
2016–17 Isthmian League Premier Division 10th 2nd qualifying round Second round Fourth round First round
2017–18 21st 3rd qualifying round 3rd qualifying round Quarter-finals First round
2018–19 22nd (relegated) 1st qualifying round 2nd qualifying round Third round First round


The Harlow Arena ground
Years Ground
1879–1960 Green Man Playing Fields
1960–2006 Harlow Sportcentre
2006–present The Harlow Arena

In their long history, Harlow Town have had three home venues. From the club's formation right up until 1960, the club played their home games at the Green Man Playing Fields, with its first competitive game coming against Bishop's Stortford Nonconformist Grammar School. Harlow Town's last game at its original home was against East Ham United on 30 April 1960, with Harlow winning the game 2–1.

For the start of the 1960–1961 season, Harlow had moved to a new home on Hammarskjold Road, to the newly built Harlow Sportcentre, the first Sports Centre in England. The Town's first competitive game in their new home was against Epping Town in the London League on 27 August 1960, with the game finishing in a 1–1 draw. The Sportcentre hosted some of Harlow's greatest moments, including the FA Cup giant-killings of Southend United and Leicester City in the 1979–1980 season. Harlow's final season at the Sportcentre came in 2005–06, with their last scheduled game their against Spalding United in the 2006 East Anglian Cup final, but due to delays at their new ground, their final game at the Sportcentre was on 2 September 2006 in an FA Cup Preliminary Round match against Saffron Walden Town, the team Harlow faced in their first ever match.

Eventually, Harlow moved to their new home at Barrow's Farm in October 2006, with the opening match at the new ground on 18 October with Harlow defeating Ware 2–0. The official record attendance at the stadium is 2,149, against Macclesfield Town, then of League Two in the FA Cup First Round Proper on 8 November 2008; Macclesfield won the game 2–0. In the summer of 2013, following investment from the owners, a brand new 3G playing surface was laid to allow regular use of the pitch by the local community without impacting the turf. This coincided with the re-branding of the ground to The Harlow Arena, as a primary venue for Harlow and its residents.


  • Isthmian League
  • Athenian League
    • Division One Champions 1971–72
  • Essex Senior Cup
    • Winners 1978–79
  • East Anglian Cup
    • Winners 1989–90, 2001–02, 2005–06
  • London League Cup
    • Champions 1959–60
  • West Essex Border Charity Cup
    • Winners 1923–24
  • Spartan League
    • Division One Cup Winners 1952–53
  • East Herts League
    • Division One Champions 1911–12, 1922–23, 1928–29, 1929–30
    • Challenge Cup Winners 1929–30, 1930–31, 1931–32
  • Stansted & District League
    • Division One Champions 1923–24, 1924–25, 1927–28, 1928–29
  • Rolleston Cup
    • Winners 1924–25
  • Epping Hospital Shield
    • Winners 1938–39, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49


  • Record Victory: 14–0 vs Bishop's Stortford, 11 April 1925
  • Record Defeat: 0–11 vs Ware, 6 March 1948
  • High-Scoring Draw: 5–5 vs Southall, 1 February 1975
  • Highest Attendance (Sportcentre): 9,723 vs Leicester City, 8 January 1980
  • Highest Attendance (Harlow Arena): 2,149 vs Macclesfield Town, 8 November 2008
  • Highest League finish: 10th in Isthmian Premier Division, 2016–17
  • Most Appearances: Norman Gladwin (639), 1951–70
  • Most Goals in a Season: Dick Marshall (64), 1928–29
  • Most Goals in a Season (Post-War): Alex Read (52), 2013–14
  • Consecutive League Wins: 12 (19 December 2015 – 13 February 2016)
  • Consecutive League Defeats: 11 (1 January 1977 – 5 March 1977)
  • Most Wins in a Season: 31 out of 42 (1978–79)
  • Most Draws in a Season: 16 out of 42 (1987–88, 2000–01, 2005–06)
  • Most Defeats in a Season: 29 out of 42 (2009–10)


  1. ^ a b c Harlow Town at the Football Club History Database

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°46′15.740″N 0°4′4.159″E / 51.77103889°N 0.06782194°E / 51.77103889; 0.06782194