A warm welcome to Barkingside who are now ensconced in our old home at Cricklefields, Ilford. Last Saturday proved to unlucky thirteen for them, going down to Stansted by two goals to one.

Being ‘Non-League day’ we did not have a game, was it due to the International break? Our relationship with Barkingside now stretches back almost forty years, which I think I featured last season. So today I am going back to 1988/9 season when we met in the Essex Thameside Trophy, perhaps the most beautiful trophy in football. On the day we lost at home by three goals to two. Anyway, that galleon would never have fitted into the trophy cabinet.

Barkingside were then playing in the Greene King Spartan League, whereas we were well placed in the Premier Division of the Vauxhall-Opel (Isthmian) League, so it was a good victory for the ‘Side. We were on a losing streak which included Southend United, Windsor & Eton and Croydon! On its day we could have beaten just about any non-league side going. Stand out players included Lee Holmes who began his career at Haringay Borough, I guess under our current manager, George Wakeling. Lee moved into the Football League with Brentford before moving onto Enfield, Wealdstone and Dagenham.

There is an interesting story of Lee playing for Brentford in the afternoon and tearing across London to get married after the game. Too much excitement for one day! Other key players were Gary Campbell, who promised so much, after catching the eye of both Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion, Gary spent time at WBA. The side also included Sean Baker and Stevie Lane. Paul Taylor could only make the bench. On the Barkingside was Derek Francois, who later played for us. That season was the tenth that George Wakeling had been in charge and in those ten years he guided Leyton Wingate from the Athenian League and through two division of the Isthmian League and into the Premier Division.