Merton Football Club are the oldest amateur soccer club in the Borough of Merton, London. Founded in 1910, the club compete in the Southern Amateur Football League and currently has 6 mens teams, 1 womens team and 2 youth teams.
1910 - 1999
Merton FC went straight into the Southern Amateur League, which started three years before the club. For the first 30 years of its life, the club shared a pitch with Merton Hockey Club on the John Innes Recreation Ground in Merton Park. A first and reserve team were fielded along with a third side known as the "Strollers" who played friendly games away from home. The "Strollers" were older, senior players who needed to be as good at drinking and socialising as they were at football to qualify for the team. This was, so as to enable them to obtain and keep the best available fixtures.
During the Second World War, Merton managed to field one regular home side. Any member who was in the services was always offered a game to make his stay at home more enjoyable. The club played some memorable games at this time, often against professional clubs. One of the regular fixtures was against the Scots Guards from Pirbright Barracks. On one special occasion, they turned up with their band, bagpipes, kilts and all, providing Merton with its biggest crowd for years.
The Southern Amateur League boasted some significantly good teams until the 1940's with the likes of Cambridge City FC (formerly Cambridge Town) and Ipswich Town. Merton could not afford to bring these clubs to London and pay their fares out of a crowd collection at half time, which would typically raise 50 bob (?2.50), therefore they used to play these clubs away because they had enclosed ground and could charge admission fees. On one memorable visit Merton beat Ipswich Town 4-0 just before they turned professional, with Bill 'Clara' Cox notching a magnificent hat-trick.
In the 1946/7 season the first team were Division 1 Champions, clinching the title over Easter with two crucial games, beating Hastings 3-2 and Eastbourne 5-1, the resulting celebrations caused the coach journey back to London to take more than eight hours. The Amateur Football Alliance has provided some memorable games for Merton, among them an away game against Old Chesterfieldians, which they lost 5-4, the same Merton player scored all four goals but still got some stick on the way home for not scoring more.
Merton Council helped the club improve their ground and at the end of the 70's the club itself spent ?3,500 on improvements with the labour provided by the players in their spare time.
Merton's other claim to fame is that Efan Ekoku once of Wimbledon FC played for the club in the season 1987/88, also representing the league and AFA side. Alan Pardew, who is a local lad, trained us for a couple of seasons before becoming professional.
In the 1988/89 season, the 1st team won the division three title and the Surrey AFA Senior Cup.
1989 was a sad year as the club lost its President Bill Cox who died suddenly in December he had been with the club since 1932.
2000 - 2008
The new millenium has seen an upturn in Merton's fortunes, in 2004/05 the 2nd team won their respective league under the guidance of player manager Darren Pearce. In 2005/06 the 1st team, managed by Max Herbert, led by Simon White and coached by Mark Thomas and Jeff Hawkins, and the 5th team managed by Mark Chappell, won their respective leagues. The 6th team also gained promotion in this season. In 2006/07 the 4th team gained promotion. In 2007/08 the 3rd team gained promotion. An indication of the increased quality at Merton was the inclusion of Lewis Ackerman, Glenn Lilley, James Fiveash and Matt Bosher being called up for the Southern Amateur Football League Representative Side.
With the introduction of a number of new signings at the top end of the club, hopes are high at Merton for a good season for all teams. Simon Clapperton became permanent first team captain, after former first team and club captain, Simon White, took over from Darren Pearce as second team manager. The AFA representative side striker, Paul Pearce, joined from Carshalton to bolster the first team's attack, as did Ian Lewis who took up the role of Senior Squad Co-ordinator.
2008/09 management structure
|1st XI||2nd XI||3rd XI||4th XI||5th XI||6th XI||Womens|
|Manager||Max Herbert||Simon White||Paul Welch||Dan Kelly||Mark Chappell||Pat Murphy||Emma Pearson|
|Captain||Simon Clapperton||Mike Reed||Paul Ellis||Kevin Wood||Ed Plaistow||Fergus Murphy||Victoria Morrison|
Honorary Life Vice Presidents
Merton 1st XI - SAL Division 3 Champions 2005/06
Hon Fixtures Secretary
Hon Results Secretary
Hon Events Committee
Senior Squad Coordinator
In 1990 the Merton clubhouse at their spiritual home John Innes Recreation Ground was set ablaze by vandals, and was rebuilt in 1992 and opened by the Mayor of Merton.
In 1999 the club moved to its present home at Joseph Hood Recreation Ground, Martin Way, Morden where 3 home teams can be accommodated each week and provide better facilities.
Merton FC is a self funded amateur club run by hard working volunteers and are always looking for sponsors and new club members from the local community.
- SAL (Senior) Division 1 Champions 1919 - 20, 1945 - 46
- SAL (Senior) Division 2 Champions 1926 - 27, 1929 - 30
- SAL (Senior) Division 3 Champions 1957 - 58, 1975 - 76, 1987 - 88, 2005 - 06
- AFA Surrey Senior Cup Winners 1913 - 14, 1929 - 30, 1986 - 87
- AFA Intermediate Cup Winners 1921 - 22
- AFA Surrey Intermediate Cup Winners 1920 - 21, 1923 - 24, 1948 - 49, 1951 - 52, 1958 - 59
- SAL (Reserve) Southern Division Champions 1921 - 22
- SAL (Reserve) Division 2 Champions 1933 - 34, 1947 - 48
- SAL (Reserve) Division 3 Champions 1968 - 69, 1978 - 79, 1985 - 86, 1989 - 90, 1998 - 99, 2004 - 05
- Nemean League Division 3 Champions 1934 - 35, 1935 - 36
- SAL (3rd Team) Division 3 Champions 1956 - 57, 1984 - 85, 1989 - 90
- SAL (4th Team) Division 3 Champions 1979 - 80, 1984 - 85, 1994 - 95
- SAL (5th Team) Division 3 Champions 1979 - 80, 1986 - 87
- SAL (Minor Section South) Division 6 Champions 2005 - 06
- SAL (8th Team) Division 2 Champions 1980 - 81
- SAL Wilkinson Sword 1994 - 95
Famous terrace chants
- That's the way Merton, that's the Merton way! (lyrics - R. Mann)
Efan Ekoku, Pete Marney
External linksSource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merton_F.C.