The History of Hale End Athletic Football Club

A story which began with a group of young football fanatics gathered under a gas lamp, but some 85 years later can boast of a club with over 100 members of all ages, origins and talent. The story still goes on...

The Ball starts rolling...

In 1926 as schoolboys of 13 & 14 years of age, Les Prime and friends fulfilled an urge to form a football club and in 1928 Hale End Athletic was born. The first sponsor was Les Prime’s father who paid for a football and the first ground rent … a pitch on a local farm.

The Early Years... 'Pre war'

Having joined the Walthamstow Auxiliary League in 1928/29 the founder members of Les Prime, Doug Collier, Sid Marchant and Bill Jones attained the position of ‘runners up’ in their first year.

The young fanatics progressed from Division C to Division B, through to Division A and finally to the Premier Division by 1933/34. They achieved Runners-Up in 1934/35, eventually winning the Championship in the 1935/36 season.


With confidence of their success in less than ten years Hale End progressed to a higher standard, taking on the likes of Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead and Chingford in the Walthamstow and District League. They won Division 3 at the first attempt in 1938/39 without losing a game, also achieving cup successes in the Walthamstow Charity Cup in 1929 & 1938.

It must be considered, “these minnows were beating the giants of their age”.

Picking up the pieces...

Unfortunately the Second World War intervened and in 1939/40 the season was not completed… but Hale End remained undefeated when the league was abandoned, sharing top place with Walthamstow Athletic. After the First World War Les Prime, with the help of old friends, Sid’s brother Les Marchant and Bert Thome, picked up the pieces. With the survivors of the Second World War the football started again, finishing the 1946/47 season in third place of the Premiership Division.

Young Fanatics...

The regrouping of old friends from the gas light years provided the post war success that included

Division Two Champions three times, Division Two runners up twice, and winners of the Essex AFA Senior cup in 1952/53.

Having a close association with ‘Walthamstow Avenue’ and the local youth football, Hale End progressed from the ‘heydays’ of the 1930’s to modest success of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Hale End joined a stronger league of the time, the ‘Nemean League’ and remained one of the central figures in amateur football. (The financial pressure of subscriptions, registrations fees and kit, as relevant then, as they are now) The continuing post war success provided various championship titles such as in 1966/67, 1970/71, 1975/76, 1979/80 and others, until the ‘Nemean League’ disbanded in 1984/85.

A New Challenge...

The joining of a new league ‘Southern Olympian League’ provided a new challenge for our intrepid youngsters of the age, winning Division Three championship in 1985/86 at their first attempt.

Hale End’s growth has, with the likes of Les Prime (Secretary), Sid Marchant (President) and Les Marchant (committee member), remained resilient. Even with the unfortunate passing of Les Prime on January 7th 1991, some 63 years after the gas lamp gathering, setbacks did not deter the faithful.

Under the Chairmanship of Stewart Brown and John Brooks as Secretary, Sid Marchant became President of Hale End and between them they brought their own selfless style to all members, particularly the youngsters. Hale End flourished with vigor and continued to attain further success.

Highlights of the last ten years have included:

1st XI:

Season 1992/93 - won the Essex AFA Senior cup and finished 3rd in Senior Division, (scoring 68 goals highest in the division). Season 1993/94 – won the Senior Division Three championship (losing only one game). Season 1994/5 won the Senior Division Two championship at the first attempt (scoring 66 goals). More success in 2001/02 season, winners of the SOL Premier Division and runners up in AFC Senior One 2006/07 season.

2nd XI:

Reached the Essex AFA Intermediate Cup semi final in consecutive seasons of 1991/92 and 92/93, eventually winning in 1996/97, 1993/94 won the Intermediate Division Three championship (scoring an amazing 92 goals in 18 games). Season 1996/97 won the Intermediate Division Two championship (without losing a game) and won the Essex AFA Intermediate Cup. Season 1997/98 won both the Essex AFA Intermediate Cup and Southern Olympian Intermediate Division Two League Cup.

Since 1997 Hale End has had a magazine, produced by John Brooks, which provides an informal news source of the club’s activities for all members and action photographs.

Hale End Athletic Football Club celebrated its 70th Anniversary in the Season 1997/98, when 142 past and present members attended a dinner where founder member Sid Marchant made a moving speech praising (the then present day) club management and leading lights of the past. Unfortunately Sid died two months later at the age of 85, having played with members of the gas light gathering and maintained a close association with Hale End for some seventy years. Sadly we lost another of our long service members Dave Currey in 2007. Dave had played at all levels and had been the Club Treasurer for a number of years. We are proud to say that Dave received the 50 Year Service Medal from the Football Association.

The club celebrated its 85th anniversary during the 2013/14 season.

The New Millennium...

With the new millennium, like others, there has been an air of greater success. Hale End achieved in the 1999/00 season – 1st team won the Essex AFA Senior cup, 2nd team won the Essex Intermediate Cup and the now new Youth team finished 4th in their first season. Season 2000/01 - 1st team finished second in the new Premier Division and the newly established Youth team finished 2nd on goal difference.

Hale End Athletic can boast of having three good quality teams from the ages of sixteen upwards, due to the youth policy and outstanding efforts of the current management team of Chairman Sean Windeatt Vice Chairman Paul Goldsworthy, Club Secretary John Brooks, Team Managers – 1st XI James Mitchell, 2nd XI Nick Jennings, 3rd XI Lee Shoesmith

Veterans teams.

Les Prime

Sid Marchant

Champions 1938 - 39

1953 Essex Senior Cup winners

Southern Olympian League cup winners 1986 - 87

1992/93 Essex AFA Senior cup winners

Hale End Athletic has two veterans’ sides with Patrick Cummings as 1st team manager and Simon Gallagher as his assistant. Also we now have a 2nd vets team with Mustafa Yusuf as manager and Bert Schouwenburg as his assistant.

Hale End Athletic has over one hundred members of all ages, origins and talent and still retains a sense of pride for all those associated with the club.

With the efforts of John Brooks and Paul Goldsworthy the club became an FA Charter club in 2002, the criteria for this award is built on good coaching, administration, discipline and being open to the local community.

The story goes on...

Whilst reading the above, if you're not already a member and are interested in becoming one, contact John Brooks on 01621 810940 or e-mail jabrooks1@tiscali.co.uk.

2001 Travelling to games in style

Dave Currey

John Brooks

Vets 2012