Big progress on and off pitch for the Towners

Andrew Warshaw on Enfield Town’s latest sponsorship deal, plus a special anniversary for the club

Mo Faal celebrates his equaliser against promotion rivals Worthing, a result which kept Enfield Town top of the Isthmian Premier Division (credit Tom Scott)
Mo Faal celebrates his equaliser against promotion rivals Worthing, a result which kept Enfield Town top of the Isthmian Premier Division, although they subsequently slipped to second (credit Tom Scott)

Anyone who witnessed the official launch of Enfield Town’s new youth section shirt sponsorship could not have been more impressed by the enthusiasm of Future, the company involved.

Scores of families attended a hugely successful evening, made even more so by the help of Tottenham Hotspur, which kindly agreed to send four of their under-23s side (two of them from Enfield) to support us on the night.

The evening included a kick-ups challenge, penalty shootout, crossbar challenge and raffle, with proceeds going to the Pink Ribbon Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The sight of so many youngsters on the pitch was a reminder of just how important this part of the club is in terms of building relationships with the local community.

Asked why his company chose Enfield Town, Michael Butcher, Future’s director of business development, revealed that rivals Cheshunt were also considered, but that ultimately Enfield was a better fit. He told the Dispatch: “With Cheshunt they were more of a commercial operation with a business mentality whereas the fan-owned aspect of Enfield was something that struck a chord with us. We’ve always wanted to get involved with a local football team and Enfield Town were the perfect partnership.”

The feeling is definitely mutual. John Doyle, head of Enfield Town’s youth section, said: “It gives us the opportunity to grow as well as try to bridge the gap between youth football and the senior set-up. I think Future was impressed by our community approach and how we want to give everyone a chance. We’ve never been close to receiving this kind of sponsorship. They want to be more than just a name on the shirt. They want to be part of the club.”

These are certainly exciting times on the pitch for the Towners as well, after their fast start to the league season. Enfield are currently second in the Isthmian Premier Division following an impressive run of form, including a record-setting 8-0 win away from home.

It’s fitting then that Tuesday 16th November will mark another big moment in the club’s progress, as it will be exactly ten years since the club moved to QE2 Stadium. The occasion will be celebrated at the home game with Merstham four days later.

Enfield Town’s life president Roger Reed, who was vice-chairman at the time and was instrumental in getting the 99-year tenancy deal over the line, remembers it well. After a long Post Office career, Roger worked for the FA and part of his duties revolved around funding facility developments.

He told the Dispatch: “When we got the opportunity to move into the stadium, I was well-placed to know exactly how to present our case with the football authorities.

“It wasn’t just me. I worked in partnership with Keith Wortley who was a structural engineer and knew the language of the builders and contractors.

“We had to compete with other bidding groups to be the anchor tenant. The stadium was derelict, even though it was a listed building, and had to be totally revamped. But we were dying on our feet having to play at Brimsdown.

“I’d put together a brochure which demonstrated what we would do to develop the sport in the borough and I’d like to think we’ve more than delivered on that.”

The first game in the new stadium was against Harefield United in the Middlesex Senior Cup. Roger recalled: “We didn’t want to make too much of it as we didn’t want too many people there since we didn’t know how the ground would work.

“The one that really sticks in my mind was the official opening against a Spurs selection when we had the best part of 1,000 people there. It was a wonderful atmosphere and we won 2-1. The legacy now is that we have established ourselves as one of the leading non-league teams at step three [of non-league football] and we have a permanent home for the next 89 years.”