Barking FC is a non league club, based nine miles north east from the centre of London. The club were formed in 1865 and were originally called Barking Woodville FC when they were founder members of the London League.
Another club, Barking Rovers were also around at that time and it is believed that they played a part in the current clubs history.
In 1912 'The Blues' became founder members of the Athenian League. Between 1919 and 1932 the club were known as Barking Town. The club played at the Vicarage Field, in the centre of the town.
The semi final stage of the FA Amateur Cup was reached in 1921-22 before going out at the last four stage to South Bank at Feethams in Darlington.
1927 saw the club reach the final of the Amateur Cup following victories over Maidenhead United, Wycombe Wanderers and South Bank at Bishop Auckland before going down to Leyton 3-1 at The Den.
In the 1949-50 season, another fine Amateur Cup run saw Barking go all the way to the semi-final, where they were defeated 2-1 by Willington at Ayresome Park Middlesbrough.
In 1951 Barking moved into the Isthmian League where it did nothing exceptional of note for many years. In 1973 the club were forced to leave their Vicarage Field home and were given a lease at Mayesbrook Park.
|A downloaded image of Vicarage Field|
The second round of the FA Cup was also reached in 1979-80 when Reading knocked them out after a first round victory over Oxford United, and again in 1981-82 when Gillingham required a replay to progress following earlier victories over Maidstone United and Bideford.
The team gradually broke up and within ten years The Blues were relegated. In 2001 the club merged with East Ham United to become Barking & East Ham United. After restructuring the club spent a couple of seasons in the Southern League from 2004.
In 2006 Barking suffered from the tragic death of chairman Peter Webster, which led to the liquidation of the parent company. The club restructured as Barking FC and were placed in the Essex Senior League.
After a few seasons finishing around mid table, the Blues attained a third place finish in 2014-15, and then fourth the following campaign.
Barking FC will play in the Essex Senior League in the 2016-17 season.
I had just moved down to London to live and was lodging with my brother Paul in Camberwell. I was job searching and one Friday early evening I decided to use my travelcard and have a wander. I had been to try and get into The Manorway home of East Ham United without success, much to my regret as the club folded with the ground demolished and eaten up by new houses not long after.
I took a busy bus up past Upton Park where West Ham United were playing in the FA Youth Cup Final and caught a tube to Upney, from where I walked through Becontree Park to the ground. It was locked up but the clubhouse looked busy enough. Because of the relatively low fences I could peek inside the ground.
Wednesday 26th September 2007
Barking were the first club I visited on a mammoth groundhop day which saw me visit twelve grounds. I caught the tube to Barking and then took a bus to the end of Lodge Avenue before walking the rest.
Once again the ground was locked, but I managed to take the daytime photos on this page. The clubhouse looked all locked up as if it wasn't due to open and I saw notices on walls saying the club had been liquidated. I honestly thought I'd never get the opportunity to visit for a game.
Barking 4 Basildon United 0 (Tuesday 4th January 2011) Essex Senior League (att: 44)
I had a few choices of matches the evening after finishing night shifts. I plumped for this clash as it gave me a good chance of getting home and not missing much of the play in the Test Match from Sydney.
Barking caught me out in terms of distance and I soon realised I'd be struggling for a beer before kick off. The bus collected me from the tube station, but unfortunately I got off about four stops too early. I walked at least a mile to the ground. I think someone was trying to send me a message as when I got to the ground the clubhouse was all locked up.
I paid £5 admission, plus £1.50 for a programme. It was the same issue from when the game was meant to take place on the 27th November before it fell foul to the weather with a four page update inside. I was immediately impressed after the gateman told me to enjoy the game. A nice simple touch, but one lacking at so many other grounds.
I followed the signs to the refreshments. It doubled up with the boardroom in a hut by the corner flag. I went inside for a lucozade.
I was quite taken with the ground. At the Lodge Avenue End there was the entrance and disused clubhouse. There was then a few steps of very shallow terracing with a roof behind the goal. The players emerged through a gap in the steps. To the right was open concrete and grass standing where viewing was difficult owing to the huge dugouts. The far end was a narrow flat path and the fourth side had a low narrow stand with a seating section at one end. A few steps of terracing finished off that side.
The home team went one up after a few minutes and played some scintillating football. It was pleasing to see both sides keep it on the deck. The Basildon keeper was a veteran and a real character who encouraged his young team mates while pulling off some good saves. He couldn't do much as a second goal went in at half time.
The one thing I wasn't keen on was the amount of gratuitous foul language being used by all the players as well as unnecessary feedback to the linesmen. Still, if they see international players get away with it.....
At half time I got chatting to a local who primarily went to watch Charlton Athletic and Thurrock but also enjoyed his Essex League games. He told me he was under the impression that the clubhouse was closed because it had asbestos in it so it was closed for health and safety reasons. Like me he was very impressed with the display Barking were putting on.
They went three up soon after the break but to their credit the visitors never stopped trying. I had a quick walk around to get the circulation going again on a very cold night. I was certainly glad I had my thermals on.
As I got near the dugouts, the game had a very debatable incident. A Barking forward looked like he may have been fouled but he continued and had his shot saved. The linesman flagged for a corner. He was in the best position.
However the referee decided it was a definite foul so he gave a penalty and sent off the distraught defender. The Basildon bench went berserk. One of their players summed it up pretty well. He said to the linesman, "I know we haven't turned up, but there's no need for decisions like that."
I couldn't see the common sense in it. The game was over as a contest and it was by no means a deliberate offence. The player would be £20 out of pocket and be banned for matches. It was yet another case of referees following the letter of the law and knowing all the regulations but not the game. It put a bit of a downer on an excellent game.
I headed back towards the exit. The dismissed defender was stood in the players entrance pleading his innocence to anyone who'd listen. I really felt for the lad.
The game finished four nil. Barking fully deserved their victory. I was most surprised when I read the programme on the way home and found they were only in the middle of the table.
All in all I really enjoyed the game apart from one incident and would recommend a visit to anyone.