THE EARLIEST RECORDS of Barking & Dagenham SFA date back to at least 1895, so this makes us one of the oldest schools’ football associations in the country.
Over the years, many famous footballers have played for the borough – Sir Alf Ramsey, Terry Venables, Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves, Martin Peters, Trevor Brooking, Steve Potts, Tony Adams, Tony Cottee, Paul Konchesky, John Terry and Benik Afobe to name but a few.
An exciting crop of young talent from more recent years has broken into the first team of their respective clubs, including Max Watters (Barnsley), Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield Town) and Kevin Berkoe (Salford City).
In 2015, Olivia Smith became to first former girls’ district player to receive international recognition when she was selected for English SFA U15s against Ireland. This was followed by several England U17 caps before becoming a regular in the Euro 2019 U19s squad.
Barking & Dagenham have a proud history of success in major competitions, winning the Essex Finch League on seven occasions since 1956, most recently in 2013. Added to that, are six Essex seven-a-side triumphs and eight wins in the London Crisp Shield.
The latter competition holds great memories for Barking & Dagenham as the inaugural competition was won in 1951, with Bobby Moore as captain. More recently, Barking & Dagenham contested the last ever, competitive match at Highbury Stadium in 2006, beating Islington 2-1 on a scorching summer’s day.
In 2012 the boys’ squad made history by becoming national champions on a glorious day at Chelsea F.C.’s Cobham training ground. A 2-0 victory in the final over Plymouth saw a new chapter written in the history of the association.
Not to be outdone, our trailblazing girls’ squad secured the London Girls’ League and Essex 7-a-side titles for the first time in 2018. They retained both pieces of silverware the following year, adding an inaugural Southern Counties Cup to the trophy cabinet.
This season, they are the reigning London champions for a fifth successive year.
Schools’ football is unique in atmosphere, offering an experience much different to other forms of junior football. Players not only represent the borough, but also their schools, their parents and themselves. Levels of behaviour, appearance, support and football have to reach very high standards and provide memories that can last for many years.