Appeal for fans’ memorablia of Ilford FC glory days – including TWO Wembley appearances
PUBLISHED: 10:01 17 January 2016
Many people aren’t aware of the glory days of Ilford FC, one of the borough’s oldest sporting institutions.
After a turbulent period which saw the club disband and then reform in the 1980s, a series of disappointing league campaigns means the team is languishing in the Essex Senior League, the ninth tier of English football.
Such fare is a far cry from the two FA Amateur Trophy finals at Wembley the team enjoyed in 1958 and 1974, so perhaps it’s not surprising that a large number of Redbridge residents are no longer aware of the team’s illustrious history.
The club has now applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for help setting up a permanent exhibition at its Cricklefield Stadium in High Road, Ilford, to put that right.
In order to do that, those in charge of creating the exhibition are now appealing for any members of the public with Ilford FC memorabilia to add their footballing artefacts to the growing collection before it is unveiled in September.
Michael Foley was one of the key figures in Ilford’s reformation 30 years ago, and is now working with staff at Redbridge Museum to put together the historic showcase.
Mr Foley said: “We are the old Ilford FC in every respect. The old memorial gates that stood outside the original ground now stand outside Cricklefield Stadium, and the honours board from the old boardroom now hangs in our new one.
“But now sadly, apart from myself, a man in his fifties, there’s no one left to tell these stories.”
As someone that has been involved with the club all his life, Mr Foley sees the upcoming exhibition as a chance to counterbalance the club’s ill fortune on the pitch and reconnect with locals.
“We’ve gone from a decent crowd of a couple of hundred people and now we’re down to a trickle.”
“The club is in the doldrums and we are hoping that the new exhibition will connect with local kids and make clear the club’s place as a part of the community”.
Mr Foley is searching for any Ilford FC memorabilia from the club’s glory days, with a particular interest in any items concerning the club’s two Wembley appearances, when they played in front of more than 70,000 people.
He said: “Ilford has been a transient community these last few decades, but we’re sure there are still people out there with memories of those days out at Wembley, who might have programmes or badges or buttons.
“Those are the sorts of things we’d like to get hold of. Those items that really prove this is a club firmly rooted in the community.”
Anyone with any memorabilia they would be willing to donate to the exhibition should email Michael Foley at email@example.com
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