Preview: Essex Senior League 2019/20 [ESL 19/20 26.7.19]

Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) – ESL/ Non-League Blogger & Grassroots Football Show Contributor

Hello all and welcome to the first of my blogs for the upcoming 2019-20 ESL season, which is fourth campaign blogging about this level. We start, naturally with how the Essex Senior League is set to look like in terms of the clubs competing this coming season.

To say it’s been a tricky off-season is probably an understatement. The ‘merry-go-round’ of clubs otherwise known as ‘lateral movement’ between Step 5 leagues has continued, though more on that later. The first thing to note in this two-part outlining piece is that the ESL has been effectively reduced to 19 clubs, thanks largely to the machinations of the FA. Enough said about that lot.

Firstly, as we knew in May, Hullbridge Sports won the ESL Title and will compete in the Isthmian League Division North for the first time in their history (which coincidentally will have a new sponsor in BetVictor after Bostik withdrew last month, the new sponsor has provoked hefty debate for getting involved with all three main Step 3 divisions (Northern Premier League, Southern League as well as the Isthmian Premier) and a multitude of related Step 4 divisions too. We wish ‘Bridge well in what is a new era for them at Lower Road.

As we also strongly suspected, runners-up Stansted remain in the ESL, though will have a new-look management team as previous co-manager Marc Benterman has moved on to his local side, Isthmian North outfit Witham Town. I wish Marc well in his new position. With that change occurring, boss Paul Pittuck is joined by ex-Sawbridgeworth Town boss & friend John Watters to effectively replace Marc.


With regards to relegation, there was a tweak in the offing which spelled bad news for one of the more popular clubs in the league; it’s probably fair to say. Bottom side Leyton Athletic may have ended their campaign last term with a win though they still were relegated. They are set to compete in the Eastern Senior League South, run once again by the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League this coming season, after winning the FA-tendered ‘run-off’ with the ESL Committee in May. What we didn’t know two months ago was that a second club would be joining them in second-bottom Barkingside. Despite an appeal to the FA (which was rejected), they exit the ESL after several years in the league and have to compete in the Eastern Senior League South this coming campaign. My view is that many in the local Non-League community will be wishing them a good campaign.

Essex Senior League Constitution 2019 – 20

Club League last season

(if not ESL)


Management Team

Clapton Glen Kendall
Cockfosters Spartan South Midlands Premier Division Ryan Wade,  Nick Mountford & Tony Faulkner
Enfield Matt Hanning
Hashtag Utd Eastern Senior League South (champions) Jay Devereux
Hadley Spartan South Midlands Premier Division Anthony Clark
Hoddesdon Town Simon Riddle
Ilford Morgan LaForce
Redbridge Micky Wetherall
Saffron Walden Town Jason Maher
Sawbridgeworth Town Lee Mackman
Southend Manor Adam Peek
Sporting Bengal Utd Imrul Gazi
St Margaretsbury Jon Fowell
Stansted Paul Pittuck & John Watters
Takeley Marc Das
Tower Hamlets TBA
Walthamstow Ryan Maxwell
West Essex Kwame Kwateng
Woodford Town Dee Safer, Neil Day & Ross Weare


Now we come onto the number of changes with regards to clubs entering and exiting the league. Firstly, Stanway Rovers have been moved back across to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division after a single term in the ESL. They appointed Danny Slatter as their permanent manager soon after the season finished and we’ll see how they will do this coming term.

Next, the Essex Senior welcomes three new clubs. First, the uniqueness of Hashtag Utd following a superb debut senior campaign on the whole which saw them win the Eastern Senior League South title. Jay Devereux’s side will also enter the FA Vase this season for the first time as they face Leyton Athletic. Factor in a ground-move to share at Tilbury FC’s Chadfields as well and another exciting step in their journey awaits in the ESL.


Also, the two clubs that been moved aside laterally from the Spartan South Midlands League are Cockfosters and Hadley, with both clubs residing in North London. The ‘Fosters play at Chalk Lane, near the Tube station and are managed by Ryan Wade, assisted by Nick Mountford and Tony Faulkner, who was part of the St Margaretsbury staff for most of last season. Hadley, aka ‘the Bricks’ are based at Brickfield Lane in the Barnet area and are managed by Anthony Clark.

So that wraps up this initial preview piece on my blog. I am looking forward to another ESL season, with assorted other matches in other leagues from time to time.

Have a great season all, no matter which team or league etc you follow. I’ll round this article off with a look at the fixtures on the opening day of the 2019-20 ESL season (below)

Best, Scott



Saturday 3rd August


Clapton  v  Hoddesdon Town   | Old Spotted Dog

Hadley  v  Enfield   |  Brickfield Lane

Ilford  v  Stansted  | Cricklefield

Redbridge   v   St Margaretsbury  | Oakside

Saffron Walden Town  v  West Essex  | Catons Lane

Sawbridgeworth Town   v  Woodford Town   | Crofters

Southend Manor  v  Sporting Bengal Utd     | Southchurch Park

Takeley  v  Cockfosters  | Station Road

Walthamstow  v  Tower Hamlets       | Wadham Lodge Stadium








Author: survivor16b

I'm a Mental Health survivor (been surviving for years) & campaigner. I also like Music & Sport. This blog is centred on all things Non-League Football, mainly Match Reports of matches I've seen (mainly Essex Senior League (ESL) but also other Leagues) though it also houses the regular round-up's of the ESL action plus the Essex Olympian League divisions regularly. It also has the odd post about the scary world that we're all in, talking from a Mental Health perspective. Thank you for reading.

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