Friday, 30 July 2010

Heybridge Swifts (England)

The Swifts have got a long history, having been formed in 1880, but for the first 90 years of their existence they played happily in the local leagues around Heybridge, Malden before they worked their way up to become founder members of the Essex Senior League in 1970. They pottered about mid-table for a few seasons, before three consecutive league wins saw them finally accepted to the Isthmian League in 1984, where they've played their football ever since.

Their best ever league finish was when they came second in the Isthmian Premier Division in 2006, when they narrowly missed out on promotion to the Blue Square South after they lost a penalty shoot-out to the now-defunct Fisher Athletic in the divisional play-off final. Sadly this defeat knocked them off their stride a little and they've since slipped back to Division One North.

They've reached the first round of the FA Cup three times, in 1994, 1997 and 2003, where they met up with Gillingham, Bournemouth and Bristol City respectively - the latter rather impolitely beating them 7-0 in a live televised match. They've also got a half-decent track record in the non-league cups, reaching the last 16 of the FA Vase in 1987, and the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy ten years later, where a well-fought defeat to Woking saw them squeeze in a record 2477 punters into their 3000 capacity Scraley Road ground.

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