Canvey Island Football Club
This season takes Canvey Island into its 75th year as a football club. It was founded in 1926 but the early records of the club were unfortunately lost in the devastating East Coast floods of 1953.
The club has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last few years. Jeff King, a former Canvey Island player, became manager in 1992 when the club was in the Essex Senior League.
In 1993 the club won the Essex Senior League. In the same season they were semi-finalists in the F.A. Vase.
Following extensive work to improve their Park Lane ground, Canvey gained promotion from Division Three and Division Two in successive seasons.
During this period the club had an outstanding run in the FA Cup. In 1995/6 after beating Conference team Hednesford Town in the previous round, they reached the First Round Proper and drew 2 -2 with Brighton & Hove Albion at Park Lane in front of a club record crowd of 3,500. The replay was lost at Brighton before a gate of over 7,000. As well as winning Division Two, the club were also winners of the Carlton Trophy and the Thames-Side Trophy.
Although they suffered a slight blip in 1996/7 with relegation back to Division Two, Canvey appointed Glenn Pennyfather as coach, and promptly won promotion back to Division One at the first attempt, securing the Championship on the very last day of the season.
1997/8 saw the launch of Canvey's website (www.canveyfc.com) which, thanks to local company 'First Hosting', has seen the number of visitors slowly increase to several hundred every day of the year following the club from around the world. The site has won many awards, and is ranked as one of the best in non-league football.
In 1998/9 the club won promotion to the top flight in the league, as Champions, picking up the Essex Senior Cup by defeating Purfleet along the way.
The first year in the new Millennium saw Canvey Island remain in the Premier Division. The year had to go down as one of Canvey's best ever, reaching the second round of the F.A. Cup, and winning the F.A. Trophy, the final of the Essex Senior Cup, and finishing second in the Premier League!
In the F.A. Cup, Canvey were 2 goals behind with 2 minutes remaining in their first round tie at home to Port Vale, but much against the odds pulled the game level, and earned a dream away trip to Vale Park. Once again they hit the headlines by winning, and earning a home tie with local rival Southend United. The massive local interest meant that the tie was switched to Roots Hall, and over 11,000 people saw a narrow defeat for 'The Gulls'.
However an even more remarkable run in the F.A. Trophy has seen Canvey reach the final after defeating of three conference sides, playing two replays, winning one game on penalties, a total of 9 matches and odds of 66-1. All this has given the 'Yellow Army' a season to remember as they have travelled the length and breadth of England following their team. Canvey then met Forest Green Rovers at Villa Park, as Wembley was being re-built, and won one - nil. Unfortunately due to these marvelous Cup runs, Canvey gained a league fixture backlog having to play 12 games in 13 days! This run was impossible to cope with and Canvey came runners-up in the league losing out on promotion to Farnborough Town.
Last season saw Canvey reach the F.A. Cup 3rd Round Proper for the first time in their history. After battling through the Qualifying Rounds, Canvey went on to knock out Wigan Athletic in the 1st Round Proper at the magnificent JJB Stadium with Neil Gregory scoring a magnificent 83rd minute volley. This win earned them a home tie with Northampton Town in the 2nd Round which was shown live on the BBC's Match of the Day. A packed Park Lane saw Neil Gregory shine once more as he thundered the ball home early in the second half to send the Cobblers packing. Canvey were into the 3rd Round Proper and an away tie to Burnley was the reward. In front of 11,496 fans Canvey eventually lost to the Clarets 4-1 but they gained new fans, respect and plenty of prize money along the way.
Canvey's defence of the F.A. Trophy began at home to St. Albans City. The Gulls dispensed of the Saints with ease in a thrilling 5-1 win. Canvey managed to keep progressing with wins against Purfleet (1-0) & Grantham Town (4-1). This set up an way tie at Yeovil, who were flying high in the Conference at the time. Canvey marginally lost 2-1 to Yeovil, who eventually went on the win the Trophy beating Stevenage in the final.
In the League, Canvey once again had a fantastic year knocking up a 27 game un-beaten run, (26 wins and 1 draw). Canvey collected 94 points at the end of the season, but even this was not good enough for the Championship as Gravesend & Northfleet kept up a fierce challenge and won the title on the last day of the season with a total of 99 points. Canvey, for the second season running, had to settle for Runners-Up. The Gulls did however manage to win the Essex Senior Cup for the third time in four seasons, thrashing Dagenham & Redbridge 6-1 in the final at Roots Hall. Both Neil Gregory & Lee Boylan scored hat-tricks during the match.
Striker Lee Boylan had much to celebrate during that season as he picked up both the Supporters Player of the Year and the Ryman Premier Division Golden Boot Awards, scoring 43 goals in all competitions.
This year veteran players Steve Tilson and Mark Stimson left the club to take up management positions and various other members of the squad have departed. But Canvey have filled the gaps with a variety of new faces including: Colchester's David Gregory, the brother of our F.A. Cup hero Neil, Ex-Southend United Winger Scott Forbes and Former Port Vale & Leyton Orient Midfielder Jeff Minton. Expectations are high for this season and there will be a number of teams all keeping a close eye Canvey Island FC.
And so to 2002/03 and beyond........
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Top 5 Home Attendance Records for Park
Best Position in FA Cup
Best Position in FA Trophy
Best Position in FA Vase
Isthmian League Cup
Essex Thames-Side Trophy
Essex Senior Cup