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Our Story

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Ilford Football Club began life in 1881 as one of many hundreds of village teams but it rose to considerable heights and national acclaim.

The Club was a founder-member of the Southern League in 1894. However, its owners' refusal to adopt professionalism led to its withdrawal two years later, being replaced by an emergent Tottenham Hotspur (whatever happened to them?).

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The professional-amateur debate which dominated football at the time did not prevent Ilford from securing a first (Isthmian) League title in 1907. Numerous Essex County Cups were to follow. Ilford captain Joe Dines even won a Gold medal at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics as part of the all-conquering Great Britain team.

The First World War took its toll with four players being killed, including Joe Dines. However, the side which Ilford put together in the 1920s proved its’ most successful to date with back-to-back Isthmian titles (1922/1923) and consecutive FA Amateur Cup Final victories in 1929 and 1930.

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The decade also witnessed glamorous European tours, with games against Spanish giants FC Barcelona and victory over Ajax in a packed Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. A further FA Amateur Cup Final followed in 1936 and home gates of over 10,000 were not uncommon.

After the Second World War, Ilford's iconic Lynn Road stadium was used for numerous representative games.

Here, India played their first international match after independence as part of the 1948 London Olympics. Many professional clubs visited and Ilford beat a strong West Ham team in 1962. The end of the minimum wage in the 1960s resulted in a growing elitism in the game and brought about a sharp decline in amateur football.

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Despite earning Wembley visits in both 1958 and 1974 as Amateur Cup finalists, Ilford’s fortunes fell. In 1977 the Lynn Road ground was sold and a new stadium failed to materialise amid an unforeseen tax bill. There followed a succession of ground-shares and mergers with other clubs. 

While playing fortunes have fluctuated, optimism is currently high that there may be further glories ahead. Successive National Lottery awards in the early 2000's, an impressive recent Youth development programme and the recruitment of several key personnel all bode well as the old Club rises to confront new challenges.

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