History

Hadley Football Club were founded in the 1882/83 season. A notable achievement during the early years was a 1-0 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur, although Tottenham then was not of the calibre that it is now. The 1880's and 1890's were glamour times for Hadley when the club used to attract crowds of several hundred to Hadley common. With regret however, the progressive Barnet FC etc. drew players away from Hadley. This was at about the turn of the century. Club activities became low key around 1912 with Barnet FC becoming more prominent. Between these years and 1922 the club was up and down like a yo yo. Club fortunes again changed close to World War II and thereafter, with the emergence from the Hadley ranks of the famous Lester Finch who went on to play for Barnet FC and become a full amateur international.

Records show an upturn in Hadley FC activities after World War II. The club became a member of the Barnet and District League and, from about 1947, played at Wrotham Park at the Barnet end of Kitts End Road. Hadley played there until about 1955 when it then moved to Barnet Playing Fields in order to "have some better facilities". The club played in the North Suburban Intermediate League at this time. Still playing at Barnet Playing Fields, the club then joined the Mid Herts League and with Peter Gray as 1st team manager, we were Premier Division Winners in 1975/76 and 1976/77. We also won the Mid Herts Premier Division Shield in 1976/77. Having won the Mid Herts Premier Division twice, the club wanted to progress to the Herts Senior County League so therefore moved to a pitch with better facilities in St. Albans Road, Barnet (current home of The Shire London Golf Club). We had one season at this pitch before being told that it was no longer available to hire. We won the Herts Senior County League Division Three at our first attempt during this season.

However, we had to find a new home and played at a sports ground in Chandos Avenue, Whetstone (a training base for the England National team at the time), until 1985. The club left the Herts Senior County League to join the Southern Olympian League and moved grounds again to play at the Woodside Park Club, Southover, Totteridge. In 1992 the club moved to a ground in Brickfield Lane, Arkley, Barnet and re-joined the Herts Senior County League in the 1999/00 season. Under the management of Ian Gray, the 1st team won the Division One championship in 2001/02 to move up to the Premier Division in 2002/03, where we finished mid-table.

Mick Hore was appointed manager in 2003/04 and we enjoyed a very successful season with the 1st team winning the Herts Senior County League Premier Division and the Herts Senior Centenary Trophy. 2004/05 was also very successful with the 1st team retaining the Premier Division title and the Reserves winning the Reserve Division One title and the Reserve Cup. Success continued into 2005/06 with the 1st team winning the prestigious Aubrey Cup.

In 2006-07 the 1st team finished Runners Up in the Herts Senior County League Premier Division. An application to join the Spartan South Midlands league was blocked by the Herts County League, so the following season (2007-08) the club played all of its football in the West Herts Saturday League. During this season, all Hadley teams (3 teams) won their respective leagues for the first time in the clubs history. This included the 1st team winning the Premier Division of the West Herts League with Guy Slee in charge, having taken over from Mick Hore at the start of the season. We again applied to join the Spartan South Midlands League and our place in Division Two was accepted for the start of the 2008-09 season. At the start of this season, the 1st team began playing home matches at Potters Bar Town FC, and the reserves and 3rd team continued to use the ground in Brickfield Lane. Ian Gray replaced Guy Slee as manager at the start of the season, with Guy having stepped up into the role of Chairman, joined on the committee with the arrival of Bob Henderson as Secretary. Our first season in the Spartan South Midlands League turned out to be a very successful one with the 1st team gaining promotion to Division One at the first attempt after finishing one point behind The 61 FC (Luton). The 1st team also won the Division Two Cup after beating Totternhoe in the final.

Our second season in the Spartan South Midlands League (2009-10) surpassed everyone’s expectations when we achieved another promotion after finishing in second place behind Holmer Green. We also won two matches in our first attempt at the FA Vase, beating Harpenden Town and then Leverstock Green, eventually being knocked out in a tight 1-0 defeat at Stanway Rovers.

The 2010-11 season saw us again playing at the highest level in the club’s 128 year history (Step 5 of the National League System), and we also enjoyed our first ever outing in the FA Cup, drawing 0-0 with Barking before losing 1-0 in the replay. Another highlight of the season was playing against Barnet in the 2nd round of the Herts Senior Cup, drawing 1-1 after 90 minutes before losing 4-1 in Extra Time.

We started the 2011-12 season with the same aim as the previous year – to stay in the Premier Division. At the start of the new year, in January 2012, long-serving manager Ian Gray stepped down from the role of 1st team manager after 3½ successful years in charge, having guided the team from Division Two to the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League with back-to-back promotions. A new management team was appointed who were previously with St Albans City reserves. An influx of new players and the guidance of player-manager Alexis Nicholas saw us achieve our pre-season aim as we ended the season in 15th position out of 22 teams. The start of the 2012-13 season saw Franco Sidoli join as 1st team manager having also left St Albans City during the summer. Franco was supported by a coaching team of Alexis Nicholas, Lewis Dommett and Hector Varela as we enjoyed a successful season with a comfortable mid-table finish and our first ever win in the FA Cup following a 2-0 victory over Hertford Town. We also reached the final of the Premier Division Cup when we were unlucky to lose 3-2 against Aylesbury United (After Extra Time), having taken the lead twice in the match.

At the end of the 2012-13 season, Franco Sidoli stepped down as 1st team manager due to a change in work circumstances for 3 out of 4 people in the management team, including himself, which would not have allowed them to give 100% commitment to the job during the forthcoming season. The club appointed Geoff O’Vell as the new 1st team manager, who had previously been 1st team manager at Colney Heath, Hoddesdon Town and more recently with Broxbourne Borough in Division Two of the Spartan South Midlands League. Geoff was joined by Assistant Manager Paul Surridge and coach Mark Mezen.

A highlight during the 2013-14 season was drawing Watford FC in the 1st Round of the Herts Senior Cup. We lost 2-0 with goals from Luke O’Nien and Bernard Mensah securing the win for Gianfranco Zola’s Championship side. Another achievement during the season was the ‘A’ team winning the prestigious Herts Junior Cup for the first time in the club’s history, beating Long Marston FC 2-1 in the final at the County Ground, Letchworth. The 1st team had mixed fortunes during the 2013-14 season and despite a good start in the league and cups, and then an improved end to the season which saw us make a late climb up the league table to finish just below mid table, the club decided that a restructuring of the team management was required at the end of the season. This saw Geoff O'Vell and his management team leave the club, which was followed by the appointment of Micky Hazard, Franco Sidoli, Lewis Dommett and Hector Varela. As a player, Micky was a member of the Tottenham team that won the 1982 FA Cup and UEFA Cup in 1984. He also went on to play for Chelsea, Portsmouth, Swindon Town and then Tottenham for a second spell. Since the end of his playing career, Hazard was Youth Academy Coach at Crystal Palace and was also involved on the management team of Sevenoaks Town and Hoddesdon Town. Micky was joined by the return of Franco Sidoli, Lewis Dommett and Hector Varela who were all well-known to the club as, along with Alexis Nicolas, they formed our 1st team management team during a successful 2012-13 season in which we reached the final of the Premier Division Cup and built up a good reputation within the league for playing attractive football. The first season in charge for our new management team (2014-15) was very successful as we ended in 9th position in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division - our highest ever finish.

We surpassed this in the 2015-16 season with another excellent season as our 1st team ended in 6th position in the league and we also won the Herts Charity Shield for the first time following a 3-1 victory over Tring Athletic in the final at the County Headquarters, Letchworth. Our reserves also had a good season, finishing 5th in their league, and the 'A' team had an excellent season winning the Herts Senior County League Reserve and Development South/West Division, the Herts Junior Cup (beating Oxhey on penalties in the final) and the Bingham Cox Cup (beating AFC Hatfield 2-1 in the final).

The 2016-17 season saw the return of our 1st team to Brickfield Lane in Arkley, Barnet, following over £400,000 worth of facilities improvements and eight years of groundsharing with Potters Bar Town. Ground improvements include the installation of floodlights, a spectator stand, new fencing and pathways, pitch drainage installation, a new car park and the refurbishment of the pavilion clubhouse and changing rooms. This was made possible thanks to grants and donations from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, Sport England, the Peter Harrison Foundation, the Happy Charitable Trust, Village Healthcare and the Back2Barnet campaign. A highlight of our first season back in Barnet was an outstanding FA Cup run, eventually being knocked out in a Third qualifying round replay against Eastbourne Borough who went on to beat Aldershot Town in the next round.




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