Pic: Andy Nunn
By Robin Jones
ILFORD have appealed to the FA after being booted out of the Essex Senior League by fellow clubs.
At the league’s annual general meeting, members voted 18-6 to expel the Cricklefield Stadium outfit for failing to pay £630 in fines and a subscription before a deadline.
Last week, Foxes officials exercised the right to appeal to the FA against the expulsion within 14 days.
The outstanding money was paid after the deadline, and two Ilford fans each donated £250 to stop the club losing their Step 5 place.
The club blame an administrative mix-up following a complete change in the committee midway during last season when 12 new members were appointed.
Allan Fenn, who was three times captain for Ilford as a player and who is now in his second spell as manager, said: “I can’t say much at the moment because the appeal process is underway, but I think that there has been an administrative error of both sides.
“We heard that the vote was taken in a secret ballot which we have since been advised by the FA was wrong. It has left us very upset.
“It was during the period that the new committee were appointed that the fines were overlooked. Hopefully common sense will eventually prevail in this case.
“All we are trying to do is turn the club around and make it a refreshing place to come to in the community.”
Fenn, who led Ilford to the Isthmian League Division Two title and cup double in 2005, said that the club have no plans about what they will do if they are not readmitted to the league for next season.
“Whatever happens, I will stand by the club. It is a passion and obsession for me,” he said.
League chairman Robert Errington said that the money which was owed comprised a £350 subscription and £280 in fines.
“We were at our wits end,” he said. “We put it to the clubs to consider and they voted to expel Ilford.”
The current Ilford FC were founded in 1987 and entered the Spartan League, eventually reaching the Southern League Eastern Division and Isthmian One North.
They took the name of an earlier club, who twice won the FA Amateur Cup, last reaching the final in 1974. Five years later they merged with Leytonstone to form Leytonstone & Ilford, who through further mergers became Dagenham & Redbridge.
The original Ilford’s Lynn Road home, which hosted two games in the 1948 London Olympics, was redeveloped for housing.
Elsewhere in the Essex Senior, relegated Great Wakering Rovers have replaced promoted champions Barking.
London Bari have changed their name to Hackney Wick, and will continue to groundshare with Clapton, while Haringey & Waltham have become Woodford Town 2017.