Orpington FC – History
Local records reveal that the club was originally formed in the early 1880′s. The club continued playing until the 1920′s. However at some point after this time Orpington FC folded. The club reformed itself in 1939, which is the date you see on the badge today.
The club once had senior status in the footballing world, only to lose it in the 1960′s when the Kent County Council took up a compulsory purchase of the ground in order to build St Olave’s Secondary School. This prompted a move, just up the road, in 1970 to Orpington Sports Club (now Westcombe Park & Orpington Sports Club).
Although the changing facilities were first used in season 1971/72, the pitches were not available for use until the following season, so the club had a season using the pitches in Goddington Park, next door. The new club was officially opened on 23rd/24th September 1972 with a weekend of various sports. The highlight was a match against “The Internationals Club XI” which ended in a diplomatic draw! Amongst our opponents were famous names such as Bobby Robson, Jimmy Hill, Dave Sexton, Terry Medwin, Mel Hopkins, Ray Crawford and Theo Foley. The match was watched by our largest ever crowd, but unfortunately the number was never recorded. Below you will see the original programme that was sold for 2p!!!
Through 1970 to 1998 the club played its Saturday football in the South London Alliance with a number of league championships to its credit. The club also reached two cup finals with, unfortunately, no success. The 1st XI had a brief spell in the London Spartan League Intermediate Division between 1987 and 1991, where the club’s biggest success was to reach the Intermediate Cup Final in 1988. Unfortunately we lost 0-3 to Metrogas.
Youth football has always and continues to be an important element of the club. One particular team was the most successful in our club history. The team won a number of league and cup honours but at U16 age beat Dartford 3-1 in the Kent Youth Cup in 1980. In addition they also competed for the Surrey Youth Cup but were narrowly beaten 2-3 by Guildford after extra time. Due to their senior club status the Kent Youth League and the Southern Youth league refused to accept the team. The following season, the team were taken en bloc to Welling Youth. Of that team, two players went on to professional football: Tony Agana to Sheffield Wednesday and later Notts County and Keith McPherson to West Ham and later Reading. Team Coach, Nick Brigden went on to become Manager at Welling United FC.
During the early 2000s the 1st team started to build a very successful side. By this stage the 1st team had entered into the Kent County League and under the helm of Ted Gorman quickly rose through the lower divisions into the Premier Division. As well as two division titles the team also claimed the Inter-Regional Challenge Shield, the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield and the West Kent Challenge Shield. In order to comply with ground grading regulations, the 1st team had to move to Green Court Sports Club in Crockenhill.
In 2011, the 1st team became founder members of the Kent Invicta League (step 6 on the National League System). However, in order to fully comply with the step 6 ground grading criteria either the ground needs to be developed or an alternative site needs to be secured.
Our longest, current, serving club member was Les Hill. Les joined the club in 1971 as a player. After being forced to retire through injury, Les took over as club secretary in 1979 a post he held up until 2010. Unfortunately, Les died in 2014 and the club lost one of its most loyal members. However, his name lives through the Les Hill Trophy which is presented to the winners of the annual challenge match between the 1st team and the Reserves
The badge that is worn today by all players originated from an idea by our colts secretary Kevin Middlewood. After a lot of research and committee deliberation the badge was created in 1990.
The Badge design is partly taken from the Bromley coat of arms. The wavy line represents the Cray river that runs through Orpington, St Mary Cray and St Pauls Cray (the main catchment zone of our players).
The young horse figure, or colt is a symbol of strength and elegance. The words “progredior” we believe to be the Latin meaning ” I Advance” This is how we see Orpington FC, as an up and coming club that has established itself with credibility within our local community and beyond.