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Barnet’s oldest football club looking to make history this season

Olly Deed on a big season for a little known local football club

Hero for Barnet’s oldest football club looking to make history this season
Hadley FC take on Enfield Town in the FA Cup Second Round Qualifying Replay in October 2021 Credit - Harry Chambers Photography
By Olly Deed 22 April 2022

Tucked away in Arkley lies a football club which lays claim to being the oldest in the borough of Barnet. You may never have heard of Hadley Football Club, but they are on the brink of history as the season draws to a close.Tucked away in Arkley lies a football club which lays claim to being the oldest in the borough of Barnet. You may never have heard of Hadley Football Club, but they are on the brink of history as the season draws to a close.

Still alive in two cup competitions and in the promotion chase, having secured their joint highest ever league finish and a historic first appearance in the Hertfordshire Senior Cup final, the club, known as the Bricks, could have much to celebrate in May.Still alive in two cup competitions and in the promotion chase, having secured their joint highest ever league finish and a historic first appearance in the Hertfordshire Senior Cup final, the club, known as the Bricks, could have much to celebrate in May.

Established in 1882, the club has a long and varied history. It includes a victory against Tottenham Hotspur in the late 19th Century (whatever happened to them?), games with large crowds on Hadley Common in the 1880s and 1890s, and appearances in club colours by the likes of former Barnet FC legend and full amateur international Lester Finch.Established in 1882, the club has a long and varied history. It includes a victory against Tottenham Hotspur in the late 19th Century (whatever happened to them?), games with large crowds on Hadley Common in the 1880s and 1890s, and appearances in club colours by the likes of former Barnet FC legend and full amateur international Lester Finch.

Fast forward 140 years and the Bricks find themselves in Step Five of the Non-League Pyramid, playing in the pithily named Spartan South Midland Football League Premier Division. The club would have to get promoted five times to reach the Football League which, to put it lightly, is an unlikely proposition. Teams at Step Five enter both the FA Cup and the FA Vase, with the latter providing a genuine opportunity to play at Wembley.Fast forward 140 years and the Bricks find themselves in Step Five of the Non-League Pyramid, playing in the pithily named Spartan South Midland Football League Premier Division. The club would have to get promoted five times to reach the Football League which, to put it lightly, is an unlikely proposition. Teams at Step Five enter both the FA Cup and the FA Vase, with the latter providing a genuine opportunity to play at Wembley.

Following two pandemic interrupted seasons, the Bricks have thrived under the management of Anthony Clark, who was appointed in October 2017 to replace Tottenham legend Micky Hazard. Following a 2-1 victory away at Oxhey Jets two weeks ago, the club confirmed a third-place finish in the league, equalling their best-ever finish. A 4-0 win away at current league leaders, New Salamis, provided the highlight in the league season to date, and were it not for a poor spell in October, with four defeats in five matches, Hadley could have competed for the title.Following two pandemic interrupted seasons, the Bricks have thrived under the management of Anthony Clark, who was appointed in October 2017 to replace Tottenham legend Micky Hazard. Following a 2-1 victory away at Oxhey Jets two weeks ago, the club confirmed a third-place finish in the league, equalling their best-ever finish. A 4-0 win away at current league leaders, New Salamis, provided the highlight in the league season to date, and were it not for a poor spell in October, with four defeats in five matches, Hadley could have competed for the title.

That period in October came after a scintillating FA Cup run came to an end, at the hands of Enfield Town. Having won three matches to get to the Second Qualifying Round, the Bricks were knocked out in a replay by the side that play two levels higher in front of a record crowd at Brickfield Lane. The match and the crowd of 361 were a sign of progress for a club that got crowds a tenth the size when first team matches returned to Arkley in the 2016/17 season.That period in October came after a scintillating FA Cup run came to an end, at the hands of Enfield Town. Having won three matches to get to the Second Qualifying Round, the Bricks were knocked out in a replay by the side that play two levels higher in front of a record crowd at Brickfield Lane. The match and the crowd of 361 were a sign of progress for a club that got crowds a tenth the size when first team matches returned to Arkley in the 2016/17 season.

Cup competitions have borne witness to some of the highlights of the season. On Wednesday night, the club played in the final of the Hertfordshire Senior Cup for the first time in their history, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat to higher ranked side, Cheshunt. On the way to that final, two teams from higher leagues had been despatched. Two cup semi-finals also await at the time of writing.Cup competitions have borne witness to some of the highlights of the season. On Wednesday night, the club played in the final of the Hertfordshire Senior Cup for the first time in their history, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat to higher ranked side, Cheshunt. On the way to that final, two teams from higher leagues had been despatched. Two cup semi-finals also await at the time of writing.

For a final twist in the tale, the club could still get promoted to Step Four of the non-league. Risborough Rangers, who are currently top of the table, do not have the ground grading level required to enable the promotion their league position secures. Should their appeal of that assessment fail, Hadley, as the third placed side in the table will enter a play-off or get automatically promoted if they win at home to Leighton Town on Saturday, and results around the country go their way. Whatever happens, a joint-record finish of third has already been secured with promotion and two cups still up for grabs. The Bricks will be desperate to win on all fronts.  For a final twist in the tale, the club could still get promoted to Step Four of the non-league. Risborough Rangers, who are currently top of the table, do not have the ground grading level required to enable the promotion their league position secures. Should their appeal of that assessment fail, Hadley, as the third placed side in the table will enter a play-off or get automatically promoted if they win at home to Leighton Town on Saturday, and results around the country go their way. Whatever happens, a joint-record finish of third has already been secured with promotion and two cups still up for grabs. The Bricks will be desperate to win on all fronts.  

Should that unlikely scenario pan out, this little, 140-year old football club, tucked away in Arkley, may be one you hear a lot more about in the future.Should that unlikely scenario pan out, this little, 140-year old football club, tucked away in Arkley, may be one you hear a lot more about in the future.