No income tax, no Sky TV… black or white, we’ll cut prices at a stroke. Long live Hooky Street, Long Live Peckham Town.
A Liverpool fan by choice, Bristol Rovers by blood… on moving to South East London my ability to go up to Anfield with my Dad, or even the Rovers was significantly reduced. I craved “the match” – a local side I could get behind.
Millwall – my hammer mate would disown me. Charlton? I have a soft spot for them. But anything above the conference felt wrong. At odds with my ultimate loyalties.
I had been to Dulwich before and very much enjoyed it, I also have a lot of time for Clapton CFC. But then I came across Peckham Town..
.. local to me. Community focused. The home of Only Fools & Horses. I was immediately drawn to them.
I think the first game I went to was a friendly against Clapton and I love the Clapton lot, they are good good people doing good good things. But I couldn’t help but feel that the sort of community feel, defined as “left wing” that certain clubs try to cultivate so desperately was just there with Peckham. Naturally.
Peckham Town do it with their eyes closed and without hipsters or latching on to causes. Their socialism and their sense of community is built in. Manager Mary Phillips, the first black woman to captain England at football and at Peckham Town becoming first female manager to lead a men’s side to a cup success in England with the London Senior Trophy in the 2019/20 season. You can’t manufacture what Peckham has…
A Brief History
Peckham Town Football club was established in 1982 by the then 13-year-old Bryan Hall, after he placed a poster on a tree in Peckham Rye park saying he wanted to start a team. Four players turned up to the first session, but this soon grew.
The FA finally relented after many phone calls from a young lad insisting he wanted to register a new football team. The initial name of the club was Brimington Park FC, and was named after the park that a group of friends used to hold kickabouts on every evening.
By the end of 1982 the Jamaican Embassy had agreed to sponsor the team and it was decided that the club’s name would change to Drovers Athletic FC, as most of the players came from the Drovers Place housing estate. At the end of 1983 the team again changed its name by popular demand to represent the Peckham community to the present name – Peckham Town Football Club.
This season I bought a season ticket – £60 premium package (match day programme included) – I pay nearly £60 to go to Anfield for one game and listen to some YouTuber moan about the lack of signings all game whilst “live.”
This bank holiday I also chose to sponsor the “match ball” – a call was put out by the club representative for anyone who would be interested. For £50 with 4 tickets, programmes and of course a mention in the programme it seemed like a good idea for a Bank Holiday Monday.
And the game didn’t disappoint. With our Pug Theo in tow and his girlfriend Peggy Sue and her owners, our mates, we were treated to a 9 goal thriller, with Peckham ultimately thrashing Crokenhill 7 – 2.
As a result The Menace maintained their 100% winning start to the season. The quality of football on display is much higher than I am sure a lot of you would imagine. Under the management of ex-England international Mary Phillips, Peckham play good football.
On the deck, quick and attacking but with a couple of no nonsense centre halves. They can play too by the way… when required.
This season my girlfriend, owner of the Three Kings London Tattoo shop in Deptford decided to epitomise the business’ love of football… by supporting the club with a pitch side advert.
Now a season ticket holder, I returned to “The Menace Arena” this last Saturday, hungover from The Wide Awake Festival and no pugs in tow. But it was the perfect tonic. A £1 cup of tea… a scrappy, bad tempered affair under an overcast sky in South London.
The grit, passion and energy displayed by the players and the club I now love epitomised by Captain Nicky Meta berating me for failing to knock the ball back to him for a quick corner as Peckham pushed for a winner in the last 10 minutes.
They eventually found it, from a great through ball and then a sublime lobbed finish from substitute Joshua Montella. The lino appeared to flag, incorrectly, as even the irate and hard done by opposition manager had to concede.
The beleaguered referee made a rare correct decision and overruled his lino. The winning streak continues. Up The Menace.
There are many non league clubs out there, perhaps more fashionable, perhaps trying hard to artificially create the sort of community, inclusive culture that comes so naturally to Peckham Town. They all need our support, but I’m not sure you’ll find authenticity like it, anywhere else.