Hornchurch run ends; farewell Arthur

PUBLISHED: 11:14 04 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:14 04 January 2017

Leon McKenzie of Hornchurch remonstrates with David Cowley of Thurrock (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Leon McKenzie of Hornchurch remonstrates with David Cowley of Thurrock (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Ross Wall of Hornchurch goes close to a goal against Thurrock (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) Ross Wall of Hornchurch goes close to a goal against Thurrock (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

For our final match in 2016 we made the short journey to Brentwood, who recorded a significantly higher attendance on New Year’s Eve, thanks largely to our own travelling support.

Leon McKenzie scored the only goal of the game from a penalty after Ross Wall was brought down, waiting patiently for two minutes for the histrionics to abate before placing the penalty firmly into the net.

The home side continued their protests after the penalty, as their captain found out when he was shown a second yellow card and dismissed.

But our unbeaten run, which started with a two-goal win at Haringey in October, came to an end at Thurrock on Tuesday, and the majority of the crowd went home disappointed with the result.

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

It might have been different had a goal scored by Elliot Styles on 17 minutes not been disallowed for offside against another player, but once ex-Urchin Joe Christou volleyed Thurrock ahead a few minutes later we had the feeling this was not going to be our night.

We now have two matches at home, starting on Saturday with Waltham Abbey, who we first played in our Essex Senior League season in 2005, when 12 of the 13 Hornchurch players were making their debut.

The odd one out was goalkeeper Michael Collier but also in the team that day was Nicky Cowley, now assistant manager at Lincoln City. His brother Danny, Lincoln’s manager, missed the match due to injury.

Last season we beat Abbey 2-1 at Bridge Avenue, with goals from Styles and George Purcell, but in the return match, we lost to the only goal of the match. And we may meet up with Rimmel Daniel, Michael Spencer, Billy Holland and Aaron Gayle, all of whom have played for Hornchurch and are now with the Abbey.

Manager Jim McFarlane has now been in charge for 412 matches, still quite a few matches short of Arthur Wenborn’s record of 459 games as manager.

And it is with great sadness that we report that Arthur Wenborn passed away over the Christmas period.

Arthur was Hornchurch manager for 459 games from October 1972 to May 1978 and from July 1987 to April 1990 and also made 14 appearances as a player from 1961-62 to 1963-64, after his debut at Hounslow in March 1962.

He scored one goal in that time and played a further eight times during his spells as manager.

His final playing appearance was at Chesham United, when he came on as substitute in an FA Cup match, which Hornchurch lost 2-0.

After leaving Hornchurch, Arthur became player-manager at Ford United, returning to Hornchurch as manager in October 1972 under very difficult circumstances.

The club was in crisis in September 1972 when players and management walked out over payment of expenses and other issues. All 14 first-team players left and manager Jimmy Quail resigned, along with vice-chairman Reg Lambourne.

Terry Bishop, manager of the Romford & District League team, took over as caretaker manager and in an FA Cup match against Walthamstow Avenue, which they lost 8-0, they fielded their Romford & District League team, with every player making their debut.

This was followed by a 2-0 Amateur Cup exit at Chingford, where the team again consisted largely of reserve players.

Arthur Wenborn was appointed as manager in October and played in his first match in charge, when a completely different side lost 2-0 at home to Tilbury. In just three first team matches, Hornchurch fielded 34 different players.

He remained manager until the end of the 1977-78 season, taking charge of a total of 310 matches, before becoming manager of Witham Town.

Arthur returned as manager in the summer of 1987 and for the next two seasons he was joint manager with Brian McFadyen – for 100 matches in total.

The 1988-89 season was better known for what happened off the field, when, in March 1989 the club was seriously affected financially when fire destroyed their clubhouse in an arson attack.

For nine months there was no income from the bar, until eventually the clubhouse was re-opened in December 1989. The actual financial cost of the fire only became apparent in September 1990, when, in a letter from Havering Council, the Borough Architect provided a valuation of £55,000 in respect of the rebuilding of the new clubhouse.

In 1989-90, Arthur was the sole manager for another 49 matches and his final match in charge was on April 28, 1990, when Hornchurch lost 4-3 at home to Royston Town.

After leaving Hornchurch, he became manager of Harwich & Parkeston, and his final club was Barking in 2002.

A couple of not-so-well-known facts about Arthur’s reign include a 1-1 draw with Chesham in the FA Cup in September 1988, which led to a replay three days later at Bridge Avenue that Hornchurch lost 6-5, still one of the highest-scoring matches in club history.

In March 1990, Arthur’s son Simon played in our 2-1 win at Clapton in what was his only first team appearance for Hornchurch.

Next Tuesday sees us make a second attempt to play our league match against Bury Town, which was originally scheduled for November, but called off shortly before the start due to frost.

Bury were still en route, having got stuck in a massive traffic jam on the M25, and the last time they played at Bridge Avenue was in December 2015, a match remembered for the double leg break sustained by Tobi Joseph.

We were delighted when Tobi came on as substitute at Brentwood last week and again at Thurrock on Tuesday. So it is a big welcome back to Tobi and we look forward to a fully-fit Tobi helping us back into the play-off positions.


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