About the League

The Essex Alliance Football League was formed through the merging of the Ilford & District and Essex Business House football leagues whom both shared a common aim to support and promote local grassroots football in Essex and East London.

In 2021, we were approved by the Football Association to join the National League System as a Regional Feeder League at Step 7 of the non-league football pyramid, providing clubs in our region with the pathway that they seek to further progress through to senior football.

The League permits member clubs to play on grounds in the boroughs of Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge, Newham, Waltham Forest, Harlow and Epping Forest.

The new League had an initial membership of 37 clubs, many of whom were existing members of the aforementioned leagues and were joined by a significant number of new clubs as the League sought to buck the trend of the local Saturday football scene which had been diminishing in numbers over the past few years.

The new management committee, comprising of experienced and passionate officers from both previous leagues, have big plans underway to increase participation with the League even further next season and become a dominent force for football in the region.

It may only be the very beginning of the journey, but already the new League has drawn much positive interest from the non-league scene and looks set to be providing good standard, competitive football for local clubs for many years to come.

The Ilford & District Football League was founded in 1918 at the end of the First World War. It was formed to supply football at a grassroots level and, in its 96 years of existence, never deviated from this original format.

For many years if comprised of as many as six divisions and looking through the constitutions of many of our county's prestigious leagues at non-league step 3 to 7, you will find a number of clubs that had its roots in this very competition.

The League is proud of the success of some of its players who have gone on to play in the football league at various levels and others who gained international recognition:

Brian Stein (England) - played for Newmont Travel F.C.
Ken Charlery (St Lucia) - played for Caribbean International F.C.

The League owes its success over the many years to a number of excellent, dedicated and enthusiastic committee members who have given many hours and much energy to the League's success.

If you have any recollections of the early days of the Ilford & District Football League, please get in touch.

The Essex Business Houses Football League was formed in 1952 when a number of Companies in Essex who had provided excellent private sports grounds for their employees got together to form a football league for Business Houses only. At the time there were not many Council sports grounds that could provide good quality playing surfaces or showers/baths.

It was decided that away sides should be provided with refreshments after the match. Not too many people had cars on those early days so transport to away matches was provided by the Company minibus or a lorry, which often smelt of whatever that lorry had been carrying that week!

The League continued to grow and in the sixties, there were four divisions of 14 teams. This growth continued into the seventies but was followed by a period of decline so Chadwell Heath and District Sports were admitted. This was followed soon after by Mansfield House and Craven. In order to keep the League competitive, more non-Business Houses teams were admitted and the requirement for refreshments provision was removed.

The decline in Saturday afternoon football continued with players concentrating on their families and work commitments. By the 2010/11 season, the League was down to two divisions and to one division by the following season. Despite a great deal of advertising to attract new teams, it was clear that the League would be unable to carry on into 2014/15 and thus the opportunity to merge with the Ilford & District Football League provided us with the opportunity to take become founding members of the newly formed Essex Alliance Football League.

During the 61 years that the League was existence, the League had over 300 different clubs as members and we of course thank each and every member club down the years to their contribution to 61 years of history for our League.