Snaresbrook FC started as a team of air force and navy officers in a field donated by three sisters. MILLICENT BROWN finds out more...

Snaresbrook Football Club is based in the picturesque Nutter Field in Nutter Lane, Wanstead, which was left to the local community early last century.

One of the oldest roads in Wanstead, Nutter Lane, took its name from three sisters Mary, Jesse and Gertrude Nutter.

They were daughters of a wealthy cheese merchant in the City.

In 1921 the sisters bequeathed the ground, of around five acres, to the parishioners of Wanstead for their use.

The land was to be administered as a Charitable Trust by the Rector and Churchwardens of St. Mary’s and Christ Church, Wanstead.

Apart from Snaresbrook Football Club it is currently used by the Wanstead Cricket Club, Wanstead Central Bowls Club, and the Drummond Lawn Tennis Club.

Originally called Rafarno (standing for Royal Air Force Army Royal Navy Officers), Snaresbrook Football Club, was established just after the end of the war in 1948.

Playing in red shirts and either black or white shorts, they did excellently from the beginning.

In the early 1980s the first team was entered into the Greene King South Essex Football League, winning the league in the 1982-1983 season and coming runners up in the League Cup the same season.

They then joined the Essex Business Houses League joining the Senior Intermediate Division in the 1983-1984 season.

And even the club’s reserves were both Division 4 runners-up and cup winners in 2008-2009.

Many of the players who started their Snaresbrook careers as young teenage players in the early days of Snaresbrook are still with the club – these days working out as officials, helpers or attending as regular spectators.

Treasurer Keith Lloyd, 72, joined as an 18-year-old football enthusiast back in 1962.
Said KeithHe said: “My first season started in the summer of 1962 after I saw an advertisement in the local press for men to play for a team known in those days as Rafarno. I just turned up one day here at the Nutter Field and started playing.

“A lot of former RAF, Army and Navy officers were already there and were by then veterans.”

Current Chairman John Sankey, 84, joined as a seasoned professional after moving from Liverpool in 1962.

He said: “I’ve always loved it here. I joined in 1962 as a centre forward for Rafarno. I’ve seen all the changes and watched the club form and transform.

“I still really enjoy coming down here and have simply loved watching it transform from a shed to a double garage and now a proper brick-built building.”