Friday, April 8, 2011

Club focus - Brantham Athletic

Tomorrow Ely take on Brantham Athletic at the Unwin. It will be the first time I have seen Brantham, as they were promoted from the first division last season. Currently Brantham sit in 15th just above Ely in 16th. It should be a close match with Ely having finally found some form and Brantham having a secret weapon of their own is on fine form. Brantham's young striker Ollie Mann has hit 33 goals so far this season in a purple patch that has incluede him hitting 3 hat-tricks in the last 7 games; he also scored the only goal in the game between Ely and Brantham at Brantham's Social Club ground last month. Not surprisingly Mann has been linked to several clubs higher up the food chain including an unnamed Championship club (remember Brantham is in Suffolk, so perhaps the championship club in question can be guessed by the geographical location). However, it seems that in the short term he is more likely to join champions elect Leiston.

Brantham were formed in 1887, however their first game of note was an appearance in the Suffolk Senior Cup final in 1925 where they lost 1-0 to Kirkley. 2 years later they went one better by beating Lowestoft 3-0 in the final.

In 1979 the Brants joined the Eastern Counties League. In 1982-3 they finished fourth which is their highest ever finish and also coincided with their best run in the FA Vase where they reached the 5th round. In this round they lost 1-0 to VS Rugby, but it was certainly a superlative year, as the team also recorded their record crowd in this game when 1700 turned up to cheer on Brantham.

In 1988-9 the Eastern Counties League added its second tier and Brantham found themselves in the top division. Nevertheless, it was a bit of a false dawn as the 1990s saw Brantham stagnate. In 1993 they were relegated to the first division. This was followed by relegation to the Suffolk and Ipswich League in 1996 and in 2004 they found themselves in the second tier after another relegation battle.

It was to be a short stay in the first divison of the Suffolk and Ipswich league and Brantham were about to start their ascent up the leagues again. In 2005 they were promoted and in 2008 they finally got back into the Eastern Counties League before being promoted to the top tier at the end of last season.

Please note that the Brantham kit picture comes from the Brantham website:

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