Much the same as the rest of grassroots football, leagues and competitions are largely run by knowledgable and dedicated committees of volunteers, who organise fixtures and match officials for each of the games. Small-sided football tends to be operated by commercial 'providers', although affiliation to either the Essex County FA or The FA is still a requirement.
In terms of County Cups, administered either at the County Office or by 'Cup Group Officers' voluntarily, season 2013/14 saw almost 1,500 entries into our 20 competitions, while the Essex County Schools FA operate a similar number of cups with the backing of the association. Those figures mark a substantial increase on the first ever season of County Cup competition - 1883/4 - when the Essex Senior Cup was established as the inaugural silverware on offer.
The first match kicked off on 10th November 1883, a mere 406 days after the formation of the association, and the eight competing teams were eventually whittled down to two before over 1,000 spectators watched Colchester defeat Braintree in the final at New Street in Chelmsford.
Now affiliated clubs have an ever-swelling number of competitions to participate in, with the seven open-age County Cups split between Saturday and Sunday football. Players from under 11s right the way up to veterans football are accommodated in addition to four separate female cups. We also provide assistance in the administration of the Tolleshunt D’Arcy Memorial Cup, an invitational competition set up to raise money for the Benevolent Fund.
The various schools cups have a poignant beginning with the first of these, the Robert Cook Cup, starting in 1909/10. Cook was a former Essex County FA Secretary and Treasurer who presented the association with their second cup, the Saturday Junior Cup, in 1892. He also implored the officers of the time to accept numbered balls for draws twelve years later, but passed away in 1908 and the funds raised from a subscription list were used to purchase a trophy.
This was the first of eleven individual schools cups to be set up, with three of these catering for the burgeoning girls game. There are also three college competitions whilst the legacy of Robert Johnson, another key figure in the early years of the association owing to his role as President, Chairman and Treasurer, is reflected in the naming of the first of five district schools competitions.
In addition to the administration of competitions, we assemble representative teams to take on some of the best players from neighbouring counties. At club level, sides are fielded in the Under 18s, 16s and Women's formats, while the Essex County Schools FA's 18s, 16s, 15s, 14s and Girls' 16s and 14s teams are also supported. New for 2013 is the Girls' Centre of Excellence set-up, too, which caters for the progressing of Under 17s, 15s, 13s and 11s teams, plus an Under 9s Development Squad, on their way through The FA's Female Talent Pathway.
|County Cups||Representative Teams|