Note: This weekly series will look for teams outside of the top flights of European football to find true underdog stories of clubs well below the radar. Clubs will be featured based on performance in the various tournaments that happen concurrently with the league seasons, or even strong runs in some of the leagues that dot the European football landscape. Chances are, these clubs will be years away from finding a home at the top flights of football – if they are ever able to get there – but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention from time to time. If you happen upon a team that you think might qualify, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @GuruEbby or @SportMuseNet!
Hampton & Richmond Borough F.C.
Nickname: The Beavers
Founded: 1921 (as Hampton FC)
Location: Hampton London, England
Team Colors: Blue & Red / Black & White
Ground: Beveree Stadium
Capacity: 3,500 (644 seated)
Current League: National League South (Tier 6)
Reason For Notice
While there were clubs from lower tiers that advanced to the FA Cup first round, the Beavers are back in the first round for the first time since 2007! And they reached the first round by defeating Tier 5 club Eastleigh. So, it wasn’t as big a win as some of our other Small Clubs, but it was impressive nonetheless.
We’re into the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2007!
To a man the boys were fantastic, showed their class#COYBeavers
— Hampton & RB FC (@HRBFC) October 20, 2018
Hampton & Richmond Borough was founded as Hampton FC in 1921, and added the “Richmond Borough” as part of their name in 1999 in an attempt to gather more fans. They began play as a junior (semi-pro club) never winning a league title. This changed when they advanced into senior football with their addition to the Surrey Senior League (today known as the Combined Counties Football League) in 1959. They left Tier 10 behind after a championship in 1964, advancing to the Spartan League (now the Spartan South Midlands League), never finishing outside the top 4 in their seven seasons there.
After election into the Athenian League in 1971, it was only another two seasons before they were elected to the Isthmian League, where they found continued success and advanced through the various levels of that league, gaining promotion all the way through to the National League South, where they currently reside. They have never been to Tier 5 (the Vanarama National League), though they came close last season, finishing in 7th place and qualifying for the promotion playoffs, which is the same spot they reside so far this season.
The Beavers play three National League South matches – against Hungerford Town on Saturday, Eastbourne Borough next Tuesday (30 October) and Oxford City (3 November) – before facing off against League Two club Oldham Athletic at home on 10 November in the first round of the FA Cup. The three league matchups should be a great opportunity to tune up in advance of the FA Cup matchup, as all three clubs are currently below them on the league table. A victory against Oldham Athletic would be the Beavers’ first trip to the FA Cup second round.
Update on Last Week’s Club
Last week’s club – Finnish champion HJK Helsinki – played the penultimate match of their season, defeating SJK 1-0, with their final match this weekend against TPS. After that, their season is over, and they will be out of action (and probably hunkering down for the winter) until their next match in next year’s Finnish Cup, which will probably be in March. The next Veikkausliiga season will start in April 2019.
Until next time…