BKS SPORTS F.C. – Club History
BKS Sports F.C. was formed in 1956 by employees of BKS Engineering. The staff of the firm used to have lunchtime kick-abouts outside a hanger at Southend Airport and it was during these lunchtime games that it became obvious that the firm had enough players with the required ability to form a team and enter into a league. Club officials were elected and BKS Sports were accepted into Division 4 of the Southend Borough Football Combination for the 1956-57 season.
1957 -1958 Team
The club’s first season of competitive football was a success; they finished as runners up in the division and were promoted to Division 3. The following season was also successful; again the club finished as runners up and promotion was achieved for a second successive season. During these early years the club was fortunate enough to be given the use of part of the airfield outside the works hanger to play their home matches. In those days horses used to graze on the airfield and on Saturday mornings members of the club would have to move the horses from the pitch, clear away the horse manure, put up the posts and cut and re-mark the pitch. This arrangement worked very well for a few years until the Airport Authority decided that they could no longer give their permission for the club’s use of the airfield. Sometime around 1960 BKS Sports took the top pitch at Oakwood Park in Eastwood (now numbered 18) as their home and they remained there for some 40 years until 2002, when due to the deterioration of the pitch and changing facilities they moved to Victory Sports Ground. BKS Engineering was part of BKS Air Transport Limited, which was a prominent passenger carrier operating from Southend Airport in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
1960 -1961 Team
The photograph is of the Southend United FC team, taken on the pitch at their Roots Hall ground at the start of the 1960-61 season. Note the advertisement on the roof of the Stand. The Club Chairman Ron Harris (founder member of the club in 1956 and former BKS employee) says that the firm regularly advertised in prominent locations around the town at that time.
After the success that the club enjoyed in their first two seasons of competitive football, they had to wait ten years before further honours came their way. During this time a couple of relegations were endured, but in 1967-68 they finished runners up in Division 5 and the following year they were winners of Division 4.
1968-1969 Team looking smart
1968-1969 Team in their action gear
Photo sent in by Brian Whitelaw who is the last player of back row right looking at the photo
A couple of years later the firm of BKS Engineering moved to Wales and most of the successful 1968 team broke up. The football club went through a very bad time in the subsequent years, dropping from Division 3 to Division 7 in consecutive seasons and completing a run of 44 matches without a win. The slump however was halted in 1977-78 with the club finishing as runners up in Division 7 and gaining promotion back up to Division 6.
The club’s most successful period to date was the mid 1980’s. BKS Sports assembled an excellent group of players of varying ages who achieved promotion in five consecutive seasons, which took the club from Division 6 to Division 1. During this period the club also won the Gladwin and Chautard Cups and appeared in a Charity Competition final. Unfortunately, after this fantastic period for the club, the team of the mid eighties broke up and virtually a whole new squad had to be assembled on haste for the start of their first ever season in Division 1. Inevitably the season was a long hard struggle and BKS Sports finished bottom of the division winning only two games. The early nineties saw a stable period for the club with a settled squad of players but relegation was suffered twice during this period seeing the club drop down to Division 4. BKS only remained in this division for one season however, winning it at the first attempt in 1996-97 and gaining promotion back to Division 3. The following year the club finished 4th in Division 3 but were promoted up to Division 2 due to a re-organisation of the divisions by the league. The 2006-07 season saw the club end a run of nine consecutive seasons playing in Division 2; they finished as runners up in the division and gained promotion to the First Division for only the second time in their history.
Over the years the club has been well served by its officers, with some giving many years of service. The current Chairman Ron Harris has been associated with the club since the early days back in the 1950’s. The club’s previous Secretary Fred Wright served the club for nearly 40 years, firstly as player then treasurer, before taking the secretary’s post. Fred’s wife Pam also served the club very well; she was the club Treasurer for 35 years and hardly missed a game in all those years.
In 2006 BKS Sports celebrated their 50th anniversary, in all of those years they have played their competitive football in the Southend Borough Football Combination.
AND for those of you who want to find out more why not visit their website or use the Twitter page and we can be followed at @bkssportsfc https://twitter.com/bkssportsfc
can put a name to anyone in the Team Photos
(especially the 1958-9 team) please email me