For true football fans, Allegiances to football clubs come in two distinct forms. The first form of football-based loyalty comes from the casual, opportunistic, and altogether fickle fandom of the weekend football fan. Often this kind of loyalty is claimed to have some sort of geographical or sentimental basis, but when the chips are down and the team faces relegation, allegiances change in an instant and excuses are made to try and justify the switch.
The second is the undying, unending, unquestioning, and unshakable allegiance to a local club which is in or around the area where the person with the allegiance grew up. It doesn’t have to be within five hundred meters, or even twenty miles, but this club has the never-ending support from this type of fan through thick and thin: relegation, embarrassment, bankruptcy, corruption; completely irrelevant. All that matters with this kind of devotion is the love of the football that the local club plays. This article (as well as this site in general) is really for the latter type of football fan, because our list of best North-East London clubs below contains a few teams who in all honesty require a substantial quantity of devotion from fans due to their progress not always qualifying for the term “plain sailing”. Taking the ups with the downs is what football is all about however, and these teams have certainly had their fair share of ebb and flow over the years.
Oh West Ham United. You are the saviour of the barebones-knowledge football “fan” at many-a pub quiz. This team is probably the most well-known on the list – at least to those that don’t really follow football anyhow – because of their presence in the premier league, though ending up just below middle position below the relative newcomers Swansea City is a far cry from the glorious years of success once enjoyed by the team.
Oh the glory years: how West Ham fans must miss them. It almost goes without saying that the best days of West ham feel like they are firmly behind us all, lingering alongside the desperate hope and nostalgia that came with England’s 1966 World Cup Victory. West Ham fans will never let anyone forget that some this victorious English team’s pivotal players were mainly from West Ham United (Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, and Martin Peters) and the fingernails of the present-day fans can still be seen embedded in this past glory as it is clawed at desperately from the present. Don’t you know that West Ham nabbed the 1964 FA cup under Ron Greenwood and led by Bobby Moore as well? You probably did, because this is another gem of glory that West Ham fans still have up their sleeve when arguing for the superiority of their club.
Still, you can’t ignore the ups of the club, even if they were accompanied by significant downfalls as well. Two more FA Cup victories in 1975 and 1980 were glorious, but the team then hovered between Division One and Two before eventually clawing into the Premier League once more. As recently as 2011 we’ve seen the team plummet to the depths of the Championship as well, but Sam Allardyce’s appointment in 2011 brought better days for the team, and who can forget the 87th-minute winning goal from Vaz Te against Blackpool? This goal cemented West Ham’s victory as well as their return to the premier league. Their home performance has been fairly admirable but with only 11 away goals to speak of in the 2017/14 season (the lowest number in the whole of the league), you have to wonder whether the team are even going to be able to push past their fairly unremarkable position of 10th in the 14/15 season. Still, perhaps the securing of Olympic Stadium from 2016 onwards will give the team something to look forward to, or at least make them feel that they have to at least perform well in order to justify this expensive acquisition.
Ok, so Millwall is more South-East than Nort-East, but the team has quite a bit of history and is quite famous, though for all the wrong reasons.
“Then again he used to say that one day Millwall could win the cup”. This classic quote from Only Fools and Horses humorously points out that Delboy reaching the top was about as likely as Millwall winning the FA Cup. This chuckle-worthy observation has held true for decades now, though Millwall did come quite close, making it to the FA Cup Final in 2004 and as a result qualifying for the UEFA cup (the first time the team had ever gone and played in Europe). It is pretty difficult to talk about a team like Millwall and not point out the obvious shortcomings of the team, however. “No one likes us, we don’t care” is a sentiment that many of the hooligans supporting the club would chant as the violence escalated against pretty much anyone the team were playing against. 2005-2006 was a tumultuous time for the club as well with six managers in the space of two years, though these days it isn’t quite as bad.
Though Kenny Jackett must be credited for the team’s improvement from 2007 onwards and their rise to the championship in 2010, recent years have been a little less kind to the club. Steve Lomas’ controversial appointment in 2017 was met with mixed feelings (due to Lomas’ history with West Ham) and he was sacked after the team won only five of twenty-two total games with the team under his purview. 2014 saw the appointment of Ian Holloway, who has managed to keep the team in the Championship, even as they lay 21st in the table. The team also managed to remain unbeaten in their final eight games of the 2017/2014 season, so it’s not all bad news for Millwall FC after all.
Much Like West Ham, Leyton Orient’s glory lays quite firmly in the past, in 1962-1963 to be precise where they reached the First Division, the equivalent of the present-day Premier League. Since struggling at the top and being relegated, the team have struggled to maintain position ever since.
Hope came in the form of automatic promotion in 2005/06, securing the team’s place in League One, though in 2010 Geraint Williams was sacked as manager due to the team’s relatively poor performance. The team’s current manager Russel Slade has managed to stir up the team and has seen better performance from them, particularly in the 2017/2014 season where they managed to finish third in the league, making the playoff final but sadly losing to Rotherham United in an excruciating penalty shootout.
Dagenham & Redbridge
Though they aren’t a glamorous team or one of many successes, they managed to reach League One in 2009/10 with admirable performances. It wasn’t to be for the team however and they were relegated back to League two in the 2010/11 season. 2012/2017 saw current manager Wayne Burnett being promoted to permanent manager after being caretaker manager previously. The team suffered from inconsistent performances with wins and losses seeming to come at random, though finishing at 9th place as a result of a 3-2 victory over Cheltenham among others means that there is hope for this team, whose followers must be of the loyal kind to put up with the kind of disappointment that Dagenham & Redbridge has suffered through.