- Thames A.F.C.
Infobox Football club
clubname = Thames AFC
fullname = Thames Association Football Club
shortname = Thames
founded = 1928
dissolved = 1932
West Ham Stadium,
capacity = 120,000
Unlike other AFCs such as Sunderland AFC, the word Association was initially presented as part of the club name — i.e. Thames Association or Thames Association FC. The "Association" was abbreviated upon joining the Football League, giving the team the more regular name of Thames AFC.cite web | url=http://www.fchd.info/THAMES.HTM | title=Thames | work=Football Club History Database | accessdate=2007-11-16 ]
They were founded in 1928, in a similar manner to New Brighton Tower and Chelsea, to play on a ground without a team. In Thames' case, they were formed by a group of businessmen who had built the
West Ham Stadium, with a capacity of 120,000, in the Custom House area of Essex(now Greater London); the stadium was primarily used for greyhoundand speedway racing which took place during the week, leaving Saturdays free. The directors of the stadium decided to form a professional football club to play on Saturdays, to bring in additional revenue to the stadium.
The club began playing in the Southern League Eastern Division, and finished 14th in their first season and third in the season after that (1929-30).cite web | url=http://www.fchd.info/THAMESA.HTM | title=Thames Association | work=Football Club History Database | accessdate=2007-11-16 ] This was enough for them to gain election to the
Football LeagueThird Division South in the summer of 1930, in place of Merthyr Town. Thames continued to field a reserve side in the Southern League for a single further season, before withdrawing entirely in 1931. [cite web | url=http://www.rsssf.com/tablese/engsouthernleaghist.html | title=England - Southern League Final Tables | work=RSSSF | accessdate=2007-11-16 ]
Thames' spell in the Football League was a short and unhappy one; such was the struggle to attract spectators, despite the stadium's capacity of 120,000 (making it the largest ground in
Englandto regularly host League football), the club holds the record for the lowest attendance for a Football League match; just 469 fans paid to watch Thames play Luton Town on December 6, 1930. [cite web | url=http://www.football-league.premiumtv.co.uk/page/RecordAttendances/0,,10794,00.html | title=Football League Records: Attendances | work=Football League official website | accessdate=2007-11-16 ]
Unable to compete with established teams nearby, such as Charlton Athletic, Clapton Orient, Millwall and West Ham United, Thames struggled. They finished 20th out of 22 clubs in 1930-31, and 22nd (i.e. bottom) the following season (1931-32). This prompted the club directors' decision to not to seek re-election to the League for the following season and wind up the club, despite an approach from Clapton Orient to merge the two clubs. [cite web | url=http://home.no.net/orientfc/history.htm | title=Homes of Orient | work=Leyton Orient FC Supporters Club Scandinavia] They were replaced by Aldershot.
Thames AFC should not be confused with Thames Ironworks FC, a club that had predated them by over 30 years, and would go on to be renamed West Ham United.
Thames' home colours were red and blue quartered shirts with white shorts and black socks with red and blue trim. [cite book | title=Club Colours | author=Bob Bickerton | id=ISBN 0600595420 | year=1998 Cited in: cite web | url=http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/Thames/Thames.htm | title=Thames | work=Historical Football Kits ]
Records and statistics
Thames' record for their two seasons in the Football League was played 84, won 20, drew 17, lost 47, scored 107 and conceded 202. The club's record league win was 6–3, against Mansfield Town on
April 2 1932, while their record league loss was 8–0, against Luton Town on April 11 1931and Fulham on March 28 1932. [cite web | url=http://www.footballsite.co.uk/Statistics/LeagueTables/Season1930-31/ClubResults/1930-31Thames.html | title=Thames 1930/31 playing record | work=footballsite | accessdate=2007-11-16 ] [cite web | url=http://www.footballsite.co.uk/Statistics/LeagueTables/Season1931-32/ClubResults/1931-32Thames.html | title=Thames 1931/32 playing record | work=footballsite | accessdate=2007-11-16 ] The furthest they ever reached in the FA Cup was the First Round proper, in 1929-30, 1930-31 and 1931-32.
In total, 103,698 fans watched all of Thames' games, at an average of 2,469 per game, which ranks them as 122 out of all the 130 Football League teams in terms of attendance. [cite web | url=http://www.nufc.com/html/attendance-all-time.html | title=All Time League Attendance Records | work=NUFC.com | accessdate=2007-05-28 ] The club's record highest attendance was approximately 8,000, against Exeter City in August 1931. [cite news | url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19950416/ai_n13977391 | title=McGrory's goal a game | date=
1995-04-16| work=The Independent | accessdate=2007-11-16 ]
* [http://www.groundtastic.co.uk/Postcards/Thames%20Ass%20card.htm Aerial photograph of West Ham Stadium]
* [http://www.fchd.info/THAMESA.HTM Thames Association F.C. on Football Club History Database]
* [http://www.fchd.info/THAMES.HTM Thames A.F.C. on Football Club History Database]
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