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Club History | Hardy Athletic

Club History

Back Row (l-r): Jamie Lee, Paul Doherty, Nick Whitbread, Billy Bridger, Dan Kempster, Andy Willett, Graham Briscoe, Trevor Barrett, David Brewington, Aaron Stewart
Front Row (l-r): Gary Tucker, David Steadman, Thomas McGregor, Ben Watson, Chris Watson, Michael Kaylor

Club Honours
Essex Sunday Football Combination Division 3 Winners - 2007/08
Fritz Rooth Toernooi Winners - 2006/07
Hitchin Town Tournament Plate Winners - 1997/98
Hitchin Town Tournament Semi-Finalists - 1998/99, 1999/2000
Webb Cup Semi-Finalists - 1998/99
Ward Cup Semi-Finalists - 1999/2000
Ward Cup Finalists - 2003/04
Tingey Cup Finalists - 2002/03
Dagenham & District Division 3 Runners-Up - 2000/01
Dagenham & District Division 3 Fair Play Winners - 1999/2000

Hardy Athletic were formed by supporters of Dagenham and Redbridge FC and were named after legend Sir Ted Hardy. Although only two personnel survive from that initial season, the team is going strong in the Essex Sunday Combination League Division 3. In the club's inaugural season they joined the Dagenham and District League, finishing 2nd from bottom of Division 3. Over the next few years they club slowly moved their way up the leagues, making a couple of cup finals on the way.

2003/04 turned out to be a pivotal season for the club, and after the appointment of Tony Graves as the new manager the club went on to lose 5 of the first 6 games of the league season. A change in fortunes was to follow, and after bringing in Nick Whitbread and Gary Tucker mid-season, the club went on a 19 game unbeaten run.

The club made the final of the Ward Cup too, gallantly losing 2-0. At the end of the season the club entered a transitional period, with no less than 10 first team players moving onto pastures-new. These included the Danny Gillham - the greatest goalkeeper ever to play for the club, Kenny Blackmore - who had recently made his 100th appearance for the club, and Andy McNaney - The Club's record top scorer, with 98 goals in four seasons.

Even with an influx of players they could not help the club reaching the end of October without a single point, and due to changes in circumstances, Tony Graves decided to step down as manager. A difficult season was waiting ahead, with the club not gaining their first point of the season until the 23rd January 2005 where Lakeview Reserves scored in the last minute to gain a 2-2 draw. Less than six weeks later Hardy would claim their first win of the season, a 4-2 win over eventual runners-up Station Garage. The team would gain 4 more points before he season was out, with a 3-0 over Plastonia and a 1-1 draw with Emerhorns.

The club also won the traditional Halfway Line Posse game 5-0, signalling their intentions to compete on a leveller playing field in the coming season. Fletcher claimed the Players' Player of the Year Trophy, with Thomas McGregor taking home the Top Scorer Award and Trevor Barrett winning Clubman of the Year.