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In the club finished the season in a relegation place but was reprieved by the resignation of Canvey Island, two divisions above them in the Conference National, whilst last season they finished in nineteenth place in the table, comfortably clear of the relegation places, even before the demotion of perennial non-league basket-case Farnborough cut the number of relegation spots in the Premier Division of the Ryman League from four to three.
On the whole, though, most of the last fifty-two years for Hendon Football Club have been tranquil, on the pitch, at least. As we have noted on these pages frequently before, non-league football clubs have become especially vulnerable to property developers over the course of the last three or four decades or so, and this has been especially problematic in London, where a steadily falling attendances and sky-rocketing land values have led to a toxic combination of financially vulnerable clubs sitting — quite literally — on plots of land that are of significant interest to developers who are more than happy to pay a few million pounds to bulldoze a football ground to build on the land.
A ground-sharing arrangement was then agreed for the club to play at Vale Park, the home of Wembley FC which lasted for four years, followed by a similar arrangement at fellow Ryman League club Harrow Borough. In , the Supporters Trust took ownership of the club.
There is little question that the hard work and dedication of those running the Supporters Trust at Hendon that kept the club alive during these years in the relative wilderness. Running a non-league football club is a hand to mouth existence at the best of times. Running a club with no home of its own and keeping it going is little short of a miraculous achievement.
Yet here we are, almost eight years on from that last game at Claremont Road, and Hendon have returned home. The new ground is Silver Jubilee Park, which was the home of another local football club, Kingsbury Town, who merged into a new club in and left to play in Greenford. There was a little nimbyism from some of the local residents, but there was plenty of support for the plans and the go-ahead to redevelop the site was eventually given, with funding in place with Sport England, the Football Association and a Stadia Improvement Grant for the installation of new terracing, gates, perimeter fencing, turnstiles and seating to bring the ground up to the required standard to host Ryman League Premier Division football, as well as a 3G artificial surface which is likely to benefit the whole of the local community.
Another local club, Edgware Town, had folded in after their White Lion Ground was sold for housing but reformed in , playing its matches at Underhill, the abandoned former home of Barnet FC last season, winning the First Division of the Spartan South Midlands League at the end of their second season back, having scored one hundred and thirty league goals and having lost just two league games all season.
Hendon FC: Time To Go Home | Twohundredpercent
They will share Silver Jubilee Park with Hendon this season. When the benefactors have failed and those that come into a football club dressed as white knights on chargers have revealed themselves to be interested in little more than lining their own purses, everything falls back on the supporters themselves.
That this should be the case is now so commonplace that it hardly even surprises us that, the length and breadth of the country, there are thousands of individuals who volunteer to man the turnstiles, wash the kits, attend the meetings and hunt down sponsorship details. The names of Edgware Town and Hendon may just be footnotes in the story of English football, but both clubs have stories to tell, histories worth preserving, and now, futures to look forward to. And in both cases this is solely down to the supporters who believed these clubs worth saving when it might have been both easier and more expedient to render them relics of history.