The Story So Far
By the following year the ranks of clubs wishing to be involved had increased to 14 and an increase in the subsequent season to 18 clubs. Despite now only playing just two games i.e. home and away fixtures, a meeting in March showed clubs playing midweek fixtures in order to complete the scheduled fixtures. Also in this year, an increased sponsorship deal was announced and the name of the League changed to the (Westside) Eastern Junior Alliance.
By 1991 the League could boast 576 registered players and it was during this season that the EJA had the first of many successes in the F.A. Youth Cup, Chelmsford City reaching the 2nd Round and taking Colchester United to a replay before losing to the odd goal. In the following season 1992, with 25 teams taking part, a spell of bad weather caused 140 postponements to fixtures.
On the plus side Billericay Town was able to boast of two players to be selected for an England XI in a game against Holland at Leicester City’s ground, Filbert Street.
Over the years, EJA clubs have competed in numerous outside competitions with great success. Apart from those very early years, the League consistently attracted around 24 teams each season and was sanctioned by both Essex and Suffolk County Football Associations.
With the coming of the 1994/95 season the League increased in size, with 36 teams taking part and it was during this period that a number of EJA players were selected to represent England Schools under 18’s squad.