The Story So Far

After an initial feasibility study into the formation of an Under 18s youth football league, 9 senior clubs attended a meeting on the 1st June 1987 with 8 committing themselves to the League for the coming season. Officers were duly elected, a sponsorship deal announced and the clubs agreed to play each other four times to ensure sufficient games over the course of the season. It transpired that only 7 teams started the first league season but, despite this depleted start for the League, it still gave rise to concerns in the April over a fixture ‘pile up’. This first end of season audit showed a balance in the Leagues accounts of just £280.

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.

Eastern Junior Alliance History

 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.