The 2017/18 season was one of highs and lows for all 24 sides in the Vanarama National League, and next term we’ll have six new sides to face from across the country. This - the final instalment of the series – sees us take a look at National League regulars Braintree Town.
Name: Braintree Town Football Club
Nickname: The Iron
Manager: Bradley Quinton
Stadium: Cressing Road (Capacity: 4,151)
2017/18 League Position: 6th (Promoted via National League South Play-Offs)
After a career in non-league football, 39-year old Iron boss Bradley Quinton was appointed at Cressing Road in May 2017 following the sacking of Hakan Hayrettin.
Quinton spent 12-years with Braintree Town as a player making over 500 appearances and cementing himself in the clubs history. He had spent time in the south of England with non-league sides before becoming assistant manager at Enfield Town under George Borg in 2013.
Following Borg’s departure a year later Quinton stepped up to take the reigns and guide his side to the play-offs of the Ryman Premier.
After four years at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium he took charge of Braintree following their relegation from the National League and helped them bounce straight back up in his first season.
Braintree are currently in negotiations with a number of their playing squad last season and are looking to cement a firm set-up for both pre-season and going forward. Earlier today they acquired former Tottenham Hotspur youth product Olu Durojaiye from Welling United. The defensive midfielder has spent time with the aforementioned Spurs, Norwich City and been called up to the Nigerian Under-20 squad. He has also spent time north of the border with Falkirk. Signed up for the Iron next season also are Christian Frimpong and Jonathan Muleba.
Cressing Road accommodates over 4,000 supporters and has been home to the Iron since 1923. It's two biggest stands are situated behind the goal housing 1,400 and 1,100 respectively. Where your traditional 'main stands' are situated they have a capacity of 755 and 553. The record attendance of the ground is 6,000 when they hosted the Essex Junior Cup Final in 1924. The non-football record comes at 8,000 for the Crittal Sport and Show in 1926.
Formed in 1898 as Manor Works, they were originally the side representing the Crittal Window Company, which is where their nickname the Iron originates. They would go on to become Cirtall Athletic, Braintree & Cirtall FC and eventually just Braintree in 1981 when the relationship with Critall ended. For the first 80 years of their formation, they competed in the Essex & Sussex league system as well as Greater London divisions before moving up to the Southern League.
After competing in the Isthmian League they saw success come in the mid-2000's as they won promotion to the Conference South in 2006. That same year they made it to the First Round Proper of the FA Cup facing Shrewsbury Town but the run ended in a 4-1 defeat.
In their first season in the Conference South, they reached the playoffs and lost in the final 1-0 to Salisbury City. They reached the same play-off semi-final a year later in 2008 but found the same outcome, this time losing to Eastbourne. In 2011 they would finally reach the top tier of non-league after 113 of football. They finished champions of the division and would under Danny Cowley achieve a remarkable feat of 3rd in the National League. However, they lost out in the playoffs and Cowley moved on to win the title the year after with Lincoln City. The Iron, however, were relegated in 2017 but promoted back immediately under Brad Quinton.