Players in a match: Credit Inner London Football League
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The East London Football teams and clubs you should know about

Football in Tower Hamlets isn’t just a sport; it’s a way of life. From our historic pitches to our plentiful and thriving local clubs, we have a rich footballing heritage that continues to shape our community identity.

Whether you are interested in five-aside, seven-aside, social teams, semi-pro leagues or teams focussed on positive mental health, Tower Hamlets won’t disappoint.

Even if you aren’t a football nerd, you will have heard of Bobby Moore, and likely seen that iconic image of him holding up the World Cup in England’s 1966 triumph. Moore, born and raised in the East End, continues his legacy at the Bobby Moore Academy in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, nurturing the next generation of East London footballing talent and putting us firmly on the map.

It’s not only Moore who champions the ballers of the East End, as we have teams dating back to well over a century ago when ironworkers and dockers formed Millwall and West Ham United

If you’re set on following in the footsteps of the greats or just keen to have a casual kick-about in one of the beautiful green spaces in Tower Hamlets, our guide to local men’s football teams gives you a round-up of which team might suit you, where to go and how to find them.

Inner London Football League (ILFL)

Recognised as the “Official Tower Hamlets League” by the council, ILFL has been running for over 23 years. Initially starting off as a social league, now it’s competitive, following FA affiliation guidelines. 

They have a staggering 130 teams running throughout the year, with September-April being the main 11-aside league. They have 20 seven-aside teams, 35 teams aged 35+ (vets) and seven teams for the over-40s league on Mondays. 22 teams play in their summer league, with many other projects running throughout the year. There are no restrictions or requirements to join a team as there will be a team that will fit all abilities.

Where and when: The Winter League is in Hackney Marshes on Sundays. With so many teams to pick from, ILFL recommends contacting info@ilfl.org to find team-specific locations and times.

Contact: Contact 07974 798 908 or email info@ilfl.org   – to find out what teams are in your area and what the best fit would be.

Sporting Bengal United FC

Established in 1996 to challenge the under-representation of Asian people in football and to offer Bangladeshi and other young Asian people a chance to play football at a higher level. Over the past eight years, the team has gone from amateur Sunday league football to semi-pro. Alongside training their semi-pro team and competing in the Essex Senior League, they run a youth football academy and a legends team for veterans.

Where and When: Home games are played at Mile End Stadium, Rhodeswell Rd, Poplar, London E14 7TW, United Kingdom. The team trains on Tuesdays in Stepney Green (by invite only)

Contact: 0204 539 7908 or email info@sportingfoundation.com

Tower Hamlets FC @ Mile End

An ever-evolving team that was established in 2000, Tower Hamlets FC are a competitive league with a common goal and understanding. They are the first male team to have two female coaches, one from Millwall, with most of the first-team coaching staff being ex-pros. Playing in the Thurlow Nunn League Division 1, the team is semi-pro and made up of advanced players, with many coming from football academies. They train hard and fast and have a core team but are open to new players.

Where and when: They play at the Mile End stadium grass pitch. But train outside of the borough at the Royal Docks Academy sixth form. Wednesday evening at 8-930pm.

Contact: Call Samiul on 07306 889 779 or email contact@towerhamletsfc.london.

Hackney Wick FC

Starting nine years ago and now Hackney’s highest-ranking football team, Hackney Wick FC is known for being friendly, fun, welcoming, inclusive, and, most of all, competitive. They are made up of a men’s first team and a men’s reserve team. Another semi-pro club in our line-up also plays for the Thurlow Nunn League; the ability of their players is high, and they train hard. The reserve team is more open, and you can train for a while to see if you have what it takes. If you think Hackney Wick FC might be for you, then send over an email with your football background and experience, and you will be invited to a training session to be assessed.

Where and when: Mabley Green and Thursday Bobby Moor Academy, every Monday MG Whittam stadium games. Reserves also train at Mabley Green on Thursday.

Contact: Ring Bobby on 07960384338 or send an enquiry through their website enquiry box.

Playfootball

If you are looking for other FA-affiliated leagues in Mile End that play 5 and 7 aside, then head over to Playfootball, an online pool of teams. Matches are open to men 16+, and all abilities are welcome. All of the match referees are FA-qualified, with flexible kick-off times and prizes for all division winners.

Where and when: 190 Burdett Rd, Mile End. London E3 4HL

Seven-aside team, Monday 19:00 – 21:00

Five-aside team, Tuesday 19:00 – 21:00

Seven-aside team, Tuesday 19:00 – 21:00

Seven-aside team, Wednesday 19:00 – 21:00

Contact: 0333 577 7874 or through the enquiry button on their website.

Tower Hamlets Tigers FC

This Is a friendly mental health team, coached by West Ham United professional coaches and overseen by professionally qualified mental health staff. The team is open to anyone who has experienced mental health both in Primary and Secondary mental health services. It is open to all genders and has a fun and supportive feel; it isn’t competitive, and they aren’t in a league.

Where and when: Stepney Green Astro Turf, Redman’s Road, London E1 3DB, every Monday afternoon between 1pm-3pm.

Contact: brenda.phillips1@nhs.net, 07767392067

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