Chelsea and Arsenal have both won it in the past, but this year's London Senior Cup, premier competition of the London Football Association, will be fought over by Bromley FC and Tooting & Mitcham United who, as it happens, are also staging the final at their Imperial Fields ground (pictured above). The cup, which these days is "open to all non-F.A. Premier League and non-Football League Senior Clubs affiliated to the Association or approved by the Cup Committee," was first competed for in 1882, ten years after the FA Cup began.
This season's final could also be billed as Kent v Surrey given that both clubs, playing through fixture congestion that would have José and Arsene complaining long and loud, have already won their respective county senior cups in finals held a mere 48 hours ago. Bromley, of the Ryman Premier League, brushed aside Tonbridge Angels 3-1 with goals from prolific strikers Nic McDonnell and Gareth Williams while the Metropolitan Police were given extra time to question the Tooting & Mitcham defence before releasing them without charge in a 1-4 reverse.
Spectators at tonight's game may spot a few familiar faces from league football. Bromley player manager Bobby Bowry, once at both QPR and Millwall, heads a trio of Crystal Palace alumni that also includes midfielder Simon Osborn, who also played at Loftus Road, and former Welsh Under 21 striker Williams. Goalkeeper Andy Walker was once at Charlton, full back Mark Corneille at Gillingham and defender Lee Fieldwick at Brentford while Londonist has a strong recollection of seeing imposing centre back Jerrome Sobers play for Ipswich reserves against Chelsea three years ago. On that occasion we noted that he had a genuine presence, was good in the air and comfortable with a player running at him, but wasn't the quickest and looked a little suspect positionally, though we're sure his highly experienced manager will have sorted all that out now. Tooting & Mitcham's league experience is more sparse, perhaps not surprisingly given that they're one division below their visitors, but defenders Aaron Day and Allan McLeod were once on the books at Charlton and Arsenal respectively while striker Ben Abbey played plenty of professional football with Oxford and Southend and Romuald Bouadji collected 16 appearances in Scotland with Clyde a couple of seasons back.
McLeod also once played for Bromley, as did four of his team-mates including Paul Vines, Tooting & MItcham's one-man goal machine who has netted 36 times in (gulp) sixty-three (count them) appearances so far this season. Meanwhile, Bromley forward Adrian Stone once played for tonight's hosts as did reserve keeper Glyn Shimell. Nine of the players may also have featured in the same Carshalton Athletic side at some point in their careers.
As well as being newly crowned cup victors, both sides are pushing for promotion from their respective leagues, so the final promises to be enthralling and kicks off at 7:30 pm. Admission is £6 for adults and half-price for concessions.
Photo of Imperial Fields via diamond geezer's Flickr stream.