Catholic United has a long history of football in Southend-on-Sea, originally known in the 1930's as Southend Catholic and then later as Catholic Athletic.

Catholic United, as we now know it, was founded in 1959 during a meeting at Sacred Heart Church Hall. Joe Persigetti was elected the first Chairman & his nephew Tony Cotgrove later became club president in 1996. So the family tradition within the Club has remained throughout time.

Originally the club played in white shirts and black shorts, but there was soon a desire to make the club more easily recognisable from other teams by its colours. Our chairman at the time, Glen Foy wrote a letter to the Celtic Football Club chairman, Bob Kelly, asking if we could buy a kit from them with an accompanying explanation for the reasons behind the request. Also in those days, the manufacturer Umbro would not allow the Celtic kit to be on general sale.

Foy did not hear from Celtic for about two weeks, when out of the blue a parcel containing a brand new strip arrived, together with a letter wishing Catholic United every success. The first time the kit was worn was in the prestigious 1968 Walton Cup final played at Roots Hall, where Catholic United beat Haden 2-1. It was then decided in our gratitude to Celtic it would be written into the club's constitution that our club colours would always be the world famous green & white hoops.

The club played its early football at Nazareth House, which was then an orphanage. This was possibly the time when the teams were best supported as all the children would watch. Like Wellstead Gardens in its prime before the club were evicted in 2018, Nazareth House was regarded as one of the best pitches in the area & was unfortunately lost to the building of St Helen’s primary school in the early 1970’s. This is probably the main reason why the club was unable make the progress into higher league football that it has strived for.

However, in 2009, the start of this ambition became reality when the club was accepted to play in the prestigious Essex Olympian League (Step Five), & having worked up through the leagues, Catholic United were crowned Premier Division champions in 2018 at the first attempt.

Founding Members: Channing Foy, David Bunce, James Batley & Hugh Broad


1959-65Bishop George Beck
1965-78Stan Groom
1978-96Reverand Fred Wall
1996-17Tony Cotgrove
2017-Paul Marsh


1959-60Joe Persighetti
1960-65Stan Groom
1965-66John Mudd
1966-81Glen Foy
1981-83Martin Britt
1983-85Chris Sexton
1985-93Tony Cotgrove
1993-97Kevin Wall
1997-01Keith Exley
2001-11Paul Marsh
2011-18Chris Knight
2018- James Paviour