Thursday, 9 January 2014
THE OLDEST FOOTBALL CLUB IN LONDON VISIT ENFIELD ON SATURDAY
Cray Wanderers visit Enfield Town on Saturday in what is real crunch match at the bottom of the Ryman Premier Division.
TRADITION AND HISTORY
Cray Wanderers are very proudly the oldest Association Football Club in London and the second oldest in the world having been founded way back in 1860 which is an amazing 45 years prior to when Premier League giant's Chelsea were formed in 1905. A little known fact is that when The Wands were crowned Kent League champions in 1902 they were a professional club and acted as a feeder team to their local football league side Woolwich Arsenal in nearby Plumstead - look what happened to them?
Cray's spiritual home lies in the St Mary Cray area of Orpington where in 1972 they lost their Grassmede stadium due to a housing development. They moved to Oxford Road on the edge of Sidcup where they played until 1998 when the Kent League ruled member clubs would need floodlights something which that ground lacked. They have been grateful to Bromley where they have ground shared since.
The club have put in planning permission to build a new ground on Sandy Lane to the North of St Mary Cray but after five years hard work the initial application was denied. Many people at the club are working hard to move back to St Mary Cray and secure the future of one of the most important clubs in the history of London football.
All the Enfield Town fans will wish The Wands the best and hope they get their own ground to call home very soon.
THE WAND'S SEASON SO FAR
This a real must win match for both sides as 23rd plays 24th in the table. Both sides have had a change in management with Keith Bird moving form landlord's Bromley (where he was reserve manager) in place of long serving Ian Jenkins at Cray and, of course, George Borg recently taking over the reigns at Town in place of Steve Newing.
Bird brought with a number of new players and made an instant impact with a debut 4-1 home win over the Metropolitan Police on Saturday 5th October and a unexpected 0-2 away win at Lowestoft Town on Saturday 9th November. Since then they have drawn one and lost eight in nine games and in their last match (played on Saturday 28th December) they lost 0-6 at home to Dulwich Hamlet.
Since that game there has been some player's shipped out and shipped in at Hayes Lane with youngster's Charlie Grainger, Jack Sharrat and Elyon Marshall-Katung finishing their loan spells and returning to League One Leyton Orient. Also leaving are Tommy Whitnell, Danny Young, Jason Henry, Manny Williams and Dan Hughes (who has joined Kent League side Holmesdale on loan). A total of eight new players have been brought in as follows -
Goalkeeper Darren Behcet has joined from Harlow Town. The 27 year old counts West Ham United, Yeovil Town, Cambridge United, Dorchester Town, AFC Hornchurch and Tooting and Mitcham as previous clubs.
Centre Back Jide Maduako (aged 19) who was an Arsenal youth player. He makes the opposite journey some of the players made from Cray to Woolwich Arsenal in the early 1900s. He had been on Ipswich Town's books of late.
Steve Smith (aged 19) who can play at the back or in midfield. He has played at Bromley and Hayes and Yeading.
Jordan Bird (aged 20) is described at a quality left sided player who has played for Sutton United and Metropolitan Police.
A player to look out for on Saturday is centre-forward Morgan Ferrier (another young player aged 19) who spent time at Arsenal at youth player and then at Nottingham Forest and West Bromwich Albion. Championship side Bolton Wanderers were apparently interested in him in the summer but he is currently unattached to a league club so has signed for Cray. Ferrier is a player with potential to play at a higher level.
Another centre-forward in the experienced Paul Vines has also joined. He counts Tooting & Mitcham, Bromley, Kingstonian, Carshalton Athletic, Dulwich Hamlet and Margate as his former clubs.
Two ex Cray Wanderer's players has also re-joined in Joshua Oyinsan (19 year old centre forward), Aaron Rhule (19 year old left sided forward player).
The above signings make for an intriguing game on Saturday afternoon. Donkey Lane is the only place to be at 3pm!