New League Campaign Starts

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday August 13 15.00

The new season in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division starts with a home fixture against AFC Croydon Athletic. The first competitive match of the season, strangely an FA Cup fixture, resulted in a comfortable 4-0 victory against Oakwood FC, so Whitstable can begin their campaign to win promotion back to the Ryman League in confident mood.

After the disappointment of last season’s relegation, coupled with considerable upheaval behind the scenes, the club is now in a position to look forward with more optimism. Matters have been stabilised off the pitch to hopefully give the club a firm base for the future. The Belmont ground is looking better than it has done for a long while as the new look committee and a dedicated group of supporters have worked ever so hard through the summer on a wide variety of jobs.

On the football side, manager Scott Porter and his assistant Bob Reardon have retained the majority of the players who finished last season relatively strongly with four wins from the last six Ryman League matches. Some new signings have now been added and the squad looks strong and ready for the challenge.

Our first opponents AFC Croydon Athletic were only formed in 2012 by a group of supporters following the demise of the previous Croydon Athletic in 2011, which fell victim to off the field problems and financial troubles. They had won the Ryman Division One South championship in 2009/10 (after Folkestone Invicta had been deducted 10 points), a season in which Whitstable had finished in 18th place. They also lost the use of their ground when the club folded and AFC Croydon Athletic started life sharing Croydon Sports Arena in the Combined Counties League at Step 6. At the end of the 2014/15 season they won promotion and were moved across into the Southern Counties East League where they finished last season in 11th place.

Their manager for the last four years, Antony Williams recently left to join Chipstead and has been replaced by Kevin Rayner, who had enjoyed success at Guildford City, leading them to the Combined Counties League Championship then finishing 9th in the Evo-stick Southern League Division One Central. Their season did not start well however as they were knocked out of the FA Cup in a 5-2 defeat at Colliers Wood United last week.