Sunday 15th May 2005

Sittingbourne to appeal against Southern League slot

SITTINGBOURNE are appealing against the decision made by the Football Association to place them in the Southern League Division One East for the second successive season, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Brickies and fellow Kent rivals Chatham Town and Dartford have remained in the 23 club division but miss out on many lucrative Kent derbies that will be played in the Ryman League equivalent.

That division has Kent sides Ashford Town, Cray Wanderers, Dover Athletic, Ramsgate and Tonbridge Angels but the Brickies will have to travel to Essex, North and West London like they did last season, and the club are concerned about the financial implications.

Kent clubs such as Bromley, Margate and Folkestone Invicta are also in the Ryman League, albeit the Premier Division.

The club issued the following statement on their website:   "The FA have announced their recommended line up for next year and inexplicably we have been placed in the Southern League again, which means that we miss out on a number of local derbies, such as Tonbridge, Dover Athletic, Ramsgate and Ashford Town.

"The club feels that this decision could affect our financial viability and even our very survival and that the recommendation regarding us is unacceptable.

"We feel that they should revisit their mileage maps as they seem to have used the "as the crow flies" approach" instead of actual travelling mileage.

"The club has therefore sent a letter of objection to the proposal.

"The proposals have yet to be ratified at a meeting to be held next week."

Sittingbourne have arranged three pre-season friendlies to date.  They travel to Kent League side Whitstable Town on Tuesday 26th July (7:45pm) before Gillingham (Saturday 30th July) and tenants Maidstone United (Tuesday 2nd August) take to the field at Bourne Park.