Tuesday 08th June 2004

Supporters can bid for places to play for Tonbridge Angels

Loyal fan sets up "Angel Aid" to help club's financial burden

AFTER reading an appeal on his club’s internet message board on 2nd June from the club’s chairman, Tonbridge Angels’ fan Peter Ide has stepped in to help the newly promoted Isthmian Football League Premier Division outfit try and get out of their current financial difficulties, writes Stephen McCartney.

The forty-five-year-old supporter, who lives locally in East Peckham, watched his first Tonbridge game in 1964 when they met Fulham in a pre-season friendly.  Included in  the West Londoners' side was local legend George Cohen – two years before he helped England win the World Cup.

Now he has given around twenty four supporters the chance to don the blue shirt and play on the lush Longmead Stadium turf – paying for the privilege, of course – twenty-four hours after the first team squad entertain Go Travel Kent League neighbours Tunbridge Wells in the Courier Cup - their first home pre-season fixture.

With Kent football hit by a financial crisis, Ide is making sure he can do all he can to make sure his club doesn’t suffer the same fate as some of their rivals.

He has set up “ANGEL AID” and on Sunday 1st August (3pm kick off) at the club’s Longmead Stadium, first team boss Tony Dolby and his coach Mike Rutherford will take charge of two teams, with supporters making bids to play with up to three first team players as their team mates.

The teams will wear Tonbridge Angels kit – so effectively it’s a unique chance for supporters to play for their club.

Places can be obtained by bidding with a minimum of £30 per place.  However, players must be over the age of sixteen.

Ide revealed he is hoping to make the event a family day, running a junior six-a-side tournament in the morning and possibly a Miss Tonbridge Angels Football Club Beauty Pageant between the six-a-side tournament and the main match.

There will be a small charge for spectators but there will be a lucky programme draw with prizes on offer – as Ide aims to raise a four-figure sum to ease the financial burden left over from last season.

Organiser Ide said: “I know Paul Dainty (club chairman) quite well.  The club has debts left over from last season.  Initially this was an idea I had four weeks ago, but after Paul appealed two weeks ago, I have volunteered and started ANGEL AID.

“We have not set any targets but everything will help the club.  However, I hope to raise a reasonable amount.” Ide said.

Ide is accepting bids from supporters interested in playing for Tonbridge Angels in the game, by email angelaid@ide206.fsnet.co.uk or by calling 07818 440 330.  However, Ide will be going on holiday for two weeks on Sunday, but will reply on his return.

Ide is also willing to speak to any interested parties regarding sponsoring the event.

Send in your club's news to Stephen McCartney
Email:  stephen@mccartney2000.fsnet.co.uk
Telephone: 07979 418 360