Tuesday 13th July 2004

Bromley on the right track with youth football

BROMLEY Football Club will certainly have a chance to use their newly erected floodlights at their Clive Christian Stadium in Hayes Lane this season, writes Stephen McCartney.

The lights, which replace the original ones erected in 1960, will be officially opened by a visit from Premiership newcomers Crystal Palace on Tuesday 3rd August (kick off 7.45pm).

And Bromley's under eighteen side will be sole representatives from south of the river, as they have been elected into the Southern Counties Floodlit Youth League and newly appointed manager Rob Palmer is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead for his squad, and the midweek trips north of the River Thames.

The 41-year-old, who lives locally in Hayes, Kent, said: "The traveling is going to be interesting!  I think as long as we have the right facilities with coaches being supplied, I think it will be good fun and good for the boys to learn."

However, Bromley have tied up an initial one-year deal with a neighbouring school for exclusive use of their excellent pitches and training facilities for it's youth set-up, which has been bolstered and improved with local club Lee United joining forces.

The club's under eighteen's squad will also play in the Mush Kent Youth League on a Sunday and will also play on the club's turf at their Hayes Lane home.  The club's other youth sides, from under eleven upwards, will also have the chance to play at least one game at the Ryman League Division One outfit's ground, depending on the quality of the playing surface at the time.

Palmer comes to Hayes Lane with a good record, having won the under 16 division of the Mush Kent Youth League last season with West Wickham.

He revealed: "I've done a lot of youth team football in the last five years, culminating last year at West Wickham when we went onto win the Kent Youth League at under 16 level.

"I am an UEFA B qualified coach, which I qualified three years ago.  I've also run a Combined Counties team at Crescent Rovers, and in the past I have coached youth and reserve teams at Dulwich Hamlet."

Palmer replaces Derek Parnham as the club's under eighteen manager.  However, the Dagenham based coach remains at Bromley and continues his role as first team goalkeeping coach.

Bromley are currently in negotiations with another coach to manage the club's under 18 squad in the Kent Youth League as the club will be operating with two managers in two leagues at this level.

Palmer admitted there is a good future at Bromley Football Club, with the best training facilities in the local area, but asks the club's supporters to get fully involved.

He added: "I think there is a future at Bromley at the moment especially the way it's started to develop.

"All the groundwork has been done, and now it's a case of pushing everyone in the right direction - which is ultimately the first team."

With the introduction of local club Lee United, the club strives for a better social scene.  The clubhouse will be open every Sunday allowing players, and spectators, who have watched matches at The Ravensbourne School or at the club's main stadium, to have refreshments in the clubhouse at Bromley Football Club, some 300 yards away from the School.  SKY TV will also be available so people can stay behind and watch all the action from the Premiership and the Coca Cola Championship.

Palmer added: "I think the fans can play a big role because the more people we get here the more people see us - it gives the boys a buzz.  West Wickham played Gillingham at Hayes Lane last season and the players enjoyed playing in front of a big crowd.  It inspires them and I think it's very important to get the backing."

Meanwhile, Bromley are looking for a coach company to help provide travel at reasonable prices for the under 18's away games in the Southern Counties Floodlit Youth League this season.

Anyone that can help should telephone Dave Cairns on 07801 235 967 or Rob Palmer 079442 44242.

Players seeking trials for the club's under 11-under 18's squads, can also contact Dave Cairns.

The club are seeking a four-figure crowd for the floodlight opener against Crystal Palace at Hayes Lane on Tuesday 3rd August.  Admission prices are £10 (adults) and £5 (concessions).

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