Ashford United's promotion application accepted: All that hard work will pay off if we win the League, says striker Adrian Stone
ASHFORD UNITED striker Adrian Stone says he’s “buzzing” tonight following the news that the club’s promotion application appeal has been accepted.
Sixty-eight clubs submitted their application for promotion from Step Five to Four ahead of the 30 November deadline. Clubs must pay a non-refundable application fee for £120 and must provide The FA a set of approved audited or certified annual accounts’ a copy of the club’s latest floodlight certificate; a copy of Memorandum & Articles of Association or Club Rules in order to provide evidence of entity.
Clubs must also provide Security of Tenure documentation or a copy of their groundshare agreement (if in a ground share arrangement) which must cover the following season and in Ashford United’s case, a copy of their latest artificial pitch performance test certificate.
AFC Croydon Athletic, Corinthian, Crowborough Athletic, Hollands & Blair, Sevenoaks Town, Sheppey United and Whitstable Town were the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division clubs that submitted their applications in time.
The application fee covers the cost of one grading visit if required. If more than one grading visit is required club’s will be charged a further £120 per visit.
Ashford United’s Chief Executive Denise Peach said on 14 December: “Having discovered that Ashford United was not named on the list of clubs applying for promotion, I contacted The FA to find out why.
“It has taken a couple of days to establish but it appears that the application was not received at Wembley FA offices.
“I have resent the application by email today (14 December). We have been informed that we will have to enter an appeal within 14 days asking for our application to be accepted late.
“We will, of course, enter the appeal process immediately. I will endeavour to keep you all up to date as the process progresses.
“I had to check the precise reason why we were not on the list before making this statement, so apologies to the true supporters of football and especially of Ashford United that they have had to suffer the ill-founded comments from those who make judgements without knowledge and especially to our players who are doing so well on the park.
“Please keep up the fantastic support that you give Danny Lye and all his staff and players week in week out, they all really appreciate your efforts as we do.
“Thank you for your continued support through difficult times off the field.”
Meanwhile, The Football Association ruled yesterday that Ashford United’s appeal has been successful and the club will earn promotion into the Ryman League should they remain at the top of the table at the end of the season.
Peach said today: “Ashford United players, supporters and staff will be pleased to hear that the FA have kindly made the decision to allow our application for promotion to be accepted.
“The sub-committee who made the decision for us to appeal followed all the correct protocol in their decision and the appeal gave us the opportunity to explain the mitigating circumstances surrounding the application.
“It is a good decision for football, which I’m sure we are all thankful to the FA for.”
Ashford United sit at the top of the table with 58 points from 24 games (14 games remaining); followed by Crowborough Athletic (57 points from 23 games); Sevenoaks Town (53 points from 24 games) and Sheppey United (51 points from 25 games).
“The title race excites me because there’s three, maybe four, teams in it. Usually at this stage you’ve got one or two running away with it,” said Stone.
“To be honest you heard things from people but we took no notice. We’ve got a League to win!
“There’s a big buzz around the changing room. All that hard work will pay off if we win the League. We are a big club and the Ryman League is where we should be!”
Stone, 34, who lives in Bromley and is a landscape gardener/groundsman, came off the bench to score a ninth-minute hat-trick as Ashford United beat Canterbury City 3-0 last Saturday to reach the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Final for the second season on the bounce.
Lye’s side will lock horns with Cray Valley (Paper Mills) in the Final at Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium on Sunday, 9 April.
Cray Valley came away from Deal Town on Tuesday night with a 2-1 win on penalties after the game finished tied at 2-2 after extra time.
“We knew the Canterbury game was going to be a tough game,” reflected Stone.
“We played them a few weeks back and beat them 4-1 so I knew this game was going to be a lot harder because there was a Cup Final to be in.
“It was great for me to come off the bench and score three goals. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t start because in the previous game I got two but that’s up to the gaffer – but I’ve got six goals in three games.
“It’s always good to get a hat-trick. It was even better because we got to the Cup Final. I’m over the moon with it and at the same time I’m happy for the team and the fans because we are in the Final.”
Ashford United welcome Tunbridge Wells to Homelands Stadium on Saturday, with today’s news giving Stone and his team-mates a timely boost.
Jason Bourne’s side are third-from-bottom in the table with 19 points from 22 games – four points clear of Fisher, with three games in hand over Dean Harrison’s side and four games in hand on basement side Beckenham Town, who have 13 points in the bag.
“Tunbridge Wells is another big game,” said Stone.
“They’re not doing so good in the league but they are a good side. There’s going to be a decent crowd. We beat them at their place 5-0 but it's not going to be easy and we are all looking forward to it.”
Stone added: “The fans are going to play a big part in our promotion push.”
Visit Ashford United’s website: www.ashfordunitedfc.com
Ashford United v Tunbridge Wells
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 18th February 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Homelands Stadium, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth, Ashford, Kent TN26 1NJ