Back by popular demand: Greenie's Friday Preview - Football returns to Kent!

Thursday 10th August 2006

Is it really 97 days since I was standing on the roof of the clubhouse of Tonbridge commentating on the Ryman One Play Off final in the pouring rain?

England have gone through another summer unbeaten in Test matches; Federer still unbeaten at Wimbledon; and the Tiger still reigns supreme at the Open… And then there of course was “Le Headbut!”

Still never mind tomorrow afternoon the counties Non League domestic season kicks off again with the Fleet and the Wings aiming for respective higher finishes than last year.

Gravesend and Northfleet are now a full time outfit whilst Welling, after the massive upheaval last year, have been reasonably quiet in the signings.

And then of course there’s the return of Faversham Town to the Kent League… And with the Ryman League now boating thirteen Kent sides, its safe to say that footies back!

The new season dawns for Liam Daish for Gravesend and Northfleet at the home of the British Army.

Traditionally the Recreation Ground in Aldershot is not a happy hunting ground for the counties sides (indeed I remember seeing the Gills hammered 6-0 there in what proved to be Sir Keith’s last game in charge) and so the Fleet boss will be hoping that his new look side return with some points.

With several new faces in their starting line up, Daish will be hoping that those extra hours spent on the training pitch during the past few weeks will pay immediate benefit.

The Fleet fans will of course welcome Charlie MacDonald back into the starting line up, and given the amount of last season Charlie missed it will almost seem another new player…

Fingers crossed then that the Fleet make a better start than last year – remember that opening day defeat to Exeter and then the thrashing at Grays.

Hopefully by the time we speak again in seven days time (after the clubs first home game against Tamworth on Tuesday – 7:45 at Stonebridge Road), it’ll be two wins from two for Gravesend – anyway we can hope cant we?

For Adie Pennock and his Welling players, unlike last season’s opening day (when 10 of their starting 11 made their club debuts) tomorrow for the visit of Weston Super Mare to park View Road (which is where I’ll be for Matt Davison’s Saturday Sport – BBC Radio Kent 2:00 till 6:00)

Pennock will be able to call on familiar faces. The problem is that after the good season they had last year where they narrowly missed out on the Play Off places, will too much be expected of Pennock’s charges this time around?

There do have what all clubs crave though – two proven goalscorers! Che Stadhart (who signed a new contact in the past couple of weeks) and Danny Kedwell (who misses the start of the season through a suspension carried over from last year) struck up a partnership where they scored goals for fun, which coincided with the clubs good run that took them challenging.

Watching the Wings at the back end of the season it was almost as though they ran out of steam when the going got really tough, but despite all of that their home record was impressive, and if, IF the Wings can again make Park View Road a fortress where opposition can fear to tread!

Before I go, and with all due respect to the other clubs in the League, best of luck to Faversham Town as they return to the Kent League under the stewardship of Terry Cordice.

I remember TC from the end of his playing days, and the stories that go with those days. Here’s to a few more and a successful return….

Next week – THE START OF THE RYMAN LEAGUE! I think I’d best start that now… enjoy a game if you’re going tomorrow, otherwise the Counties best favourite sports show on Kent’s Soccer Station from the BBC will keep you right up to date with all the latest scores – Matt Cole and Chas Webster live on the web with Aldershot vs. Gravesend and Northfleet and yours truly at Park View Road….

And Stephen McCartney, the editor of, will be covering the Kent League clash between Beckenham Town and Erith & Belvedere at Eden Park Avenue.

Mike Green