Canterbury City: We will not be able to sustain a self-sufficient entity for funds so we are faced with the awful decision to withdraw from the League

Sunday 19th September 2021

CANTERBURY CITY have made the difficult decision to request to withdrawal from the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division after only eight league games citing financial reasons.

“As a club we have worked hard over the last 14 years or so to have an independent hub in the City of Canterbury,” said a club statement.

“A hub that would not only benefit the City, would provide a platform for young players to progress to a level where they have the opportunity to be paid to play football.

“Our ambition has always been to have a local club for local people.

“This weekend we have been informed that we will need to wait three years for planning application to be submitted.  We will not be able to sustain a self-sufficient entity for funds required over this period, therefore we are faced with the awful decision to submit this request.

“We will continue to explore our options to be able to still have a Step Five football team within the Southern Counties East Football League set-up.

“The reality is we will require funding to achieve this, without this we have no option other than offer to withdraw from the League.

“We will issue a further detailed statement in the next couple of days. We would like to thank the League board for their help and understanding of this delicate situation.”

The homeless club are sitting in eleventh-place in the table with a playing record of three wins and two draws from their eight league outings.

Chris Woollcott's side won 2-0 at Holmesdale yesterday, with goals coming from Jordan Casey and Tom Cousins.

The Southern Counties East Football League, meanwhile, has called an emergency board meeting for tomorrow to discuss this matter and will release a statement soon after.

Meanwhile, supporter Richard Moore has launched an online fundraising campaign in a bid to save his club from going under, setting a target of at least £20,000.

"Only a few seasons ago we made it to the FA Vase Semi-Final, one game from Wembley," said Moore.

"Our home ground of Kingsmead Stadium has now been re-developed for housing after being purchased by Canterbury City Council who promised to help provide a brand new “Football Hub” in the City which was hoped would become the football clubs home.

"The club had to fold after this purchase but reformed in 2007 with the ambition of being in a new hub within two years as guided by the Council.

"Fourteen years later and after several rejections, we have hit a brick wall. We have done everything we can to adjust to the requirements of planning permission requirements. However, we have now been informed that we need to wait another three years before submitting a planning application. We have been deprived of our funding that we heavily rely on as a result of this.
"Because we don't have our own facility, we are required to ground share (at Faversham Town) which isn't a cheap expense. As with any other club we have training facility costs to pay, officials and everything else associated with running a semi-professional team.

"We are now faced with the reality of reducing our playing budget from a low amount to £0 just to try and stay as a member of the league.
"This is not unique to other clubs we realise. However with a City the size of Canterbury, it is astonishing that a National League System set up club does not have its own facility in its own city and has been held back through no fault of our own.
"We have tried and exhausted other avenues, however, the fact remains we have been let down and now face the very real threat of losing our team from the league unless we can generate some income.

"We obviously require more than our target for the reasons outlined above. However, the target set is one that will allow us to operate for the rest of this season without any major disruption to our squad, which frankly we will lose to other teams within our division. Half the amount will allow us to just operate.
"Thank you in advance for any donation you can help with. We hope we can continue as a club and fight to ensure that our city is recognised with what it deserves.

"We don't think there are any other cities in the UK that don't have a club homed within their boundary. Whilst we exist, we have the hope we can achieve our aim."

Slade Green, Gravesham Borough, Thamesmead Town, Greenwich Borough and Whyteleafe are local clubs that have folded in the past.

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