Friday night football is something I have been mentioning for some quite some time now, says FC Elmstead general manager Fabio Rossi
FC ELMSTEAD general manager Fabio Rossi says his club are relishing the chance to open the Kent Invicta League season on a Friday night.
The club are preparing for their biggest game in their history when they make their Step Six debut against local rivals Orpington at Oakley Road on Friday, 7 August 2015.
Nicknamed The Cocks, FC Elmstead were elected into the Kent Invicta League after securing a three-year groundshare deal at Bromley based Southern Counties East Football League club Holmesdale.
FC Elmstead finished as runners-up in the Kent County League Division Two last season and will be a part of a 20 club Kent Invicta League this season.
“As a club we are delighted to be hosting Orpington in the Invicta League’s curtain raiser and it will also be our first ever game as a senior club, said Rossi.
Mr Rossi is championing a campaign for regular Friday night football in the Southern Counties East Football League and Kent Invicta League this season - to increase crowds at games.
“Friday night football is something I have been mentioning for quite some time now,” he said.
“I am not sure why other clubs haven’t tried it! Even before we were accepted into the League, it was something I spoke to the Invicta League committee about and that we would like to try out.
“I really can’t see us getting too many people through the gate each week, so let’s give it a go! It may attract the odd ground hopper or just a casual floater who wants to take a game in.
“It can only be a good move. The possibility of more people through the gate means the possibility of more revenue through the bar. We can all go out after and have a Saturday off – the missus will be pleased!”
The team are managed by Danny Wakeling – no relation to Bromley’s manager during the 1990s George Wakeling - and Mr Rossi wants the club to consolidate in their new surroundings.
“What are our aspirations for the coming season? Well, mine are just to consolidate in the league,” said the general manager.
“I have asked no more from our manager Danny Wakeling to have a team that is competitive and create the best team spirit around.
“Sounds easy, but it won’t be! Good team spirits are usually fostered out of winning enough games. I have yet to come across a team with a good team spirit that is languishing at the bottom. So we are preparing ourselves for a tough test.
“We will have a sprinkling of former Southern Counties East Football League and Invicta players but we have added quite a few of our youngsters that have come through the club system.
“It will be a 36-man squad. Two teams almost running side by side and interchanging where possible. One of which will compete in the Kent County League. We are probably going to need them all. It is a jump for us from a 20-game season to 40.”
Mr Rossi added: “Off the field we have a big club committee of around 20 bodies but most of them will be involved with their own sides and we will probably have only two or three at Oakley Road on a matchday.”
Wakeling will be assisted by long-serving coach Jack White, while former Crockenhill manager Steve Devreaux will be player-assistant manager and Tyrone Reid manages the club’s Kent County League side.
Mr Rossi revealed the progress being made at their Chislehurst Recreation Ground base.
He said: “The second phase of our home base project in Chislehurst is due to start in March 2016.
“This is where the majority of our other teams play. The pitches have been levelled and drainage installed to the cost of £100,000. The second phase is to knock down the old clubhouse and rebuild to the cost of £250,000. Once this has been done, it will become a valuable source of extra income.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of league rivals Eltham Palace Neil Proctor has confirmed that the club will be playing their home games at Foxbury Avenue, Chislehurst this season.
Visit FC Elmstead’s website: www.fcelmstead.co.uk
FC Elmstead v Orpington
Kent Invicta League
Friday 7th August 2015
Kick Off 7:45pm
At 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ