I’m excited to have the opportunity to become Gillingham Women's new chairman and can’t wait to get started, says Kevin Hake
CHATHAM TOWN chairman Kevin Hake has taken over the chairmanship of Gillingham Women and has brought the side back to Maidstone Road.
“I am delighted to announce that Kevin Hake, local Medway businessman, will become the new owner/chairman of Gillingham Women Football Club with immediate effect,” said Josh Oatham, who will remain as first-team manager of the club.
The Companies House website confirms that Hake and Gary Thayre were appponted directors of the club on 20 October 2022, with Oatham resigning from that position.
Oatham said: “After conducting a thorough process lasting two months, which consisted of meeting a number of interested individuals, it was clear that Kevin was the best fit to take the club forward and I am pleased to welcome him into his new role.
“On the 18 August 2022, I released a club statement detailing my fear for the club’s existence going forward if a new owner was not found in the near future.
“Kevin’s eagerness to sort the situation has not only saved the club but provided the long-term stability the team craves.
“I want to thank Kevin for his time, passion and enthusiasm throughout this process and wish him a long and successful reign.
“On a personal note, I am really proud of the incredible journey we have been on together during my time as chairman.
“I would like to thank everyone, players, staff, volunteers and sponsors past and present who have helped to ensure that this club remained in existence and went on to achieve one of our best ever seasons in the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division. This club will forever hold a special place in my heart.”
Hake, who of course remains the chairman of the Isthmian League South East Division club and has transformed Chatham Town both on and off the pitch with his investment, said in a statement: “I couldn’t sit back and allow Kent’s highest place women’s team, that sits in the third tier of English football, to struggle.
“With the success of the Lionesses in the summer (winning the European Championships on home soil) and seeing how this galvanised a community spirit, this resonated with me. I’m excited to have the opportunity to become the club’s new chairman and can’t wait to get started.
“What Josh has achieved with not only this club but also for wider female football participation in Kent is nothing short of fantastic and emphasises everything I strive for.
“I thank him for everything and he will always be a bit part of this club. As a show of my appreciation, I’m delighted that he’s accepted the invitation to become our club president.
“I’m thrilled to announce that after a series of talks with Josh, he’s also agreed to remain in charge as manager of the first team. This will provide a fabulous platform for stability and continuity as we look to continue building on the team’s successes over the recent seasons.
“I would like to extend a warm welcome to Gillingham Women’s players, volunteers and supporters who can rest easy in the knowledge that their club is in safe hands. The club can continue to compete at the highest level and use Chatham Town FC as their new home.
“I’m keen on inclusivity and this will allow the local community to watch Gillingham Women FC in Chatham.
“I’ll be embarking on some exciting community initiatives that will encourage everyone to support Josh and our fantastic group of players. Now’s the time to get behind your local team and get to know the players.”
Gillingham sit in seventh-place of a 12 team FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division table with three wins and a draw from their opening seven league games.
Their first game back in Chatham will be a league game against Oxford United on Sunday 6 November (14:30).