Surely common sense will prevail and the council will let us put a nice stadium there and bring football back to the community, says Cray Wanderers director Michael Paye

Sunday 10th May 2015

CRAY WANDERERS director Michael Paye has praised former boss Tommy Warrilow for keeping the club in the Ryman League.

Paye, 48, was one of four managers at the club during the season just ended, but former Tonbridge Angels boss Warrilow collected a club record ten league wins out of ten towards the end of the season to pull off The Great Escape to finish the campaign in sixteenth-place.

STAYING UP: Cray Wanderers' players celebrate pulling off The Great Escape to keep the club in the Ryman League under former Tonbridge Angels management pair Tommy Warrilow and Alex O'Brien.
Photo: Cray Wanderers FC

Warrilow and his assistant Alex O’Brien slipped through the exit after the club’s final game of the season and the club enticed Tony Russell, 36, to leave VCD Athletic after just nineteen months in charge to drop down a division to return to one of his former clubs.

Russell also pulled off The Great Escape by winning his last six league games to guide the Crayford based outfit to an eighteenth-placed finish in Vickers’ inaugural Ryman Premier League campaign.

Both Russell and Warrilow scooped the Ryman League manager-of-the-month awards for April.

Paye, who is also the assistant manager for Charlton Athletic, who are in third-place in The FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division with one game to go and have completed a Cup treble, spoke about the Wands following the Addicks’ 4-1 home defeat to Cardiff City at Thamesmead Town earlier today.

“I was involved in the management side down there and when I resigned it was for Tony Russell to come back. That’s all I would resign for. He was the only person that I wanted to be at the club,” revealed Paye.

“We’ve done some negotiation with him. We done a deal a long time ago. We had a chat with him quite a while ago and he said ‘let’s wait until the end of the season and we’ll have a chat and if it’s still looking the way it is, then we’ll still do something.”

Russell revealed at a recent game that VCD Athletic’s game against Bognor Regis Town on 17 January was supposed to be his last game in charge of the club – despite Warrilow in charge of Cray Wanderers and struggling at first to turn around fortunes at Hayes Lane.

Paye admitted: “It was up and down wasn’t it?

“I stepped down and then Tom came on board and I was thinking (about our losing run of results) and then he got one win and went on to get 30 points out of 30 points, last ten games of the season and we ended up sixteenth!

“When you say football’s a funny old game it really is!

“He did a magnificent job for us. He got some really good players down there for us. I think he did a great job.”

Paye, who says he is one of three investors at Cray Wanderers along with chairman Gary Hillman and Dave Francis, has challenged Bromley council to give the club the go-ahead to rejuvenate Flamingo Park, the site of the proposed new stadium, based next to the A20.

He said: “We’ve got some really big plans with the new stadium. Myself, Gary and Dave Francis, so we’re the three investors in the club.

“Hopefully Bromley council are going to be good with what they let us do there.

“Actually today I was on the A20 and it was at a standstill that’s because they had a boot fair, I believe, at Flamingo Park and it was gridlocked!

“Surely common sense will prevail and the council will let us put a nice stadium there and bring football back to the community. There’s no football being played at the ground.

“If you go on our website you can see we’ve got all the plans there. A 2,200 seater stadium. It will hopefully have some facilities there, a gymnasium, Academy, our community trust, 3G pitch. It will also have seven-a-side and five-a-side pitches there as well so it will all be there to use by the Academy, the youth teams and obviously the people in the community.”

PLANS: Cray Wanderers have launched a website to show people their plans for Flamingo Park, which will be rebranded Foxbury Park.
Photos: Cray Wanderers FC

Chairman Mr Hillman posted a brief update on the Flamingo Park Project website.

He said: “After receiving a response back from Bromley Council regarding our pre-application statement, we are now working with our planning expert to fine tune the scheme to suit all relevant planning policies.”

Paye, meanwhile, was asked whether he prefers life in the dug-out assisting Jeremy Parsons at Charlton Athletic – or the directors box at Cray Wanderers.

“I played for Charlton many years ago so the football side of it, for me is where my heart is but work commitments and stuff like that I can’t give the amount of time that is needed to be a manager at this level.

“Jel has asked me to help him here until the end of the season. What happens next year is up to Stephen (King, chairman) and Sue (Prior, secretary) and we’ll see what happens.”

Visit Cray Wanderers’ new website:

Visit the Flamingo Park Project website: