Soccer Shorts: Early FA Cup start leaves clubs with little time to prepare their squads for one of the most important matches of the campaign, says Cray Valley chairman Frank May

Saturday 04th June 2016

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CRAY VALLEY chairman Frank May has criticised The Football Association over the early start The FA Cup next season.

The Extra Preliminary Round will kick-off on Saturday 6 August, the same date as the opening day of the Southern Counties East Football League, which has been expanded following the merger of the Step Six Kent Invicta League after five seasons, as well as the three divisions of the National League.

Mr May wrote on the club’s Facebook page: “The Millers first competitive fixture of the season is likely to be in the Emirates FA Cup after The Football Association announced that their competition will commence on Saturday 6 August.

“This is almost two weeks earlier than last season and has thrown the non-league community into meltdown.

“The date coincides with the official start of the Southern Counties East Football League, leaving clubs with little time to prepare their squads for one of the most important matches of the campaign.”

Mr May added: “The draws for the early rounds of The FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase are expected to be announced in the first week of July with the SCEFL fixtures published approximately two weeks later.”

Meanwhile, newly-appointed manager James Collins has appointed Neil Hunter to form his management team alongside Brad Sandeman.

DULWICH HAMLET have reached an agreement with Woking to sell striker Charlie Penny, 21 to the Vanarama National League club.

EAST GRINSTEAD TOWN have signed midfielder David Botterill from their Ryman League Division One South rivals Hythe Town.

EBBSFLEET UNITED have announced that they will release midfielder Michael West, 25, when his contract expires at the end of the month.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA director Cliff Egan is asking fans to contribute towards Neil Cugley’s budget in the Ryman Premier League next season.

“This season I feel financially will be difficult.  I estimate that we will need to raise an extra £20,000 minimum to break even, as I don’t see our income covering the extra expenses of competing in the Ryman Premier League,” Mr Egan told

“It is part of our plans to raise this extra income through commercial means but we will also be announcing how supporters can contribute to the playing fund which will be called EXTRA SUBS.

“This sort of scheme has worked well at clubs like Dulwich Hamlet which has helped to see them now become a big club in the Ryman Premier League and has given them the opportunity to sign some big name players.

“I and other board members have been asked if and how supporters can contribute towards strengthening the squad for the coming season.

“We have an account that is set up and will only be used for the playing budget.”

Folkestone Invicta have fourteen players signed on for next season’s campaign after running away with the Ryman League Division One South title last season.

GREENWICH BOROUGH will admit season ticket or members of League clubs for half price (£5) for their Ryman League Division One South games next season.  Manager Gary Alexander and his assistant manager John Mackie have been drumming up support on their Twitter accounts during the close season.

Alexander has signed a couple of players from Ryman League Division One North side Thurrock as left-back Remi Sutton, 24, joins Lewwis Spence at the newly-promoted Ryman One South side.

LEYTON ORIENT have appointed former Gillingham man Andy Hessenthaler as their new manager.

A statement from the League Two club on its website said: “The president Francesco Becchettie is pleased to confirm that Andy Hessenthaler has signed a one-year contract to become the club’s new manager.

“Following an interview process conducted directed by the chairman, the club are confident they have the right man for the job and believe Andy’s expertise, spirit and passion made him the stand-out candidate for the position.

“Hessenthaler, who was previously assistant manager to both Ian Hendon and Kevin Nolan over the course of the season was handed the caretaker position for the final five games of the 2015-16 League Two campaign, and will now take over as manager on a permanent basis after agreeing a one-year deal, with an option of an extension.”

LORDSWOOD are close to unveiling their new manager soon.

A statement from the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division club said: “Thanks to all who applied for the first team manager role. We are now compiling a shortlist for interview and will be in contact shortly.”

The Martyn Grove club are currently managerless after James Collins and his assistant Brad Sandmann both left to manage their league rivals Cray Valley.

MAIDSTONE UNITED right-back Callum Driver, 23, has agreed a new contract for next season.  The former West Ham United and Dartford defender made 46 league and cup appearances for the promoted Stones last season.

Meanwhile, the club have sold 750 season tickets ahead of their Vanarama National League debut next season.

Chief executive Bill Williams told “I am really impressed we’ve added another 250 in such a short space of time and we’ve had several calls from people saying they will be down to renew soon.

“The reduced capacity that we will have during the building works has seen a great number of fans buying one for the first time, so hopefully it won’t be long before we hit a thousand.”

MARGATE have announced that Russell Sullivan has returned to the board of directors at the Vanarama National League South.

Mr Sullivan spent just under a year as a director before but had to step down due to work commitments but he returns now as part of a new structure at the club after the departure of former chairman Bob Laslettt in March.

He spent the majority of his working career in the education system and will work closely with the club’s head of football in the community and football development officer Joe Rowland in ensuring the club grows its activities and work in the local community and schools.

Margate chairman John Webb told “I worked closely with Russell during his last stint at the club and he will once again be an asset to the club in several ways.

“Russell has vast experience of working in the local community and I know his passion for Margate Football Club will only benefit the whole club.”

PHOENIX SPORTS have signed striker Theo Fairweather-Johnson, who scored 18 goals for their Ryman League Division One North rivals Thamesmead Town last season.

RAMSGATE joint-manager Danny Ward says he was impressed with the quality on show at the club’s under 21 trials last week.

“A good but cold night watching the Rams under 21 trial match on the 3G pitch at Hartsdown Academy,” Ward told

“The amount of quality was high.  Liam Taylor and Dave Lee will have a very difficult but enjoyable job whittling the group down to a squad for next season.”

Ramsgate’s first team squad featured eight players from the under 21s last season and Ward wants similar figures during the club’s Ryman League Division One South campaign next  term too.

“There’s plenty of good players on show who I’m sure will be pushing for first team places next season,” he added.

Under 18 trials continue on Tuesday 14 June at Hartsdown Academy, while first team trails start on 25 June.

SEVEN ACRE & SIDCIP have announced that Ross Baker and Danny Joy, who were joint-managers at Kent County League side Erith 147 Sports last season, have joined the management team to work alongside manager Lee Hill with all first team duties.

SUTTON UNITED’S Gander Green Lane stages the International Challenge Trophy match between England C and Slovakia under 21’s on Sunday (2pm kick-off). Admission is free.

Bromley’s versatile defender Jack Holland has been recalled to the squad by manager Paul Fairclough and he has been joined in the squad by goalkeeper Brandon Hall, who has been released by National League South side Ebbsfleet United this summer, Dover Athletic defender Sean Raggett, Daniel Sweeney and Jack Paxman of newly-promoted Maidstone United.

THAMESMEAD TOWN boss Tommy Warrilow has retained Richard Butler, Ainsley Everitt, Jay Porter, Joe Vines, Paul Vines and Andy Walker from last season’s squad.

Warrilow has revealed that Giannoulis Fakinos, Steve Springett, Adrian Stone and Warren Whiteley have signed for the club as he prepares for his first season  in charge of the Bayliss Avenue based club.

“I’m delighted that we’ve made the first batch of signings after a couple of weeks spent on the phone and talking to a number of players who have contacted me about joining the club,” Warrilow told

“The players that we’ve signed today are a mix of old and new faces to the Mead fans and I hope that they’ll welcome them all to the club.

“These are just the first signings as I’m still waiting to hear back from another half dozen or so players in the next few days.”

The former Tonbridge Angels and Cray Wanderers boss also confirmed that physio Carly Payne and goalkeeper coach Craig Gibson are staying at the club.

“It’s great that both Carly and Craig are returning and that just about completes our off-field team, although we are still looking for a kit-man to join us,” added Warrilow.

TUNBRIDGE WELLS manager Jason Bourne has unveiled his first summer signings with Connor Pring, 19, and Richard Atkins, 27, joining the Southern Counties East Football League club.

Pring is an attacking midfielder, who’s previous clubs include Tonbridge Angels, Eastbourne Borough and Brighton & Hove Albion.

Striker Atkins has previously played for Folkestone Invicta, Canterbury City, Sittingbourne and Enfield Rovers in Sydney, Australia.

Atkins told “I teach PE at a nearby school in Tonbridge and moving to the area.

“I’ve spent most of my footballing career with Folkestone, who have a great set-up and fan-base and Tunbridge Wells is very similar to that.

“I met with Jason Bourne and liked what he had to say about the club and its ambition.  I want to be part of something good with a club challenging for the league and contribute in getting them into the Ryman League.”

Meanwhile, Bourne has appointed Tunbridge Wells based Lee Mack to run the club’s under 21’s next season.

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