Welling Town chairman Kevin Oakes: We were required to provide considerable documentation and a business plan to outline our past, present and future. This is not something that has been thrown together in a few weeks!
WELLING TOWN chairman Kevin Oakes says he’s feeling delighted that the clubs application to join the Southern Counties East Football League First Division was accepted by The Football Association today.
The club moved in to Bayliss Avenue in Thamesmead a couple of seasons ago and have worked their way up from the Kent County League Division Three West, finishing runners-up to Sydenham Sports, before winning the Division Two title this season.
Manager Richard Dimmock guided the club to the Kent Junior Cup and they retained the Barry Bundock West Kent Challenge Shield but they do have the largest playing budget in the entire Kent County League.
Playing at the former ground of Thamesmead Town, which has stayed Isthmian Premier Division football in the past, Welling Town have seen a gap in the market to win promotion into Step Six football.
They have joined Kent County League Premier Division top-two finishers Kennington and Greenways, who will be hiring Ashford United and K Sports’ grounds next season, in a higher grade of football, an eighteen club division.
“Naturally we're delighted to have been allocated a place in Southern Counties East Football League First Division next season,” said Mr Oakes.
“Myself and various club officials were fortunate to hear via numerous contacts as far back as January 2017 of the planning changes to the National League System for 2018/19.
“We have been working on our application to The FA with the support of the Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL) for over 12 months, both on and off the field, as a move up the ladder is something rarely considered by the FA and we were required to provide considerable documentation and a business plan to outline our past, present and future. This is not something that has been thrown together in a few weeks!
“The players have more than delivered on the pitch in that time winning two promotions and three cups in just over 12 months.
“At the same time, off the field we have moved in to a fantastic facility at Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead which matches all ground grading criteria necessary for our new level, and even one above.
“We have expanded the club with a reserve side and now a youth setup and have demonstrated our ambition to be a growing, community-based club and not one stand-alone successful first team.
“We understand that questions will be asked from people not aware of all of the conversations and dialogue of the last year and we couldn't possibly cover them all in a short interview.
“However, all natural promotion and relegation has taken place, so our movement up the ladder has not had a direct impact on any other club, up or down. All other club movements would have taken place anyhow.
“In fact, we made it clear to both the FA and SCEFL that if it meant another side missing out, we would not want to progress. Fortunately, there were vacancies within their competition after all natural promotion and relegation, and we were therefore placed in one of those otherwise vacant positions.
“Thank you to The FA for considering and accepting our application and to SCEFL and in particular Derek Peck for his support and guidance.
“We'd also like to place on record our admiration and thanks to the many volunteer officers at the Kent County Football League where it all began in 2016 and will continue with our reserve side next season.
“We would not be where we are without their support and help in getting the club a footing in Saturday football at all, and it just shows what can be achieved by being a part of their well-run league. We wish them well for the future.”
Visit Welling Town’s website: www.wellingtown.co.uk