Sunday 01st May 2005

Kent football unites for "Paul Sykes" Cup Final

KENT football will unite at Folkestone Invicta’s Westbourne Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon when Dover Athletic meet Margate in the John Ullmann Kent Senior Cup Final in memory of striker Paul Sykes, writes Richard Murrill.

Sykes tragically died after collapsing on the pitch during Invicta’s ill-fated semi final tie against holders Margate and all net proceeds from Monday’s final will go towards Paul’s wife Carly and young son Thomas.

Paul’s funeral at St Andrew’s Church in Dover last Friday week attracted a huge turnout and Monday’s match is expected to be played in front of a huge crowd as people will come from far and wide to pay their respects to the former Gillingham, Margate, Dover Athletic, Dartford and Folkestone Invicta player, who was also a keen golfer and cricketer.

Invicta pulled out of the Senior Cup following the tragedy and manager Neil Cugley said: "This has obviously been a very traumatic and horrific few weeks for everybody involved but it has been incredibly moving to see how the football community has rallied around and the important thing has been to try and support Carly and the rest of Paul’s family and closest friends as much as possible.

"Football and football clubs will go on but Paul’s family are the people that have mattered over the past few weeks and we want Monday’s game to raise as much money as possible for them.

"I would like to thank everybody on behalf of Folkestone Invicta Football Club for the overwhelming amount of messages and tributes which have come in for Paul. He was a great character to have around and always livened up the dressing room.

"We as a club felt that it was the right thing to do to pull out of the competition after our ill-fated semi final here against Margate but to stage the game here between Margate and Dover Athletic so that three of the clubs with whom Paul was closely associated to could all come together to remember him and raise money for his family."

There will be a raffle, various other fundraisers and a special programme on the day.

Paul’s younger brother Patrick will be selling commemorative wristbands at the ground – they will be yellow with the words ’Loved-Respected-Missed’ on them, with all money going to the Thomas Sykes Trust Fund.

Anybody unable to attend the game but wishing to purchase a wristband – priced £3.50 – is asked to contact sykpatri@aol.com

Volunteers are needed on Monday so if anyone can help make it a special, safe occasion for all football fans please contact Clive on 01303 257 266.

Meanwhile, due to KCFA requirements the Invicta Bar, above the changing rooms will not be open to the public.  Everyone not invited must use the Stripes bar.

* Remember to arrive at the stadium as early as possible and to share cars if you can.  If doesn't help the train line between Folkestone Central and Dover Priory being closed due to engineering works until September.  Parking at the stadium is very limited but the club are putting in place locations where fans can park. 

Dover Athletic v Margate
John Ullmann Kent Senior Cup Final
Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd May 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Westbourne Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone