Thursday 05th January 2006

Folkestone apply for promotion


Following crowd disturbances earlier in the season at Bromley, Ramsgate and Dartford - although all three clubs had stewarding in place - Folkestone Invicta are the next Kent club preparing for AFC Wimbledon's evasion, writes Stephen McCartney.

Folkestone's 1-0 win over Kent rivals Bromley last Monday attracted their highest crowd of the season when 369 flocked through the Cheriton Road turnstiles - but this figure will be dwarfed when the Dones visit on Saturday.

Invicta secretary Neil Pilcher has explained to www.folkestoneinvicta.co.uk the arrangements for the match.

He said: "As I understand it, the open Folkestone end of the ground will be for Wimbledon supporters along with half of what is commonly known as the "Grandad's Stand", i.e. that opposite the main stand.

"Folkestone supporters will have the closed end by the Harvey Grammer School and the other half of the "Grandad's Stand"  Unfortunately we are not allowing change of ends at half-time.

"We shall also split the main stand seating although that will probably be of less worry as the older supporters sit in there."

This decision has been taken after advice from the AFC Wimbledon safety officer and Kent Police as unfortunately there have been problems at a number of Wimbledon away games this season with the majority of incidents happening at grounds in Kent.

The Ryman League and Football Association have also sent out a circular concerning Wimbledon games.

"I think we need to mention our arrangements, but without antagonising the Wimbledon supporters or encouraging others that may come looking for a punch-up," added Pilcher.

"We will have a number of police officers and stewards from Dover Athletic, who are trained up to Conference standard for crowd control and the bars will be monitored by the stewards who normally look after the rock nights at Stripes. 

"Let's hope that all the action on Saturday is confined to the football pitch."

Meanwhile, Folkestone's Kent Senior Cup quarter-final with Margate has provisionally been arranged for Tuesday 7th February, although Chris Kinnear's side need to arrange a Ryman Premier League game with AFC Wimbledon that might clash with this date.

With Neil Cugley's side currently under performing and seventh from bottom in the Ryman Premier League table, Pilcher confirmed the club have made a late application for promotion.

"Application for promotion has been made should we finish in the required position," he revealed.

"The reason for us sending it two days before the deadline was indeed because that was the first chance I had to see chairman Bob Dix and get him to sign the form.

"At the moment we have just let the FA Know our intent.  What now happens is that they look at it again in March and the relevant league positions and then ask clubs that have applied of they want to continue.

"If they do, this is when we have to pay for an inspection team to visit the ground so at the moment we haven't paid anything."

Folkestone Invicta v AFC Wimbledon
Ryman Premier League
Saturday 7th January 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Buzzlines Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone