Saturday 15th May 2004

Cray given the go-ahead for promotion

GO TRAVEL Kent League champions for the last two years, Cray Wanderers have received the news that they have been promoted into the Isthmian League Division One set-up next season, writes Stephen McCartney.

Founded in 1860, Cray Wanderers' claim to be the second oldest football club in the world, behind Sheffield.  But the club , who will be playing landlords Bromley in Isthmian League action for the first time ever, are now putting in place plans as they prepare for life in Ryman League football.

Manager Ian Jenkins, who has scored in each of his twelve seasons at the club, received the good news from the Football Association at 4.00pm on Friday, and this was greeted with huge celebrations at the club's presentation night the same evening.

Chairman, Gary Hillman, can now look forward to local derbies against Bromley, the last time the two clubs met in league action was in the Kent League in 1912-13, Dulwich Hamlet and the money-spinning clash with AFC Wimbledon.

He said: "I am over the moon really and I would like to thank Denise Richmond (Kent FA) and Jerry Dolke (Bromley chairman) for their assistance.  There were a few minor clarifications, nothing too exciting!"

Hillman, who owns his own building company, added: "We've got a meeting on Monday with Jenkins and Joe Francis (assistant manager) running through a list of players who could strengthen the squad.

"No-one wants to leave the club as far as I know.  We've got a good team spirit around the club.

"In football, if you stand still you go backwards!"

With the prospect of playing Bromley, Dulwich Hamlet and AFC Wimbledon amongst other well established clubs, Hillman will be calculating the expected gate receipts to plan his budget as they make their first ever assault in the Ryman League.

Hillman revealed: "The derbies will be money spinning - the Bromley game will be interesting to see which teams has the home dressing room!

"AFC Wimbledon is the big one - we have to sit down and work out gate receipts and  see what we will get next year.

"I am looking forward to it - it's going to be good."

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