A return for Canterbury City?

Sunday 02nd April 2006

Former Southern League club Canterbury City may be revived next season with the help of a £1m grant from the local council.

Revivalists campaigning to rebuild the club on a new site in the city – on the few in Britain without a major non-league side – said money from the sale of the old side’s Kingsmead home could be used to build a new floodlit stadium.


The club, which dropped to the Kent League in 1994, folded in 2001 when the lease ran out and the stadium was sold.


The name has been kept alive by under 14s side Canterbury City Youth in the Kent Youth League, whose officials are hoping to revive the senior side.


Following talks with Canterbury council, the aim is to have a stadium built to at least Kent League and possibly Southern League standards within three years as the current side graduating to open-age football.


Chairman Brian Budd said there were moves to restart an adult side under the Canterbury City banner in the Kent County League next season.


While the £1m figure had come up in talks with the council, it was also hoped to attract grant aid funding from the Sports Foundation and Sports England.


He told the Non-League Paper: “We have not settled on a site, but we intend to return senior football to Canterbury.


“We are now just waiting for a piece of land.  The council has given us the green light to build a stadium within three years and it is an exciting time.  We have an excellent youth set up and we are now trying to get a men’s team together.”


The revival has gripped local imagination, with car stickers and posters displayed throughout the city.  And Canterbury MP Julian Brazier accepted an invitation to attend a youth training session.


Kent County FA managing director Barry Bright added: “The loss of the club was a huge blow for Kent football, but I was particularly pleased when the youth club continued.


“I am delighted at the initiative and trust the efforts being made by a dedicated group of real football people will bear fruit.”

Canterbury City, formed in 1951, played in the Kent and Metropolitan Leagues before elected to the Southern League in 1960.