Beckenham Town chairman Paul Faires: We are being forced to entertain yet more clubs with no infrastructure, no fans, it’s a disgrace!

Thursday 23rd July 2020

BECKENHAM TOWN chairman Paul Faires doesn’t agree with placing Balham and Tower Hamlets in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division – and calls to revert to the traditional Kent League.


The League board met last night and agreed to kick-off their 2020-21 campaign on Saturday 5 September 2020.

There will be no Challenge Cup next season due to the delayed start to the new campaign after last season’s campaign was declared null and void by The Football Association due to the coronavirus health pandemic.

Jason Huntley’s Beckenham Town side were leading the table for most of the season before it was abandoned in the middle of March and have been denied a chance of promotion into the Isthmian League, having been involved in an exciting five-horse race for the title.

The FA has confirmed that Balham and Tower Hamlets will be playing in the Premier Division after agreeing groundshare deals at AFC Croydon Athletic and Phoenix Sports respectively.

Balham used to play their home games at Colliers Wood United’s Wibbandune Stadium in Wimbledon SW20, while Tower Hamlets hail from Mile End in East London.

Tower Hamlets will be playing nearly 13 miles away from their traditional base with their move to Barnehurst, while Balham will be moving nearly nine miles to Thornton Heath.

On the pitch, Balham were sitting in thirteenth-place of 21 sides in the Combined Counties League Premier Division, while Tower Hamlets were second-from-bottom in a nineteen-side Essex Senior League.  

Faires said: “Having read this on your website, I nearly fell off my chair! With all due respect to the people involved in the clubs, is the Southern Counties East Football League really serious about admitting these clubs to the Premier Division next season?

“This is basically a Kent League and in my opinion should revert to being a Kent League.

“What are these clubs going to bring? One man and a dog watching and that’s it!  We are being turned into a laughing stock!

“Fantastic clubs like Sheppey United, Chatham Town, Tunbridge Wells, Deal Town etc, not to mention Beckenham Town and other clubs being forced to entertain yet more clubs with no infrastructure, no fans, it’s a disgrace!

“We as a club have invested close to £300,000 over the last five seasons to play in this league.  God knows what other top teams have invested?

“I feel sorry for them. The sooner we get back to playing in a Kent League the better.

“I am sorry to say it’s a joke and a total backward step. Someone needs to get a grip on this, otherwise it’s all going to fall apart.  We might as well take part in a park league!”

Meanwhile, First Division side Holmesdale have lost the services of coaches Andy Constable and Grant Duff, who have both signed for Kent County League side Otford United, as players.

A third former Holmesdale player, left-back Ryan Watts has also decided to drop down a division with the O’s.

Manager Ricky Tompkins has also signed striker Charlie Sharman, who has also played at a higher level of football.