Cray Wanderers ready to move into Flamingo Park as they officially end 25 great years at Hayes Lane in April

Friday 09th February 2024

CRAY WANDERERS chairman Gary Hillman has officially confirmed the club’s departure from Bromley’s Hayes Lane stadium at the end of this season.

The Wands have announced that they are on target to start the 2024-25 season at their new ground at Flamingo Park, the first that the club has officially owned in its 164-year history.

Mr Hillman, who has been chairman since October 1994, said in a statement: “I have spoken to Robin Stanton-Gleaves (chairman) and Mark Hammond (CEO) at Bromley FC and given them an update on developments and building our new ground and informed them we are all on target to end our groundshare at Bromley FC at the end of the season.”

Cray Wanderers started playing at Hayes Lane at the start of the 1998-99 season when the club moved from Oxford Road in Sidcup as it was a requirement of the Kent League to have floodlights and it wasn’t possible to continue playing there.

“We’ve had 25 great years at Hayes Lane with two Kent League championships and two promotions to the Isthmian Premier and it’s played an important part in keeping London’s Oldest Football Club alive,” said Mr Hillman.

“When we moved into Hayes Lane there were old condemned portacabin changing rooms and the ground was on the verge of being closed down by the (Isthmian) League.

“Today, it has better facilities than some EFL League One/Championship clubs and feel Cray Wanderers can also be proud of the part we have played in helping to improve the stadium and facilities.

“I would like to thank Bromley FC chairmen over that time, Eddy Davies, Jerry Dolke and Robin Stanton-Gleaves and also to the part the late Glyn Beverly made and who arranged with the Isthmian league to allow us to groundshare even though it wasn’t allowed at the time when we got promoted in 2003-04.

“Glyn always said that Jack Pearce (vice-chairman of Bognor Regis Town FC/Ex Isthmian League committee member) was instrumental behind the scenes in playing a part in this, so it’s somewhat fitting that currently our last game at Bromley FC is due to be against Bognor Regis on 20 April 2024.

“But it’s all about the future now and everyone at Cray Wanderers and in the community are looking forward to the 2024-25 season and for the first time in our 164th year that we will be playing at our own ground.”

Cray Wanderers welcome Concord Rangers to Hayes Lane for an Isthmian League Premier Division fixture on Sunday, 11 February (15:00).

Meanwhile, Chloe Ashdown became the first female footballer to score a goal in an official match at Flamingo Park, as Cray Wanderers' Ladies side beat Oakwood 2-0 there in the South East Counties Women's Football League Kent Division One West last Sunday.

The stadium is not quite ready to host Isthmian League Premier Division fixtures (the seventh-tier of English football) but can host training sessions for Neil Smith's men as well as Ladies football and the youth sides that represent the club on the recently laid artificial playing surface.

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