We’re keen to get playing again too, not only because that’s why we’re all here but because we know the stresses and strains that everyone has been under recently, says newly-appointed Crowborough Athletic chairman Joe Croker

Saturday 27th June 2020

CROWBOROUGH ATHLETIC’S newly-appointed chairman Joe Croker says everybody at the club has to pull together next season.


Croker has recruited a new executive committee, which has been proposed and elected by club members at an Extraordinary General Meeting and work has begun to address the challenges of the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic to plan for the secure future of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division club.

Croker is a well-known figure in local football, having guided Tunbridge Wells to their first ever Wembley appearance in the FA Vase Final in 2013 in his role as Chairman (where they were narrowly beaten by 2-1 by Spennymoor Town) and more recently for his work at Rusthall, which saw the Rustics promoted from the First Division of the Southern Counties East Football League to the Premier Division in 2017 for the first time in their history, along with overseeing ground improvements at Jockey Farm.

Croker also served a season on the executive committee at Crowborough Athletic, before returning to Fermor Road to take over the chairman’s role from Clive Maynard, who stepped down on 2 May 2020.

“Knowing the club as well as I do and having enjoyed watching the first-team regularly over the last few seasons, it was an easy decision to put myself forward for the role as chairman when the call came,” Croker told the club website.

“There are some great people here, with a can-do attitude and if I can mix that collective enthusiasm with my own experience in non-league football at this level, then we hopefully have a bright future, from the first-team right down to our youngest juniors.

“We want to compete at all levels, right through the club and we’ll be making sure that everything is in place to make that happen.

“I think the challenges are always the same for clubs at this level – making sure realistic finances are in place to pay the bills and making sure that we have robust governance right throughout the club.

“We need to pull together, at all levels and on all fronts, with everyone clear on what’s expected of them and everyone prepared to speak openly and honestly about anything they feel could do better.  We’ve had some really good debates already.

“The club is in reasonable health and we have a good base to build from but there’s lots of work to do, given all the uncertainty ahead.

“We still have significant outgoings, with virtually no income for obvious reasons and we need to work closely with people of Crowborough, Crowborough Town Council, all our sponsors, our supporters, our coaches, our players and our parents to make sure that we have explored every avenue so that we can survive the current crisis and take the club forward.

“We need to plan and be pro-active and I’m very keen to get all those conversations underway as soon as possible, either under the current rules on social distancing or though the magic of the internet.”

Crowborough Athletic, like every single football club up and down the country, wants to know when the 2020-21 football season will get underway.

Croker said: “We’re keen to get playing again too, not only because that’s why we’re all here but because we know the stresses and strains that everyone has been under recently and we are slowly managing to get all our teams out on to the training pitch again, closely adhering to guidance from the government and The FA.

“We feel that this will benefit everyone’s mental health and longer-term resilience, even if the start date for the season remains uncertain.

“This is a great club with a long history and a strong presence in the community and we need the community to work with us to get us through this tricky period and make sure that The Crows can look forward to another successful 125 years, though I’m not sure I’ll still be the chairman then!”

Crowborough Athletic were second-from-bottom in the table at the time of the coronavirus pandemic in March, which forced the campaign to be declared null and void by The Football Association.

Visit Crowborough Athletic’s website: www.crowboroughathletic.com