I said from day one that everything will be ready, says Glebe chairman Rocky McMillan
GLEBE chairman Rocky McMillan says the club’s ground will meet Kent Invicta League ground criteria in time for the new season on 8 August.
A crowd of 42 watched Saturday’s opening game in Chislehurst when Glebe were defeated 3-2 by Southern Counties East Football League side Canterbury City at Foxbury Avenue.
The vast majority of the spectators watched the pre-season friendly on a patio in front of the clubhouse.
However, there still remains a lot of work to do around the large pitch to ensure that the ground meets ground grading criteria for Step Six.
There were no dug-outs, no permanent perimeter fencing, no hardstanding around the pitch, no stands or terracing, no floodlights, but Mr McMillan showed plans that this will be in place in the near future and that the club will be ready to stage Kent Invicta League football next month.
He said: “It’s all been planned! The one thing that gets me down is bureaucracy. I understand that people have got jobs to do and bureaucrats on this occasion that held me up for eight weeks were Bromley council, although they done a fantastic job for us and helped us out in every way, when we put our plans in in February, they said it will be six weeks and it took fourteen weeks.
“When I asked why, they said the General Election and all the councillors were out canvassing. We didn’t get in there until June when we should have been in in April.
“The FSIF – the Football Stadium Improvement Fund – couldn’t accept that we’ve been given planning permission until the legal documents and with Bromley council short staffed it was going to be another three weeks.
“It’s not their fault – I’ve got some really great friends in the council – but it is frustrating when that sort of thing happens.
“I’m not allowed to start any works on the ground. People that have gone through the FSIF know your whole grant application can go to pot if you start any works before you’ve given the authority to do so.
“We’ve been pushing and pushing and the inside works are fine. It’s just a question of within two weeks this will be transformed because all the contractors are literally coming in from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Glebe have one of the largest main football pitch around, and when asked about the work going ahead, Mr McMillan revealed: “We’ve got the dug-outs coming in within ten days, the contractors for the fencing will take eight days. I’ve doubled up on the labour there, the two sides of concrete and the generator. All the concrete will come before all the wet weather comes so we will be up and ready and when you come back in two weeks it will look a different baby.”
When asked whether the ground will be ready on the opening day of the new Kent Invicta League season if given a home game on 8 August, Mr McMillan said: “Absolutely! I spoke to Denise Richmond and John Moules on Friday and there’s no doubt whatsoever.
“I said from day one it will be ready. The timescale just depends on the labour. We’ve never let anyone down in football in 20 years – I don’t see why we should start this season!”
The chairman added: “It has been a challenge. We can get some funding from the FISF, there’s other funding coming in as well. It’s all been planned. I don’t believe in getting nervous about issues. Everybody else sometimes gets a bit nervous. I always believe when there’s a will there’s a way and anything worth doing if it’s a straight line it’s not worth achieving so that’s the way I try and live life. There’s never been an issue with me finishing the works.
“It’s costing significant funds to date. Just in the clubhouse has just been £130,000, the next part of the clubhouse, as soon we get the funded changing rooms done, we then change the squash clubs to a gymnasium, that’s another £100,000, then changing the pitch in the next two or three weeks is another £50,000 and £80,000-90,000 will be done there.
“It’s significant funds, put it that way, plus of course the works done on the ground through the season.”
The club’s main pitch is currently grass but it will be revamped into an artificial pitch at the end of this season.
Mr McMillan added: “We’re going to have a 100-seater covered area with concrete in for the 100 standing. It’s not criteria in the Step Six but I want to get the concreting down before the winter – and floodlighting.”
Mr McMillan has challenged manager Simon Copley to win promotion out of the Kent Invicta League at the end of this season and has set its sights on Ryman League Division One football.
“Personally, of course, I’d like to think we can challenge this season,” he said.
“My first aspiration is to get out of the league, get into Step Five (Southern Counties East Football League) and I’ve said this for some time. I’m sure (Kent Invicta League champions) Hollands & Blair will prove this this year. I think the top six or seven teams in Step Six are easily good enough for Step Five.
“In my experience it’s all about facilities. Look at the cup games, you very rarely get a Step Five side trounce a Step Six side. Maybe the top against the bottom, maybe there’s a few goals in it but when you get middle of the table playing the top it’s usually one or two goals in it.
“I think it has been facility based and now with The FA rules everybody (in the Kent Invicta League) has to be grounded by 31 March 2016 that will knock out teams that either hasn’t got sufficient funds or ambitions of being a graded side.”
It has been confirmed by a chairman of a Southern Counties East Football League chairman that this season will be the last for the Kent Invicta League as it will become the Southern Counties East Football League Division One in season 2016-2017.
Meanwhile, Mr McMillan explained the club’s origins.
“Twenty years ago I started an under eight team with fourteen players. We started at Valley Valiants’ under sevens so I wanted to give it a go myself. I just retired from the City and Alan Clarke gave us great help.
“We started off by being Glebe Globetrotters on a pun of the Harlem Globetrotters because we trot around south east London but Alan said if you’re being sorry, he’d drop the Trotters and call yourself Glebe FC and that’s what we did.
“I didn’t even know what Glebe was – but I do now!
“Glebe is actually a bit of land at the back of the churchyard that the parish priest used to rent off for farmers but that’s why you’ve got Glebe Way, you’ve got loads of Glebe’s around Bromley.
“Now we’re in Chislehurst – we’ve got facilities here undoubtedly the best facilities in Step Six and I want people to get to know us. We want to be known down in Kent. We want people to go away and think ‘what a decent set-up there.”
Glebe continue their pre-season campaign with a home game against Ryman League Division One North side Cray Wanderers on Thursday, 23 July (7pm).
Visit Glebe’s website: www.pitchero.com/clubs/glebefc
KENTISH FOOTBALL STATEMENT:
“I covered a pre-season friendly between Glebe and Canterbury City on Saturday 18 July 2015 and published a match report and an article on Glebe’s new ground at Foxbury Avenue, Chislehurst.
"I have apologised to the chairman of Glebe FC after reporting some inaccuracies in the articles and some comments that has caused him offence, which caused this website to be banned from covering matches at the club.
"I have contacted the club’s chairman to rebuild bridges and this issue has now been resolved and I look forward to covering the club and bringing my readers extensive coverage of all clubs that I cover at Step Six and above.
“It is never my intension to cause offence and this website is proud to support the clubs that I cover in Kent, south-east London and elsewhere.”
15 August 2015