K Sports depart Cobdown after 105 years to move to Sheppey United's Holm Park and change their name to Sheppey Sports

Friday 01st March 2024

K SPORTS have confirmed that they will be changing their name to Sheppey Sports FC and will be playing their home games at Sheppey United’s Holm Park next season.

The artist formerly known as Aylesford Paper Mills have been playing at Cobdown Sports & Social Club for the last 105 years.

K Sports are currently managed by George and Ian Batten – the sons of Ernie Batten, who manages Sheppey United in the Isthmian League South East Division.

The club suffered relegation from the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division at the end of last season and now play in the tenth-tier of English football.

K Sports were seen to be Sheppey United’s second side in all but name.

“Due to the location change, currently being named after the company who owns Cobdown and as the football club is a separate entity to the ground, we will be changing the name top the club to Sheppey Sports Football Club,” said yesterday’s club statement.

“There have been many careful considerations made before making this decision.  It’s one we haven’t taken lightly, but to ensure the long-term stability of the club, we feel now is the right time to make this move.

With news breaking recently of Welling Town FC taking over as the primary tenants at Cobdown and our Youth and Sunday section moving over to join Welling Town FC at the start of the current season, it has seen us left with just our first team at the club.

“As a result, the club has seen attendances drop, a lack of local sponsorship and, of course, no pathway for players to come through into the first team.

“A move to The Isle of Sheppey along with a close working relationship with Sheppey United FC will see the pathway for young players in the area improve.

“Bridging the gap between under 23’s and Step Four football by introducing a club at Step Six to the area will allow young players to fully experience the men’s game who may not be ready to make the jump into the first team at Sheppey United FC.

“The club this season has prided itself on giving young players a chance.  Eighty-six percent of players who have featured for the club this season have been under 23 or under and, on several occasions, has seen us field a team full of under 23s.

“To add to this, we have been lucky to have some top players on dual-registration with Sheppey United, who the young lads have been able to play alongside and learn from at a good level of football.

“We hope that young players looking for a chance to progress in the game will see the club as the place to be to go in, learn and gain valuable experience at one of the best facilities in non-league football.

“We can’t wait to get started at Holm Park in June and hope the community are looking forward to the addition of a second non-league club on the Island.

“We look forward to getting to know everyone and providing those who may be unable to travel to away games with Sheppey United FC, the option to still get their football fix at affordable prices.”

Meanwhile, Welling Town’s new management team suffered a baptism of fire in their first game, suffering a 10-1 humiliation at Hollands & Blair last Saturday.

The existing team of Kevin Oakes, Steve Aldridge and Pete Gill have been joined by Ide Hill’s former management team of Brehnan Chidley, Billy Reynolds and Luke Snazel.

Oakes and Chidley are now joint-managers and the club are rooted to the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 16 points from 29 (of 40) games.

Jimmy Anderson's Rusthall are outside the drop zone with 18 points from 30 games.