I want Welling Town to become Charlton and West Ham fans' second team, says manager/chairman Kevin Oakes

Monday 12th October 2020

WELLING TOWN chairman Kevin Oakes says he wants to welcome fans of locked out EFL clubs to become their second team.


The six-year old club play their home games at Bayliss Avenue in Thamesmead and are presenting sitting in eighth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, the ninth-tier of English football.

The Boots have announced a great season ticket deal as the club bid to increase their fan base.

Adults can watch the club for £60, two adults can attend for £99, concessions at £40, and £10 for under 16s for the season.

“Thamesmead is not the easiest place to get to on public transport and people don’t really want to go to football and drive because they want to have a beer and enjoy it,” said Oakes, who also manages the side, alongside Antony Gradley and Peter Gill.

“Obviously, we are a new club and we want to try to build a little bit of a support base and if we can encourage people, we’re not suddenly going to get 100 hardcore Welling Town fans in the next six months, but if we can attract the groundhoppers and the neutrals and maybe the people who can’t go to Charlton and West Ham and they want to come down here to become a semi-regular supporter of Welling Town as their second team then we’ll like to encourage and reward those people by offering them a deal that’s pretty good.

“I don’t think you can see football at this level or many levels above this affordably so hopefully we can get a few more people through the gate in the games coming up.”

However, Oakes offered an apology to Corinthian and the 65 crowd that attended Saturday’s game, which Corinthian sealed a 4-0 win to extend their 100% record at the top of the table with maximum points from seven games.

“The guys down here have got an impossible job on their hands.  We’ve said to Corinthian and we’ll probably extend the same message to any other club that visits us, we do hire this facility and a lot of things that go on here are out of our control and they’re out of the staff’s control really as well.

“They’re run by some big corporate charity machine (Peabody).  It’s frustrating that we (and First Division side Sporting Club Thamesmead) can’t offer no tea, no coffee, no food, no bar. 

“We hope that doesn’t tarnish what we’re trying to achieve this season because Corinthian have had to put up with it, where as we’ll have to put up with 20-25 times.

“We have to deal with it the best we possibly can and not allow that to become an excuse. 

“There was a decent crowd in on Saturday, a lot more than I would’ve anticipated, which is pleasing.  I hope the supporters can focus on enjoying what was a decent game of football to watch with both teams actually playing football the right way and not let the fact they couldn’t get a beer ruin it for them.”

Oakes expects “another tough game,” when he takes his side to Gillingham to play sixth-placed side Hollands & Blair on Saturday.

Simon Halsey’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at home to unbeaten side Tunbridge Wells at the weekend and sit on 14 points from seven games, a point better off than Welling Town.

Oakes said: “We’ll rise to the occasion, we’ll dust ourselves down, we’ll train hard next week, whatever day it may be and take the positives from the Corinthian game and learn from the mistakes and we’ll be another step in the right direction to becoming a really good SCEFL Premier top half or top six or whatever it may be football club as we keep working our way to Christmas.”

Oakes has appointed former Welling United secretary Alan Heath to fulfil the same role at Bayliss Avenue.

“I have been in non-league football for most of my adult life from playing to working for clubs in various roles from club secretary to general manager,” Heath wrote in his programme notes.

“I feel I have sufficiently gained a lot of skill sets and believe I have a lot to offer Welling Town and Kevin.

“I feel this is a good move for me as Kevin has built a very successful club at this time and hope that I can help him in various ways and move the club even further forward and in the years to come with successful projects in the future build Welling Town to become one of the highest non-league teams in the area.

“I am coming on board as club secretary and will also hopefully assist Kevin with other roles as time goes on.

“A massive thank you to Kevin for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to this journey very much over the next few years and beyond.”

A statement from National League South side Welling United said: “Welling United Football Club wish to announce that Alan Heath left the role of club secretary on Friday, having originally joined the role two seasons ago.

“The Football Club would like to thank Alan for all his hard work and wish him the best for the future.

“Starting today we welcome a very experienced individual who will enable us to carry on the next steps of improving our administration structure.”

Meanwhile, Welling Town's next game at Bayliss Avenue is on Saturday 21 October against local rivals Erith Town, kicking off at the traditional three o'clock.

Visit Welling Town’s website: www.wellingtown.co.uk

Hollands & Blair  v  Welling Town
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 17 October 2020
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Star Meadow, Darland Avenue, Gillingham, Kent ME7 3AN