Welling Town chairman Kevin Oakes believes five-year deal to play at K Sports in Aylesford will transform the club

Wednesday 14th February 2024

WELLING TOWN chairman Kevin Oakes has secured a five-year deal to play their home games at K Sports' ground in Aylesford from the start of next season.


The nomadic club have played their home games in Thamesmead, Chatham and Barnehurst since playing in the two divisions of the Southern Counties East Football League from 2018 after a couple of seasons in the Kent County League.

“Our agreement will provide a new home for our first-team, as well as provide stability and a greater pathway for our ever-growing youth set-up which has expanded from one sole side 12 months ago to 18 now, with plans to increase this number in the coming close season,” said Oakes in a club statement.

“Further opportunities will now exist for the club with us having greater involvement in the football activity on the site.  This will allow us to support other clubs of all levels wanting to train and play matches at the  venue and we look forward to working with other local grassroots and community teams who currently use the facility, as well as welcoming local schools and new users.

“It has been well documented, our growth from one Sunday morning park side not so long ago to our current level so quickly has brought many challenges, one of which being no home of our own and therefore a huge disadvantage over many clubs we compete against in terms of fan base, support and pathway for future players.

“This agreement will transform the club overnight and we look forward to an exciting plan of works off the field, as well as the inevitable strengthening on the field that this agreement will bring for everyone involved at the club from top to bottom.

“We’re very grateful for the support of K Sports Management Limited, who still retain ownership and overall control of the side and whose vision we share of what the future will bring for all that enjoy the use of the venue, for football as well as other sports and social activities.

“We thank them for the opportunity to develop with the site and provide football and new services to a growing community.”

The Boots are sitting at the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, having picked up 16 points (four wins, four draws, 19 defeats) from their 16 games.

They are two points adrift of Rusthall with 13 league games remaining.

Welling Town welcome fourth-placed Corinthian on Saturday, which will be the first of seven home games remaining at Phoenix Sports’ ground at Mayplace Road East in Barnehurst.

Welling is 26 miles away from Aylesford, where the K Sports venue is located.

The original name of K Sports Football Club was Aylesford Paper Mills FC, before adding sponsors' names, such as APM Mears and APM Contrast.  Is this the right time for Welling Town to change their name to Aylesford Paper Mills - or something similar - to reflect their new location and to gain local support and bring back a historic name in Kent lower-league football?

K Sports play in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division (the tenth-tier of English football) and is managed by George and Ian Batten, the sons of current Sheppey United manager Ernie Batten, who sends players to the club on dual-registration.  Sheppey United play in the Isthmian League South East Division (the eighth-tier of English footballl).

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