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Home arrow Ryman Football League News arrow We have to tick all the boxes before we submit planning application, says Cray Wanderers chairman
Saturday, 20 December 2014
We have to tick all the boxes before we submit planning application, says Cray Wanderers chairman PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 February 2012
CRAY WANDERERS chairman Gary Hillman says he needs to find six million pounds to bring the club back home to its roots.

The Second Oldest Football Club in the world – founded in 1860 – have played at Bromley’s Hayes Lane ground since 1999 when they made the decision to vacate their Oxford Road base in Sidcup to retain their Kent League status as they had to play at a ground with floodlights.

Mr Hillman, who owns his own building firm and has been the club’s chairman since 1994, wants to bring the club back home, where the can benefit from bigger crowds and increased revenue streams from their very own facilities.

The club have plans to build their new stadium at Sandy Lane in St Paul’s Cray – but Mr Hillman revealed today that there has been a delay in submitting a planning application to Bromley council but he is still confident that the club will return back home in 2014.

He said: “No, we haven’t put it in yet.  It goes in a couple of weeks’ time.  It was meant to be put in.  We’ve got to do a few more surveys so it goes in at the end of February now.

“It was meant to go in the 9th February, so we’re a bit behind.  We’ve delayed it a couple of weeks.

“We’re planning a new stadium but to get the 5-6 million pounds required for the new stadium, based on the principle of Dartford Football Club and the success of Dartford Football Club, we have to try to find the 5-6 million pounds and to do that we have to put in various uses, which involve a 120 bed hotel and 170 houses at the moment.

“It’s getting very big, yes.  All to enable to get the 5-6 million pound profit of the other bits to pay for the stadium because no one is going to write us out a cheque for 5-6 million pounds basically, so that’s why we’re getting all the other uses on board.”

When asked whether he was confident to build the stadium in September 2014, Mr Hillman replied, “Fairly confident.  We’re ticking all the boxes, doing all the surveys, noise, transport, you name it, surveys, environment impact assessments. We’re wading through everything.  That’s why it’s taking a bit longer than expected.

“We don’t want to go in half hearted.  We just have to tick all the boxes to get the best possible chance of getting through.”

When asked whether the hotel and the housing will generate the funds to build the stadium, Mr Hillman replied, “It’s just the various bits.  Obviously the hotel and the housing because the hotel chain, you have to build a hotel for them.   It’s only a couple of million pound profit in that and then the houses sort of generate the rest of it.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hillman paid tribute to the club’s management team – manager Ian Jenkins and his coaches Joe Francis and Paul Blade.

Jenkins first signed for the club as a player back in 1993 and took charge of team affairs in 1999 and Francis has now been with the club for ten years.

“He’s (Jenkins) is a top man, the whole management team,” said Mr Hillman. “I personally think they’re the best set up in non-league football.  I wouldn’t swap them for anyone.  Their heart and soul is in the club.  I don’t think there’s any player that has come to us when they haven’t got the best out of the player.

“It’s an enjoyment working with them every week and the superb football that we play, they’re absolutely amazing really.”

The Cray Wanderers chairman highlighted the success over at Dartford since the local council built Princes Park Stadium.

He said:  “I say the new stadium is setting up for the correct infrastructure, like you see with Dartford now have their new ground.  They’re an established Conference South side, the crowds are coming to support them, revenue comes in and they’re now Conference South on the verge of Conference (Premier).

“Even someone like Dartford have to be looking at the Football League now, how they’re set up and they’re ready to go.

“I think if we get the stadium I honestly believe the crowds (will increase).  When we were playing in the Cray areas  in the 60’s and 70’s, we were averaging 1,000-1,500.  It’s a big working class area.  I honestly believe we’d be getting 500-600 supporters every week when we get back there.”

When asked how far Jenkins could take the club, Mr Hillman replied, “Conference South, maybe Conference even.  I would say the sky is the limit really!”

Hillman’s building firm built the new stand (which houses excellent clubhouse facilities) at Bromley’s Hayes Lane ground, which brought in the funds to help the club climb to their current position in Conference South.

Mr Hillman said:  “We’ve got a really good working relationship with Bromley.  I’m a big fan of all non-league and local football.  Bromley, Dartford, we’re all sort of like a big sandwich, we try to help each other out.

“I’ve had a role in improving the facilities at Bromley and I feel I’ve played a part in them gaining the revenue to come in to go into the Conference South.

“Cray Wanderers have played a part in that, which is good for local football.  It’s a nice, local football family that we’re involved in around here.”

Cray Wanderers are scheduled to welcome Tooting & Mitcham United to Hayes Lane on Tuesday night.

The Wands are presently in seventh-place in the Ryman Premier League table – just one point adrift of the play-off zone with fifteen games left to play.

Mr Hillman said: “We’re having a decent season.  If anything we’ve just been a little unlucky.  We’re not having the rub of the green.  It’s good saying that in the position we are in, just hovering around the play-offs.

“Hopefully the luck evens itself out over the course of the season, which it normally does. We should be there or there abouts.

“We played Wealdstone the other week and everyone in the boardroom goes we’re the best team they’ve played by far this season.  They played Barrow (of the Conference Premier) and we’re by far the best team – and we ended up getting a draw!

“We’re playing really well, but the rub of the green hasn’t reflected the superb performances on the pitch.  We should be hopefully still in the mix at the end of the season.”

Jenkins’ brand of exciting, attacking football, has been described by some fans as the “Barcelona of the Ryman League.”

Mr Hillman explained why he thinks the club average home gates of 192 (the seventh lowest in the division) to Hayes Lane, which opened in 1938.

“I think that’s the area that we’re in really,” he said.  “I think we get very bad publicity in the press and the local papers etc.

“The press coverage for Bromley and Cray Wanderers is not very good at all really.  We’re competing against the Millwall’s, Charlton’s and Palace’s.

“But I’d like to think like Dartford now, once we get the ground, the publicity and the community on board and all that we can get those crowds.

“It’s just an awkward long journey coming over to Bromley,” he added.  “It’s quite a way away, so once we’re back in that area, I do believe we’ll get the big crowds.”

Visit Cray Wanderers’ website: www.craywands.co.uk  

Cray Wanderers  v  Tooting & Mitcham United
Ryman Premier League
Tuesday 14th February 2012
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 February 2012 )
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