As Crystal Palace try to come to terms with their best player of last season going off to play for one of their new rivals in the Premier League, consider the plight of non-leaguers Croydon FC who are just a month away from the new season and have just discovered that all their outfield players have decided to quit to play for another club.
Following manager John Fowler’s decision to leave the Trams in order to manage Whyteleafe, every member of his Croydon squad has opted to follow him to the Kent League side, with the sole exception of the goalkeeper Francis Ameyaw.
Croydon finished 14th in the Combined Counties Premier League last season under Fowler, although they finished with just a single win in their last 10 matches, conceding 27 goals in that period and scoring just 13.
The departure of so many of their players so close to the start of the season will present new boss Aaron Smith with a massive challenge over the next few weeks.
“In football you have your ups and your downs, like in life,” Dickson Gill, Croydon FC’s chairman, told Inside Croydon last night as he was watching the club’s Academy side holding a 2-0 lead over Crystal Palace’s under-16s.
“This down came out of the blue,” Gill said. “But things are in place to let us recover very quickly.”
Tonight, Gill and Smith will be at an awards ceremony at the club’s South Norwood clubhouse to honour the achievements of young players from the club’s extensive youth programme, which fields teams with players aged from seven years old to under-15 level.
Tomorrow, Smith takes his hastily assembled senior side to Newport on the Isle of Wight for a pre-season friendly. Places for supporters on the Croydon FC coach to the seaside are being provided free of charge courtesy of the generosity of Trams’ chairman Gill.
For details or to book a seat on the coach, contact Croydon FC on 0208 654 8555. And if you go, don’t forget to take your boots – you might even get a game.
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source that is actually based in the heart of the borough – averaging 44,000 page views per month, Jan-Jun 2013
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