Croydon to battle Westfield. In the Combined Counties League

You couldn’t make it up.

Ready for the restart: Croydon Athletic’s new goal keeper, Tom Ralph, in action in one of the club’s early pre-season matches

With Westfield, the multi-billion pound property developers, looking to move in on a large chunk of central Croydon with massive redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre, when AFC Croydon Athletic got their fixtures through for the new league season today, the first name on their list was… Westfield.

This is a match that has no requirement for planning permission or compulsory purchases orders, though.

“I’m sure they have no association with the developers,” Paul Smith, the chairman of AFC Croydon Athletic, said tonight as he worked on the plans for his phoenix club’s first season. There’s got to be a few bob in sponsorship for the match though.

AFC Croydon Athletic was formed just six months ago by fans who were determined to regenerate the Rams, following a traumatic 18 months in which the club’s former owner was jailed for his part in cricket Test match fixing, the club was at the centre of a Customs & revenue investigation, there was tragedy involving another director and they were locked out of their ground, ultimately withdrawing from the Ryman League at the end of 2011, unable to fulfill their fixtures.

AFC Croydon Athletic will play in the Combined Counties League this season, with their first game at home – a ground shared pro tem with rivals Croydon FC, at Croydon Sports Arena in South Norwood – on August 4 against Westfield FC.

Westfield FC are based in Woking and finished last season eighth in the division.

The Rams also have two more home games, against Sheerwater FC (Aug 11) and Epsom Athletic (Aug 15).

“I am delighted we are at home for our first game, I am sure it will be a memorable occasion after so much hard work over the last six months to get the club up and running,” Smith said.

AFC Croydon Athletic play another pre-season friendly tomorrow evening (July 24) at Dorking Wanderers (7.30pm kick off). Then the following Wednesday, August 1, they get to play a match at their new ground for the first time, against Croydon FC.

“Of course we are pleased to be back playing, but we would also like to as competitive as we can be and we are all looking forward to the big kick-off,” Smith said.

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