The FA Cup throws up some intriguing draws. This Saturday’s preliminary qualifying round sees an early return to Croydon Arena for John Fowler, who until his abrupt departure in the summer had been the manager of Croydon FC.
On Saturday, Fowler will be back to face the Trams, this time with his new club Whyteleafe. Fowler’s departure left behind a devastated Croydon senior squad with just one player, the goalkeeper Francis Ameyaw, remaining. On early season form, it is clear to see that Croydon has yet to recover fully from the trauma of Fowler’s exit.
With no local derbies in the league that Croydon play in, the Trams are looking forward to a bumper crowd for this local contest.
That may be all that the local team can look forward to, with Fowler’s Whyteleafe looking like the far more powerful side.
Whyteleafe have netted 21 goals in six unbeaten games, including a devastating 6-1 FA Cup extra preliminary round reply win away at Epsom and Ewell.
By contrast, Croydon’s new manager, Aaron Smith, and chairman Dickson Gill are still trying to establish a settled squad. Some encouragement came from their recovery in the FA Cup extra preliminary round match against Epsom Athletic to reverse a one-goal deficit at half-time to turn out 3-1 winners.
However, a disjointed 2-0 loss at Epsom and Ewell in the league on the Bank Holiday underlines what appears to be the gap between the Trams and the Leafe.
At least the Trams get another outing in the world’s oldest football competition. Their neighbours, AFC Croydon Athletic, have no FA Cup match this weekend, having fallen heavily at the extra preliminary hurdle at Colliers Wood United, 6-2.
The club has – not for the first time – enjoyed a degree of global notoriety following the sending off of debutant, “Flash” Louis Blake, as was first reported by Inside Croydon.
That, though, is about as exciting as the season has got so far for Croydon Athletic, with the team failing to carry on the momentum from winning the Combined Counties Division 1 Cup at the end of last season. With six points already lost in the opening four games, it seems that the expected promotion push to join Croydon FC in the higher division could be beyond them this season.
AFC’s home game against Worcester Park has been delayed until Wednesday to accommodate the FA Cup game at the Arena.
Sunday sees the Arena staging Croydon FC’s 60th birthday party, with a veterans’ match at 3pm against a Crystal Palace old boys’ XI.
The then Croydon Corporation in 1953 arranged for a football team to play at its new sports arena at South Norwood. Fred Harris, the Conservative Croydon North MP, had been among those who had lobbied the County Borough to have a new recreational facility at South Norwood. The team originally named Croydon Amateurs FC is now Croydon FC.
The family fun day runs from noon.
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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- Footballer sent off on debut after going commando and flashing the referee (mirror.co.uk)
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