Whyteleafe head to appeal with FA Cup future at stake

NON-LEAGUE NEWS: It has been a week of turmoil off the pitch, with Whyteleafe being kicked out of the FA Cup for fielding a banned player – a matter which has been subject to an appeal hearing on Friday morning – and Croydon FC’s young manager, Craig Davies (pictured right), deciding to resign the tough job with the club rock bottom of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division after another home defeat last Saturday, 0-1 to Bearsted.

With another home fixture coming up on Saturday (a 3pm kick-off at Croydon Arena against Deal Town), the Trams had yet to announce a replacement manager.

Tonight, the club issued a statement saying, “We are still working on the prospect of appointing a new manager for the weekend. There is a lot of work still to do to get everything on track but we are all committed to it.”

Meanwhile, here’s our weekly round-up from the area’s non-league sides, including Whyteleafe boss Harry Hudson’s account of what he calls “the most disappointing week of my career”.

Harry Hudson – Whyteleafe

Dramatic week at Church Road, with Whyteleafe’s disqualification from the FA Cup just hours ahead of the second qualifying round at St Albans City. The club was accused of fielding an ineligible player in the previous round. Leafe could still have a points deduction for using the same player in their first match of the season in the Isthmian League South-East Division. But on the pitch, things have been more promising, as Wednesday saw Whyteleafe secure a useful 1-1 draw at league leaders Cray Wanderers.

I haven’t had a more dramatic, or disappointing week, in my career. The St Albans debacle is a whole other story though and one that is still ongoing – we have our appeal on Friday morning, which I am attending.

One thing I am really keen to assure the fans is that I honestly do not believe Whyteleafe could have done anything else in our power to avoid the incident. We have an outstanding secretary who is absolutely brilliant and completely thorough.

We are being punished for registering a player – Adekunle Odutolu – under his full name, as per his formal identification, which is what is required by FA rules. Adekunle Odutolu does not have any ban outstanding. Unfortunately, other clubs had not followed protocol and they registered the player under his nickname, and now we are being punished.

I truly hope the FA see sense on Friday and rightfully reinstate us.

Everyone was devastated last Friday when the FA announced its judgement. We had the weekend off to gather our thoughts.

We had a really positive team meeting on Tuesday before training when we all aired our views and any ambiguity was cleared up. The tempo, focus and quality at the session after our chat was incredible.

Our opponents on Saturday in the FA Trophy, Bowers and Pitsea, have started very well in the Bostik League North Division. They have a brand new artificial pitch about to be completed, so they are a club on the up! It is a hard draw and one which I am sure will be a challenge for us.

Depending on the result of the appeal, we might, after all, be heading round the M25 on Monday evening to face St Albans City in the FA Cup.

Otherwise, we might be entertaining Ramsgate at Church Road next Tuesday (October 2, 7.45pm kick-off), and they’ve had an upturn in form of late. I watched Ramsgate last year and was impressed with their young side so all credit to Lloyd Blackman. It is a long way for them to travel on a Tuesday evening but I am sure they will be well prepared for the journey. If we are to achieve our aspirations this year we will be looking to secure maximum points from games like this.

In other news, we have signed Daniel Akinwunmi, who was a pro at Reading, and  who should be available for Saturday.

Kevin Rayner – Croydon Athletic

Croydon Athletic lost their first league game of the season, 2-1 to Corinthian in the SCEFL Premier last Saturday, and then suffered their second, a 2-1 defeat at Glebe just days later. Kevin Rayner, though, is staying positive for the last game in September, back at home against Canterbury City on Saturday.

A week can change things dramatically in football and after a great start to the season we have lost two league games in the space of four days.

We certainly did not play well and should have taken something from each game but came away with nothing. The FA Cup exit has knocked us off our stride somewhat and we need to get back to working harder off the ball if we wish to keep in the mix this season.

We have had one or two missing but the squad should be good enough to cope with it and we have not had that work ethic that we had earlier in the season

In this league, all teams are at it in most games and if you don’t match the opposition’s work rate, you will rarely achieve anything.

We need to regroup and it is now a very important game at home to Canterbury this Saturday, where we will need to build that momentum again.

The SCEFL Premier Division, as it stands going into Saturday’s games. Croydon Athletic have slipped, after two defeats in four days

Nahum Green is still suspended unfortunately and has been a big miss in the last two games. We have a couple back for the visit of Canterbury.

I have also seen that Craig Davies has left Croydon. I wish him well for the future. I really hope they pick up and although I’m happy to see them below us, I hope they can sort themselves out and climb up the table.


Croydon Athletic
Sat Sep 29: v Canterbury City (H)– SCEFL Premier Div

Sat Sep 29: v Bowers & Pitsea (H) – FA Trophy Extra Prelim Rd
Tue Oct 2: v Ramsgate (H) – Bostik South East Div 1 (subject to FA appeal outcome)

Croydon FC
Sat Sep 29: v Deal Town (H) – SCEFL Premier Div

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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