NON-LEAGUE NEWS: They might need a revolving door at the Mayfield Stadium soon, such has been the pace of the comings and goings at Wilf Zaha and Stormzy’s football club. ANDREW SINCLAIR, pictured right, keeps tabs on who’s in and who’s out, plus catches up with rivals Croydon FC’s progress
Changes, changes and more changes – Project Reboot at Croydon Athletic has continued apace over recent weeks with a new manager and some of the club’s longest-serving players on the way out.
Former Cheltenham Town winger Jermaine McGlashan took over in the dug-out at the Mayfield Stadium dugout at the end of October.
Yesterday, it was the club’s record appearance-maker (241) and top goalscorer (61), Nahum Green, who went, the forward moving on as part of the squad’s reshaping and redevelopment under McGlashan.
Croydon-born McGlashan, 35, had been managing Combined Counties league rivals Fleet Town.
He brings with him the former Torquay and Millwall striker Chris Zebroski as assistant. The Rams’ new-look management team is rounded out by Michael Kamara, a former Crystal Palace and Wimbledon defender who joined the Thornton Heath club as a player in August.
In terms of new faces through the door, striker Louis Theophanous has meant guaranteed goals at this level in the past and he got his Rams account off to a bright start, scoring twice on debut against Cobham.
The Rams have added more attacking firepower by bringing in 6ft 3in striker Eze Amadi on a dual registration with Maidstone United, while the loan signing of Aldershot Town’s young midfielder Adam Ahmed speaks further to what the project that the new owners, Messrs Young, Zaha and Stormzy, have for the club might look like.
The appointment of a young black man to the top job at Athletic might be seen as fitting in with the ethos of one of rap star Stormzy’s other pet projects. “MerkyFC”, now in its second year, has offered 50 jobs and placements in the broader football industry for black people aged 18 to 24.
The first year of Stormzy’s initiative went down as a major success, with 15 applicants securing job placements at partner companies in different areas of the football industry, such as content creation, marketing and sales. Partner organisations in 2023 include Arsenal and ITV.
On the pitch, it’s been a mixed bag for Athletic.
They were flying high (literally) after an impressive 1-0 win on the road to the much-fancied Jersey Bulls, backed up with their 5-1 routing of Cobham in the league. But late mistakes have seen them exit both the FA Vase and London Senior Cup in disappointing fashion.
The Rams are 14th in the Combined Counties Premier Division South table, albeit with games in hand over most of the sides above them, and fixtures against strugglers Sheerwater and Epsom and Ewell in the coming weeks.
Everyone in the division looks like they’re playing for second place though: Farnham Town are top with a perfect 12 wins from 12 – just the 22 points ahead of Athletic.
Across the borough in South Norwood, things have turned round for Croydon FC.
The Trams endured a terrible start to the season, losing five of their first seven league games. Now though, a run of four consecutive league wins, including a 7-1 thrashing of K Sports, has Liam Giles’ men up to seventh in the table and just two points off the playoff places.
Speaking to Inside Croydon, Giles said: “Before going on the recent run, I felt we were actually playing fairly well in games.
“Individual errors cost us and we just weren’t getting the rub of the green, but now we are. I’ve also added a few new faces to the squad which has strengthened us and I feel we’ve got a better balance now.
The Croydon Arena club have suffered two losses in the last week, both in cup action while fielding rotated teams. Giles is keen that they get back to winning ways this coming weekend as they take on SCEFL Division One leaders Whyteleafe.
“Saturday is a big local derby, we’re all aware of that, but I think the pressure is off,” Giles said.
“Leafe should win the league this year with the resources they’ve got but I believe that if we stick to our game plan, we can get something out of the match.”
As the SCEFL Division One is down to just 16 teams this season, the Whyteleafe fixture is one of just four league matches that the Trams have between now and December 16th. Despite all the chopping and changing with cup games to come, Giles is confident that their improved form of late is just the start and “we’ll be looking to break into the top five by the Christmas break”.
Another side going well after a poor start are Croydon Athletic’s groundshare partners Balham, even if their form at the Mayfield Stadium continues to be a weak point.
The Blazers have won just two of seven in the league at home, but six wins on the road have them up in fifth place. Indeed, they’re currently 10 points ahead of their landlords – a gap that could well be a lot closer by the time the two sides face off on December 5.
Sat Nov 4: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Sheerwater (A)
Tue Nov 14: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Redhill (H)
Sat Nov 18: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Epsom & Ewell (A)
Sat Nov 25: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Sandhurst T (H)
Tue Nov 28: Surrey Senior Cup 1st Rd v Merstham (A)
Sat Dec 2: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Abbey R (H)
Tue Dec 5: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Balham (H)
Sat Dec 9: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Horley T (A)
Sat Dec 16: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Guildford C (A)
Sat Nov 4: SCEFL Div 1 v Whyteleafe (A)
Sat Nov 11: SCEFL Div 1 v Thamesmead (H)
Wed Nov 15: SCEFL Div 1 Cup v Lewisham Boro (H)
Sat Nov 25: Kent Senior Trophy 1st Rd v Canterbury C (H)
Sat Dec 2: SCEFL Div 1 v Meridian (A)
Sat Dec 9: SCEFL Div 1 Cup v Tooting Bec (H)
Wed Dec 13: SCEFL Div 1 Cup v AFC Whyteleafe (H)
Sat Dec 16: SCEFL Div 1 v Faversham Strike Force (A)
Tonight: London Senior Cup 1st Rd v Cray Valley Paper Mills (A)
Sat Nov 4: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Cobham (H)
Sat Nov 11: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Horley T (A)
Sat Nov 18: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Fleet T (H)
Mon Nov 20: Southern Combination Challenge Cup v Westfield (A)
Sat Nov 25: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Colliers Wood Utd (A)
Tue Dec 5: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Croydon Athletic (A)
Sat Dec 9: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Spelthorne Sports (H)
Sat Dec 16: Combined Counties Prem Div S v Alton (H)
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