In early 2016, the owner of Grays Athletic FC announced that he would be stepping down as Chairman of the club at the end of the 2015-16 season. A group of supporters met in February 2016 to discuss the possibility of creating a new supporter-owned club. A meeting of supporters followed in April and a significant majority decide to pursue the creation of a 100% supporter-owned club. Supporters Direct helped the club launch a successful community share offer to demonstrate the club’s financial viability for the 2016-17 season. The club applied to the FA and the Ryman (now Bostik) League for permission to transfer its membership from the company that ran the club to a new organisation - “Grays Athletic Community Football Club”. In November 2016 Grays Athletic Community Football Club received official confirmation from the FA and the League that the transfer of ownership had been approved.
So, we’ve now completed our first full season (2017-2018) as a fan owned community club and have had time to reflect. Whilst our first team had a bit of an ‘up and down’ season, we at GAFC have reason to celebrate our youth teams’ fantastic achievements this season.
In no particular order:
U12s won the AFA London Cup Final for their group
U13s won the EJA League, the Harrison Cup Final and were runners up in the AFA London Cup Final. They also won the AFA U13s Sunday Cup, the EJA Divisional Cup and the Parkwood Rangers Tournament and were beaten on penalties in the Dunstable Tournament (and breathe!) .
U16s won the AFA U16s Sunday Cup for the second year running.
U18s were semi-finalists in the AFA U18s Saturday Cup, semi-finalists in the Essex Pelly Cup and Divisional Runners Up in the EJA League
For the 2018-2019 Season, following the sad demise of Thurrock FC, we are taking on most of their youth teams and will have 31 teams in total* playing under the GAFC badge. 25 youth teams ranging from the ages of 8 – 16 and including our 2 girl teams, veteran’s team and 3 walking football teams.
We are also working on bringing disability teams into the fold too and continuing our quest to bring football to all walks of life in the community and working with some of the local schools.
Not too bad for a club without a home to call their own.
* and still growing!
This article was written by Rebecca Webb, Grays Athletic Football Club Director