Tag: Grays Athletic

Non-League Videos Of The Week: 18-08-2012

The premier division of the Football Conference may have started last weekend, but this weekend is the one that we’re marking as the start of the new football season and the return of our non-league videos of the week. Tonight, we have four matches from four different divisions as clubs get back to competitive action after their summer break. Our first match comes from the Blue Square Bet South, and is the match between Dover Athletic and Farnborough FC. The home side ended last season two places and five points from the play-off places and will hoping to go one better this season, whilst Farnborough, having been deducted five points during the season for a breach of the Football Conferences financial rules, ended the season in sixteenth place in the table, just four points above the relegation places. Our second match comes from the Blue Square Bet North, and is the match between Altrincham, who also finished just outside the play-off places at the end of last season, and Brackley Town, who are playing at this level for the first time having won the Southern League Premier Division by eight points last season. Our third match is between Waltham Forest and Grays Athletic from Division One North of the Ryman League – with Grays being amongst the favourites for promotion from that division – and we finish off with...

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The AGM Cup: Or How To Avoid Relegation, The Non-League Way

With the AGM Cup looking set to decide the non-league pyramid’s final placings once again, Jenni Silver looks at some of this year’s possible contenders. It should be the most exciting time of the season, promotions, play-offs and relegation dog-fights, the glorious month which ends the football season. But forgive me for not really feeling it this year. Somehow I know the Blue Square North table after the last game has been played won’t really tell the true story of the winners and losers of the league. The same can be said of its sister league in the south and the BSP too, along with several of the feeder leagues. As with the past few seasons the real winners will come in the AGM Cup, the clubs who are lucky enough to be handed a reprieve at the expense of another club with no ground grading/ financial woe/ big tax bill (delete as applicable.) Give it a few years and we will effectively be back in the days when clubs were voted in and out of leagues and relegations didn’t count if you had the right connections. I’m not being dramatic here, last year no one was relegated out of the BSN or into it from the BSP thanks to Salisbury and Northwich being booted down the pyramid (Grays Athletic, Farsley Celtic and Chester City had already dropped out...

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Not A Terribly Happy New Year At Nuneaton or Tilbury

It only took two days for a familiar old boil that has never been properly lanced to rear its head in non-league football this year, as crowd trouble marred two non-league matches afternoon. These incidents occurred at Liberty Way, at the Blue Square North match between Nuneaton Town and AFC Telford United, and at the Ryman League match between Tilbury and Grays Athletic. Both matches were local derbies to some extent, so perhaps the question that we ought to be asking is of whether high-tension matches should be played on Bank Holiday weekends. It is a question that has been asked before – there was serious disorder at the end of last year’s Blue Square Premier match between Luton Town and York City, which was played on a Bank Holiday Monday – but perhaps the question has become one of whether they can afford not to. At Nuneaton, the trouble was serious enough to have potential ramifications for the club itself in the form of a fine. Perhaps surprisingly, it seems that there were no police present at the match, only stewards presumably hired by the club itself, and the lion’s share of the trouble came at the end of the match after Telford supporters were held back, allowed to leave and then chased back into the ground by people purporting to be home supporters. A supporters coach was...

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Grays Athletic 2-1 Forest Green Rovers

All of the decisions at the top of the Blue Square Premier table have already been made, but the final day of the season brings an intriguing battle to avoid relegation from the league and the most poignant of the fixtures is the one at The Recreation Ground, Bridge Road, Grays. As football venues go, The Recreation Ground is a pretty unprepossessing one. When the club somersaulted into the Blue Square Premier five years ago new terraces were built at either end of the ground and small covered enclosures popped up in front of the flats that run the length of side of the pitch. In spite of these developments, The Recreation Ground, hemmed in by buildings on all four sides, remained a defiantly non-league ground in a league that has started to assume many of the pretentions of professionalism over the last few years. Today is The Recreation Ground’s last game. The ground was owned by the Billings family, and a twenty year lease was signed by the club in 1990. However, Grays have been unable to reach agreement with the family and it has now been sold for housing. The club has been linked with moves to nearby Thurrock, East Thurrock United and Tilbury, but nothing has been confirmed. What we know is that Grays won’t be taking a place in the Blue Square South next season....

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Fade To Grays

How far would you go for your principles? It’s a question that many people spend a lot of time pondering over without ever having to see it through, but after a meeting at Soho Square this afternoon, Mike Woodward, the chairman of Conference club Grays Athletic will have to do some very important thinking indeed on this particular subject. Grays’ problems started in June 2006, when they signed former Sheffield United player and Thierry Henry body-double Ashley Sestanovich. Sestanovich claimed to be being held on remand in prison for motoring offences, but it quickly became apparent that he was actually on remand for his involvement in a robbery in London, which ended in the murder of a man (two other men were convicted of the murder). When Grays found this out, they terminated his contract, and Sestanovich was convicted of the crime and sentenced to eight years in prison. He had played just twenty minutes of one pre-season friendly for them. So far, you might think, so good. Not quite. It is at this point that the story becomes somewhat more complicated. The matter ended up before the Football Association in June of last year, and the FA ruled that Grays should pay Sestanovich for the five months that he was with them – a total of £14,000 – because, under their interpretation of contract law, they are liable...

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