- Grays Athletic F.C.
Football club infobox
clubname = Grays Athletic
| fullname = Grays Athletic Football Club
nickname = The Gravelmen, The Blues
founded = 1890
New Recreation Ground Grays Thurrock
capacity = 4,500 (1,000 seated)
chairman = flagicon|England
manager = flagicon|England
position = Conference National, 10th
season = 2007–08
Grays Athletic Football Club are a football team from the south east of
England, representing the town of Grays, Thurrock, Essex. They currently play in the National division of the Football Conference.
Grays Juniors were founded in 1890 as an amateur club, rising through the ranks to senior status, before merging with former
Southern Football Leagueclub Grays United to form Grays Athletic. [cite book | last = Watts | first = George H. | title = The Place I Love Best | date = August 2006 | pages = 14] The newly formed outfit joined the Grays & District League Division. Other teams competing in Graysat the time were Grays Amateurs, Grays Avenue Swifts, Grays Hotspurs and Grays Wednesday - with whom they shared the Recreation Ground pitch with. [cite book | last = Watts | first = George H. | title = The Place I Love Best | date = August 2006 | pages = 14]
Grays Athletic became founder members of the
Athenian League, in which they briefly played before World War I(1912–1914, and again since 1958). In 1945 they were one of the nine founder members of the Corinthian League, which they won that first season.
After playing in the
Isthmian Leaguebetween 1983 and 2004, they were founder members of the new Conference South. They were divisional champions at the first attempt, and also won the FA Trophy. In the 2005-06 season, they took an early lead in the Conference National division, remaining unbeaten for a record equalling 15 games, but eventually finished in third place and were beaten in the semi-finals of the promotion play-offs by Halifax Town. They did, however, successfully retain the FA Trophy with a 2-0 win over Woking
After the 2005-06 season
Mark Stimsonleft the club (joined Stevenage Borough) and Frank Graywas appointed as the new manager. However after just 14 games, his last being a disappointing 0-1 home defeat to Bromley, he was sacked (over the phone as Woodward was on holiday at the time). Micky Woodwardappointed himself as manager for a short while and Player/Coach Jamie Stuarttook charge of an Essex Senior Cupmatch with Woodward assisting but then appointed Andy King as manager. On 5 January 2007, Andy King handed in his resignation to the surprise of chairman Micky Woodward. He was replaced by Justin Edinburgh, his assistant at the time, who became the fourth manager of Grays during the season. Grays eventually finished 19th in the league, just avoiding relegation. In total Grays fielded over 50 players in all competitions.
20 February 2008, it was announced that Justin Edinburghhad departed the club, terminating his contract by mutual consent, leaving the club 14th in the Conference National. Chairman, Micky Woodward, took the helm for a second time until the end of the 2007-08 season. [ [http://www.graysathletic.co.uk/news/archives/002411.html Justin Leaves Grays Athletic] , graysathletic.co.uk] Woodward promoted goalkeeping coach, Gary Phillips to assistant manager, whilst also appointing Neil Smith and Tim O'Shea as coaches to help with training and tactics.
Grays Athletic currently play at the
New Recreation Groundwith a capacity of 4,500, which has been their home since 1906. The future of this location has been proposed to be developed into residential properties.
12 April 2008chairman Micky Woodwardannounced that the club plan to move to a new 7,500 all-seater stadium located in Aveley, Thurrock- approximately 5.5 miles away from their current home. However, the club later announced that the relocation plans to move to Aveleywould not be pursued, as they have another unannounced location.
FA Trophywinners: 2004/05, 2005/06
Football Conference Southchampions: 2004/05
Isthmian League Division Onerunners-up: 1987/88 & 1999/00
Isthmian League Division TwoSouth champions: 1984/85
London Leaguechampions: 1921/22, 1926/27 & 1929/30
Corinthian Leaguechampions: 1945/46; runners-up 1951/52, 1955/56 & 1956/57
Isthmian League Cupwinners: 1991/92
Essex Senior Cupwinners: 1914/15, 1920/21, 1922/23, 1944/45, 1956/57, 1987/88, 1993/94 & 1994/95
* Essex Senior Trophy winners: 1998/99
* Essex Thameside Trophy winners: 1947/48, 1987/88, 1988/89
The furthest the club has reached in the
FA Cupwas the 2nd Round Proper in 2005/06. They lost 2-0 away at Mansfield Town on December 2, 2005. [ [http://www.graysath-online.com/stats/matchdetails.php?id=166 Mansfield Town vs. Grays Athletic, 2nd December 2005 - Match Details] , graysath-online.com]
* Biggest victory: 12–0 at home to Tooting Town,
London League, February 24, 1923
* Biggest defeat: 0–12 away to Enfield,
Athenian League, April 20, 1963
* Attendance: 9,500 v Chelmsford City,
FA Cup4th Qualfying Round, 1959
* League appearances: Phil Sammons, 472, 1982-1997
* Transfer record paid: £12,000 to Welling United for Danny Kedwell
* Transfer record received: £150,000 from Peterborough United for
6 October 2008."cite web
title = Player profiles
url = http://graysathletic.co.uk/profiles/
publisher = Grays Athletic FC
accessdate = 2007-09-01]
Out on loan
Former players of note
"For a complete list of former Grays Athletic players with Wikipedia articles, see ."
* Derek Parker
* Mickey Welch
Grays Athletic have a number of rivals mainly steming back to their days in the lower divisions of non-league such as
Isthmian League Premier Divisionand Conference South.
In recent years Grays have seen their derby days severely reduced due to relegations and promotions of their rivals.
Essexrivals, Dagenham & Redbridge were promoted into League Twofor the first time in their history whilst Canvey Island dropped down to avoid financial problems.
The derby match between Grays Athletic and Canvey Island held on
boxing day, 2005 attracted the highest attendance of 2,910 spectators since the renovation of The New Rec.
There are a number of sides around the borough of
Thurrock, including Tilbury, Aveley, East Thurrock United and Thurrock formerly known as Purfleet until 2003. Grays' main rival within the borough is Thurrock due to the Isthmian Leaguedays when Grays and Purfleet were battling to become the highest placed side within Thurrock.
During the Blues short stint in the
Conference South, the club struck up a rivalry with Upminsterbased side Hornchurch F.C., who were fighting for the top spot. The Urchins main investor pulled out and Hornchurch were forced to sell key players to Grays. The players were Ashley Bayes, Jamie Stuart, Johnny Martin, Lee Matthews and Steve West. Hornchurch was reformed into A.F.C. Hornchurchand the rivalry still remains.
Southend United are also seen as a rival, this maybe due to it being the closest
Football Leagueclub to Graysin Essex. It may have also stemmed from many players moving up the leagues from Grays to the Shrimpers, in recent years these transfers include Freddy Eastwood, Gary Hooperand Mitchell Cole. However Southend United do not see Grays as a rival.
Geographically, Ebbsfleet United is the closest Conference side to Grays, however they are separated by the
River Thamesand therefore the journey from ground to ground is considerably longer. The rivalry between the two clubs is more of a friendly atmosphere rather than a fierce rivalry.
In recent years, Stevenage Borough have been viewed as a rival to Grays, mainly due to former manager
Mark Stimsondeparting Grays and eventually joining the Hertfordshireoutfit. In his first season, Stimson took left-back John Nutterwith him and the following season midfielder Johnny Martin also followed. Grays Athletic's chairman Micky Woodwardhas also been criticised by Stevenage fans due to the poor handling of travelling fans at a game at The New Recreation Groundin 2007.
* [http://graysathletic.co.uk/ Official website]
* [http://graysath-online.com/news Fansite]
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