Ninth tier club Canterbury City are set to be reinstated after withdrawing from their league with concerns over it’s future.
At the weekend, the Kent based side made the admission of requesting being removed from the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.
In Sunday’s statement, it came across as a plea to raise some funds in order of being able to complete the rest of the 2021/22 season.
The club this afternoon, 19 September 2021 have made the difficult decision to request withdrawal from the Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL) due to financial reasons.
As a club we have worked hard over the last 14 years or so to have an independent hub in the City of Canterbury. A hub that would not only benefit the City, would provide a platform for young players to progress to a level where they have the opportunity to be paid to play football. Our ambition has always been to have a local club for local people.
This weekend we have been informed that we will need to wait 3 years for planning application to be submitted. We will not be able to sustain as a self sufficient entity the funds required over this period, therefore we are faced with the awful decision to submit this request.
We will continue to explore our options to be able to still have a Step 5 football team within the SCEFL set up. The reality is we will require funding to achieve this, without this we have no option other than offer to withdraw from the league.
We will issue a further detailed statement in the next couple of days. We would like to thank the board of SCEFL for their help and understanding of this delicate situation.
– STATEMENT ENDS –
A GoFundMe page was set up, with the page reading: “Canterbury City Football Club are a club that have a team operating within Step 5 level, playing in the Southern Counties East Football League. Only a few seasons ago we made it to the semi final of the FA Vase, one game from Wembley…
“Our home ground of Kingsmead Stadium has now been re-developed for housing after being purchased by Canterbury City Council who promised to help provide a brand new “Football Hub” in the City which was hoped would become the football clubs home. The club had to fold after this purchase but reformed in 2007 with the ambition of being in a new hub within 2 years as guided by the Council.
“14 years later and after several rejections, we have hit a brick wall. We have done everything we can to adjust to the requirements of planning permission requirements. However we have now been informed that we need to wait another 3 years before submitting a planning application. We have been deprived of our funding that we heavily rely on as a result of this.
“Because we don’t have our own facility, we are required to ground share which isn’t a cheap expense. As with any other club we have training facility costs to pay, officials and everything else associated with running a semi professional team. We are now faced with the reality of reducing our playing budget from a low amount to £0 just to try and stay as a member of the league.
“This is not unique to other clubs we realise. However with a City the size of Canterbury, it is astonishing that a National League set up club does not have its own facility in its own City and has been held back through no fault of our own.
“We have tried and exhausted other avenues, however the fact remains we have been let down and now face the very real threat of losing our team from the league unless we can generate some income. We obviously require more than our target for the reasons outlined above. However the target set is one that will allow us to operate for the rest of this season without any major disruption to our squad, which frankly we will lose to other teams within our division. Half the amount will allow us to just operate.
“Thank you in advance for any donation you can help with. We hope we can continue as a club and fight to ensure that our City is recognised with what it deserves. We don’t think there are any other Cities in the UK that don’t have a club homed within their boundary. Whilst we exist, we have the hope we can achieve our aim.”
Then a day later, another statement was issued by the club, saying: “The Club wish to provide an update on developments over the last 24 hours. We appreciate your patience, as much has been going on behind the scenes.
“Yesterday following a generous donation we were able to contact SCEFL to give notice we believed we were in a position to withdraw our request to exit the League. The original decision to exit being a very difficult one that was not taken lightly. The League have been very understanding and following our request offered a 48 hour window to try and find a way to remain at Step 5. Negotiations have continued into this evening and indeed are ongoing but we are very pleased to confirm that we have secured our presence at Faversham Town for the rest of the season. Thank you to Paul Bennett, Chairman and all the committee for their understanding and help. Others have reached out too with offers of help. Grassroots football at its best!
“We are hoping to minimise the disruption to the playing team, however we understand that from being paid, to potentially not leaves a decision to made. We are hopeful that Chris Woollcott (manager) will be able to retain the vast majority to help guide us as a club throughout the rest of this season.
“We are not out of the woods yet and much remains to be done to secure our future for coming seasons which we must do to continue our quest to obtain planning permission for our own ground and ensure Canterbury City Council honour the promise they made over 20 years ago.
“But for now the City of Canterbury has a senior football club representing them and what better way to show your support than to come and watch City v Erith Town at Faversham on Saturday 2nd October. Fixture details on our website.
“We look forward to welcoming you and thank you for your continuing support.”
Fans reacted after finding out that the ninth tier club was withdrawing from their league with concerns over their future before then being reinstated…
Canterbury used to be a decent Southern League team in decades past.
— Colin (@ekctafc) September 19, 2021
@OfficialWands: To all at @OfficialCCFC_uk we are sad to hear this news as we had great battles with Canterbury during the Kent League days. A city the size of Canterbury and its majestic splendour deserves a football club befitting the setting and many fans would look forward to going there.
@EddyEdwards75: Greenwich borough, whyteleafe fc, now Canterbury fc very sad I’m sure there is more, such a shame
@thecoldend: Thamesmead Town also
@TennantRichard: Probably a different story had it been ‘another sport’. Tory Council don’t give a fig about Football club and the knock on effect it will have with all their youth, university and women’s teams!
@Deanoellis79: The council gave them 45k over the past 3 years
@TrisCoach: Sorry to hear this, I know how hard the chairman and the board have worked.
@Deanoellis79: They worked hard to ruin the club for their own gain – nothing for the team or community
@tobymroy: This is incredibly sad news
@JamieBanner1: Sorry to read this @OfficialCCFC_uk, this is sad
@phil_vince2: Council doing nothing to support the club or home it in the city… was only a matter of time
@EUFCU16: It’s a terrible shame when this happens, and it happens way to often. Slade Green, Greenwich Borough, Thamesmead Town, Whyteleafe, Gravesham Borough, I bet many more I’ve not mentioned just from the Kent league
@MrCRobins07: Good Luck! Hope you can maintain a club for inspiring Football players. #FootballFamily
@robshrl: Awful news, hope you get a miracle 👍
@MattJordan_94: Sickening news! The council should be encouraging this sort of thing to the city and not deterring something that could be great.
@JoeCoreyCoach: Not good to see this with another Non League club, I hope everything sorts itself out in time. Premier League teams spending millions on average players and non league club going bust. Something ain’t right. Hopefully in the future things will change
@robgutsell: Real shame this. Get back to the good days down at bridge.