Tuesday 31st January 2017 ko 19.45
Southern Counties East League Division One
GLEBE 5 (Obasa 31 47 62 Jeffery 82 83)
LYDD TOWN 0
Entry, Programme and Team Sheet £6
The great irony of the Kent Invicta League is that it’s success means it no longer exists. It was created in 2011 to provide a bridge at Step 6 between the Kent League at Step 5 and the Kent County League at Step 7. The Kent League re-badged itself as the Southern Counties East and for this season has swallowed up the Kent Invicta as it’s lower division. Nevertheless, the Kent Invicta League has left a valuable legacy, and Glebe are a good example of it.
The league from the very start realised that they’d have to be creative in order to get a division’s worth of clubs whose grounds fulfilled Step 6 ground grading. Some like Lewisham Borough were formed from a merger to play at an already-floodlit stadium, others like Hextable-based Sutton Athletic were allowed the time to develop their Lower Road home. But Glebe’s route to a compliant ground has been nothing if not unusual.
Formed in 1995 as a youth team, the Chislehurst-based club were named after the street they were formed in, but led a rather nomadic existance in their early years, even going by the name Glebe Trotters at one point! They bought and moved into Foxbury Avenue for this season, exiting a groundshare at Holmesdale to do so.
So what’s it like? The club have taken on an old sports field, and fenced-off a pitch. They’ve put hard-standing on two sides, and added floodlights and a double-sided “Arena” stand. That will keep the ground-graders happy for now and I’m sure the less-observant visitors will write the place off as dull, but pay attention and there’s far more to the place than just that.
For a start seek out Glebe chairman Rocky McMillan, he’s the kind of bloke that not only eats, sleeps and breathes Glebe, but is one of the best adverts for the non-league game you’ll meet. He’s got big plans for his club, they’re aiming for the Isthmian League, so expect the developments to continue apace.
Then go and explore the clubhouse. It is clearly a former cricket pavilion but its been refurbished to a high specification, there’s even a flat-screen television for those playing table football! But it’s the people who make a club, and that’s where Glebe won friends of my party and I, with Rocky at the apex of it all.
They won well too, Fred Obasa’s pace and his team’s tactic of playing balls in behind the defence helping him collect a well-deserved hat trick, and a straightforward three points for his club. But with all due respect to Fred and the other players, it’s Rocky we’ll remember.