FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying Round
Grays Athletic 2 v Romford 1
C/O Aveley FC
Mill Field, Mill Road
Admission : £10
Attendance : 217
Weather : Blustery - ideal for a full bloodied cup tie.
Game Number : 39 New Ground Number : 33
Tea : £1
Double Cheeseburger : £3.90
Double Decker :80p
Grays Juniors were founded in 1890 as an amateur club, rising through the ranks to senior status, before merging with former Southern League club Grays United to form Grays Athletic. The newly formed club joined the Grays & District League Division. Other teams competing in Grays at the time were Grays Amateurs, Grays Avenue Swifts, Grays Hotspurs (Maybe that's why so many ex Spurs players have managed Grays in the past) and Grays Wednesday (Not Thursday) – with whom they shared the Recreation Ground pitch.
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 League between 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 Stimson (Ex Spur No 1) left the club (joined Stevenage Borough) and Frank Gray was appointed as the new manager. However, after just 14 games, his last being a disappointing 0–1 home defeat to Bromley, he was sacked. Micky Woodward appointed himself as manager for a short while and player/coach Jamie Stuart took charge of an Essex Senior Cup match with Woodward assisting. After this Andy King was appointed as manager. On 5 January 2007, Andy King handed in his resignation. He was replaced by Justin Edinburgh (Ex Spur No 2), 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.
On 20 February 2008, it was announced that Justin Edinburgh had 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. Woodward promoted goalkeeping coach Gary Phillips to assistant manager, while also appointing Neil Smith and Tim O'Shea (Ex Spur No 3) as coaches to help with training and tactics.
After resigning from the Football Conference in 2010, Grays attempted to gain entry to the Isthmian League Premier Division. This was at first accepted but, on 8 July 2010, the League reversed the decision, and Grays were scheduled to play in the Essex Senior League. However, on 15 July, it was announced that Grays Athletic would play in the Isthmian League Division One North. They finished mid-table in their first year in the Isthmian Division One North. The following 2011–12 season, Grays finished fifth, losing to Enfield Town in the play-offs.
In the 2012–13 season, Grays finished as champions of the Isthmian Division One North, securing promotion to Isthmian League Premier Division, scoring a club record 102 points from 42 matches, having lost only four games. From 9 February 2013 to 27 April 2013 Grays Athletic won 18 consecutive league matches, breaking a 105-year-old Isthmian League record.
On 14 June 2013, it was announced that the club would ground share for the 2013–14 season with Aveley at their Mill Field ground in Thurrock.
The match was scheduled for Grays v Romford - but it looks like Barcelona have turned up - sadly for Romford the kit is where the similiarity ends.
A solitary Grays fan celebrates their goal.
Looking happy in the Cow Shed.
Wild Essex - note the nearly completed bridge across the River Mardyke. When the bridge is complete it will connect the hamlets of Aveley and South Ockendon, thus allowing for ancient feudal rifts to be resumed.
This weeks Brucie's bonus is some footage of the FA Cup 2nd qualifying round game against arch local rivals Tilbury on the 29th September. For those of you who are interested, Grays won three nil.
Tilbury Ultras complete with smoke bombs take the Cow Shed. Please note the retro Sergio Tacchini tracksuit shame about the Reebok classics mind.
Man at C&A aka Danny Dryer