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HISTORY
 

CRAY VALLEY (PM) FC – OUR HISTORY 1919-2018

Kent FA records show that Cray Valley Paper Mills FC was formed in 1919, and played in the new Sidcup and Kent League Division II.  The Millers first match was a 1-0 victory against Hamilton House FC on September 20th 1919 which was followed by their first away match against Sidcup Invicta, beating them 7-0. Cray went on to win the division in their first season and were promoted to Division I.  The following season Cray won the Kent County Junior Cup defeating Sittingbourne Paper Mills 3-0 in the final and the next registered success was in 1936/37 when they won the 3rd  division title in the Kent Amateur League West Division. From that time they have appeared in the records in every decade, whilst from the 1950/51 season the records show a continuous existence up to the present day.
The Millers played in various leagues such as The Sidcup and District League and were always known as Cray Valley Paper Mills FC, originally playing in green and white, which were the colours of the paper mills vehicles, and company banner. Cray won the Kent County Junior Cup for the 2nd time in 1977/78, and repeated this in 1980/81, the year the mills at St. Pauls Cray, (where they had played their games at the sports ground),  closed.
The Nash family owned the paper mills and supported the football club until the mills closure. Cray lost their ground, and began a nomadic existence, playing out of various venues until they found a permanent home at Badgers Sports in Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, South East London. It was at this time the ‘Paper Mills’ was abbreviated to (PM)!
The first team enjoyed a successful period in the South London Alliance, winning Division 1 in 1983/84, before moving to the Spartan League in 1991, where they were runners up in division 1 South in 1998. Cray then became founder members of the London Intermediate League, in the following season were runners up, and reached the final of the league cup, losing 1-2 to Bridon Ropes aet, whilst they were also runners up in the London Intermediate Cup, losing to Canning Town 0-1. In 2001/02 Cray were elected to join Division One of the Kent County League, gaining promotion to the Premier division in 2003/04. Cray’s most successful season was 2004/05, when they won the Premier division by 11 points, along with the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield, and the Inter Regional Challenge Cup. Between 2000-2010 Cray enjoyed regular successes in the London Intermediate Cup, which has seen them win the competition four times and come runners-up once. In an historic 2011/12 season, Cray effectively gained two promotions, when they moved from the Step 7 Kent County League, to the Step 5 Kent Hürliman League. In their first season finishing 11th and reaching the semi final of the Kent Senior Trophy.
Seasons 2012-14 saw improvements on the previous campaigns with an 8th and 7th placed finishes whilst reaching the semi final of the London Senior Cup narrowly losing to eventual winners AFC Wimbledon. The Club also experienced our first taste of the FA Cup, beating Lancing away before losing to Redhill.  
Steve Chapman hand over the reins to Paul Gross in 2014 and although he managed to emulate the achievement of his predecessor by finishing 7th in the newly named Southern Counties East Football League the following season a late season slump resulted in a disappointing 10th place finish.      
James Collins took over the reins in 2016 and led the Club to arguably their most successful season in their 98 year existence. In addition to finishing in their highest League place (a very creditable 4th), they reached the final of the Kent Senior Trophy losing 2-1 to League Champions Ashford Town, before finishing the season on a high by becoming the lowest ranked team ever to win the London Senior Cup. On a memorable night at Dulwich Hamlet the Millers beat Ryman Premier Division team Metropolitan Police by 2 goals to 1.
Season 2016-17 also saw our youth development continue to flourish and our Reserves won the Suburban League, South Division and narrowly missed out on doing the double when they lost to Met Police Reserves in the League Cup final.
Last season saw Kevin Watson appointed manager and following a transitional start he set about putting together a virtually new team with a mix of youth and experience. A very successful second half of the season culminated in a sixth place league finish and a runners up medal in the London Senior Cup where the Millers were beaten in the final by Balham.
Looking forward to our 100th season 2018-19, we’ll be running teams at U12, U14, U18, and a Ladies side, as well as our senior teams, with ambitions to improve on last year’s success.

JULY 2018