The third game of Cray Wanderers pre-season campaign takes Tony Russell’s side to South East London/Docklands border as they face Fisher FC on Saturday. Kick off at the St. Paul’s Sports Ground is 3pm.
Pre-season has begun fairly satisfactory so far. A close game at Charlton behind closed doors last Saturday was only confirmed for the home side by a superb free kick in the last minute in a 3-1 defeat. Then on Tuesday, in extremely wet and difficult conditions proceeded to win 1-0 at Sheppey United with Michael Power’s faint touch took the ball over the line late in the first half. There were some positive signs in the manner of performance, good passing, strong defensively and created openings. Tony is perhaps looking for a sharper, clinical edge in the final third but that will come with more games.
Cray travel to play on the 3G surface at Fisher who this season begin life in SCEFL Division One following relegation from the Premier last season. However, Dean Harrison’s side and Fisher in general are always difficult opponents and play football the right way.
Games against Fisher have been surprisingly few considering the reasonably close proximity as we have seemed to have moved in different circles. All three games against the Fish have been in cup ties. The first was in the Kent Senior Trophy in January 1977 with Fisher winning 3-0 at home. In the FA Vase Preliminary Round in November 1981, the Wands won 2-1 at Surrey Docks Stadium with goals by Eddie Jones and Alan Whitehead. The last meeting came in the London Senior Cup in March 2009 which Fisher won 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Dulwich.
Fisher Athletic were formed around 1908 out of the Fisher Catholic Boys Club in Bermondsey which specialised in all sports and particularly excelled in Boxing. Football was played and the club played at Kent Amateur league level before the club got their big break in the mid 60’s. In 1974 they moved to the Spartan League and won the title twice in the early 80’s thereby gaining promotion to the Southern League South Division. In a meteoric rise they won the division at their first attempt in 1982-83 and promoted to the Southern Premier. Docklands premier club the team reached the FA Cup 1st Round in November 1984 and lost narrowly at home to Bristol City. In 1986-87 they were promoted to the Conference and stayed there until 1990-91, reaching the 1sr rd of the cup again in November 87 losing to Bristol Rovers.
Since then they returned to the Southern League and were relegated to the Southern South where they stayed for a good few years. In 2004 they left the Surrey Docks Stadium and ground-shared with Dulwich Hamlet at Dog Kennel Hill until 2016. After league restructuring they spent one season in the Isthmian Premier in 2005-06 following a move where they were promoted to the Conference South via the playoffs.
They stayed in the Conference South until 2008-09 when the club ran into severe financial difficulties and were relegated and then wound up. Like all good community clubs they had a very loyal fan base who didn’t wish to see the club disappear and in 2009, a Supporters Trust took over the club as owners with Fisher FC taking their place in the Kent League where they stayed until last season. The big news story for the club was after a pretty concerted effort by all concerned the club moved back close to the site of the Surrey Docks Stadium at the St. Paul’s Sports Ground and so moved back home. Perhaps evidence for us all that dreams can come true and a move home is indeed possible.
St. Paul’s Sports Ground
LONDON SE16 5EF
The stadium is roughly 10 minutes walk from Rotherhithe Station on the London Overground, and 15 minutes walk from Canada Water Station for the Jubilee Line. The 381 and C10 buses both stop adjacent to the stadium. Nelson Dock Pier is 15 minutes walk away, served by River Bus 4 from Canary Wharf.
From our neck of the woods take the A20 before joining the B212 at Lee Road, at the roundabout take 3rd exit staying on B212/Lee Road. Continue on B212 to Shooters Hill Road/A2. Follow A2 for 1.1 mile then right onto Deptford Church St/A2209. Go over one roundabout and using any lane turn left onto Creek Road/A20. Continue on A200 for 1.3 miles and use the right two lanes to turn slightly left onto Rotherhithe New Road/A2208 and then a slight right onto Rotherhithe Old Road/A200, then a slight left still on Rotherhithe Old Road/A200 staying on the A200 for 0.5 miles. Keep right onto Lower Road/A200 and at roundabout take 2nd exit onto Brunel Road/B205. Continue on for 0.6 miles and then on to Salter Road for the ground.
The nearest pub to the ground is the Blacksmiths Arms on Rotherhithe Street which has very good reviews and does good food. Also on Rotherhithe Street is the Mayflower overlooking the Thames. A bit further into Rotherhithe and a bit further away is the Surrey Docks pub part of the Wetherspoons chain. There are a few chippies in the SE16 area and on Jamaica Road, Rotherhithe there is the Fish Bar and on Albion Street is the Albion Fish Bar with the Millhouse Fish and Chips on Ilderton Road. The nearest Indian Restaurant could well be the Mogul Indian Cuisine in Rotherhithe.
The club play in Rotherhithe, part of London Borough of Southwark and lies close to the clubs ancestral home of Bermondsey. A major part of Docklands life and known for the hardiness of its people, Rotherhithe is a port area close to Wapping and the Isle of Dogs. The famed Rotherhithe Tunnel connects South East and North East London via Limehouse and is used by over 35,000 cars daily.