The fourth and final part of the 2017 Advent Calendar – Check back in News items for the first 3 parts
December 19 – Jay Leader
Jay has been in tremendous form this season with his imperious performances at the back and to date is the only ever present in the side. Great reader of the game, quick defender and a threat from set pieces and has three goals this season. Close to 100 first team appearances for Cray. Collects centre forwards in his back pocket the same way other people collect stamps.
December 20 – Karl Dent
Karl is an excellent footballer and thoroughly pleasant chap who was in tremendous form early in the season before an injury layoff. Hardworking, box to box player but with also the ability to score worldies from distance. Two goals this season and plenty of assists including five against Horsham before they kicked lumps out of him. The first Cray player to score on the 3G surface against Thamesmead on the opening day of the season.
December 21 – Bill and Dan – Kyron and Anthony
A bit of a swerve ball today as there are two Calendar entries for December 21 (it is the longest day of the year). First off, a great double act and one which shows the development of coaching at the club and the use of valuable experience.
Bill and Dan are goalkeeping coaches at Cray Wanderers but both do more behind the scenes to get the best out of the Cray players. Bill has plenty of experience in the game and knows Cray well as coach of the side which finished runners up in the Kent League back in in 1990-91 and hugely revered at all his previous clubs. He can pass on all the benefit of his experience and in many ways is the Grandfather of the club.
Dan I first saw coaching one of the youth teams a couple of season ago and I was struck by his enthusiasm for the game for one so young. Nowadays he is part of the 1st team set up and records first team games for analysis as well as helping in the warm up with the goalkeeper. Two generations of coaches and shows Cray are doing the right things on and off the pitch
December 21 – Part 2 – Anthony Adesite & Kyron Lightfoot
Two very talented young players who represent the future for Cray Wanderers. Anthony who usually plays in central midfield but can play on the wing made an impression last season and scored 3 goals. He’s had experience with other clubs in the meantime and he featured highly in the Kent Senior Cup run this season scoring twice including against Charlton and is a very confident player.
Kyron came to Cray at the end of September from Faversham Town and has quick feet and scored against Phoenix Sports in only his second appearance. He also made an impression when he came on against Grays in the first FA Trophy tie. He is currently on loan at Chatham Town but is definitely destined for a great future.
December 22 – Michael Power
MIchael is a Cray Wanderers legend that returned to the club in the summer for the third time having made his debut in the 2004-05 season. Player of the year in 2008 Michael affectionately known as Shaggy has been in tremendous form this season scoring 24 goals in 25 games played. Remarkable as he missed the first four games of the season but since scoring against Dartford in the Kent Senior Cup hasn’t looked back. Scores allsorts of goals so should be sponsored by Bertie Bassett, Worldy strikes from distance, converts one on ones, penalties, tap ins and deflections and has two hat-tricks this season. A Twitter sensation, Michael has 234 Cray Wanderers appearances in all and has scored 94 goals so nearing the 100 club.
December 23 – Tony Russell
Tony came to Cray in the summer of 2015 and immediately set about changing the mindset at the club which was one where the club didn’t expect to win games to one where we shouldn’t fear anyone and this approach seems to be working. I refer to Tony as Guardinho. He applies the fluid attacking style and verve of Pep Guardiola with the meticulous planning and making the team hard to beat approach of Jose Mourinho. A former Cray Wanderers player during the early days of the Isthmian League from 2004-05 Tony is a Cray Wanderers man through and through and is one of the best young managers around.
December 24 – Ally Maloney
I’ve chosen Ally as Christmas Eve’s entry in the calendar amidst much competition from the players. I chose Ally as perhaps without Ally’s expertise they may not be available for the calendar. Much loved around the club (and all the clubs she has worked for) the quick thinking of physios are a much valued necessity at clubs around the game. Ally is also an ace picture taker and West Ham fan but its Christmas so please don’t mock.
Finally and I don’t wish to preach to you today but just remember over the festive season those with medical training, nurses, paramedics and so on who have to be on standby or work at Christmas which is a remarkable vocation and one which we should all be grateful should we be unfortunate to need their help.
December 25 – Gary Dave and Mike
Wishing also a very Happy Christmas to the Three Wise Men who if it wasn’t for these guys we more than likely wouldn’t have a Cray Wanderers team to cheer on each week.
Gary Hillman has been Cray Wanderers Chairman since the 1994-95 season. When he took over the club were in such dire straits we should have come out to the tune of Money For Nothing. A successful local business man, Gary has striven hard to get Cray Wanderers playing at a ground of their own since. Fortunes improved through shrewd acquisitions and after groundsharing with Bromley helped turn the club into a force in the Kent League and through promotions to the Isthmian League South and Premier.
Micky and Dave add vital business acumen to our cause and clout and they have worked tirelessly behind the scenes helping to get the ground of our dreams and making the club more financially sustainable.
Micky Paye was a very good player for Cray in the late 80’s – early 90’s and played 170 games for the Wands scoring 38 goals and later was Assistant manager and 1st team manager of Cray in 2014-15. He was Player of the Year in 1990. Dave played in the same Cray team as Micky in the 1987-88 season playing 19 appearances.
You will often see these guys around at games. If you get the chance pop over and say hello and pass on your appreciation.