New Croydon Athletic taking shape
A new Croydon Athletic Football Club has taken a step closer to formation.
The Rams supporters behind a Croydon Athletic phoenix club met a Football Association deadline this week and also reached an agreement with Croydon FC that they could share their Croydon Arena ground - if Croydon Council fail to regain their old KT Stadium in Thornton Heath which is still under the ownership of Croydon Athletic owner Jenna Manji.
Paul Smith, the chairman of the Rams Army supporters' trust, has been leading the project to launch a phoenix club out of the ashes of the now defunct Croydon Athletic - which went out of business in December after two years of trouble - and was delighted to have made the FA's March 31 deadline.
"We have got everything in place," he said.
"The documents had to be got to the FA this week and then, on April 12, we appear before the league committee where we effectively have an interview.
"They then make a final decision on May 27 if we can be confirmed for step six and then we have to be accepted by the Combined Counties League for division one and the league are very positive about that..
"The most difficult bit has been the ground as we need to satisfy the FA that we definitely have somewhere to play.
"The lease on the stadium has not been relinquished by the Croydon Athletic owner, Jenna Manji, and the council have been trying to get her to surrender the lease but so far she has refused.
"Even if we were able to say to the FA the council were going to give us the lease once they secure it, the FA would say what if Jenna Manji doesn't give it up?
"So, knowing that, we have agreed we will play at the Arena next season, sharing it with Croydon FC who have been hugely supportive of us."