Croydon Ladies set up camp at The Valley

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Charlton Athletic will contest next month's Charity Shield despite being neither the reigning League champions nor the FA Cup holders, the Football Association confirmed yesterday.

Charlton Athletic will contest next month's Charity Shield despite being neither the reigning League champions nor the FA Cup holders, the Football Association confirmed yesterday.

Lest Manchester United and Chelsea start to worry that they have been usurped for a place in the Wembley showpiece, the Charity Shield in question is the women's version and the team being usurped are Croydon Ladies, who won the Double earlier this year and have since decamped, en masse and against the wishes of their chairman, to The Valley.

The exodus, which the players voted in favour of at a Croydon FC AGM on 30 June, means that Charlton now have an affiliated women's senior side for the first time. The FA have confirmed that the Charlton side will now take Croydon's place in the women's Premier League. Charlton will also take Croydon's place against Arsenal in the Charity Shield, to be played on 6 August at Craven Cottage.

"The whole thing is farcical," Ken Jarvie, the chairman of Croydon FC, said yesterday, explaining how he had been powerless to stop his players leaving and amazed that the FA had sent out notification that his ladies' team no longer officially exists.

"At first I was disappointed, having given the team a home for the past six years. The sad thing is that Croydon no longer has a women's team, but if the girls want to do it, that's fine." Mick Everett, the general manager at Charlton, said the Croydon players were not moving for money (they do not get paid) but because the facilities on offer were better and because it had actually cost them money to play for Croydon.

"We have an FA-licensed centre of excellence for girls, and several youth teams for girls," Everett said. "We've been looking for some time for a team to put on top of our pyramid and we heard on the grapevine that the Croydon players were unhappy. We asked Ken Jarvie if we could have some sort of 'marriage'. He seemed interested initially but then felt he'd lose control. The girls made it clear they were going to come across to us anyway." The majority of the Croydon Ladies administrative staff, including the player-manager, Debbie Bampton, have been invited to play a part at The Valley but have yet to decide whether to do so.

Comments