Orpington History Article - Cray Wanderers Football Club.
CRAY WANDERERS FC
If you live in Orpington or the Crays and you have never heard of Cray Wanderers, there may be a very good reason for that.
The 'Wands' have been playing in exile away from their ancestral home since 1973, following the public eviction from their
Grassmeade ground in Chelsfield Road, St Mary Cray, by their then landlords, St Philomena's.
Founded in 1860, Cray Wanderers FC is reputed to be the oldest association football club in London and Kent and the joint second-
oldest in the world. Sheffield FC (1857) is the oldest, with Hallam FC (1860) sharing Cray's acknowledged 'second-oldest' world title.
Over the years, Cray have won a succession of titles and cups, a list of which makes an impressive citation to their drive and
determination,whilst the odds have often been stacked against them.
Currently, the club is based at Hayes Lane, Bromley, where it has been groundsharing with Bromley FC since upgraded ground
requirements were brought into the Kent League back in the 1990s. Prior to this, Cray played their home games at Oxford Road in
Sidcup, a venue that they were originally pleased to secure on a temporary basis in order to live on after 1973. They continued to play
there for twenty-five years! Cray currently play in the Ryman (Isthmian) League.
The Wanderers have played at a succession of grounds in their 150+ years, the most notable after Grassmeade being Fordcroft in
Cray Avenue, St Mary Cray (formerly owned by Joynson's Paper Mill, but now the premises of Allied Bakeries), which was their home
for 38 years. There are currently active plans in motion to try and bring Cray Wanderers back to the heart of the Crays, with the
present chairman liaising closely with Bromley Council and local politicians.
Stories and recollections of Cray Wanderers Football Club can now be read on the dedicated History website at
This website is provided on a voluntary basis and is frequently being updated with photographs and written material.
The Orpington History Organisation would like to thank Trevor Mulligan for creating this one page article, supplying the
photographs and keeping the ‘Cray Wands’ history site alive for all to know what a great and historic. club it is.