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Councillors give support to Grays Athletic campaign
By Local Democracy Reporter
Steve Shaw
THURROCK councillors have expressed their support for sports groups across the borough and congratulated Grays Athletic for being named club of the year.
Labour Councillor John Kent called on the council to congratulate the Blues for being named Bostik League Football Community Club of the year for 2018-19 during a full council meeting on Wednesday evening.
He said the club is helping many people in the borough to be active and is one of many clubs that deserve recognition and support.
“There are many, many people in the borough who are involved in cricket, hockey, bowls, boxing and athletics and many, many more sports beside,” he said.
“Most of them are putting in the time free of charge for the love of the sport and giving young people an outlet something positive to do and we don’t often enough stop to say thank you for what they do.
“The Grays football club was formed in 1890 and came remarkably close to going out of business four or five years ago but since then what has happened is utterly remarkable.
“In 2016, they were relaunched as a community football club – one owned entirely by supporters, with one member, one share, one vote and everybody’s elected, directors of the club elected, and the chair of the club is elected.
“Steve Skinner who has been the chair since 2016 has done a remarkable job raising tens of thousands of pounds only to make sure the team survives at Bostik league level, which is not a bad level of football, but they also have over 30 sides playing going from very youngest who are too young to play organised football to over 65s who play for recreation – they have over 500 players.
“What they do is nothing short of remarkable, so I think this council should congratulate this club.”
His comments prompted a raft of support from councillors across the chamber who all spoke up about their support for the club.
Labour leader councillor Jane Pothecary said the club was helping to “make a different in the lives of players” and councillor Gerard Rice praised the club for its “fantastic work with young people”.
The football club has spent almost ten years trying to find a new home after being forced to leave The Rec in 2010 when it was sold to property developers.
They hope to eventually move into a purpose built community football stadium but so far the council has not located a suitable site.
Conservative Councillor Joycelyn Redell, said: “If we are looking for any land for Grays Athletic, we need to look at the infrastructure that goes with,it we need to find a good piece of land but we also need to be careful to ensure we have the infrastructure around it.”

Board Member Glyn Jarvis Update On The Progress Made For A New Community Football Facility In Grays
27th May 2019

As you will recall, we enlisted support for responses to the Council’s Local Plan survey document in February/early March this year.
Around 700 responses were submitted supporting the allocation of land within the Plan for a new community football facility in the north Grays/Blackshots area.
We are extremely grateful for this fantastic response which will be taken into account as the Local Plan moves on to the next stage later this year.

Meantime, the club continues its discussions with the Council and the management of the new Orsett Heath Academy planned in north Grays for an additional 1200 secondary school pupils. Additional land to complement the educational provision with a comprehensive sports development is very high on the agenda for these discussions and we hope that progress will be made soon.

The forthcoming football season is a crucial one for the club as we need a home we can call our own as soon as possible to establish a sustainable community business for many years to come.
We hope our growing number of supporters will respond to our requests to help us to broaden our influence in Thurrock and will make every endeavour to keep everyone advised of progress as we move into the 2019-20 football season.

Many Thanks
Glyn Jarvis
GAFC Board Member and Life President

b]Jeff and Jim hand over forms to Council official
7th March 2019

Jeff Pedley and Jim Thandi delivered over 500 response forms to the council offices this afternoon (Thursday). Following an appeal from the club the local community have really got behind the campaign to bring the Blues back to the town.

Jeff and Jim have been in the forefront galvanising the local community and supporters, the club would like to thank them for their considerable efforts over the last few weeks.

Supporters galvanising support to raise awareness of the clubs #BringGraysHome campaign

A number of our supporters are raising funds to produce banners, posters, car stickers and flyers to raise awareness of the clubs #BringGraysAthHome campaign. The intention with the guidance of the club is to locate the banners and posters throughout Grays to galvanise support and raise awareness of the clubs bid to return to Grays in a purpose built community football stadium.

Jeff Pedley who is organising the supporters online campaign said: "We have had amazing support online with the campaign, with hundreds of retweets, shares and likes etc. We even had England legend David Seaman sharing info and Man City player Georgia Stanway promoting awareness for us.
There is a massive amount of people yearning for a place to call home. People have been asking me a lot why I’m doing this. As a teacher, I know the positive difference sport makes to children physically and mentally. As fans, it’s massive socially for us too. But, to be honest, it’s nothing to do with football, it’s more about the community- this is an amazing town and it’s time we had something to be really proud about."

As many of our supporters will be aware the club are in talks with Thurrock Council about parcels of land that could deliver the clubs ambitions to return to Grays having led a nomadic life for 8 years since losing the Rec in 2010.

#BringGraysAthHome 00:04

 18 Dec 2018

If you would like to donate and help our supporters raise the funds to produce the marketing material then please go to
Supporters have already raised £411 but more is needed, please help support the clubs return to Grays.

You can follow and add your support to the campaign via our social media sites


28th July 2018

During the last few months, the club has had discussions and meetings with senior officers at Thurrock Council on our plans to relocate our club back to Grays.

We have found the Council very proactive and helpful in understanding our plans to have a community sports facility to cater for our senior players, youth players - boys and girls - our veterans' team and our walking football teams - covering players from age five to seventy-five with a range of abilities. We also intend to develop a football academy to include post sixteen-year-old academic and sports studies.

The Council is developing its new local plan and we have made our intentions known and hope land will be allocated for a community stadium, ancillary pitches, buildings and car parking.

Councillor Rob Gledhill, Leader of the Council said ‘we are working with Grays Athletic Football Club to ensure they are able to thrive as Thurrock expands and I want to see all sport succeed here in the borough as far as possible’.

There will be opportunities for our supporters to put forward their views on the Council’s new local plan and we hope they will be able to take part in these consultations and support our proposals for community football provision in Grays.

It has been six months since the club welcomed the confirmation that the South West Essex Community Education Trust's (SWECET) application to build a new free school had been approved. At that time, we were delighted to pass on our congratulations to all involved and wished the Trust all the best for the development of Orsett Heath Academy. Since then, William Edwards School have met with the Department for Education and Thurrock Council, to determine the appropriate steps to implement the programme for the new development. The School has also once again confirmed their wish to work with the club. It is still not possible to give any detail on the timescale for the new school as discussions continue with all interested parties on the possible site location. This process has taken a long time, but is hoped that this phase is nearing completion. Rest assured that we will advise supporters as soon as we can when agreement has been reached. Meanwhile, we must continue to do our best to ensure the club remains viable

William Edwards School have met with the Department of Education to determine the programme for the new development and have also met with the Thurrock Council planning department.

The School has once again confirmed their wish to work with Grays Athletic FC on our relocation as part of a wider sports hub plan for Grays

Club looks set to meet with the school to discuss its plans to move back to Grays 13/4/17

Grays Athletic Football Club welcome the recent confirmation that the South West Essex Community Education Trust's (SWECET) application to build a new free school has been approved. We would like to pass on our congratulations to all involved and wish the Trust all the very best with the development of Orsett Heath Academy. We are sure that this new facility will be a fantastic new asset to the community.

As documented in the SWECET brochure that explained their proposal, the possibility of Grays Athletic Football Club being part of the development at the proposed site, as part of a sports hub, has been discussed with the Local Authority and SWECET. Following this significant announcement from Government, the Club looks forward to meeting with the key people involved after the Easter break to further those discussions.

A further statement will follow from the club in due course

Wednesday 14th September 2016
Club continues to work behind the scenes as significant progress is made by the school
“It could also lead to the relocation of Grays Athletic FC on part of the land as an important part of the Blackshots hub”
Steve Munday
Following an open meeting last night (13 September) at William Edwards School, Steve Munday, the Head Teacher, gave the following information:
''The school’s application for the new school will be submitted this month. There will be an interview with the Department for Education in January 2017 and a decision on the funding for the new school will be made in March 2017. If it is approved, it is planned to open the new school on council owned land east of Blackshots in September 2019. It could also lead to the relocation of Grays Athletic Football Club on part of the land as an important part of the “Blackshots Sports Hub”.

Tuesday 19th July 2016
New proposal could see the club's return to Grays as part of a sporting hub

The South West Essex Community Education Trust is making an application to the Department for Education for a new secondary school in Grays. See link:

The Trust, which also oversees William Edwards School, continues to talk with the Local Authority about the possibility of bringing Grays Athletic Football Club back into Grays as part of the sporting hub element of the project.

These are very early days and the local community can have their say on the proposed new school by attending an information event and completing a short survey

Grays Athletic Football Club strongly supports the Trust’s application and we look forward to working with them to develop the concept of a sporting hub for Thurrock, including the Football Club.

Speaking about the proposals Andy Swallow said "since stepping back from the day to day running of the club towards the end of last season, I have been working hard to fullfill my commitment to return the club back to Grays, this announcement is very welcome and I will continue to work with the School and council to make this proposal a reality and return the club back where it belongs at the heart of the community in Grays"

Saturday 27th June 2015
Stadium update for our supporters
The club would like to let our supporters know that talks are ongoing with our partners for the new Grays Athletic community stadium.

Meetings have been held with our potential partners and members of the club have met with the head of the Thurrock council planning department and his planners.

Due to various reason we are still unable to give any details of the new stadium. We are in the early stages of planning, but we can say that we are all very excited by the possibilities that have so far been discussed with our partners and with the council, who very much want to see us return to Grays.

We are sorry we cannot give you any more information at this stage, but please know that we are working hard to return the Blues back to Grays.

Tuesday 28th April 2015
Grays Athletic hold initial talks with the council
Representatives from Grays Athletic met with Thurrock Council this morning with the Head of Planning and three of his senior colleagues.

It was a positive meeting and there will be follow ups to put some 'flesh on the bones’ of our proposals.

These things take time and with local elections imminent, the club needs to be patient, but there are options to pursue.

The Club will keep supporters advised of our plans in due course.

Keep the faith!

Friday 11th April 2015
The club have funding in place and are now ready to return the Blues back to Grays and build a community stadium.
The board of Grays Athletic have taken great heart in the positive response during the YourThurrock hustings debate that was held at the Thameside Theatre on Wednesday evening.
Thanks to UKIP's Tim Aker and Labour's Polly Billington there now appears to be the beginnings of some positive talk about the club returning home to Grays .

Grays Athletic would like to announce that if Thurrock council can provide suitable land with the relevant planning permission in Grays, the club are ready and are prepared to build a new community stadium and have all the funding in place.
Stadium Funding announcement
This weeks debate has raised the clubs hopes, and if the relevant parties and council are serious and wish to move forward, the club are ready to meet with the Council and are prepared to put forward plans to build a reasonable size community stadium, a stadium that the people of Grays and Thurrock can be proud of and one we can finally call home .

It's time now for every Grays Athletic fan to stand up and be counted.

Everyone involved at Grays Athletic are determined to build a community based football club in Grays and the building of a new community stadium will enable the club to build strong ties with the people of Grays and Thurrock as a whole.

We are ready to move the club home and we look forward to further discussions with Thurrock council and the relevant councillors.

Lets make our dream come true!

Grays Athletic Football Club - part of Thurrock's community since 1890