They beat us and it felt like a win

Fisher FC 1 Beckenham Town 2

A battling Fish side succumb to moments of naivety and suffer a heart-breaking defeat.

Fish on the attack

Fish on the attack

Sound familiar? Well, the result on the pitch was about the only thing about last night that even vaguely resembled the dark days of last season.  If you want a comprehensive match report, kentishfootball.co.uk will sort you out. Suffice to say that Fisher showed signs of promise, with excellent individual performances from flying winger (and scorer of an audacious lob) Elstrom Die, midfielder Louis Sprosen, and goalkeeper Danny Baldwinson who deservedly picked up the man-of-the-match award. Ryan Palmer came on as substitute and looked lively on the right wing. Sadly, poor marking twice let the Fish down, though James Holder’s finish for Beckenham’s winner was first class.



But if Fish lost the battle on the pitch, the night was a clear victory off it. An excellent gate of 222 was entertained from start to finish, and Die’s equalising goal drew the loudest roar heard at a Fisher game for a long, long time. The merchandise stall (merchandise? At the Fish? Whatever next?!) was busy all night, doing a fine line in badges and smart polo shirts. Former Fish favourites Wayne Burnett and Steve Watts came to check out the new regime – it is to be hoped that Wayne left before he saw Die’s performance!

The crowd pours in

The crowd pours in

Many a Fish fan, and committee member, was heard to comment after the game that ‘it felt like a win’. And it was a victory for all those who refused to let Fisher die on 13th May 2009, who worked tirelessly all summer to establish a new club, run by the fans, and get us playing competitive football three months later. It is an incredible turnaround, and the committee in particular can feel rightly proud of the job they have done – in tougher months ahead it will be important to remember that nights like this are why we bother.

C’mon the Fish!

A happy clubhouse after the game

A happy clubhouse after the game


Kent Premier League 2009/10 Preview – part 3

The final part of the preview looks at the sides that Fisher face towards the middle portion of the season, as well as late additions Corinthian. And you can read The Fish’s verdict on, er, the Fish!

Sevenoaks Town

Last season: 14th

Home ground: Greatness Park


Having been founder members of the Kent league 1883, Sevenoaks left after only a season and it took them 120 years to regain their place. Having achieved Kent Premier status in 2003, Town have bumped around in lower mid-table and look likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The club have a Michael Smith on the books, though extensive googling has not yet established whether this is the same fiery-tempered midfielder who stomped through the Dr Martens League East a few years ago, with a very attractive WAG watching from the sidelines. We can only hope that it is, and that she hasn’t yet dumped him.

The Fish predicts: 14th – again

Tunbridge Wells

Last season: 10th

Home ground: Culverden Stadium


Replacing Mike Robbins at the helm, new Wells manager Martin Larkin has brought in new recruits who will be following the not entirely unique formula of mixing up pace and power. Wells, like Fisher, are a members-run club who will be operating on a shoestring this year and they will be looking to build on last season’s 10th place finish. Much will depend on whether Larkin’s new boys are up to the task, and if so whether Wells can hang on to them when clubs with a bit more spending power show an interest.

The Fish predicts: 8th

Deal Town

Last season: 12th

Home ground: Charles Sports Ground – though for just £250 you can win the chance to change that!


It’s a very, very long way to Deal, and when you get there you’ll find yourself just over the water from Calais. But if you want to make a splash without taking a dip in the Channel, you could enter the sponsorship draw to win naming rights to the ground – just £250 for your chance to name a football ground after yourself (for a year, anyway). Deal’s horrible flash-driven website is short on news about changes for this season, but Town will be hoping to improve on a disappointing 2008/9 campaign. Having won the division, and the FA Vase, 10 years ago Deal will be keen to challenge again but this will not be their season.

The Fish predicts: 11th

Norton Sports

Last season: 11th

Home ground: The Safety Net Stadium aka Winch’s Field (groundshare with Herne Bay)


Sports have only been in the Kent Premier since 2008, and did not trouble the upper half of the division in their first season. Another club running on very tight finances, it’s difficult to see Norton achieving anything other than another mid-table finish this season.

The Fish predicts: 13th


Last season: 5th

Home ground: Oakley Road


Closer to home, Holmesdale are based in Bromley and won promotion to the Premier League in 2006/7. After a season of consolidation in 2007/8, last season’s 5th placed finish was an excellent achievement. It remains to be seen whether Holmesdale can repeat their success this year – and maybe their participation in the FA Cup, for the first time ever, will prove a distraction in the early going.

The Fish predicts: 10th – a slip back to mid-table beckons for Holmesdale


Last season: n/a

Home ground: Gay Dawn Farm


“Pro omnium benificio”. That, as any fule kno, is Latin for ‘for the benefit of all’ and is the Corinthian motto. But it was primarily for the benefit of the Kent Premier League that Corinthian were co-opted into the 2009/10 set-up via the back door, at an EGM just days before the start of the season. That put the size of the league back up to 16 clubs, after Slade Green’s late withdrawal. The chances of Corinthian putting out a competitive side this season appear slim, and they may battle Sporting Bengal for the wooden spoon. Though if they can unearth the modern-day equivalents of former stars Andy Hessenthaler and Jimmy Bullard, they may yet surprise a few of their competitors.

The Fish predicts: 15th – Corinthian will be grateful for the continued presence of Sporting Bengal in the league.

Fisher FC

Last season: n/a

Home ground: Champion Hill (groundshare with Dulwich Hamlet)


That the Fish are back is reason to be cheerful, and the new supporter-owned model for running the club is even better news. On the pitch, it’s hard to tell quite how well the Fish will do with a hastily assembled squad. But in Gary Lisney, Fish have an experienced and well-connected manager and both he and assistant Donna Powell have been keen to stress the importance of playing attractive football. The main hope for the season has to be that the club continues to strengthen off the pitch, with progress made towards finding a more permanent home and no trips to the courts. Fish could surprise a few this year, and should be good enough for a top half finish.

The Fish predicts: 6th – a solid season, but not a title threat this year


Kent Premier League 2009/10 Preview – Part 2

And we start with news that, as expected, Slade Green have resigned from the Kent Premier. The internet (alright, just the Kent League Forum) is abound with rumours that Corinthians will step in to replace them, but surely not in time for the Fish to start their season on August 8th.

Meanwhile, on with the preview. Those wanting to find out more about the history of the Kent League could do worse that visit Dinant Abbink’s site which lists every final table from 1894-95 to 2006-7.

Herne Bay

Last season: 6th

Home ground: Safety Net Stadium (no, really – that’s what it’s called. Corporate naming hits the Kent League!)


A trip to the seaside! Although as the away fixture is in mid-January, that may be less appealing than it sounds in mid-summer. But the clubhouse looks pretty good so Herne Bay could be well worth a visit. A comprehensive set-up is in place in the Bay, and only ground grading problems prevented them from progressing up the pyramid during the 90s. Bay haven’t won the title since 1997, though have finished runners up on occasion and having retained much of the squad that finished 6th last year they will be looking to mount more of a challenge this year. Bay fans have access to the Genuine Supporters Forum – “A forum for moderate views which can be enjoyed by all”. A welcome change from the bickering morons on the Conference South forum!

The Fish predicts: 7th – another season of consolidation for Bay

Faversham Town

Last season: 4th

Home ground: Salters Lane


It’s back on the A2/M2 treadmill for the trip to Faversham, famous for its explosives industry and there were fireworks on the pitch last season as Faversham racked up an impressive 83 goals in 32 league matches. The club have experienced adversity recently having resigned from the Kent League in 2003 and only regaining their status for the 2006/7 season. But the Lillywhites have wasted no time in getting to grips with step 5 football, finishing fourth last year and if they can resolve their inconsistencies may well challenge for honours this year. The squad has been strengthened over the summer, and Faversham are a side to watch this time around.

The Fish predicts: 2nd – Faversham to finish just behind Hythe


Last season: 16th

Home ground: Martyn Grove


Mmm, orange. It has been suggested that teams that play in red are the most successful, because somehow the very act of wearing bright red shirts seems to make players bigger, faster stronger, and better than if, say, they were wearing smart navy blue. Bollocks, say I (pointing you to Charlton’s record last season), but what are we to make of teams that turn out in orange. Maybe they are hoping to channel the spirit of the Dutch? That spirit apparently consisting of unfulfilled promise, bitter internal disputes, and a penchant for space cake. Lordswood certainly had a disappointing 2008/9 campaign, though there is little evidence that this led to tension in the dressing room. The Wood have picked up a few players with Kent Premier experience, but it seems likely that another season of struggle is ahead.

The Fish predicts: bottom 3

Erith Town

Last season: 7th

Home ground: Erith Stadium


After a season sharing with Thamesmead, Erith Town come home to Erith this year and will be looking to build on a solid 7th place in last season’s competition. Manager Steve O’Boyle is, like Jordan on a date, going for a blend of youth and experience with former Shrewsbury stalwart Austin Berkley signed to anchor the midfield. Erith will be looking to convert some of last season’s 10 draws into wins this term and Dave Batt, top scorer in the Kent League Division 1 in 2008/9, is the man expected to make the difference. It remains to be seen whether the squad will gel together quick enough to mount an assault on the title, however.

The Fish predicts: 8th – fewer draws, but a lack of consistency will doom Town to mid-table

Sporting Bengal United

Last season: last. About as last as you can possibly get. Even more last than Fisher managed in the Conference South. Rock bottom. Adrift.

Home ground: Mile End Stadium


Sporting Bengal probably can’t wait for the new season to start, as last year they set records in all the wrong categories. 32 games played. Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 32. Goals for 26. Goals against 160. One-hundred and sixty goals conceded! Truly incredible. Things really can only get better for Sporting Bengal, and murmurs on the internet suggest that towards the end of last season they were beginning to turn things around. Not to the extent that they managed to scrape a point, but nevertheless there were signs of hope. Obtaining consistency will be a problem for the side though, as they draw all their players from Sunday football across East London. Note that Bengal play north of the river, at Mile End, which means a trip through the Rotherhithe tunnel and the opportunity for a post-match curry at Brick Lane, just over a mile down the road. A 2007 blog post suggests that Mile End Stadium is a bring your own booze affair, with no clubhouse facilities.

The Fish predicts: Last. But Bengal won’t be as bad as last year (how could they be) and will pick up a few points this season.


Kent Premier League 2009/10 Preview – Part 1

It’s the publication of the fixture list when it really hits you: Fisher are not in Kansas any more. The tornado of the last few months has dumped us in the Kent Premier Division, given us some new names to conjure with, and reason to be thankful for Google Maps. Lordswood, Norton Sports, and Sporting Bengal are just some of the exotic away trips ahead of us this season alongside more familiar foes from seasons past.

Here then is part one of your 2009/10 Kent Premier Division preview. Information has been sourced from the usual web-based suspects and therefore stands a distinct chance of being wrong. Teams are taken in the order the Fish are scheduled to face them in the league. Driving directions are linked to for each team, starting from the Surrey Docks Stadium.

Slade Green

Last season: 13th

Home ground: The Small Glen


An away trip to start the season, but will Slade Green be around to play the game? The consensus on the Kent League Forum suggests that they will not, which would be a shame as the club has a history stretching back to the end of World War 2. The team have spent every season since 1969 in the Kent League, never achieving more than mid-table respectability. A Kent Senior Trophy triumph in 1992 is their greatest achievement to date, and looks likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

The Fish predicts: no trip to the Small Glen this year, as it looks almost certain that Slade will not start the 2009/10 season.

Beckenham Town

Last season: 15th

Home ground: Eden Park Avenue


Ah, Beckenham. This is more like it: a ding-dong derby to start the first home campaign of the new Fisher. It’s fair to say that Beckenham and the Fish have not seen eye-to-eye in recent years, despite sharing a somewhat, er, muddy past. If you visit their website, be sure to put your shades on as it does a very decent impersonation of the News of the World site – including plastering the front page with pictures of hot babes. Somewhat improbably, the club claim to have signed ex-England and Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham, though apparently only for FA Vase fixtures. Other new signings include four from Kent County League side Orpington, and Ryan Hillary from Staines. Beckenham and Fisher have swapped players on a regular basis over recent years, and if the club’s website is to be believed we could see the return of former Fish keeper Michael Holder who, if this photo is anything to go by, hasn’t turned down too many dinners lately. However forum posts suggest Noddy has been given the elbow in favour of one of the aforementioned Orpington boys.

The Fish predicts: 9th place. Beckenham are talking big, and their new owner appears to have some celebrity connections. That said, recent signings appear to be from lower levels and remains to be seen whether they can be moulded into a competitive side at Premier League level. Perhaps Teddy will turn up and strut his stuff on a regular basis, otherwise a mid-table finish beckons for Becks.

Greenwich Borough

Last season: 3rd

Home ground: Oakley Road (groundshare with Holmesdale)


More old friends in the form of Greenwich Borough, who are currently playing in Bromley at the home of Holmesdale FC. Last season’s manager Dave Mehmet used to play for Borough, as did Damien Scannell. The club have been members of the Kent League since 1984, winning it on two occasions in the 80s. A creditable third place last term belies the apparent lack of activity on their website, and assuming Borough retain a sizeable number of last year’s squad they should prove tough opposition for the Fish. Particularly as cockney hard-boys and stars of silver screen Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer are involved with the running of the club as president and chairman respectively. Just don’t mug them off, alright?

Edit 24th July to add: the good people at the Kent League forum have kindly pointed out that Tamer and Danny have jogged on, and are no longer involved at Borough. Which is unfortunate, as that was about all I could find out about the club via google! Borough fans are welcome to update me in the comments with the real story (or even a made-up story) and it’ll make it into the printed edition of this preview in the first programme of the season.

The Fish predicts: Top 3. Borough to prove strong again, and should compete for the title.

Hythe Town

Last season: 2nd

Home ground: Reachfields Stadium


One of the longest trips of the season, and one of the toughest too as Hythe will be looking to build on a season where they were pipped into second place by just 3 points. Last season’s manager Paul Fisk stepped down for personal reasons at the end of the season, and has been replaced by Scott Porter. Fisk has subsequently joined the board at Hythe, and a poor start could see the new boss under pressure. However Porter has retained the services of last season’s Player of the Year Pat Kingwell, though 2007/8 top scorer Buster Smissen (owner of possibly the best name in the Kent League) has jumped ship to Faversham. Hythe are off to a flier in pre-season, and must rank among the favourites for the title this season.

The Fish predicts: Champions. Clearly a well-run club, and with the nucleus of last year’s squad still together a tilt at the title is inevitable.

Erith and Belvedere

Last season: 8th

Home ground: Park View Road (groundshare with Welling)


With manager Chris Cosgrove leaving by the ever popular ‘mutual consent’, former Fish Paul Gorman has taken the reigns at the Deres for the new season as joint manager with Richie Radbourne. Fish fans will remember E&B as rivals from the Dr Martens East a few years ago, where we seemed to play them every other week. The Deres have been in the Kent League since a 20-year spell in the Southern League was ended by relegation in 2004/5, and will be keen to push for a return to Step 4. With a number of players arriving from the higher echelons during the close season, E&B are likely to be one of the challengers this year.

The Fish predicts: Top 4. Despite the loss of their manager, the Deres have opted for stability by promoting from within and this will be rewarded with a title challenge that just falls short.

That’s it for part one, more to follow in the coming days.


Fisher Reborn

And you can follow the blog action here, visit the new website and chat on the new forum.


Live from the Fishtrials

By The Fish’s court reporter, Tim Rodgers

The cameramen outside the Royal Courts of Justice were not for Fisher’s latest hearing – they were, actually, for Joe Calzaghe who sauntered into the main entrance (with his very attractive and I’m sure significant “other”). Still the Fisher supporters who waited outside were joined by the Fisher representative – Mr Mudrulogu. A few cigarettes later, we went inside. For a moment I thought I was in the House of Commons – after the obligatory security (Norman failing miserably to empty his pockets which was particularly ironic I thought) the main lobby had a series of stairways – up one was Court 8 and the date with destiny. To be honest by this point we had been made aware that a deal (of sorts) had been done with the Inland Revenue, and that it was likely that Fisher would be given more time – probably around 6 weeks or so. Fisher were on a long list of cases to be heard after 10:30 am. The Court was small and there were more people inside it than a typical home game – though admittedly you don’t often see Burt Kite in a lawyers wig. The Fisher representative went in, whilst the Fisher fans waited outside until there was space to sneak in. We got in about 6 cases early… dismissed… dismissed with costs.. dismissed. The company before us had just won a railway sleeper contract… Then the Fish. Something about this being the 2nd hearing, and the representative said that the liabilities would be paid by refinancing. Registrar Derrett, a rather fierce looking lady, peered over her glasses, and said “full repayment in 49 days – takes you to the 22nd April”. It was almost as if she was asking whether this was OK.. So to The George public house where we reviewed over several beers (and 4 Kalibers… my tummy hurts). To paraphrase Dickens, income (and Sugar Daddy money) less than expenditure = misery. Lots of ideas on how to raise money, how we should start again, but until this rather large financial millstone is removed, the club’s always going to be looking down at its feet. Still the Fish live to fight another day – see you all down the RCJ on April 22nd.


The Manageress

Cherie Lunghi, eat your heart out. This time it’s happening for real, and at a football club near you (as long as ‘near you’ includes East Dulwich).  Donna Powell, turnstile operator, sister of Razor, and coach of the unbeaten Red Lion Under 11s, will be taking charge of the Fish for a crunch league game with Eastleigh. And let’s face it, results cannot get any worse under Donna that they have been recently – despite committed, whole-hearted performances.

In fact, I’m quite looking forward to the change of style – though I rather suspect the Red Lion boys have a home pitch more conducive to good passing football than the ploughed field of Champion Hill. Donna knows her football, and there’s no doubt she’ll be able to earn the respect of the players. And if the worst should happen on March 4th, Fisher know that they have a manager ready to take the reigns at a reformed club.

The idea has certainly generated some comment on the Conference South forum, which at least makes a change from moronic AFCW and Chelmsford fans taking it in turns to wind each other up. With some favourable media coverage, the Fish could see a bumper crowd next Wednesday, and generate some funds to see the club through this season – or to start again.

All together now – “Donna Powell’s black and white army!”

A match report – and of course pictures – will appear on The Fish after the game!