*BS*The Kent Senior Cup will celebrate its 125th anniversary season by taking the final back to Priestfield Stadium, home of Gillingham FC, to be played on the bank holiday of Monday 5th May 2014.*BF*
The PortableFloodlights.com Kent Senior Cup celebrates its 125th anniversary this season, having been first played in its current format in the 1888-1889 season with Chatham taking home the trophy in its first year. To celebrate the landmark anniversary, the final will return to Priestfield for the first time in two decades and be held on the May bank holiday weekend.
Priestfield, the home of Gillingham FC, is the largest football stadium in the county and home to the highest-ranked Kent club in the football pyramid.
Paul Scally, Gillingham FC Chairman, welcomed the Kent Senior Cup final to the ground; “We’re delighted to host the 125th Kent Senior Cup final at Priestfield and happy to be able play a part in the history of this competition. We’ll do our utmost to make both the competing teams feel welcome and give the final the occasion it deserves.”
Gillingham FC will again play in the Kent Senior Cup this year alongside other leading Kent clubs Dartford and Charlton Athletic, who still maintain their traditional affiliation to the Kent County FA. The Kent boundary historically ran all the way to Tower Bridge in London, and clubs that were previously affiliated are still welcome to affiliate and enter the Kent Senior Cup.
The opening rounds’ fixtures have now been released and have thrown up some exciting matches, with Dover hosting rivals Margate at Crabble, while Dartford travel to Welling and last season’s finalists Tonbridge face Ebbsfleet. Holders Charlton Athletic will travel to Folkestone Invicta to begin the defence of their crown, whilst League One club Gillingham FC visit Erith & Belvedere.
The opening games are scheduled for Wednesday 3rd September.
The Kent FA run 20 county cups each season, with the Senior Cup being the most prestigious of the competitions. PortableFloodlights.com will return as competition sponsors for the third season running. New logos have been commissioned for each of the cups this season, with a special anniversary edition of the Senior Cup for the 125th anniversary.
Paul Dolan, Chief Executive of the Kent FA explained the reasons behind the early announcement of the final venue; “In recent years the final has been hosted by one of the competing clubs, but for our 125th Anniversary final we wanted a marquee venue for the occasion. We’re very grateful to Paul Scally and the team at Gillingham for agreeing to host this occasion, and we’ll be making further announcements about celebration events to mark the 125th Anniversary as the season progresses.”
Dover face Margate at Crabble in the first round on 3rd September. The winner will play either Erith & Belvedere or Gillingham in the second round.