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500-up for Ian Jenkins at Cray
Long-serving Cray Wanderers FC manager Ian Jenkins reached a remarkable football career landmark on 13th October when he took charge of the first team for the 500th consecutive league match.
And there was a happy outcome for the Wands as they beat Enfield Town 3-1 in the Ryman Premier Division, on their first visit to the Queen Elizabeth II stadium.
Ian’s long run as boss started back in October 1999 when, with Cray struggling badly at the bottom of the Kent League, he was appointed by club chairman Gary Hillman. Ian at first took the role of Cray Wanderers player manager in partnership with Bob Pittaway, and gradually transformed the team’s fortunes. A great run in February 2000 saw him win the first of many ‘Manager of the Month’ awards.
In 2001, Jenkins’s right-hand man Joe Francis arrived at Hayes Lane. The pair have taken the Wanderers to their greatest run of success. After winning the Kent League championship in 2003 & 2004 promotion was gained into the Ryman League Division One. Then in 2009 Cray were promoted into the Ryman Premier League, to reach the highest level the club has ever played at in its 152-year history.
Cray have won 236 of the 500 league games under Ian’s leadership, with 106 draws and 158 defeats – a record to be rightly proud of over such a long period.
Ian remains very ambitious for Cray Wanderers and is keen to progress the club further at the proposed new community stadium in Sandy Lane, St Paul’s Cray, once the planning issues can be overcome.