A football club in Bromley has played their first game at new grounds off the A20 in Sidcup.

Cray Wanderers FC, London’s oldest football club, began using their new 3G pitch on February 4.

The grounds, called Flamingo Park, were officially opened by the Mayor of Bromley, Mr Mike Botting, in a ribbon cutting ceremony.

This marks a major change for Cray Wanderers, which was established in 1860, but has not had a permanent home of their own since 1973.

Since August 1998, the club has shared grounds with Bromley FC but can now attract fresh supporters with their own grounds.

Building work at Flamingo Park began in August 2023 and by December 2023, floodlights were installed and officially turned on.

News Shopper: Work began on the grounds in August 2023, with the ribbon cutting taking place on Sunday, February 4Work began on the grounds in August 2023, with the ribbon cutting taking place on Sunday, February 4 (Image: Cray Wanderers FC)

The club expects the ground to host Men’s first team football at the start of the 2024-25 season.

Mr Gary Hillman, Chairman of Cray Wanderers, had a long-held dream of the club having their own home, one that became a possibility in March 2018 when Bromley Council approved planning permission.

Mr Hillman, celebrating thirty years in his role in October, helped Cray become the owner of Flamingo Park after overcoming several obstacles, such as COVID-19 and rising material costs.

The opening game on the pitch was played by the Women’s team of Cray Wanderers FC, currently leading the Southern Counties East Women’s League Division One West.

News Shopper: The Women's team played their first game on the new grounds - and won!The Women's team played their first game on the new grounds - and won! (Image: Cray Wanderers FC)

They played against Oakwood FC, who travelled up from Crawley.

Cray Wanderers FC won the match 2-0, with Chloe Ashdown scoring the first goal on the new surface in the 3rd minute, and Hannah Atkins sealing the win with a second goal in the 76th minute.

The club recently formed their Women’s team after successfully integrating girls' football from U13s through to U18s.

This follows their successful boys and men's setup over the years.

Now with their own ground, the club hopes to establish a Girls' Academy, creating a clear pathway for young women from youth football to the first team.

Nearly 150 spectators attended the opening match, eager to see the new pitch and take in the revamped facilities.

Many in the audience were keen to return once the ground is officially complete.

Club CEO, Mr Sam Wright, has played a pivotal role in the club's recent successes.

His business savviness has inspired local businesses to support the club and attracted solid sponsorships.

This support has helped to improve the facilities at the Flamingo Park clubhouse, making it possible for the venue to host live music events, as well as cater for youth teams on a Sunday.

The club is strengthening its social media presence to attract even more supporters.

Cray Wanderers has more than 30 youth teams at mini, 9 a side and 11 a side playing on the grass pitches, with the hope of the new 3G pitch being used for the Boys U18s, U16s, U15s and U13s and the Women’s and Academy teams and the Men’s first team.

Regular updates on the ground development will be available as the club prepares for a promising future.