09 December 2015

Sports News - Forest Hill Park FC

Clayton Walters tells us about Forest Hill Park Football Club, our local team in the Kent Invicta league.

Due to our success working up the leagues, we play our home matches at Ladywell Arena. This is due to the fact that the stadium must be of a suitable standard (graded by the FA) to compete in the Kent Invicta league at Step 6 level of the National League System. The league has requirements for floodlights and other facilities for the ground grading standards.

We have progressed quite rapidly and are key in providing a good non-league level of football within our community and beyond. It's vital that we continue to compete and offer coaching to some local schools and clubs within our community.

Club History
Forest Hill Park FC was officially formed in 1992. A group of keen young footballers (Dean Dennis, Peter Stephens & Clayton Walters) - residing in the Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park – decided to form a team, registered with the Football Association, so that they could compete in a structured football league - a progression from the weekly matches in Honor Oak Park.

The club name derives from the area links between Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park. The club badge was designed around this idea; each elevated arrowed tree stands for each founder member, and the Oak tree of Honor, in One Tree Hill, which is a woodland park offering superb views over South London and beyond.

We joined forces with local side Lewisham Steelers, and entry into the Crystal Palace and District Sunday league in 1992 proved to be a positive step. Many of the players were playing a higher level of football on Saturdays, and due to the success of FHP, it was decided that Saturday football was the next step. Entry into the Bromley & District League was achieved. Our home ground was at Burbage Road in Dulwich for a few seasons, but it was agreed to move back into Lewisham borough. After that, for two seasons we competed in the South London Federation League, during which time we were runners up in the league cup.

We then transferred to the South London Alliance league 2001, playing at Catford Wanderers Sports ground. The committee members of the sports club saw our potential and requested that we play under the name of Catford Wanderers FC ‘FIRST TEAM’. We obliged for two seasons but it was felt, by the committee members, that Forest Hill Park FC must retain their identity and consequently reinstated their name with the league. A new dawn ensued as FHPFC, with the club name back and a new home ground secured in the heart of the borough at Ladywell Arena. Progression through the South London Alliance League followed, as Division one champions 2005/06 and runners up in the premier division for the following two seasons.

Entry into the Vandanel Kent County Football league was gained in 2008. In the second season FHP were crowned Division 2 West Champions and gained promotion to Division 1 West. The formation of a new Step 6 league in Kent was on the horizon, open to clubs of suitable standings. FHP fitted the membership criteria and applied to join the new league, but bizarrely a ruling from the FA deemed the application unsuccessful. In spite of the disappointing news, in the 2011 season FHP won the West Kent Challenge Shield.

A slow building process by linking with other clubs in Lewisham allowed younger players a pathway into adult county level football. FHPFC have always strived for progression and enjoyment of grass roots football by forming partnerships with other groups, gaining the prestigious charter Standard accreditation in 2010, The FA intermediate status, Lewisham Football Partnership, with a newly formed reserve side for season 2011/12. In season 2014/15 FHPFC were Hospitals Charity Cup finalists and were successful in their renewed application to become members of the National League System Step 6 Kent Invicta League for 2015/16.

For details of fixtures check out their website:
Twitter @FHPFC
And you are welcome to attend home matches at Ladywell Arena.

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