Records held by Kent FA show that Cray Valley Paper Mills FC (CVPM) was founded in 1919. The team originally played in green and white, matching the livery of the paper mills vehicles and company banner The Club’s first match was a 1-0 victory against Hamilton House FC on September 20th 1919, followed by a 7-0 victory in our first away match at Sidcup Invicta. CVPM went on to win the Sidcup and Kent League Division 2 in their first season – gaining promotion to Bromley & District League Division 1. The following season they were again champions – also winning the Kent County Junior Cup. Their next success came as members of the Kent Amateur League Western Section in 1932/33 – winning the Divisional title that season before finishing runners-up in 1936/37. Records between the late-fifties and the early-seventies are scarce, until 1975 when CVPM joined the South London Alliance League, winning Division 1 in 1979/80 and the Premier Division in 1980/81 – their final season playing at the sports ground of the mills at St Pauls Cray in Kent.
Following a “nomadic existence” CVPM arrived at their present home in Eltham for the season 1998/99. The Club won the South London Alliance Division 1 title in 1983/84 and finishing as runners-up in the Premier Division in 1988/89 – before joining the Spartan League, gaining promotion to Division 1 in 1990/91 by finishing as runners up. They moved to the re-structured Spartan Midland League in 1997/98, – finishing as runners up in their first season – and became founder members of the London Intermediate League – reaching the Final of the League Cup in 1998/99 – before elected to Division One of the Kent County League in 2001/02. CVPM then enjoyed a period of regular success – winning Division 1 West in 2002/03 before winning the Premier Division by 11 points in 2004/05. They were also victorious in the London Intermediate Cup in 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2011. At the end of season 2010/11, the Club effectively gained two “promotions”– moving from the “Step 7” Kent County League to the “Step 5” Kent League. 2012/13 saw The Millers make their debut in the FA Vase, before their first appearance in the FA Cup the following season – beating Lancing away in a replay, before losing to Redhill in the Preliminary round. For the 2014/15 season, CVPM finished 7th in the newly named Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL). The 2016/17 campaign saw The Millers reach the Final of the Kent Senior Trophy – losing 2-1 to League Champions Ashford Town. They also became the lowest ranked team ever to win the London Senior Cup when The Millers beat Ryman Premier Division opponents Metropolitan Police 2-1.
For the 2017/18 campaign, The Millers again reached the final of the London Senior Cup – on this occasion being beaten by Balham. The Club’s centenary season 2018/19 saw The Millers again scale new heights – winning the SCEFL title and securing promotion to the Isthmian League. CVPM also made their first appearance at Wembley – Combined Counties League side Chertsey Town beating them 3-1 after extra time in the FA Vase Final in front of a crowd of 42,962.
COVID curtailed the 2019/20 season leaving the Millers in third place in the Isthmian League South East Division and in the following season they embarked on a record breaking run in the FA Cup, progressing to the First Round Proper for the first time in their history. Along the way they beat National League side Maidenhead United 3-2 away in the Fourth Round Qualifying before, losing 1–0 at Havant & Waterlooville.
Season 2021/22 saw The Millers still finish in 5th place to secure a play-off spot but they were defeated 1-0 in the semi-final by Ashford United.
We have not met before in a competitive fixture but we did meet in a pre-season Friendly, drawing 2-2, before the heavily curtailed 2020/21 season commenced.
Played for both clubs: Defenders Kalvin Morath-Gibbs and Mohammed-Idris (Kiki) Oshilaja both won the Isthmian League Division One South title with the Robins in 2017/18 before moving on to Cray Valley Paper Mills. Kalvin has since moved on but Kiki is still there. Also, full back Antone Douglas made 6 appearances in 2017/8 and is also still at Cray Valley. Attacking midfielder Dan Bennett was a regular in the Robins line up for three seasons before joining Cray Valley at the start of this season. Dan Bennett’s regular partner in midfield during the COVID hit season of 2020/21, Kershaney Samuels, has resumed his partnership with him at Cray Valley.
Tickets available at: https://www.carshaltonathletic.co.uk/tickets
Online ticket prices: Adult (over 17) – £11; Senior (over 65) – £8; Child (under 18) – £3. (Season tickets not valid for FA Trophy ties).