How Did We Get Started?
Each year, the Kent Sports Development team organised various sporting events throughout the county for different boroughs to compete in and in 1999, they introduced for the first time girls football.
At that time, John Thrush was running the Gravesham Schools FA and so Adrian Hickmott, from Gravesham Sports & Leisure Department asked if John would try to get a girls team out to represent Gravesham. John contacted local schools and asked them to send any interested girls to a training session. About 15-20 girls turned up and after a few training sessions, a team was chosen.
The outcome was that this team won the competition and asked if they could somehow continue to play football together. Girls football was very much in its infancy at that time, but following that initial tournament, the Kent County FA began to take much more of an interest in it. As a result, John set up Gravesham Girls Football Club.
Twenty years on and we are still the only ‘all girls’ club in the area and providing girls with the opportunity to play competitive football at a family-friendly, all-inclusive club. Over the years, many hundreds of girls have been part of our journey, with some going on to play football at a much higher level – in fact, some of our ex-players can still be seen exhibiting their football skills on the pitch today: Amy Taylor (Lewes FC), Charley Clifford (Charlton Athletic), Kylie Manktelow (Gillingham FC) and Vicky Ashton-Jones (Gillingham FC and National Police Football Team). We have also been lucky enough to have some girls who were with us at a young age, return to the club as adults following university etc and play in our ladies squad.
The success of our club has been, without doubt, due to the large number of volunteers who have given willingly of their time for the benefit of the girls – not just the many dedicated committee members and coaches who have been a huge part of the club at different times in the two decades, but also the many parents who have been on the sidelines supporting their children in all weathers: running the line, helping to put up and take down goals, running the tea bar, offering sponsorship opportunities etc etc.
The start of the 2022/23 season has seen our club change its name to reflect current thinking ,and with the success of the England Womens Team in the 2022 Euros,we hope that we can be a part of the future progress of womens football.
On behalf of Gravesham Girls and Womens FC, we thank everyone who has been a part of our club history so far and look forward to many more years of girls football in the local area.