Saturday, September 23, 2023

YourThurrock and Grays Athletic

YourThurrock has been informed that they will no longer be granted press passes for entry to Grays Athletic matches at the New Recreation Ground.

Acting Secretary Joel Nathan said: “This decision has been taken by Julian Dicks and Andy Swallow in the light of derogatory comments made in a report on the Gateshead v Grays match.”

YourThurrock Comment

Michael Casey

In the second line of a report for Non-League Paper I wrote:

“Grays were a total shambles on and off the pitch with only two of the players shirt numbers conforming with team sheet. On the pitch, the ragbag of loanees and debutants played like total strangers.”

I considered that this was fair comment because the team sheet for Grays bore no relation to the numbers on the back of the Grays’ shirts.

I spoke to the Secretary of Gateshead, Mike Coulson.

He said: “The numbering on the team sheet I produced was taken from the sheet that Grays Athletic submitted to the match referee prior to the game.

“When the discrepancy in the numbering was brought to my attention I checked that I had correctly noted all the players’ numbers from the sheet submitted by Grays.

“The team sheet I produced was an exact copy of what Grays submitted. This incident will be part of the referees’ match report.”

Grays owner Andy Swallow has totally refuted this allegation.

As I write three match reports for Grays games, it is essential that we have a clear source of information. On saturday it was like a farce in the press box as BBC Newcastle, various newspapers and a particularly beleaguered Press Association rep (ex-Middlesborough and Northern Ireland star, Terry Gibson) couldn’t make head nor tail of the team Grays had put out.

It was only by half time that we had a clear picture, especially as we had never seen Billy Bingham and Harley Dean before.

We do not travel around the country with the express intention of gleefully chronicling the inadequacies of Grays Athletic. That would be a perverse occupation. Indeed, we feel for players such as Cammy Mawer and Kenny Davis whose enthusiasm and love of the game is evident to all.

I do feel I try to see the best of situations. Indeed, i did wonder if the “green shoots” of recovery angle to my report in the home defeat to Luton was just a bit too optimistic but I did feel that I could see what the club were trying to do.

At the same time, whether writing for the Thurrock Gazette, Essex Enquirer, Non-League Daily, Non-League Paper, The Echo and YourThurrock that I have tried to be as honest as possible.

As Editor of YourThurrock we cover every aspect of sport in the borough from Aveley Bowls Club to the privilege of interviewing double olympic champion, Daley Thompson last week. Our mission statement/editorial policy is to accentuate the positive and celebrate what is good.

We are not the first to describe the club as a shambles this season. BBC Essex described the club as such live on air in September.

We will continue to cover the club away from home. Funnily enough, only the other day, East Thurrock boss John Coventry said: “Hello stranger, thought you had forgotten about us.”

So it will be East Thurrock v Heybridge Swifts on saturday then…..


  1. hope mr casey keeps his word and attends our home game against heybridge on saturday as its about time we had a decent review in the local press as the gazette and your thurrock seem to have forgotten we are there. its a shame cos covo has assembled a title winning squad and we are playing some great football we have got some great players who dont get the recognition they deserve such as richard wray , woody , max , newby and higgins to name but a few we have quality all over the park and i honestly believe we can go one better this season and win the league. hope mr casey enjoys the game.


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