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Sun 7th Aug 2022

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‘The Gills' First To Visit For Pre-Season

       vs           

On Saturday, our pre-season fixtures open with an attractive fixture against our old friends from Sky Bet League Two Gillingham, we thank them for agreeing to visit the BuildKent Stadium, and we wish them well when the season starts in earnest, which for them is in just four weeks’ time when they visit AFC Wimbledon, remarkably a side we visited for our opening fixture in the Isthmian League Premier Division in the 2005/06 season!  

 

Not only will it give the supporters a chance to see a Sky Bet League Two team in action, but it will also be the first chance to see the impressive signings we have made during the summer, so come along and see the new-look Invicta side.

 

 

Last season they had a challenging time which unfortunately eventually saw them relegated, despite the efforts of Manager Neil Harris, who took over from the sacked Steve Evans at the end of January with the club looking doomed at that stage. However, a turnaround in form saw them still in with a chance of avoiding the drop right up to the last game of the season, but a 2-0 defeat at home against Rotherham United, which not only saw the South Yorkshire side promoted as Sky Bet League One Runners-up, but ‘The Gills’ end up in 21st place and the last relegation spot, as although they finished level on points with Fleetwood they had an inferior goal difference (-34 compared to -20).

 

Sky Bet League One Bottom Six

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

+/-

Pts

Morecambe

46

10

12

24

57

88

-31

42

Fleetwood Town

46

8

16

22

62

82

-20

40

Gillingham

46

8

16

22

35

69

-34

40

Doncaster Rovers

46

10

8

28

37

82

-45

38

AFC Wimbledon

46

6

19

21

49

75

-26

37

Crewe Alexandra

46

7

8

31

37

83

-46

29

Neil Harris is Millwall's all-time record goalscorer, with 138 goals in all competitions, having broken the previous record of 111 goals, held by Teddy Sheringham, on 13th January 2009, during a 3–2 away win at Crewe Alexandra, and he has also made the fourth most appearances for ‘The Lions’, with 432. He also played for Cambridge City, Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest, Gillingham and Southend United,  before retiring from professional football in June 2013 and taking up a coaching role at Millwall. Having briefly acted as caretaker-manager after the dismissal of Steve Lomas in January 2014, Harris was given the same role following the sacking of Ian Holloway in March 2015 and was confirmed as the permanent manager of Millwall on 29th April 2015. He then moved on to become manager of Cardiff City in November 2019, before, on 31st January 2022, he was appointed as the new First Team manager of Gillingham on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

 

With the majority of the squad being released at the end of last season, Harris has spent the summer undertaking a major overhaul and rebuild of the squad. Together with those that remained, at the time of writing, he has brought in five additional players on permanent deals; goalkeeper Jake Turner from Newcastle United, defender Will Wright from Dagenham & Redbridge, midfielders Shaun Williams and Dom Jefferies from Milwall and Brentford respectively, and striker Scott Kashket from Crewe Alexandra, plus another goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer, who is an Australian Under 23 international, on a season-long loan from Charlton Athletic, and all could play some part in Saturday’s game. Also included in the squad may be Joseph Gbode, who made three appearances for Invicta towards the end of last season.  

 

On the Gillingham website, Harris has mentioned Saturday’s game, saying; “The idea is that the players will play for a maximum of 45 minutes. “It’s still early days, and I don’t want to tempt fate as everyone’s been brilliant for the last couple of days and let it continue. “We will have players training with us that will be looking to earn contracts, so they will be on show as well, and we will talk about them nearer the time. “There will be a selection of players playing that are handpicked to come and play and join the group. “Academy players will certainly get an opportunity, as I’m desperate to see four or five of them play that we really like the look of. “It will be a mixed group between players that are signed and, in the building, lads that are in training with us with the purpose of looking at being here for a longer term, and then the younger players. “The idea will be to give a maximum of 45 minutes to the majority of the players.”     

 

They are around mid-table in the betting odds to win the title, with Sky Bet offering 16/1. The joint favourites are newly promoted Stockport County, along with  Salford City and Bradford City, all priced at 8/1.    

 

Neil Cugley is anticipating a game with a difference on Saturday, saying; “I’m looking forward to the Gillingham visit, and I’d like to thank Neil Harris for agreeing to bring a team down, we’ve always had a good relationship with them and long may it continue. “I think it will be one of the most intriguing pre-season games we’ve had with them as it’s the most summer signings we’ve made for a while and they’ve got to rebuild virtually a new team from last season, so it’ll be an opportunity for supporters of both sides to see their new players for the first time. “Don’t forget this is only our first game of our pre-season schedule and we’ve a while until the season starts for real, and so we too may have one or two trialists playing as well, as although we’ve brought in six players so far, I’m still looking to add a couple more if possible.”   

 

Saturday’s game is being sponsored by EDF workers from Dungeness Power Station in memory of Folkestone Invicta supporter Clive Mortimer, who sadly passed at the end of last season, and there will be a celebration of his life for his family and friends after the game in Bar Invicta. His son Cade, who is a former Invicta Youth player who progressed through the Reserves into the First Team has written the following tribute.

 

“Clive Mortimer was born on the 15th June 1956 in Sydenham, South London. At age 6, he and his family (including his identical twin brother Brett - who you’ll also see at Cheriton Road) moved to Barham. At the age of 11, Clive and Brett started at Hillside Boys (later Wyngate) secondary school in Folkestone, and this was to be the start of their association with the town, and although Clive worked all over the world, he would always call Folkestone ‘home’.

 

“When not travelling to Selhurst Park to watch his beloved Crystal Palace, he would on occasion watch Folkestone Town and then Invicta. As boys, the twins were known on occasion to sneak through the fence to watch Folkestone. However, it was when his boys (myself and Reece) started playing for  Invicta’s youth teams that his love for the club really started. For 25 years Clive’s weekends consisted of watching Folkestone on Saturdays and his boys play for Invicta (first on Saturday mornings and then on Sundays) and he was never happier than watching his boys win even if he did complain that “we were fart-arsing around with it at the back”.

 

“Luckily for Clive his sons were part of league and cup winning sides as they progressed through the youth set up. He enjoyed the weekly fun that was had on match days in and around the dressing room and he’d always be the last one (with a few friends) in the Stripes bar after watching another win. Most of the players that myself and Reece played with at Invicta will have stories about car journeys with him all over Kent.  

 

As the boys reached the Invicta reserves, Clive was vital in driving members of the squad around Kent and South London (sometimes he’d be the only Invicta supporter on the terraces). It was at the end of the season that Gary Towse awarded him ‘Supporter of the Year’ after awarding me ‘Bench man of the Year’ after keeping the subs bench warm, and he enjoyed listening to Towsey’s stories about his beloved Crystal Palace and the famous Malcolm Alison in particular

 

Clive was there to watch me make my First Team debut and it was after I scored against Horsham that he reminded me that “those freezing cold nights in the rain training over the Polo ground were worth it”. He’d also watch Reece play for Lydd Town and both me and Reece play for Hawkinge Town when Invicta were away from home.

 

“Over the last few years Clive, myself, and Brett (Reece is still playing for Lydd Town) were regulars watching Folkestone along with his friends, and the week before he passed, he’d watched Invicta’s last home game of the season. A loyal supporter and regular at Cheriton Road, he’ll be missed by many, and he’d love nothing more than for people to laugh and share stories over a pint in Stripes (Bar Invicta).

 

A huge thank you to his friends and colleagues from EDF who are sponsoring the match, as Dad always said; “it’s the people I love, not the job”.”

 

As Cade says, Clive was very personable and happiest when watching football, it was interesting that he mentions the car journeys as I went with him to a few away Reserve Team games and laughed from start to finish, with one memorable trip to Holmesdale when we couldn’t find the ground! (I won’t say what he said when we finally did!!). Happy memories! RIP Clive, and everyone at Folkestone Invicta would like to send our condolences to the Mortimer family and his many friends both inside and outside football.

 

 

We have another special guest at Saturday’s game, 11 year old Daniel Lysak, who will be familiar to those from Gillingham as having escaped the terrors in Ukraine to come and live in Folkestone, his sponsor family member Malcolm Bell, who is a ‘Gills’ supporter, took him to his first football match when Fleetwood visited Priestfield Stadium last season, with the above picture courtesy of KPI, showing Daniel meeting ‘Gills’ Manager Neil Harris prior to the game. He will be accompanied by Malcolm and Malcolm’s son Joseph, all at the club hope they have an enjoyable day.  

 

Malcolm has supplied a few words explaining Daniel’s experiences; “After Daniel escaped from the trauma of a war-torn Ukraine, he has now settled in Folkestone with his sponsor family on the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme. “The transition to the UK was made easier by the welcome of the British public and events such as the amazing day at Gillingham FC in May when Daniel was the mascot and treated to a wonderful day by the club. “Daniel now attends school in Folkestone and his English language skills have improved daily.

 

”He is so excited about being once again a special guest at a football match and it couldn't be much better than the two clubs Gillingham FC and Folkestone Invicta FC that mean the most to his sponsor family member, namely Malcolm Bell. “Daniel is experiencing football in England for the second time and passed on his thanks to everybody involved to allow this to happen.”         

 

Admission Details

All admission will be pay on the turnstiles, which will open at 1:30pm, there will be no pre-bought tickets available.

 

At the Wilmoth (cricket ground) end, entry will be by cash only whilst at the turnstile by Bar Invicta,  payment will be accepted by either cash or card.

 

All home pre-season games will be £8.00, with concessions £5.00, Under 18s £3.00 and Under 5s Free, except for the Ashford United game which will be £5.00 for all.

 

Folkestone Invicta’s Pre-Season Fixtures and Results

July

 

   

Saturday 2nd 

Gillingham

Home

Kick-off 3:00pm

Tuesday 5th 

Tonbridge Angels

Home

Kick-off 7:45pm

Saturday 16th 

Eastbourne Borough

Home

Kick-off 3:00pm

Tuesday 19th 

Ramsgate

Away

Kick-off 7:30pm

Saturday 23rd 

Maidstone United

Home

Kick-off 3:00pm

Tuesday 26th

Hythe Town

Away

Kick-off 7:45pm

Saturday 30th

Dover Athletic

Home

Kick-off 3:00pm

August

     

Sunday 7th

Ashford United

Home

Kick-off 1:00pm

Saturday 13th

First League Game

TBA

Kick-off 3:00pm