AFC Croydon Going All The Way To The Premier League?

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 8 months ago
AFC Croydon Going All The Way To The Premier League?
A lower league football pitch with Stormzy super imposed
AFC Croydon's Mayfield Stadium, and Stormzy, who is about to part-own the club. Image: DustyRam and Frank Schwichtenberg via creative commons

Places with multiple top tier football teams: Manchester, Milan, Madrid.

Now add to that list Croydon. Well, in a few years maybe.

The borough of Croydon already has comfortably-mid-table Crystal Palace in its elite footballing arsenal. And now the news that local superstar rapper Stormzy — along with long-time pal and Crystal Palace striker Wilfred Zaha, plus former Palace head of player care Danny Young — are buying non-league Croydon AFC, will fill south Londoner with the hope that regular tussles with Man City could be in the crystal (foot)ball.

The club, who play at the Mayfield Stadium in Thornton Heath, have released a statement confirming that the celeb consortium "will own, operate and develop their childhood hometown football club". Heaps of investment cash will surely follow. Could this be the beginning of a Reynolds-McElhenney-style fairy tale? Will AFC Croydon fly through the ranks, to scoop the Prem title in the last game of the season against Ted Lasso's AFC Richmond (that's a real team, right?). Will a Sky/Disney+/Apple consortium own all the rights?

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Well, maybe. But even with all the cash and goodwill in the world (and famously Stormzy and Zaha are both charitable chaps), it's going to take time. Croydon AFC — nicknamed 'The Rams', and not to be mistaken for Croydon FC, nicknamed the 'The Trams', gottit? — are currently in the Combined Counties Football League Premier South Division (and are fighting hard to stay in that). So there's a minimum of eight years before the top echelons of footy would even be a possibility. And let's face it, it's going to take longer. Chances are, by the time they get there, Erling Haaland will have switched from being the world's most thrilling player, to its dullest pundit.

Still, in a tough time for Croydon — with multiple stabbings rocking the borough, and through-the-roof taxes foisted on everyone within its boundaries — it's local lads done good who're putting their money where their mouth is, and inviting Croydoners to dare to dream.

Last Updated 28 June 2023