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Gravesend children's football team faces closure ahead of tenth birthday

PUBLISHED: 11:08 23 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:08 23 February 2016

North Kent Aces FC

North Kent Aces FC

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North Kent Aces are making a desperate appeal for players

A children’s football team in Gravesend is making a desperate appeal for players as it faces the prospect of closure.

North Kent Aces FC is approaching its tenth birthday, but is struggling to find the numbers required to carry on playing.

The club currently has three teams at under-8, under-10 and under-12 levels, and their players train at Southfields Green on Cedar Avenue.

But chairman Tim Noctor admits he fears for the club’s future if it doesn’t manage to recruit more youngsters in the coming weeks.

He said: “It’s tricky because we’ve got teams going from seven-a-side to nine-a-side and you need at least 10 players or you can’t register with the league.

“We’re entirely self-funded and reliant on volunteers and it’s been a struggle because we’re one of just many teams in the area.

“We concentrate on being a family-friendly club, with high quality training from FA-qualified coaches, but we need some help in getting young players to join us.”

With Premier League matches broadcast on a global scale, it seems football has never been more in fashion, but the Aces still struggle badly to recruit players.

Mr Noctor - who also works as managing director of a construction company - believes the growing popularity of video games may have contributed to that struggle, describing it as “definitely a factor”.

Since being formed in September 2006 the Aces have enjoyed success, winning the Haart of Kent County League division 2 title in 2012.

But the shadow of Ebbsfleet United, flying high at the top of the National League South, looms large over children’s clubs in north Kent.

Mr Noctor says that he has tried asking local schools for help in recruiting players, but Fleet often tend to cherry-pick the best from around the borough.

Therefore he admitted one of the club’s last hopes would be in another local team collapsing, and the Aces picking up some of those kids that would then be without a team.

“I just don’t really know where we go from here,” he said.

“Hopefully we can stir up some interest and keep this club going.”

Anyone interested can visit www.nkaces.co.uk or email info@nkaces.co.uk.

Alternatively, call or text 07811 192626.

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