Cray Wanderers Football Club, nicknamed “The Wands,” is a non-league football club based in Bromley, Greater London.
Established in 1970, they currently compete in the Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division, which is part of the seventh tier of English football. The team calls Hayes Lane their home ground.
Cray Wanderers, a football club in northwest Kent, began informally with matches between St. Mary Cray villagers and railway viaduct laborers. Officially named in the 1880s, the club, initially known as St. Mary Cray, adopted the nickname ‘Wands’ from its official name Cray Wanderers. Early support came from the industrial sector, especially paper mills. Their initial playing kit was chocolate-colored, earning them the nickname ‘Chocolates.’ The club’s history in competitive football started strongly around the turn of the century, participating in the inaugural FA Amateur Cup and spending a period as a professional club, including a stint as a nursery club for Woolwich Arsenal (now Arsenal FC). Cray Wanderers saw various successes, including winning the Kent League championship and changing club colors to amber and black. The club experienced a challenging period after World War One, including losing their ground and struggling with management issues. However, fortunes turned in the 1950s under new leadership, leading to multiple league championships and cup wins.
The 1970s marked another golden era for Cray Wanderers, with multiple league titles and successful cup runs. The club faced challenges in the 1990s, including ground issues and a lean period in performance, but saw a resurgence with league championships and promotions under new management. The 2010s were a period of transition, with management changes, relegation struggles, and moments of success, including an impressive winning streak and league team of the year recognition. The club’s recent history in the late 2010s and early 2020s has been marked by significant achievements and challenges. They won the first championship of the newly formed Isthmian South-East division and faced the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their league performance. Leadership changes continued with the appointment of new managers and the club’s relocation to a new ground, indicating a focus on building a strong future both on and off the field.