Cray Valley manager Steve McKimm

Full-time cab driver steers Cray Valley PM to FA Cup first round

Cray Valley Paper Mills defeated Enfield Town, 5-2, to progress to the first round of the FA Cup for the second time in the club’s history.

Last Sunday, the FA Cup draw selected Cray Valley, who play in the Isthmian South East division and are the lowest ranked club from London in the Cup, to play away at League One’s Charlton Athletic.

The Millers’ manager, Steve McKimm, is a full-time black cab driver and was driving when he heard the news that his side will play Charlton at the Valley.

McKimm said: “It’s a dream draw for the fans to go and watch a game at Charlton, support their team and enjoy the occasion, as will the players, the staff, and the board members.

“We are going to try and make it a day that we can remember for a long time.”

However, McKimm is determined not to let the highs of the FA Cup interrupt his sides’ main goal, to get promoted to the Isthmian Premier.

He said: “It’s a cliché, but you play your next game, and if I and the players start getting ahead of ourselves, then we lose sight of what our main aim is.

“We’ve got two league games coming up – that’s our bread and butter.

“What we’ve done so far to get a game against Charlton at the Valley. It’s just unbelievable.

“The players have earned the right to be in the first round and get a good draw. It’s something to look forward to.

“But they can’t take their eyes off the main prize, which is we want to get promotion.

“Cray Valley has been close over the last two years, and we want to get over the line this time around.”

Cray Valley have only played three league games this season, as their schedule is full of cup matches.

As well as the FA Cup, the Millers play in the FA Trophy, Kent Senior Cup, and the London County Cup.

He said: “By the end of October, we will have played seven games, we have eight in November, but we just get on with it.

“We won’t moan and complain because if you start doing that you don’t get the rewards of the Charlton Athletic away at the Valley.”

Cray Valley and Charlton are very close neighbours. The Addicks’ training ground is only a mile and a half away from The Artic stadium, where the Millers play their home games.

There is not the rivalry you get between clubs so close to one another, due to them being five leagues apart, but that will not stop Cray Valley fans from dreaming of a cup upset against their much bigger neighbours.

Charlton won the FA Cup back in 1947 and will be looking forward to a similar cup run after finding themselves 14th in the league.

Cray Valley has never made it to the second round of the FA Cup, as they lost 1-0 to Havant & Waterlooville in their only first-round appearance in 2020/21.

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