Established in 2004, Anchorians Football Club was set to provide football to the local community. Initially, starting with a couple of teams, the club grew and began to diversify during the early years to provide football for girls and boys. By 2009, the club had grown to around nine teams competing in the Medway Messenger Youth League and the South East Counties Women’s League. At the start of the 2010 season the clubs growth began to take shape. Four girls teams arrived from Rainham Kenilworth and the Anchorians Angels were born.
July 2010, the club looked to re-establish itself, with new faces and a fresh impetus, the club committee began to layout new plans and structure that would enable the club to offer more development and participation opportunities than ever before. The ethos of Anchorians evolved, as the club believed it exists for its players, who play football for their fun and enjoyment. The club welcomes all abilities and ages, and measures its success by increasing player participation, the few children who leave the club, and by the development of all its players.
In October 2010, the club took the first step onto the FA Charter Standard scheme ladder by achieving Charter Status. The FA Charter Standard Scheme is a benchmark of quality and is awarded to those clubs that have set a high level standard of coaching, administration and child protection. The club ensured that all 11 of its teams had FA qualified coaches and/or managers. Everyone from coaches to the committee members had CRB checks, were first aid trained and had undertaken the FA safeguarding children workshop.
By January 2011, due to the Charter Standard accreditation, the club had established a number of qualified coaches, which enabled Anchorians to start working with the local community and local authority, by establishing a school links programme with local schools. The school link programme provides a free weekly one- hour coaching sessions for local schools with Anchorians FA qualified coaches. The participants also have further opportunities to participate outside of school at the club.
Over the course of 2011, the club continued to build on its successes with a Saturday morning soccer school being established for five to ten year olds. Its aim was to provide fun and enjoyment without the pressure of being in a team. The school link programme took shape, with two local schools working in partnership with the club, enabling Anchorians to establish a three new teams at the start of the 2011/12 football season.
The FA Charter Standard Community Award was achieved by Anchorians in October 2011, making it the only club in the Medway towns to achieve the FA's highest standard on the scheme and, only the 30th club in Kent. Following this achievement, the club became part of the Medway Clubmark club scheme, which allowed Anchorians to strengthen its links with the local community, schools and local authority.
Now with its FA Charter Standard Community status foundation, Anchorians diversified, developed and offered more participation opportunities than ever before in 2012/13. Its school links programme delivered free sessions to over 20+ schools with some 400 participants. The club created its Mini Kickers Soccer School for 3-4 year olds, established a school link with a special needs school, which enabled the club to offer participation opportunities outside of the school link and create two disability teams. The club also supported the Medway Council Sports Development team at their futsal tournament, the Mini Youth Games, an Olympic event at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, the MEND graduate scheme, Winter Wonderland events, the Medway Mile and the Howard School Sport Partnership football festivals.
By the end of 2012, the club had managed to increase its offering to 230 members and expand its teams to 19.
The Medway Sports Awards were held in December 2012. Anchorians Football Club was nominated for two awards: Club of the Year and Junior Club of the Year. The club was proud to receive a bronze in the Club of the Year category, and was the only nominate football club in over 1000 sports clubs.
2013 started much the same as 2012 had finished, with more schools added to its school links programme. The hosting of Medway Council’s Sports Development team’s Mini Youth Games for football for the first time and the first ever Master’s festival. The club held an open day in June attracting 80 participants to a free, three hour session. In August, in conjunction with Sure Start and Bishop of Rochester School, Anchorians ran a second soccer school on a Saturday morning during the summer holidays. Due to the above its membership grew to 250 players and the teams increased from 19 to 24.
The spring of 2013/14 season saw the first annual Charity Shield event, in aid of Prostate Cancer UK, the club organised a match between its coaches and parents, raising £4,200 for this worthy cause.
In 2013, the club was voted the Kent FA’s Charter Standard Community Club of the Year. Chairman Leigh Willis commented: "On behalf of the clubs committee I’m very proud and privileged for the club to have achieved this recognition and shows that all the dedication that the clubs small committee puts in has been acknowledged. But most importantly we would like to thank all our parents, supporters and the players themselves for all their help and continued support, without which we wouldn’t have achieved this fantastic award”.
During the summer 2014 the club held its first ever tournament, with 106 teams competing from all over the county over the two day event. Futsal became a prominent part of the club, with weekly sessions set up for the U8 and U9 teams at a local school. Over the course of the year this expanded to a second weekly session, followed by a third in March 2015. The clubs disability offering also grew following a merger with a local disability football club, forming the Anchorians Equal Teams. This gave the club five teams who compete in the Kent Disability Football League. The club set up a session for home schooled children, this session grew rapidly over the weeks, to cater for children aged five to sixteen. The 2014/15 season was the biggest year to date for the club, with 38 teams and over 420 members. In December, the club was awarded Junior Sports Club of 2014/15 at the Medway Sports Awards, and came second in the overall Sports Club of the Year.
The 2015/16 season with 40 teams, which was unbelievable amount and was beyond what we had set out to achieve to get that many people participating week in week out. But by the end of the season we had 44 teams, over 520 players participating. Our volunteer workforce continued to increase over 80 qualified coaches. courses. The second annual Charity Shield in aid of the Royal British Legion, was again a huge success, raising nearly £3k for this great cause. The same could be said of our 2nd annual tournament, with more teams competing than the previous years and really establishing as part of the football calendar.
Again in the 2016/17 season the club measured its success by the amount of people we had participating and by the small amount that leave. This season we had over 600 members playing week in week out, which culminated in 53 teams affiliated to the Kent FA, this was split across boys, girls, men's, ladies, veterans and disability teams. On top of this the club surpassed 100 volunteers, 85 of which are FA qualified coaches, with another 10 taking their first steps on the coaching ladder in June when they undertake their FA level one coaching badge. December’s bi-annual Medway Sports Awards, saw the football club being acknowledged as Medway Junior Sports club of 2016/17 an achievement it also was privileged to have been awarded in 2014/15. The clubs annual charity shield in May, saw 2 matches played under 35 and over 35, that raised just over £3.5k for the Macmillan cancer unit at Medway Maritime Hospital. The 3rd annual tournament in June, was the biggest yet, even with the thunder and lightning storms on the Saturday! Nothing was going to stop us hitting record entries of 172 teams competing from all over Kent and Sussex over the course of the weekend. The new youth disability training session that started that October showing great promise with the hope of a team being formed for the following season. Also in October we made the first trip to Chancheng, China, taking an U16 girls team to compete in the 1st Chancheng-Medway Youth Football Exchange festival. All that went had a once in a lifetime experience, which they would never forget.
The the 700 players milestone for the first time in the 2017/18 season. We welcomed 10 new teams across all sections of our club, taking us to 62 teams and making us the biggest grass roots football club in Kent and the biggest girls and ladies club in the South East. This really was a phenomenal achievement for the club that has stuck to its core values and ethos of fun & enjoyment, whilst developing each and every player. We were once again pleased to be recognised as the Kent FA Charter Standard Community club of the year for 2017, the 3rd time in 5 years we have been awarded with this tremendous and sort after accolade. With the increase of players and teams, our volunteer workforce has swelled somewhat as well, with now over 110 coaches and another 20 volunteers who help run the club on a weekly basis. The annual Charity Shield took place on the 28th May in aid of Bloodwise (Leukemia Research), raising just over £2.6k and taking our grand total to over £13k in the past 4 years. For 2nd year in a row we were lucky enough to be invited by the government of Foshan in China, to a football festival against a couple of their local schools. A group of 10 U16 girls made the near 10,000 mile round trip to China to participate. January saw the club accredited as an FA SSE Wildcats Centre, and help drive the girl’s game forward, by raising awareness and increasing participation for ages 5-11. Our young leaders program was established to give opportunities for those aspiring to become a referee, coach or a club volunteer. This was aimed at any of our members between the ages of 14-21 years old, with them being mentored in all aspects of the game, by our coaching mentor leader, along with our volunteer workforce.
The 7th May 2018 we held our 5th Annual Charity Shield in aid of Cystic Fibrosis, the event was again a huge success. With the first ever women’s match and the normal parents vs coaches match we raised just over £4.2k,On the pitch we saw another year on year increase in the players registered, taking our total to just over 900 players and 72 teams. The main increase came from our men’s section with 6 teams split across vets, Saturday and Sunday teams. We also had an increase in the number of adult disability players at the club that enabled us to create 2 new teams. The clubs continuous hard work on and off the pitch was recognized as we were awarded the newly created FA Awards For All Kent FA Charter Standard Club of the Year for 2018. Due to us winning the regional award we were entered into the National Awards and unbelievably we were awarded this as well!! We were presented our award on the pitch at Wembley stadium at the Charity Shield, following a full day at the stadium meeting many FA ambassadors, including having dinner with Dennis Wise,This truly was an amazing experience for those that attended and for the club to be recognized to this level, which is all down to the dedication and commitment of the committee, managers/coaches, grounds staff,The awards didn’t stop there, in December we were awarded for the first time at the Medway Sports awards, the sports club of 2018/19. Another pleasing accolade to receive and finished 2018 off nicely receiving all 3 awards that we were nominated for.
Following the above accolades, the club became a FA Community Hub for the area/county. This lead to a couple members of the committee attending St George’s Park for a weekend seminar with the other 24 clubs.In February we finally launched our new website, which was a significant improvement on the previous site.