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Cray Valley Paper Mills: Name, stadium, history explained as Charlton Athletic visit in the FA Cup

The fantastically named Cray Valley Paper Mills host their Football League neighbours Charlton Athletic in an extraordinary FA Cup First Round replay which will be televised live on BBC Two.

Football Ground Guide is here to tell you a little about this club, their Artic Stadium, the history of their name and much more…

Who are Cray Valley Paper Mills?

Founded in 1919 after the First World War, the uniquely named Cray Valley Paper Mills are an Isthmian League South East Division club who play at the Artic Stadium on Badgers Sports Ground.

Managed by Steve McKimm since this summer, The Millers have made headlines with their extraordinary run in the FA Cup. In the First Round, a second-half equaliser (an own goal) set up a replay with local big boys Charlton Athletic.

Where does the name Cray Valley Paper Mills come from?

Cray Valley Paper Mills were originally a works team for a paper mill near Orpington which closed down many years ago. The team later moved to Eltham, where they are now based.

How many rounds have Cray Valley Paper Mills had to play to face Charlton Athletic?

The Millers entered the FA Cup at the Preliminary Round. They first faced Lordswood, triumphing 4-1 at home after a 1-1 draw away forced a replay. That took them into the first qualifiying round, where they defeated Uxbridge before a replay victory over Northwood, then another replay win over Carshalton Athletic. In total, then, McKimm's side played seven FA Cup games before coming up against Charlton.

They faced their neighbours on 5 Novemner at The Valley, where a 48th-minute equaliser earned them a replay to take the Addicks back to the Badgers Sports Ground.

Have Cray Valley Paper Mills made the FA Cup First Round before?

Yes, they lost 1-0 at Havant & Waterlooville back in the 2020/21 season, in the FA Cup First Round. That's their only previous appearance in the First Round, and they've not yet made it to the Second Round.

Ticket controversy for Cray Valley Paper Mills vs Charlton Athletic

With huge demand for tickets for this historic fixture, the Millers took an interesting decision with regards to sales.

“Following intel received that away fans were looking to acquire tickets in the home areas,” a club statement on 13 November read, “a decision was made NOT to advertise general sales for tickets for Wednesday's FA Cup tie.”

Instead, the club have sold their tickets for the game to club officials, staff, management, players, their friends and family along with season ticket holders, known supporters and sponsors.

“A few remaining tickets were sold to those in attendance at the Artic Stadium on Saturday,” the statement continued. “We are a club run by just a small number of volunteers who have been working extremely hard in unprecedented circumstances.”

How far are Cray Valley Paper Mills from Charlton Athletic?

Just 2.6 miles. They are neighbours. As Cray Valley chairman Frank May said: “There are more divisions between the two clubs than there are miles.”

What is the Artic Stadium like?

Cray Valley Paper Mills play their home games at the Artic Stadium on Badger Sports Ground in Eltham, London. The stadium postcode is SE9 5HP. It's easy to get to, being just off the South Circular road.

Isthmin League fans offer excellent reviews of their time at Cray Valley. They talk of friendly bar staff, and, unfailingly, of a fantastic matchday burger and chips. So, it's worth testing out the Footy Scran on offer here, that's for sure.

There is one main stand and a metal terrace.

Cray Valley Paper Mills stand
The stand at Cray Valley Paper Mills (Photo: public contribution on Google Maps)

How much are tickets at Cray Valley Paper Mills?

Adults: £10
Concessions 65+ and Students, with proof: £6
Children 11-17: £2
Children U11: Free

Family Ticket (league-only, two full paying Adults and up to three children): £20

Cray Valley (PM) Season Tickets 2023/24 covering all first and youth U18 league games: £120

Directions for the Artic Stadium

From A20 Kent

  • Sidcup bypass to ‘Big Yellow Storage’ roundabout.
  • Take the last exit (back on yourself), and then the first left onto Eltham Palace Rd.
  • Take the first left onto Middle Park avenue.
  • Badgers Sports Ground will be on your left.

From A2 Kent

  • Go to the A205 exit and turn left onto Westhorne Avenue
  • Drive to ‘Yorkshire Grey’ McDonalds roundabout and take the second exit onto Middle Park avenue.
  • Badgers Sports Ground will on your right.

Harry Robinson

A freelance writer and broadcaster, Harry has worked for or featured in/on Manchester United, FourFourTwo, The Independent, The Manchester Mill, UEFA, United We Stand and many others. He's the author of The Men Who Made Manchester United and hosts the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. A Stretford End season ticket holder, Harry travels around Europe to watch his team.

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