Building an Innovative Partnership


At the mid-point of the season, our founder and Technical Director, Stuart Grist, has been reflecting on how the season is going and how the clubs relatively new relationship with principle sponsor, Kent Reliance, is developing.

“Call me old fashioned, (our players often call me old and leave the fashioned bit out!) but I do like to often sit back and take stock about how we are progressing as a club. The stuff we are getting right but more importantly the bits that aren’t working as well as they should be. The club encountered a great deal of change at the start of the season and more than doubled in size. With change and growth come challenges and we have certainly had a few things that we didn’t quite get right this year but we have learnt a great deal from those challenges.”

“Our academy structure is all about developing players, enabling them to be the best version of themselves possible, and ensuring that they are constantly challenged and moving forwards. We are not a results-based club when it comes to our academy teams but as a I look at the league tables I am immensely proud to see our U16 team top of the table with games in hand and one of our U14 teams placed second. More importantly as I watch players training and competing at the highest levels of the Junior Premier League, with huge smiles across their faces, I am even more proud that I can see that every player has developed themselves this season.”

“At the senior level, where things are more results driven, it has a been a difficult start to the season with key players picking up long term injuries and COVID wreaking havoc across our fixtures. However, the team have made the quarter finals of the Kent FA Plate and the semi finals of the Chairman’s League Cup and we are confident that they will progress further.”

“For me though, one of the highlights of this season has been the partnership that we have formed with Kent Reliance, who are our principle club sponsor. When you usually sign a sponsor for a club you usually receive some money, you pop the logo on the front of the shirt and then you wave good bye until the following year. Our relationship with Kent Reliance isn’t like that and I think it is really unique in the football world. The team at Kent Reliance are out partners. Not just partners by name because it sounds better than sponsor but true partners who are invested in what we are trying to achieve as a club. They are innovative thinkers who truly understand and back our vision.“

“There aren’t many sponsors who give away the shirt space to the charity they support, Demelza Hospice, and who actively encourage us to work as three way partners. I was very proud that at Christmas our players donated well over a hundred presents to Demelza’s Festive Wishes Appeal and that Kent Reliance coordinate the club working with them and Demelza to support community events, fundraisers and so on. We meet regularly and constantly talk about new ideas that promote all three parts of our tri-party partnership. Kent Reliance have been a breathe of fresh air. The fact that we have a sponsor who really care and is really invested makes such a huge difference. It’s not often that a sponsor will send get well messages and gifts to injured players, or help support female players with their coaching badges.”

“At a time when the female game is growing but needs more support, I really wish more companies would take a leaf out of the Kent Reliance book.”

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