Headline Grabbing Glebe


Glebe grabbed the headlines this weekend when the Non League Paper picked up on the success of the Pathway provided by the Club, after Emile Smith Rowe lifted Gold for England in the Euro u21s.

Jon Couch wrote this article in Sunday’s edition.

When Emile Smith Rowe held aloft the European Under-21 trophy for England in Batumi last Saturday, it wasn’t just his club Arsenal bursting with pride.

Smith Rowe, 22, has represented the Gunners since 2010 but it was Southern Counties East side Glebe FC, who first discovered his talents.
“The kid had everything,” recalls the club’s founder Rocky McMillan. “His parents lived nearby, in Thornton Heath, and one of our coaches, Jerry Dolan, spotted him and brought him along.
“He was with us for two years, for Under 8s and Under 9s, and right from the start you could see he was something special. Just the size of his legs, his pace, strength and composure in his finishing.
“He also had good parental guidance around him, from his Dad, and that ensured he had a fantastic attitude to the game and to those around him. He was just a fantastic kid all round.
“It was obvious to everyone he was going to be a serious baller. Teams were putting six men across the back to stop him but with one touch he was away from them all!
“Word soon got around and we literally had every top club in London come down to watch him.
“He went to Chelsea first but I don’t think his Dad liked it there so he came back here and then immediately went off to Arsenal, and the rest is history.”

Arsenal’s gain was their rivals’ loss, but the discovery of Smith Rowe suddenly propelled Glebe – the little Step 5 club based in the south-east London district of Chislehurst and formed just 28 years ago onto the radar of the capital’s Premier League big guns.

Ethan Pinnock also graduated from Foxbury Avenue before climbing through Non-League and leading Brentford in the Premier League, similarly another Arsenal starlet Henry Timi-Davies, who they snapped up from the acclaimed Manchester City Academy.

Others include former AFC Wimbledon, Charlton and Nottingham Forest striker Lyle Taylor, who played at the club until the age of 16, Southampton youngster Nico Lawrence, on loan at Torquay United last season, Dulwich Hamlet midfielder Frankie Raymond, ex-Forest Green player Manny Monthe and Zak Lovelace, who has just signed a two-year deal at Glasgow Rangers having progressed through the ranks at Millwall.

Not bad for a club which has only been registered as a ‘senior’ for nine years.

“We’ve had quite a few players go on to become a success from here,” continued McMillan, himself a former AFC Wimbledon and Millwall youth coach. “We do things slightly differently here and I like to think it’s been successful. “It’s not all ‘win-win’ and getting instant success here. It is, of course, when you get to the older age groups, but for the younger ones it’s about encouraging everyone to be the best that they can be. We don’t turn anyone away here – it’s a real community effort.

“And it’s never been so popular either. We had 85 kids come down for a session last week, in July, and that’s growing all the time.

“That’s boys and girls. At the moment, we’re gearing up for the Women’s World Cup and have just received a £500 bursary from Barclays to run our introductory training sessions for girls. “We’ve also just had a £74,00 Football Foundation grant for three grassroots football pitches so it’s a great time to be involved right now.

“A lot of our coaches have been with the club for a long time and they too are progressing all the time to deliver the best possible coaching.”

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and Glebe FC need only point to success stories such as Emile Smith Rowe to show they have something special going on in this part of south- east London.

“It’s a real community hub and we’re proud of that fact,” McMillan added. “And the fact that the likes of Emile and the rest of the lads still show an interest in the club shows how much they must value us.

“My wife speaks to Emile regularly on Twitter and he is happy to be interviewed in our matchday programmes. Signed Glebe, Arsenal and England shirts are on the wall of the clubhouse.

“It’s great to see young players you had at the club succeed. Of course, we are not saying we made them into the players they are to- day but if we’ve helped any of them in any little way possible then that’s fantastic for the club.”


Non League Paper