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The Story of Punjab United

Punjab United FC was founded in 2003. Although the club name may suggest otherwise Punjab United FC is open to members and players 'regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation or ability'.


Our Story

Punjab United FC Gravesend. Est.2003:


Kent County League Premier Division, and Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield Champions 2016/2017

Kent County League, Bill Manktelow, Inter-Regional Challenge Cup  Runners Up 2016/2017

Southern Counties East Football League, Division 1 Champions 2017/2018:

Members of the Southern Counties East Football League

Punjab United FC was founded in 2003. Although the club name may suggest otherwise Punjab United FC is open to members and players 'regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation or ability'.

 The club first affiliated to the Kent County FA in 2003 as current Chairman/Manager Jugjit ‘Chipie’ Sian, Secretary/Coach Jindi Banwait, Ajit 'Sonny' Sian, and Navin Pal’s plan to bring an entertaining brand of youth and senior football to the Gravesend area took shape. The club would work hard to foster good community links in the town.

The early years were spent playing in the North Kent Sunday Football League, working up from Division 4. The Sunday side won back to back promotions as Div.2 Champions (2006), and Div.1 Runners Up (2007) to the Premier League alongside the town's more established Sunday teams.

Silverware at this level eluded us, but we had become a club that was being recognised for nurturing talent amongst Gravesend's community based clubs. We made notable top five placed finishes over the next few seasons, but the committee felt the club could become more sustainable by moving towards Senior football.

Alongside a gradual growth in size a Sunday reserve side consisting mainly of U21s was formed. As older players in the squad were retiring the decision to move into Saturday football was taken. Punjab United FC had already begun considerable work on obtaining pitches and making applications to move to Senior status. Thus the first team ceased to play games on Sundays.

The club applied for membership of the Kent County League Premier Division in 2016/2017. The inaugural season was a massive success as we won the Kent Intermediate Challenge Cup, were finalists in the Kent County League Cup, but more importantly were crowned the League Champions.

That led to a successful application to join the Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL) at step 6 of the non league game. Work started on getting the ground at Elite Venue ready for football in the lower reaches of the National League System. After a lot of hard work, both on and off the pitch further success was reached by winning the SCEFL Division 1 title in the 2017/2018 season. The club had finished second (attaining promotion) but appeared to have been denied the title by a late equaliser away at Holmesdale. However a points deduction incurred by K Sports meant Punjab United were awarded the title. The club had attained 90 points from 30 league matches, scoring 96 goals and only losing twice.

Back to back promotions meant that a lot of work was needed behind the scenes to get ready for step 5 football. Thus a gradual process of ground improvements began, with volunteers doing the lion’s share of the work. During the season in the SCEFL division 1 almost all facilities had been outside the ground in the main Elite Venue, and this needed to change.

Over the next few years we have added an extra seated stand to go with the existing 50 seater Stadium Solutions stand, a small covered terrace, spectator toilets, a  bigger club area, dressing rooms, a tea bar and a licensed bar that has allowed us to vastly improve our matchday food offering as well as spectator comfort and experience.

The club were also able to negotiate a longer lease on the ground, which has enabled the above improvements to be made, whilst lessening the risk of losing the ground.

The first season at Step 5 (2018/19) saw the club make its debut in the prestigious FA Vase competition. The first game in it saw us win 2-1 away at Lydd Town of the SCEFL 1, before our first run ended at Steyning Town Community FC of the Southern Combination. The match was lost 9-8 on kicks from the penalty mark after a 1-1 draw. Thus we bowed out in the second qualifying round.

The step up in leagues meant positive results were now much harder to achieve, and relegation looked distinctly possible for much of the campaign. The final finish in 17th place of 20 made survival look a lot more clearcut than it had at times. The club was 12 points above the second relegated club. The season of struggle had, however, provided an interesting narrative for the BBC to use in their documentary about the team, which was filmed as the club progressed. The programme part of the ‘Our Lives’ series was nominated in the ‘best single documentary’ category at the Royal Television Society Awards. It may not have won, but it brought at lot of positive attention to the club.

The following season was to be one of the most difficult faced by football (and indeed the world) as the Coronavirus Pandemic hit hard in March 2020. The season was curtailed and results expunged roughly a quarter of the season still to play. It had started on a positive note as our debut in the FA Cup was selected by the BBC to be broadcast live on their ‘red button’ digital content service. The tie was played on 10th September 2019 with the team losing 1-0 at home to Broadbridge Heath (of the Southern Combination) in the Extra Preliminary Round in front of 204 spectators and many more watching at home. The first FA Cup run had begun and ended at the first hurdle. With 6 qualifying rounds to tackle before the competition proper starts, Punjab United were just 13 wins short of reaching the final. Perhaps our proudest moment was that the FA kindly allowed the club to display the FA Cup trophy the weekend of the tie. Fans and interested locals were delighted to be given the chance to have their photo taken with it.

The FA Vase campaign went much better, seeing us reach the competition proper for the first time. In the first qualifying round we dispatched Selsey 5-0 at home before beating Loxwood 3-2 at home. Our debut in the first round of the competition was a step too far as we lost 3-0 at home to Newhaven. All of our opponents on this run were from the Southern Combination.

League results were again mixed and when the season ended prematurely we were 16th of 19 clubs. Alas it counted for nothing as world events and the health crisis meant the season effectively never happened.

The biggest single impact on us, however, was the sad death of our stalwart groundsman Steve ‘Cookie’ Cook in 2020. If anyone personified our ethos it was Cookie. His cropped hair and toothless grin made him instantly recognisable around the town and at the club. He had been working for us at the Elite Venue for over 4 years and was dedicated member of the behind the scenes team. The club took the decision to rename the ground ‘the Steve Cook Stadium’ in his honour ahead of the 20/21 season. A blown up photograph of him adorns the side of the bar to the left of the turnstiles. He is well remembered for his community work in Gravesend and members of his extended family often watch the club and raise a glass to his memory in the place that was very nearly home to him, such were the hours hard graft he put in there.

The 20/21 was another season that was ultimately cut short by the Coronavirus Pandemic. We only managed 12 league games before it was curtailed, winning four and drawing one of them. The club was fairly comfortable in lower mid table, but it was all for nothing again. The FA Cup had seen us face Stansfeld of the SCEFL Division 1 away in their very first FA Cup tie. A topsy turvy game had seen us lose 4 3 on penalties after an entertaining 3-3 draw in the Extra Preliminary Round. There was a little more success in the FA Vase, with Bearsted (of our own division, the SCEFL Premier) defeated 5 3 on kicks from the penalty mark before we lost 3-2 at home to Horley Town of the Combined Counties League in the second qualifying round. The season was all over for us by the first week in November and we wouldn’t play in front of fans again until special dispensation from the FA allowed clubs to play friendly matches in May 2021.

To make up for the loss of income since November 2020 our friends from Chatham Town invited us, Sheppey United, Lordswood and Rochester United (all of the SCEFL) to take part in a round robin friendly tournament, which eventually became the Kent Sports Podcast Trophy. The clubs were to play each other at home and away with the top two then playing the final at Chatham’s Bauvill Stadium at Maidstone Road. Fans who had been starved of their football fix turned out in droves for these games as there was no competition from the professional leagues. Plenty of groundhoppers from all over the UK as well as a few from overseas were in evidence as all the clubs drew big crowds for what were essentially friendlies.

Notable results saw us draw 3-3 at Chatham Town in front of 450 fans before we won 8-0 at Lordswood. This remains our record win. We late lost 3-0 at home to Chatham in front of 301 fans in a game which was very much about recouping admission money from the 6 months without games. Anecdotally many who visited our ground for the first time that day enjoyed the ground and the experience as we always go out of our way to welcome fans from anywhere, regardless of whether they expect to attend again. The final was contested between Chatham Town and Sheppey United. The hosts won 8-7 on penalties after a two all draw after extra time with 1087 in attendance. The competition was a massive success overall and we were delighted to have made so many new friends.

Almost immediately preparations got underway for the 21/22 season, which was to be a long hard slog especially as it was the first time in three season that we got to play all 38 league games. We finished a creditable 15th of 20 in a season dominated by Sheppey United and Chatham Town, who were both promoted to the Isthmian League South East Division having accrued 102 and 100 respectively. Our more modest total of 41 points (11 wins and 8 draws) meant we were comfortably above the sides in the relegation places. Lordswood were 17 points behind us and received a reprieve. Relegated Tower Hamlets managed a full 30 points fewer than us.

The FA Cup saw us drawn away to another Southern Combination League team, Mile Oak, who we beat 2 0 away in the extra preliminary round. Dreams of further progress ended, however, with a 7 0 defeat at Phoenix Sports of the Isthmian League South East Division. In the Vase we received a bye to the second qualifying round, which saw us narrowly lose 1 0 away at Colliers Wood United of the Combined Counties Premier Division South.

In the 2022/23 season, we finished 10th of 20 in the SCEFL Premier Division as well as winning the DFDS Kent Senior Trophy as we took Deal Town at The Gallagher Stadium and thrashed them 6-0.

We have achieved a lot in our first twenty years and a proud that our ethos still remains the same as it was when the club was founded. It can best be summed up in these three words: Pride Passion Punjab.


Cake Box
Apollo Taxis
Zander Mackenzie Care
Mitcham Builders
CCS Scaffolding
Expert Building
Sian Formwork
Newman + Green
MBS Group
Cohesion Plus
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