Aylesford Paper Mills FC was founded in 1911 and although a powerful force in Kent amateur football, disbanded in the late 1960s. The club reformed in 1974 and in the mid-1980s changed its name to Reeds International, before folding for a second time. In 2003 the club reformed again and today competes in the Kent County League under its new guise as APM Mears FC.
Throughout all the changes and upheavals, Cobdown has remained home to the club. Mike Floate has described it as ‘a museum piece recalling how football was staged in less demanding times’. There is certainly a timeless quality to the place, and groundhoppers are drawn from far afield to marvel at the impressive green corrugated iron stand, with its wooden benches and fine pitched roof.
In his book ‘The Homes of Non League Football’ published in 2002, Peter Miles noted that the stand was out of bounds due to safety concerns. However, there was no evidence of this when I visited and the structure appeared in fine condition.
The stand is a bit of a walk from the clubhouse and changing facilities, at one end of quite a large sports ground. The bench seating within is accessed by steps at either end. Two smart white painted dugouts, each containing eight seats, stand in front of the stand.
There are no floodlights, but there is now a permanent perimeter rail, to comply with the entry criteria for Division One of the Kent League Division. Maidstone United Reserves now share the ground. and the railings sport the Stones’ yellow and black livery
Follow the A20 towards Maidstone. Shortly after the pelican crossing at Ditton, turn right into station road and the ground is on the right hand side.
Aylesford (BR): 400 yards