Friday, 14 December 2012

What now for Margate FC ?


Margate Town football club have been around in one form or another since 1896 and has been at Hartsdown since 1929. My late father-in-law remembered gates of several thousand every week and huge crowds for the many visits over the years by top flight teams. I used to go to every home game and was there when we won the Doctor Martens Premier Division title and by doing so gained promotion to the pinnacle of non-league football into the Nationwide Conference.  Yes I was part of that pitch invasion and it seemed we had gone through the wardrobe door and were in Nania.
   We were on a roll and in the Conference League which if you don’t know about these things is just one step away from ‘real football’. Football, that when you are there means regular TV coverage and all that comes with fame. Still it didn’t last long and I have cut this from the Margate FC website to help explain what happened:- During that first season playing in the Nationwide Conference at our 'home' of Hartsdown Park, Margate, attendances climbed to see an average for the season of 1,700 per game, with the highest single attendance being just under 4,000 for the Boxing Day game against local rivals Dover Athletic.

The Club set out a five-year plan to develop both on and off the field of play and this has led to the football club becoming tied down in negotiations to deliver a new stadium fully compliant to Football League 'Grade A Standard' to enable the Club to maintain its Nationwide Conference status.
  The full history of Margate FC is there for all to see and I have no wish to recreate that history here, what I have written so far is give some background to the club. The stay in the Conference was short lived this was due to both Management and local council inefficiencies. TDC seemed to have always resented the club and in my mind put every obstacle forward to hinder rather that help the club. I remember the other two clubs promoted to the conference at the same time as Margate their councils gave them a cash injection to help the club and Margate served a court injunction costing the club thousands in legal bills. I am biased because I love Margate and Margate FC and am as I get older more critical of national and local governance, and in my opinion Thanet council is not alone in being poor but they make a very good appearance at being rubbish.
Still back to the point of the post, I didn’t start out this morning aiming to slag off TDC I wanted to ask what now for Margate FC? Because one of the best known faces  at Harsdown Park Margate director Keith Piper is set to give up after 25 years at the helm. He has indicated that the club have received some early interest. I wish I could afford to invest the future of Margate FC. I would like to say thanks to Keith and wish him well and hope he can find a Roman Abramovich type billionaire to invest in Margate FC and take Margate into the Premier League.
Max Montagut / Foter / CC BY-NC

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