Well, the season didn’t quite finish as we expected when we started out last August, but sadly we now have more important things to deal with in our lives.
After some careful thought it was decided to bring our prediction league to a conclusion by applying a “points per game” factor to each club’s standing when games ceased to take place in early March.
Other than Ashford United dropping two places, resulting in Cray Valley PM & Whitehawk climbing a place each and four mid-table teams swapping around, the remaining thirteen teams stayed in the same position they were in the now expunged & void league table. By the way, the judge’s decision is final.
Below are the scores for all 80 entrants, so we apologise if their disclosure causes any of you some embarrassment. You will just have to try harder next season….haha.
Seriously though, a BIG thank you to all of you who took part. Your entrance fees enabled the football club to receive £520, with £280 forming the prize fund. The scores & positions generally speak for themselves, but as per the competition rules at the outset, where entrants are equal on overall points they have been separated by the number of teams they got in exactly the correct position and if that doesn’t separate them, the number of teams who they got just one position out. Where that is also the same, they have been given an equal (=) position.
As well as the prize winners we feel special mention needs to go the following people:-
Natalie Pickering, Ali Walls, Louis Hambrook, Ryan Nicholls, Keith Boughton & Barry Edgar, who all got points for eleven teams, so just over half of the teams in the division.
Richard Naidu who was the only person to get five teams in exactly the right position, so a quarter of the teams in the division.
Mandy Hodge & Kevin Brooks for getting the highest number of three pointers, namely seven each.
Barry Edgar who scored eight one pointers, closely followed by Keith Boughton & Tony Zapp both with seven.
And finally, our youngest entrant, Logan Crawford who came a very creditable 13th with 27 points.
Thank you to everybody who took part and we hope you will do so again next season, whenever that may be. In the mean time we wish you all well and hope you & your families stay safe in the coming weeks & months.
COME ON YOU CANNONS!
In these football-free times, it’s good to look back at some of our most enjoyable moments… hopefully there will be more to come in the not too distant future. Here, our ex-programme editor, Martin Whybrow, recalls the route to that famous FA Cup First Round appearance in 2010.
It is easy now to forget just what an achievement that 2010 FA Cup run was. On a heady 23rd October, by vanquishing Staines Town at a euphoric Reachfields, we became the first Kent League team to reach the first round proper for 57 years.
Little did we know what was in store when Surrey-based Bookham Town arrived on a suitably sunny August afternoon in the extra-preliminary round. We’d lost 3.2 in our opening league game the previous Saturday at VCD and, in his secretary’s diary, Martin Giles wrote that early on against Bookham “things were not looking good” but then he always fears the worst. In the end, goals from Brendan Cass, Gary Mickelborough, Billy Somerville and Lee Shearer saw us home in style. In the programme, Martin Giles’ “The Walton Years” recounted previous Hythe Town glories.
Mind you, I was also always a pessimist whenever we had to visit Deal Town, a far from happy hunting ground for us over the years. So it was less than welcome news when we were drawn away to our old foes in the next round. We went one-nil down, then two-one down, after a Lee Winfield equaliser. But we needn’t have worried, the second half was one-way traffic. Dave Cook pulled us level then Brendan gave us the lead after a typical mazy run from Gary Mickelborough (it often seemed as though Gary had little idea which route he was taking, so opposition seldom did either, and he must surely have been one of the fastest players ever to wear a Hythe Town shirt). Hythe favourite, for his work-rate, Craig Thompson added the fourth.
Next up was a home tie with Epsom & Ewell from the Combined Counties league. By this stage, albeit after only four games, we were second top so confidence was high. This was a tight affair. Brendan gave us the lead and we had by far the best of the first half but our visitors pegged us back at times after the break. As it was, we scored a breakaway second, courtesy of Kieran Byrne. Martin Giles cited “an inspired performance” by Pat Kingwell as a key reason for our success – how many of those did he put in over his Hythe career?!
Next up, in the Second Qualifying Round, were fellow Kent Leaguers, Erith & Belvedere, with the prize money from this match now up at £4500. For the third time in four FA Cup ties, we hit four goals - one for Dave Cook, two for Kieran Byrne and one for Gary Mickelborough - in another comfortable win (4.1).
This was starting to get serious and financially rewarding! It was off to Concord Rangers of the Ryman League and the wilds of Canvey Island on the Thames, a land of caravans and industry, with large container ships passing disconcertingly behind one end of the ground. The pitch looked intimidatingly pristine and Kieron Mann had to make a good early save. However, we grew in confidence and came into our own in the second half. Gary Mickelborough was tripped on the edge of the box and Dave Cook’s resultant free-kick took a deflection into the corner of their goal. We feared an onslaught but it never came, Ronnie Dolan hit the post and we were in the televised draw for the Fourth Qualifying Round.
The two-nil win against Staines Town was one of the great days in our club’s history in front of a jubilant crowd of just over 800. Our visitors had enjoyed two excellent cup runs in the previous three years but were second best on the day despite being three levels above us in the pyramid. “Battling Hythe stagger Staines” said the Non-League Paper’s headline. We were penned in our half for the first 25 minutes but then won a string of corners before a 35th breakaway opener from Gary Mickelborough. “From then on, Hythe looked in control with Lee Shearer monumental at the heart of the defence,” said the NLP, and “Craig Thompson chased every ball with the determination that characterised his team”. Cookie hit the Staines crossbar with a 30 yarder but went one better on 78 minutes, heading home a Thompson cross at the far post.
Cue wild celebrations and the media spotlight as Monday’s draw gave us the wonderful trip to Hereford United.
On behalf of everybody at Hythe Town Football Club, we sincerely hope you are all keeping well and have managed to avoid any ill health due to coronavirus/Covid-19.
As you know the 2019/20 season is no more. The decision to null & void the season was recently ratified by the FA Council. In addition, BetVictor have terminated their sponsorship contract with the Isthmian League (as well as the Southern & Northern Premier Leagues) & ceased involvement as of 9 July 2020. Whether or not the League can find a replacement sponsor before the start of the 2020/21 season, currently the 8 August, time will only tell, but it will not be easy in these difficult times.
All of us at the club are determined that Hythe Town FC will remain in existence until a new season begins, but to achieve that we need to ensure the financial security of the club over the coming months. On top of this we of course now receive no income whatsoever from gate receipts, bar takings, 50/50 ticket & programme sales, Sponsor-a-Goal contributions or Club Shop sales. In addition, during March & through to May the Reachfields facilities & pitch were to be hired out on at least six occasions for Youth Cup Finals & Charity matches. These would have generated pitch hire fees & significant bar takings, none of which we will now receive. To compound matters, whereas the phone mast used to generate an annual rental income of around £9,000, that has now been slashed to £500 per annum, all due to the Government's keenness to roll out 5G across the country we understand.
Despite the lack of income, the Club are still liable for ongoing monthly costs which have to be met whether we are playing football or not, namely electricity & water rates, waste disposal, insurances & telephone/broadband. There is also an outstanding HMRC bill for March and we are potentially liable for the cost of the training facilities at Kings Hill & Wrotham, which were prearranged but never utilised because of the "shutdown" of football. The pitch still needs to be mowed &maintained during the close season. Ground maintenance is also an issue, especially the state of the sheeting behind the terracing on the Ranges side of the ground. Looking forward to the new season we will need to pay registration fees to the Isthmian League & for our entry into the FA Cup & FA Trophy. We may also need to buy a new kit as well.
No one really knows what the world will look like when we come out of the other side of this pandemic. The attitude of people & business to life, money & materialism may well take on a whole new perspective. Will there be cash floating around to sponsor sports clubs? Maybe we will not be "semi-professional" anymore, but have to revert to an amateur status or adopt the Corinthian attitude. Will the club actually have a playing "budget", or will it be expenses only? Who knows!!
The Board are united in their desire to make sure that when non-league football does eventually take to the pitch again, Hythe Town FC will be there champing at the bit and ready & raring to go.
We are greatly indebted to every member of our Patrons Group for their valuable contributions to club funds during the football season and we are now extremely grateful to all the members who have recently offered to continue paying their contributions during the close season as well and to those who have even increased their payments to help preserve the financial stability of the club at this time of need.
If after reading this, you feel you would like to help keep your club in existence by joining the Patrons Group, so that we are ready to cheer the Cannons back onto a football pitch when we eventually reach the ”new world”, please do not hesitate to contact any Director if you are already acquainted, or email Clinton Johnson at email@example.com, or alternatively send him a personal message via the facebook group. Any contribution would be gratefully received, whether it be a one-off, or on a monthly or 4 weekly basis by standing order. Thank you for your support. It will certainly make a difference.
Paul Markland, Chairman, Hythe Town Football Club.
27th March 2020
Priorities and Decisions
Our country, and the rest of the world, is dealing with an unprecedented crisis, a matter of life or death, so we need to keep the outcome of the 2019/20 Isthmian and other football leagues in perspective. The priority must be the health and safety of everyone, which is why the shutdown of football was the right thing to do.
The Isthmian board and the FA could not leave the leagues unfinished indefinitely – with clubs and players in limbo. Hythe Town FC made the league aware that our choice was to null and void the 2019/20 season; to do otherwise would have resulted in all sorts of controversies. Given all the future uncertainties, the people at the helm of some of the clubs who could have been promoted may quietly be breathing a sigh of relief!
It is easier to back the decision to null and void the season when the team sits mid-table, but I think our opinion would have been the same even if we were in the play-off zone. I agree 100% with Frank May of Cray Valley PM (who are in the top five) when he says, “We can only accept the decision gracefully and plan for next season accordingly”.
Hythe Town’s priority now is the hunker down, conserve what funds we have so we can pay ongoing bills such as insurance and utilities for as long as possible and to look after the pitch ready for the re-start. Funds will become stretched after a few months as, like other football clubs, we no longer have any income from matches or commercial activities. Thankfully it looks like Business Rates for sports clubs have been waived for the next year; the CASC scheme does not apply to semi-pro clubs who all pay full Business Rates, so this has saved Hythe Town money we may have struggled to find, allowing us to pay outstanding invoices.
Who knows when the next season will commence? The country could be in stop-start lockdown for a year or more and a stop-start season would be very difficult, especially for clubs who decide to put players on contract. When we do restart, many of the businesses who support football clubs will have priorities other than sponsorship and advertising, so the days of big budgets and high player wages will have disappeared for a while, possibly with the exception of one or two lucky clubs.
On a personal note, Sue and I are mostly staying at home like nearly everyone else. I’m missing my football, seeing our grandchildren and travelling but our garden is getting lots of my attention so should (hopefully!) be the better for it this summer. I applaud those still working to keep the country functioning, especially those in health and social care, the emergency and transport services, people working on the frontline in supermarkets and those volunteering.
I thank everyone who is involved with Hythe Town Football Club and look forward to seeing you all as soon as it is safe to do so. Meanwhile, please stay well.
All leagues at non-league levels 3,4,5 and 6 have reached agreement that the current season is now terminated (Hythe Town are level 4).
This decision just needs to be ratified by the FA. and before promotion/relegation issues are finalised there needs to also be an agreement made by the National League (levels 1 and 2).
It has now been decided that season 2019-2020 is now null and void with records being expunged. The full FA Statement can be found here..
The logical follow-on from this is that the 2020/21 season will commence in August as previously planned--providing of course that the health situation has eased.
The club are still looking for one or two persons to help run our lottery. This would involve a door-to-door collection over each month as well as some canvassing (using promotional leaflets) to build up numbers. A 25% commission is paid for collecting from existing members and so for each new member the earnings would go up from what is already a substantial sum to do a part-time job that has no defined hours.
You may not want this job for yourself--but possibly you know somebody who might do??
Please phone 07908-763101 if interested
Stephen Okoh has departed the club to join Sittingbourne. Stephen played 26 times this season before getting injured in the 3-0 win at Haywards Heath Town.
We wish him every success for the future !!!
Whyteleafe 0 Hythe Town 2
BetVictor Isthmian League South East
Saturday 7th March 2020
The Cannons returned from Whyteleafe with a well-deserved 2-0 win despite being controversially reduced to ten men after 76 minutes when Alex Flisher was shown a red card.
Hythe had the best of the first half putting in all the early pressure and were ahead on thirteen minutes as a Frannie Collin free kick from 25 yards out evaded the home defence to sail past Whyteleafe keeper Tyler McCarthy and into the corner of the net. The visitors continued to press as Kaka Dembele broke down the right sending a dangerous cross that was just out of the reach of Alex Flisher. Hythe’s early dominance was rewarded on 18 minutes. Flisher saved the ball going out for a goal kick pulling it back to Alex Brown who fed it through to Collin who buried his shot in the back of the net.
The hosts had to wait until the 20th minute to threaten as the ever dangerous Corie Andrews surged through with the ball being smothered by Hythe keeper Will Godmon and then it was cleared away by the impressive Nathan Gordon. At the other end Flisher was to send a swerving shot just the wrong side of the upright. Andrews again found his way into the Hythe area but was blocked before he could get in a shot, but Hythe still had the best of the exchanges as Collin played the ball out to Charlie Webster who blasted over. There followed a period of pressure from the hosts, but they were only able to get one more effort away as a Ryan Gondoh shot lacked power and rolled into the arms of Godmon.
The first action of the second half saw Gondoh play in Andrew Sesay whose close-range effort went straight at Godmon and then at the other end Jamie McGeorghegan was dispossessed by Webster who broke free but pulled the attempt wide of the target. Whyteleafe’s keeper McCarthy had to be at his best as he tipped a dipping shot from Brown over the bar. Whyteleafe were looking to get back in the game as a free kick from Gondoh from the edge of the penalty area sailed over the bar and then a last gasp tackle from Gordon prevented Andrews getting a shot in. The Cannons produced a neat move as an interchange between Darren Oldaker and Webster ended with Flisher slicing an effort wide.
On 76 minutes, the Hythe defence stood firm as the ball pin-balled around the penalty area before being cleared and then came the moment in the 76th minute that reduced Hythe to ten men as Flisher was sent off for an alleged elbow which many saw differently. This gave the home team a one-man advantage and they pressed to get back in the game as firstly a shot from Alastair Gordon didn’t test Godmon and Dembele got in a superb last gasp tackle to prevent Gondoh an opportunity.
Deep into injury time Gondoh hooked a free kick wide and Hythe were able to hold on to the three points that take them up to tenth place in the table with a game next Saturday (14th March 2020) at home to promotion chasing Cray Valley PM.
Team: Will Godmon, Kaka Dembele, Nathan Gordon, James Rogers, Jamie Coyle, Tom Wynter, Charlie Webster, Darren Oldaker (Jarred Trespaderne 90 mins), Alex Flisher, Frannie Collin (Tom Murphy 80 mins), Alex Brown (Tom Walmsley 80 mins).
Scorers: Hythe Town-Frannie Collin 13 & 18 mins.
The club are looking for a new physio as Marc Wheeler is stepping down due to work commitments.
If you are interested in filling this role then please contact manager Steve Watt on the following email address at. firstname.lastname@example.org