Once again, the previous season’s squad re-signed for the new season. There were two summer arrivals, Dalton Perkins, an experienced centre-back joined from Margate, and Mick Filmer joined as first team goalkeeper. The club announced that Mick Leach was standing down as reserve team manager but it seems that he continued in that role until the new year.
The club got off to a solid start, August saw three wins, a draw and a lone defeat, at Crockenhill. September saw them top the league and seven points from eight in October only strengthened their position. By now Hythe had signed centre-back Steve Harris from Folkestone. November saw a bit of a wobble with defeats at Dartford Glentworth and Slade Green Athletic, sides in the bottom half of the table, before the month ended with a home defeat to Cray Wanderers, who would go on to be champions.
December was an exciting month. Hythe unveiled their new kit, sponsored by Burlington Insurance, and were the first club in the Kent League to wear a sponsor’s name on their shirts. Then Paul Prior, after a six-game wait, scored his 100th Kent League goal for Hythe in the win over Sittingbourne as his side returned to the top of the table. The next game saw Hythe’s best win of their Kent League career to date, 8-3 away at Kent Police. Converted defender Alan Hughes scored four of them, all in the second half.
In January ‘Curly’ Russell joined the club as reserve team manager after leaving Folkestone. Three Folkestone players also joined, Mark Hatcher, Steve Long and Terry Collins. January and February saw seven league wins in a row which moved Hythe five points clear, although Cray, who were to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Vase, had five games in hand.
March saw three tough games against the top sides and three defeats, the last against Cray by 3-1. The start of April saw the momentous news that Bob Davis was to stand down as manager at the end of the season, after ten years in charge. “It is time for a change”, he said. Whether that news had an effect on the team or not, the season rather petered out with just one win in the final five games, for a sixth place finish some twelve points behind the champions Cray. The final game was a 3-3 draw at home to Crockenhill, where Tony Cascarino scored for the visitors. The club announced that reserve boss Russell was to be the new manager.
Cup runs were brief; there was defeat to Banstead Athletic in the Vase, wins over Faversham and Dartford Glentworth in the Kent Senior Trophy before a quarter-final defeat to Crockenhill, and a win over Sheppey United before defeat to Darenth Heathside in the Kent League Cup. All the defeats were at Reachfields, to add to the disappointment.
Mick Filmer was virtually ever-present in goal, Ian Daffin started the season as full-back before moving into midfield, Terry Collins taking over his role, with Paul Roberts the other full-back. Adrian Bray and Dalton Perkins were the centre-backs, Graham Best, Glenn Dempsey and John Champion in midfield and Paul Prior, Alan Hughes and Tony Hunter up front. Prior top scored with 23 goals, Hughes and Hunter both managed 16. Hythe played 39 games, winning 21, drawing 6 and losing 12, and scoring 83 goals.
|Erith & Belvedere||32||19||5||8||57||30||27||43|
|Slade Green deducted 2 points for fielding an ineligible player|
|26/07/1980||Swanley Town||F||Home||2-4||Tony Hunter, Jimmy McMorran|
|09/08/1980||Merstham||F||Away||2-1||Doug Parker, Paul Prior pen|
|12/08/1980||Ashford Town||F||Away||2-0||Hunter 2|
|16/08/1980||Slade Green Athletic||KL||Home||3-1||Hunter, McMorran, Glenn Dempsey|
|23/08/1980||Crockenhill||KL||Away||2-3||Prior 2, 1 pen|
|27/08/1980||Ramsgate||KL||Away||4-1||John Champion, Prior 3|
|13/09/1980||Darenth Heathside||KL||Home||4-2||Stuart Taylor, McMorran 2, Prior pen|
|20/09/1980||Sheppey United||KLC2||Away||3-1||Champion, Hunter, Prior|
|04/10/1980||Sheppey United||KL||Away||3-0||Hunter 3|
|11/10/1980||Whitstable Town||KL||Home||2-0||Dempsey, McMorran|
|18/10/1980||Herne Bay||KL||Away||1-1||Prior pen|
|25/10/1980||Tunbridge Wells||KL||Home||4-2||Dempsey, Hunter, McMorran, Prior|
|08/11/1980||Faversham Town||KST1||Away||4-2aet||Alan Hughes 2, Dalton Perkins, Hunter|
|15/11/1980||Kent Police||KL||Home||3-1||Hughes 2, Steve Harris|
|22/11/1980||Slade Green Athletic||KL||Away||1-3||Hunter|
|25/11/1980||Sittingbourne||KL||Away||2-1||290||Hughes, Ian Daffin|
|29/11/1980||Cray Wanderers||KL||Home||2-3||Adrian Bray, Dempsey|
|06/12/1980||Sittingbourne||KL||Home||4-1||Prior 2, Hunter, McMorran|
|20/12/1980||Kent Police||KL||Away||8-3||Hunter 2, Prior, Hughes 4, Dick Purnell|
|03/01/1981||Ramsgate||KL||Home||6-2||Hughes 2, Prior 3, Daffin|
|10/01/1981||Dartford Glentworth||KST2||Away||2-0||Graham Best, Prior pen|
|24/01/1981||Sheppey United||KL||Home||2-1||Hughes, Daffin|
|31/01/1981||Whitstable Town||KL||Away||2-0||Hughes, Champion|
|07/02/1981||Herne Bay||KL||Home||3-1||Hunter, Hughes, Daffin|
|21/02/1981||Crockenhill||KSTQF||Away||2-2aet||Prior pen, Hunter|
|21/03/1981||Erith & Belvedere||KL||Away||0-1|
|04/04/1981||Cray Wanderers||KL||Away||1-3||Prior pen|
|25/04/1981||Chatham Town||KL||Home||1-1||Paul Roberts|
|29/04/1981||Faversham Town||KL||Away||2-0||Dempsey, Hunter|
|02/05/1981||Erith & Belvedere||KL||Home||1-3||Dempsey|
|04/05/1981||Crockenhill||KL||Home||3-3||Best, Prior 2, 1 pen|
This season saw Hythe under the new management of ‘Curly’ Russell and although the stated plan was to continue the good work of the previous manager Bob Davis, the pre-season news was that six of last season’s squad had left the club. Winger John Champion had retired but Mick Filmer, Paul Roberts, Dalton Perkins, Graham Best and Paul Prior had moved to other clubs. Glenn Dempsey, Tony Hunter and Ian Daffin were said to be staying but by the end of August they too had departed.
This meant a number of new signings. Ivan Pickering joined from local football, Tim Hulme joined from (Folkestone) Invicta, Paul Linch and Stan Gardiner from Folkestone Reserves. Others joined at regular intervals but the turnover of players was large.
The season started well with just the one defeat in the first six games and good wins over Deal Town and Faversham Town. Three different goalkeepers had been used in this spell before Alan Hopgood arrived and kept his place. The good run was ended by a demoralising defeat at Kent Police, who would finish bottom of the table and only won one other game all season. The next three games were also lost.
A home win over Slade Green and a 4-3 win at Herne Bay steadied things, this was a game where Kevin Hambrook, making his debut, made the winner with a cross that Stuart Taylor headed in. The next new signing was Tommy Horsfall, who had played League football at Southend United, Cambridge United and Halifax Town after a transfer from Dover. He helped Hythe to a run of only one defeat in seven games in November and December which saw the club climb to eighth place in the table. In the draw at Sheppey Hythe came back from 0-2 down with an injury-time equaliser against a home side containing former players Perkins, Demspey, Hunter and Prior.
The new year saw a steady decline in fortunes, after a break for bad weather Hythe lost five games in a row before getting a couple of wins, including their revenge over Kent Police. After this, it was a return to defeats and after the fourth one, a 4-0 reverse at home to Chatham, manager Russell was dismissed. Chairman Jim Robb appointed Glenn Dempsey as the replacement and Hythe finished the season with a mini-flourish, winning the last three games and moving up to a final position of eleventh.
In the cups, Hythe had lost at Swanley Town in the FA Vase, beaten Slade Green and lost to Corinthian in the Kent Senior Trophy, and beaten Herne Bay and lost to Chatham in the League Cup.
Hythe had a large number of players with many just playing a handful of games. Once the season settled down, the regulars were Alan Hopgood in goal, Paul Linch and Stan Gardiner as the full-backs with Adrian Bray at centre-back partnered by Tim Hulme, Steve Long and, later on, Micky Dix. Midfield was Terry Collins, Terry Carter, Byron Caukwell and Mark Hatcher with Ivan Pickering, Micky Heynes and Tommy Horsfall as the forwards. Pickering was leading scorer with 17 goals, followed by Heynes with 6 and Bray with 5. In total Hythe played 35 games, winning 12, drawing 7 and losing 16, scoring 60 goals. Terry Collins was voted as Player of the Year with Derek Graham the reserves’ choice.
|Erith & Belvedere||30||17||10||3||45||22||23||44|
|15/08/1981||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Away||3-3||Ivan Pickering, Dick Maxted, Tony Hunter|
|20/08/1981||Deal Town||KLD1||Home||3-0||Pickering 2, Terry Collins|
|29/08/1981||Crockenhill||KLD1||Away||2-3||Byron Caukwell 2|
|05/09/1981||Cray Wanderers||KLD1||Home||1-1||Micky Heynes|
|12/09/1981||Faversham Town||KLD1||Away||4-0||Pickering 3, 1 pen, OG|
|26/09/1981||Kent Police||KLD1||Away||3-4||Pickering 2, Heynes|
|03/10/1981||Darenth Heathside||KLD1||Home||1-3||Stuart Taylor|
|10/10/1981||Swanley Town||FAVP||Away||2-3||17||Mark Hatcher, Taylor|
|17/10/1981||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Home||2-1||Bray, Taylor pen|
|24/10/1981||Herne Bay||KLC2||Away||4-3||Alan Hughes 2, Terry Carter, Taylor|
|31/10/1981||Chatham Town||KLD1||Away||2-5||Carter, Collins|
|07/11/1981||Slade Green Athletic||KST1||Home||3-0||Hughes, Hatcher, Tim Hulme|
|21/11/1981||Tunbridge Wells||KLD1||Home||2-0||Pickering, David Bible|
|28/11/1981||Darenth Heathside||KLD1||Away||2-2||Pickering, Tommy Horsfall|
|19/12/1981||Sheppey United||KLD1||Away||2-2||Pickering, Heynes|
|28/12/1981||Herne Bay||KLD1||Home||4-1||Pickering 4, 1 pen|
|16/01/1982||Corinthian||KST2||Home||2-3||Pickering, Heynes pen|
|30/01/1982||Erith & Belvedere||KLD1||Away||0-2|
|13/02/1982||Cray Wanderers||KLD1||Away||1-3||Hatcher pen|
|27/02/1982||Whitstable Town||KLD1||Home||3-3||Heynes, Bray, Horsfall|
|06/03/1982||Kent Police||KLD1||Home||2-0||Carter, Ian Johnson|
|03/04/1982||Erith & Belvedere||KLD1||Home||0-2|
|24/04/1982||Deal Town||KLD1||Away||2-0||Pickering, Horsfall|
|01/05/1982||Whitstable Town||KLD1||Away||2-1||Micky Dix pen, Heynes|
Manager Glenn Dempsey saw quite a few changes to the squad that had finished the previous season. Terry Collins and Micky Dix both rejoined Folkestone Town and leading scorer Ivan Pickering signed for Sheppey United. Some old faces returned after a season away, Ian Daffin, Tony Hunter and Paul Roberts. Roberts had the misfortune to break his leg in the first pre-season friendly but a rapid recovery saw him back in the side ten weeks later. There were new signings in Chris Williams from New Romney and Trevor Ellse from Rye. Dave Williams returned and became the reserve team player-manager.
The season got off to a steady and unspectacular start, the first six games saw three wins and three defeats. The side was strong defensively but finding it difficult to score goals. This situation was helped when both Pickering and Collins returned to the club at the end of September. Two wins and a draw in the next three games saw Hythe climb to second in the table before taking a 6-2 thumping at Reachfields by Sittingbourne, for whom ex-Hythe player Paul Prior scored one of the goals. The manager described the performance as ‘diabolical’.
It proved to be a turning point, the next game saw a 7-0 win at Kent Police followed by a dramatic win over Cray at home, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 victory to move top of the table. The club then went twelve games unbeaten before suffering disappointing defeats to Alma Swanley and Beckenham Town, sides in the bottom half of the table. The away game at Cray was remarkable with the Hythe coach running out of fuel on Wrotham Hill and the players having to be ferried to the ground by a couple of the players who had driven their own cars to the game. It kicked-off half-an-hour late and Hythe salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw.
Bad weather in January and February saw the season extended well into May, Hythe had slipped to second after drawing too many games and the championship was decided on a Tuesday evening at Crockenhill, the home side winning 1-0 to clinch the title against a Hythe side missing all their usual forwards. The club won their final game 4-0 to finish as runners-up. It had been a close run thing, with the manager suffering selection problems all season through injuries, suspensions and unavailability.
Hythe managed only one win in the three cups. Wick triumphed in the FA Vase after a replay, Deal won at Reachfields in the Kent Senior Trophy and after a win over Tunbridge Wells in the League Cup, Slade Green won the quarter-final tie.
Alan Hopgood was again the regular goalkeeper, Ian Daffin and Paul Roberts the full-backs, Adrian Bray and Tim Hulme, until his departure in March, were the centre-backs. Terry Collins, Alan Hughes and Clive Barham and David Bible were the midfielders with Tony Hunter, Chris Williams, Ivan Pickering and Micky Heynes the forwards. Hunter top-scored with 16 goals, Williams got 13 and Pickering 11. In total, Hythe won 19 games, drew 8 and lost 10, scoring 71 goals. Adrian Bray was voted Player of the Year with goalkeeper Lee Harrington winning the reserves’ award.
Although the reserves had a poor season in the league they did reach the final of the Division Two cup, losing to Erith & Belvedere Reserves in the final at Sheppey.
|07/08/1982||Swanley Town||F||Home||2-1||Chris Williams, Tony Hunter|
|11/08/1982||Dover||F||Away||2-2||Terry Carter, Tim Hulme|
|16/08/1982||Ashford Town Reserves||F||Away||4-0||Trevor Ellse, Hulme, Hunter, OG|
|28/08/1982||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Away||1-0||Hulme|
|04/09/1982||Crockenhill||KLD1||Home||3-2||Williams 2, Hulme|
|25/09/1982||Tunbridge Wells||KLC2||Home||3-2aet||Williams, Hulme, Micky Heynes|
|02/10/1982||Tunbridge Wells||KLD1||Away||2-2||Hunter, Williams|
|23/10/1982||Whitstable Town||KLD1||Away||3-2||Hulme, Terry Collins, Williams|
|13/11/1982||Kent Police||KLD1||Away||7-0||Pickering 3, Hunter 2, Williams, Collins|
|20/11/1982||Cray Wanderers||KLD1||Home||4-3||Hulme, Williams, Pickering 2|
|04/12/1982||Ramsgate||KLD1||Home||4-0||Williams, Adrian Bray, Heynes, Hunter|
|27/12/1982||Tunbridge Wells||KLD1||Home||2-2||Bray, Heynes|
|15/01/1983||Whitstable Town||KLD1||Home||3-1||Pickering, Collins, Williams pen|
|29/01/1983||Deal Town||KLD1||Home||1-0||Alan Hughes|
|05/02/1983||Sheppey United||KLD1||Away||3-1||Heynes, Williams, Hughes|
|26/02/1983||Slade Green Athletic||KLCQF||Away||0-1|
|05/03/1983||Chatham Town||KLD1||Home||3-1||Hunter, Williams, Hughes|
|19/03/1983||Sheppey United||KLD1||Home||4-1||Williams, Heynes 2, Hunter pen|
|26/03/1983||Alma Swanley||KLD1||Home||2-3||Pickering, Clive Barham|
|01/04/1983||Alma Swanley||KLD1||Away||3-1||Hunter 2, Bray|
|16/04/1983||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Home||0-0|
|23/04/1983||Kent Police||KLD1||Home||4-1||Hughes, Hunter 2, 1 pen, Collins|
|30/04/1983||Chatham Town||KLD1||Away||2-2||Hunter 2|
|01/05/1983||Darenth Heathside||KLD1||Away||2-1||Hunter, David Bible|
|14/05/1983||Darenth Heathside||KLD1||Home||4-0||Doug Parker, Bible, Hughes, Hunter|
|03/06/1983||A Belgian side ??||F||Away||7-0||Heynes 2, Pickering, Hughes, Barham, Dave Williams, OG|