For the second season running, Hythe suffered the misfortune of a broken leg in pre-season, this time it was Andy Couzens, who had only signed towards the end of the previous season to replace Tim Hulme. The side had also lost Terry Collins after a change in job but added forward Bruce Marchant from Lydd, defender Kevin Easter from local football and Dalton Perkins, who re-signed after two seasons away.
After the first home game the pitch was declared unfit for play and the next home match was postponed. In May the club had spread 250 cubic yards of top soil on the pitch but it was very poor quality and full of stones and other debris that all needed to be cleared.
The start of September saw the club sign Dave Westgarth, a former Folkestone Player of the Year who had also played for Maidstone and Dover. It was a poor start to the season, with five defeats in seven games. Three victories in the cups brightened things a little but league defeats were mounting, particularly a 5-1 home defeat to a Faversham side managed by the former Hythe boss Bob Davis. By now Tim Hulme had returned to the club.
It was not until November 26th, with the club second from bottom in the table, that the third league victory of the season was achieved. Four wins in a row helped before New Year defeats at Deal and Herne Bay. These would prove to be the last league defeats of the season. Goalkeeper Lee Harrington was stretchered off in that Deal game and would miss the rest of the season. Striker Ivan Pickering moved away due to his job as a Royal Navy PTI; the club signed ex-Folkestone defender John Smith and goalkeeper Cliff Egan, who had played for Erith & Belvedere before moving to the Hythe area.
The next seven games saw six victories, including a 4-2 win at Beckenham played in ankle-deep mud. Sadly, there was a 4-3 defeat in the Kent Senior Trophy semi-final to Corinthian, a side who were not members of any league at the time. This was Hythe’s fourth appearance in the Kent semi-finals, losing them all.
The league form was strong and of the final nine games, six were won and three drawn to see the side finish in third position. It had proved to be a season of two halves.
Hythe had their best run in the FA Vase with wins over Bexhill and Egham before a second round defeat at Newport (Isle of Wight). There were Kent Senior Trophy wins over Deal, RASRA and Beckenham before the defeat to Corinthian. The Kent League Cup saw an early exit to Herne Bay.
The Hythe squad had Lee Harrington in goal, then Cliff Egan, full-backs Ian Daffin, Paul Roberts and John Smith, defenders Tim Hulme, Kevin Easter and Adrian Bray, midfielders Dave Westgarth, Clive Barham and David Bible and forwards Tony Hunter, Bruce Marchant, Ivan Pickering and Micky Heynes. Marchant top-scored with 17 goals, Hunter got 13 and Heynes 11. For this season the Kent League changed from two points to three points for a win. In total, Hythe played 38 games, winning 22, drawing 5 and losing 11, scoring 83 goals. Player of the Year was Ian Daffin, with Dick Purnell the Reserves’ winner.
Chairman Jim Robb stood down in March, after a 40-year connection as player, secretary and chairman with firstly Hythe Albion and then Hythe Town from 1969.
|04/08/1983||Herne Bay||F||Away||2-1||Bruce Marchant, Tommy Horsfall|
|11/08/1983||Hastings United XI||F||Away||2-2||Chris Williams, Micky Heynes|
|20/08/1983||Darenth Heathside||KLD1||Away||2-3||Tony Hunter 2|
|23/08/1983||Kent Police||KLD1||Home||6-0||Hunter, Ivan Pickering, Marchant 2, David Bible, Clive Barham|
|27/08/1983||Beckenham Town||KLD1||Home||P-P||Postponed, pitch unfit after summer work|
|03/09/1983||Sheppey United||KLD1||Away||2-4||Hunter, Adrian Bray|
|10/09/1983||Ramsgate||KLD1||Home||3-0||Heynes, Williams, Marchant|
|24/09/1983||Herne Bay||KLC1||Home||1-2aet||Ian Daffin|
|08/10/1983||Bexhill Town||FAVP||Home||4-1aet||40||Dave Westgarth, Barham, Hunter, Tim Hulme|
|15/10/1983||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Away||2-2||Hunter 2|
|29/10/1983||Deal Town||KST1||Away||3-2||Pickering, Marchant, Westgarth|
|26/11/1983||Ramsgate||KLD1||Away||4-1||Pickering, Barham, Marchant, Westgarth|
|03/12/1983||Newport IOW||FAV2||Away||2-5||244||Marchant, Hunter|
|10/12/1983||Beckenham Town||KLD1||Away||4-1||Pickering, Barham, Hulme 2|
|27/12/1983||Beckenham Town||KLD1||Home||3-1||Marchant, Pickering, Westgarth|
|31/12/1983||Deal Town||KLD1||Home||3-1||Marchant, Hulme, Bible|
|04/02/1984||Beckenham Town||KSTQF||Away||4-2||Barham 2, Marchant, Heynes|
|18/02/1984||Herne Bay||KLD1||Home||4-1||Marchant, Hunter, Heynes 2|
|17/03/1984||Cray Wanderers||KLD1||Home||2-1||Heynes, Barham|
|24/03/1984||Corinthian||KSTSF||Home||3-4||Hunter, Heynes, Bray|
|31/03/1984||Tunbridge Wells||KLD1||Away||2-2||Bible, Heynes|
|07/04/1984||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Home||2-0||Hunter, Heynes|
|18/04/1984||Faversham Town||KLD1||Away||3-0||Hunter, Hulme, Bible|
|21/04/1984||Whitstable Town||KLD1||Home||5-2||Marchant 3, Hulme, Terry Collins|
|28/04/1984||Tunbridge Wells||KLD1||Home||2-1||Heynes, Hunter|
|30/04/1984||Whitstable Town||KLD1||Away||2-0||Marchant, Bible|
Manager Glenn Dempsey was able to stick with the squad that finished the previous season with a 15-match unbeaten run. The only change saw a fit-again Lee Harrington resume as goalkeeper, Cliff Egan dropping to the reserves.
The season started with a tame draw at home to Beckenham Town but the next six were all victories that saw Hythe top the early league table. The away game with Ramsgate in October was remarkable in that Hythe were awarded their first penalty in 48 games. Needless to say, it was missed, Tony Hunter shooting straight into the keeper’s arms.
The first defeat since the previous January was at home to Tunbridge Wells in the Kent Senior Trophy, swiftly followed by a FA Vase defeat at Banstead but the unbeaten run in the league continued into the new year. It came to an end with a 2-1 defeat at Crockenhill in February, after 31 matches and thirteen months. It had been Hythe’s first game for five weeks after bad weather had wiped out all of January’s fixtures. The side remained on top of the table, with Dempsey winning the Manager of the Month for December.
That defeat started another, unwanted run as Hythe lost the next three games including against Whitstable at a snow-covered Reachfields. They dropped to second in the table behind Sittingbourne but put together another run of three wins and two draws to return to the top. Easter saw two remarkable results that would shape the end of the season. On Good Friday Hythe beat Tunbridge Wells 4-1 at Reachfields, played the return game at Culverden the next day and lost 4-0.
April saw Lee Harrington change jobs and was unavailable on Saturdays, so Cliff Egan returned in goal. Striker Alan Hughes broke his leg scoring for the reserves, and Duncan Hood was carried off in the final league game with a serious knee injury.
The final six league games saw five wins and one draw, at Four Area Met Police, which was to prove disastrous. Hythe finished the season with a 3-1 win over Sittingbourne and were top of the table. Tunbridge Wells had four games remaining, against bottom half sides, and were twelve points behind, with a better goal difference. All four games were won and Hythe finished as runners-up by the narrowest of margins.
In the cups there was just the one victory, at Merstham in the FA Vase. Banstead were victorious in the next round. In the Kent Senior Trophy and Kent League Cup there were first round defeats to Tunbridge Wells and Sittingbourne.
Lee Harrington was the goalkeeper, Ian Daffin amd John Smith the full-backs, Duncan Hood and Adrian Bray the central defenders. In midfield was Clive Barham, David Bible and Dave Westgarth and the forwards were Tony Hunter, Micky Heynes and Bruce Marchant. Marchant top-scored with 14 goals, Heynes got 12, Hunter 11 and Westgarth 10. In total Hythe played 36 games, winning 23, drawing 6 and losing 7, scoring 74 goals.
Tony Hunter and Duncan Hood were both selected twice for Kent Representative games against the AFA and London Universities.
For the third season in a row, Hythe had arranged a weekend trip to Antwerp to play a game and enjoy a few beers. Two weeks before the trip there was the Belgian Heysel Stadium tragedy and UEFA banned all English sides from travelling to Europe, with Hythe one of the earliest victims.
|Alma Swanley||32||11||7||14||47||49||-2||39||(-1 Pts)|
|04/08/1984||Thames Polytechnic||F||Home||3-1||OG, Alan Hughes 2|
|07/08/1984||Hastings United XI||F||Away||3-0||Tony Hunter 3|
|21/08/1984||Whitstable Town||KLD1||Away||1-0||Bruce Marchant|
|25/08/1984||Greenwich Borough||KLD1||Home||3-2||David Bible, Dave Westgarth, Ian Daffin|
|28/08/1984||Faversham Town||KLD1||Home||2-0||Adrian Bray, Derek Graham|
|01/09/1984||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Away||2-0||Bible, Marchant|
|22/09/1984||Kent Police||KLD1||Home||7-2||Westgarth 2, Clive Barham, Heynes 3, Marchant|
|06/10/1984||Merstham||FAVP||Away||3-0||50||Marchant, Daffin, Barham|
|20/10/1984||Cray Wanderers||KLD1||Home||3-1||Hunter 2, 1 pen, Bray|
|10/11/1984||Cray Wanderers||KLD1||Away||3-0||Marchant 2, Heynes|
|01/12/1984||Metropolitan Police (Area 4)||KLD1||Home||6-3||Westgarth 3, Heynes 2, John Smith|
|29/12/1984||Deal Town||KLD1||Home||3-1||Hunter, Marchant, Barham|
|09/03/1985||Ramsgate||KLD1||Home||4-2||Dick White, Bible, Smith, Mark Hatcher|
|16/03/1985||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Home||1-1||Hunter pen|
|23/03/1985||Kent Police||KLD1||Away||2-0||Bray, Hunter|
|05/04/1985||Tunbridge Wells||KLD1||Home||4-1||130||OG, Barham, Bible, Steve Harris|
|13/04/1985||Darenth Heathside||KLD1||Away||3-1||Hunter, Barham, Marchant|
|20/04/1985||Alma Swanley||KLD1||Away||3-1||Hunter 2, 1 pen, Westgarth|
|24/04/1985||Herne Bay||KLD1||Home||2-0||Heynes, Hunter|
|27/04/1985||Metropolitan Police (Area 4)||KLD1||Away||1-1||Marchant|
|04/05/1985||Beckenham Town||KLD1||Away||3-0||Hunter, Heynes 2|
|11/05/1985||Sittingbourne||KLD1||Home||3-1||220||Smith, Marchant, Daffin|
Manager Glenn Dempsey made a number of additions to the squad for the new season, which included the return of Tim Hulme and Lee Harrington. Striker Steve Ireland and defender Mark Palmer joined from New Romney. Full back Les Thirtle joined, as did former Bromley Green pair Joe and Mark Valler. Micky Heynes had left to join Folkestone.
There was action off the field, with the club building a 200-seater stand (where the current clubhouse is) with sponsorship from Burlington Insurance. It was officially opened on August 10 with a game against a Past Hythe XI. The only previous cover was a small wooden structure on the Ranges side.
Another change saw Hythe enter the FA Cup for the first time. It seems that the club could have entered years earlier but nobody had considered it. Hythe’s first tie was away to Lancing, where preparations were thrown when both goalkeepers were unavailable. Midfielder Mark Hatcher was forced to play in goal but was hardly troubled in a 3-0 Hythe win. The next round saw Southern League Ashford Town come to Reachfields and a crowd of over 300 watched a giantkilling thanks to a lone Tim Hulme goal. It set up another home tie, against Isthmian Premier side Croydon, with Hythe outclassed in a 5-1 defeat. They had lasted longer than Folkestone and Dover in the competition though.
It would prove to be an unusual season for Hythe; used to challenging for the league title and next to no cup success; 85-86 would prove to be the opposite. Cup games regularly interrupted the league games, wins were far too rare and Christmas arrived with the club in 15th position. By this time regular Clive Barham had joined Canterbury in the Southern League.
Bad weather saw only four games played in January and February, one of which saw Hythe score all four goals in a 2-2 draw at Greenwich. The squad saw some additions for the last three months, which would see 19 games played. Roger King, brother of reserve team player Andy King, was signed from Ramsgate, John McQuillan joined from Bromley Green and both Micky Heynes and Ivan Pickering signed on dual terms from Folkestone.
To help with the fixture backlog Hythe played what was believed to be the first-ever Kent League game on a Sunday, gaining a 5-2 win at Four Area (Met Police). A second Sunday game later that month, at home to Alma Swanley, was less successful, losing 5-1.
In the Kent Senior Trophy Hythe reached their fifth semi-final, and produced their fifth defeat, at Four Area (Met Police), just six days after winning there in the league.
The league season was a disappointment, with more defeats than victories, Hythe finishing in 13th place a long way behind champions Alma Swanley. Lee Harrington was the regular goalkeeper, Ian Daffin and John Smith the full-backs, centre-backs saw no regular pairing, midfield also saw many changes with only Tim Hulme as a regular. Forwards were Tony Hunter, Bruce Marchant, Steve Ireland, Micky Heynes and Joe Valler. Hulme top scored with ten goals, Marchant and Ireland managed nine each. Hythe played 46 games, their most since joining the Kent League, winning 18, drawing 8 and losing 20, scoring 69 goals. Player of the Year was Bruce Marchant, with Andy King winning the reserves’ award. Secretary Ted Maycock received a medal from the KCFA for long and meritorious service to local football over 34 years.
|10/08/1985||Past Hythe XI||F||Home||6-0||Tony Hunter 3, David Bible, Mark Hatcher 2|
|13/08/1985||Ashford Town||F||Home||1-1||Tim Hulme|
|21/08/1985||Ramsgate||KLD1||Away||2-0||Adrian Bray, Ian Daffin|
|24/08/1985||Lancing||FACP||Away||3-0||116||Bruce Marchant 2, Bible|
|28/08/1985||Herne Bay||KLD1||Home||3-1||Hunter 2, 2 pens, Steve Ireland|
|31/08/1985||Thames Polytechnic||KLD1||Home||2-3||Marchant, John Smith|
|14/09/1985||Whitstable Town||KLD1||Home||2-1||Ireland 2|
|21/09/1985||Midland Bank||FAVP||Home||2-1||60||Daffin, Clive Barham|
|05/10/1985||Kent Police||KLC1||Away||1-0||Glenn Dempsey|
|26/10/1985||Kent Police||KST1||Home||3-0||Bible, Hulme, Barham|
|23/11/1985||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Home||1-0||Marchant|
|03/12/1985||Dover Athletic||F||Away||2-2||Ireland, Hulme|
|07/12/1985||Deal Town||KLD1||Home||3-1||Ireland, Hulme, J Valler|
|14/12/1985||Deal Town||KST2||Home||1-0||J Valler|
|11/01/1986||Greenwich Borough||KLD1||Away||2-2||Ireland 2|
|15/03/1986||Kent Police||KLD1||Away||2-2||John McQuillan, Steve Harris|
|16/03/1986||Metropolitan Police (Area 4)||KLD1||Away||5-2||Marchant, Hulme, Daffin, Ireland, Dempsey|
|22/03/1986||Metropolitan Police (Area 4)||KSTSF||Away||2-3||Hulme 2|
|31/03/1986||Tunbridge Wells||KLD1||Home||2-4||Smith, Marchant|
|05/04/1986||Beckenham Town||KLD1||Home||1-0||J Valler|
|21/04/1986||Kent Police||KLD1||Home||3-0||Ireland, OG, Micky Heynes pen|
|03/05/1986||Slade Green Athletic||KLD1||Away||3-1||Heynes pen, J Valler, Hulme|
|05/05/1986||Cray Wanderers||KLD1||Home||3-1||Heynes 2, J Valler|
|14/05/1986||Metropolitan Police (Area 4)||KLD1||Home||1-4||Heynes pen|
|17/05/1986||Tunbridge Wells||KLD1||Away||3-3||Hunter 3|