With the news of Hythe Town going into liquidation coming in mid-June, by the following week there was mention in the Folkestone Herald that Martin Giles was helping with an action group to ensure the continuation of football in Hythe. A month later, on the 22nd July, Hythe United was launched at a meeting at the Hythe RBL club with the hope of entering the Kent County League that season. Frank Ovard was to run the new team, assisted by Kevin Hughes, although it was complicated by the fact that Ovard was still signed to play for Ashford Town when needed during the season. The new club was hoping to lease Reachfields from the council but the council had to deal with the Official Receiver and the clock was ticking.
After some frantic tidying up, four home friendlies were played and the club, at the very last minute and well after the AGM, was placed in the KCL Division One East. This was the first year of a countywide Premier Division in the KCL and Hythe were placed one level lower, but it was better than Division Two East. The new kit was white shirts and red shorts, sponsored by Star Plant.
Remembering that the last game of the old Hythe Town was the Kent Senior Cup final at Priestfield, United’s debut in the KCL was at the rather more modest venue of the Polo Ground in Folkestone, against White Lion (Cheriton), managed by an ex-Hythe player, Terry Byrne. It was an exciting start, winning 5-4, with Ovard scoring two of the goals. The following week saw the first home game and another win, 2-1 over Knatchbull with the crowd given as 70. Then came defeat at Lydd by 4-0 although the result was put in perspective when Lydd would finish as league champions by some distance. Hythe even ran a coach to the next away game, at Rye, which saw another defeat.
A win at home to Snowdown, in front of over 100 spectators was Hythe’s last league win until just before Christmas and saw the club sit a lowly eighth in a division of only fourteen clubs. In the cups Hythe managed a revenge win at Lydd before nearly upsetting Sevenoaks Town, who were second in the Premier Division. Only a last-minute equaliser kept Oaks in the first tie where darkness prevented extra-time, although Hythe were easily beaten in the rematch, also played at Greatness Park.
January saw a revival with four wins, three in the league, that earned Ovard the Manager of the Month award. February was nearly as good, with four wins out of five and the club climbed to second in the table. But form petered out and only two wins from the last seven games saw the club slip to a final position of sixth, 23 points behind champions Lydd and ten points behind second-placed Tenterden. The club did reach the semi-final of the Les Leckie Cup, played between the eastern half of the KCL clubs, but lost by the single goal to Lydd who went on to do the double.
With Hythe being the only KCL club with floodlights, Reachfields hosted a number of neutral games under lights in the second half of the season, including all the games in the KCL Invitation Cup and some other semi-finals and finals. It seems the league were kind to Hythe and Hythe were kind to the league.
As soon as the season was over the club said that Frank Ovard was not being retained as manager. Three weeks later Tony Hunter, a former player and then boss at New Romney, was announced as Ovard’s replacement.
With Hythe ‘only’ in the KCL, reporting in the Herald was rather thin with hardly any match reports, and midweek matches were lucky even to get the result published. Twelve goalscorers, all from midweek games, are missing. Only two matches had the full team line-up listed, other names have been noted when possible. The players at the start of the season were Mark Mahon (keeper), Paul Hackett, Dominic Scott, Richard Tearle, Colin Nash, Alby Allan, Frank Ovard, Paul Stanton, Kevin Hughes, Troy Germaine, Wayne Poetschke, Graham Cocks, Ray Bull and Gary Buchanan. Joining during the season were Adrian Bray, Dave Ratcliffe, Steve Coulson, Mark Nightingale, Mark Mason, Scott McRobert, Tim Page, Paul Miller (as goalkeeper, with Mahon playing as a striker), Shay Bates and Paul O’Shea. Poetschke scored twelve goals, Ovard and Germaine ten each.
|Tenterden & St Michaels United||24||15||3||6||68||28||40||48|
|University of Kent||24||10||2||12||48||56||-8||32|
|Sandwich Sports withdrew, results expunged|
|13/08/1992||Dover Reserves||F||Home||2-0||90||Kevin Hughes, Troy Germaine|
|27/08/1992||Woodnesborough||F||Home||3-1||Frank Ovard, ? Wright, Steve Coulson|
|01/09/1992||New Romney||F||Home||1-0||Paul Stanton|
|05/09/1992||White Lion (Cheriton)||KCLOE||Away||5-4||70||Richard Tearle, Ovard 2, Stanton, Wayne Poetschke|
|08/09/1992||Kent Fire Brigade||F||Home||0-2|
|26/09/1992||Rye United||KCLOE||Away||2-4||Hughes, Poetschke|
|03/10/1992||Snowdown Colliery Welfare||KCLOE||Home||2-1||100+||Ovard, Germaine|
|10/10/1992||Lydd Town||KICS1||Away||2-1||Stanton, Ovard|
|13/10/1992||Danson Furness United||F||Home||1-4|
|24/10/1992||Houchin Rovers||IRCC1||Away||2-3||Scott McRobert, Hughes|
|07/11/1992||Bromley Green||KCLOE||Home||3-7||Germaine 2, Poetschke|
|14/11/1992||Tenterden & St Michaels United||KCLOE||Away||1-1||Hughes|
|21/11/1992||Sevenoaks Town||KICS2||Away||1-1||Poetschke (Match Abnd Bad Light)|
|12/12/1992||University of Kent||KCLOE||Home||3-0||Mark Mahon 2, Germaine|
|16/01/1993||Snowdown Colliery Welfare||KCLOE||Away||2-1||Mahon, Hughes|
|19/01/1993||Sandwich Sports||KCLOE||Home||4-2*||Germaine 2, Mahon, Stanton|
|30/01/1993||University of Kent||KCLOE||Away||1-0||Ovard (or Stanton?)|
|20/02/1993||Broomfield United||KCLOE||Away||2-0||Stanton, Ovard|
|27/02/1993||White Lion (Cheriton)||KCLOE||Home||1-0||Poetschke|
|09/03/1993||Danson Furness United||F||Home||4-0|
|20/03/1993||Houchin Rovers||KCLOE||Away||9-3||Paul O'Shea 3, Ovard 2, Germaine 2, Poetschke, Adrian Bray|
|10/04/1993||Tenterden & St Michaels United||LLC||Away||3-3 aet||Bray, Ovard pen, Poetschke|
|14/04/1993||Tenterden & St Michaels United||LLC||Home||5-1|
|10/05/1993||Tenterden & St Michaels United||KCLOE||Home||0-2|
The new season saw a new division and a new manager. During the summer Hythe were moved into the (now unsponsored) Kent County League Premier Division, which was slightly strange for a side that had finished in sixth place in Division One East. The new manager was former player Tony Hunter, who had spent the last four years at New Romney, the last of which was in the Premier Division. It was no great surprise that a few of his former players moved to Hythe to strengthen the side, including Ian Hayes, Andy Ovenden, goalkeeper Paul McLean and former Hythe player Ian Daffin. Wayne Shingler joined from Folkestone Invicta and two other old players, Andy Bates and David Bible, also signed. A reserve team was entered into KCL Division Two East, to be run by Tony Hassan and Alby Allan.
The season was to prove one of mid-table mediocrity, perhaps not surprising after the jump in level. Only one win in the first five league games saw Hythe in tenth, but three wins from the next five moved the club up to sixth. There was another win and a defeat before the Christmas derby with New Romney which saw honours even with David Bible scoring the Hythe goal in a 1-1 draw. New Romney were the league leaders, followed by Greenways and then Teynham & Lynsted. In the cups Hythe had beaten Bromley Green in the Floodlight Invitation Cup, where all games were played at Reachfields, but lost to local rivals Lydd after extra time. In the Inter Regional Cup Hythe lost their first game at Tenterden. In October Hythe signed Mark Palmer in defence, he had formerly played for Lydd and had been New Romney’s captain, and Frank Clarke returned to the club as trainer.
January saw bad weather wipe out most games, just a 5-1 defeat at would-be champions Teynham & Lynsted. February saw three wins and a draw and a rise to sixth but despite a run of three wins in a row the season ended with defeats to three of the top four sides and Hythe had to settle for tenth place. No joy in the other two cups either, with 1-0 home defeats in both the Weald of Kent Charity Cup and the Les Leckie Eastern Section Cup. Another former Hythe player, Kevin Smart, had signed again in January although he returned to Southern League football with Canterbury in April.
The reserve side had a season of two halves, they had been very bottom at Christmas, just the one win and only four points, before a remarkable revival under new managers Steve Ashton and Ian Daffin saw them climb to finish in fifth place. They used many of the players from the previous season’s first team. The reserves also reached the sixth round of the Kent Junior Cup, losing 5-2 away to ‘all conquering’ Maidstone Invicta in front of a crowd of around 200. This was the first season back in adult football for Maidstone after they (as Maidstone United) had resigned from the Football League early in the 1992-93 season.
Again, the Folkestone Herald normally managed only a couple of paragraphs about Hythe matches during the season and only one match had a full team line-up. Appearance statistics are impossible to produce but the names noted through the season are: Paul McLean (goalkeeper), Troy Germaine, Wayne Shingler, David Bible, Andy Ovenden, Andy Bates, Ian Daffin, Ian Hayes, Adrian Bray, Dave Geeler, Darren Walmsley, Richard Tearle, Paul McRobert, Mark Palmer, Paul Longman, Dominic Scott, Paul Stanton, Spencer Pinch and Kevin Smart. Our records are still missing one goalscorer but Bible top scored with eight, followed by Walmsley with seven, Geeler six and Hayes five.
|Teynham & Lynsted||28||17||6||5||55||31||24||57|
|Aylesford Paper Mills||28||9||4||15||34||41||-7||31|
|Scott Sports & Social||28||6||11||11||41||44||-3||29|
|* one game not played|
|24/07/1993||Deal Reserves||F||Away||4-1||Tony Hunter, Troy Germaine 2, Ian Hayes|
|04/08/1993||Herne Bay Reserves||F||Away||0-1|
|07/08/1993||Folkestone Invicta||F||Away||1-3||Wayne Shingler|
|28/08/1993||Colts '85||F||Home||4-0||Hayes, Richard Tearle, Germaine|
|04/09/1993||Aylesford Paper Mills||KCP||Home||0-1|
|11/09/1993||VCD Athletic||KCP||Home||2-1||Ian Daffin (pen), Hayes|
Dave Gealer, Shingler, Darren Walmsley,
Daffin (pen), David Bible
|25/09/1993||Stansfeld O&B||KCP||Home||1-2||Paul McRobert|
|02/10/1993||Scott Sports & Social||KCP||Home||2-2||Germaine, Adrian Bray|
|09/10/1993||VCD Athletic||KCS||Away||3-4||Andy Ovenden, Shingler, Bible|
|23/10/1993||Oakwood||KCP||Home||3-0||Gealer 2, Bible|
|30/10/1993||Woodnesborough||KCP||Home||2-0||Ovenden, Paul Longman|
|06/11/1993||Sevenoaks Town||KCP||Away||1-2||Tony Hunter|
|13/11/1993||Otford United||KCP||Home||2-1||Gealer, Hayes|
|04/12/1993||Oakwood||KCP||Away||4-3||Walmsley 3, Spencer Pinch|
|22/01/1994||University of Kent||LLC1||Home||2-1||Germaine, Hayes|
|29/01/1994||Teynham & Lynsted||KCP||Away||1-5||OG|
|05/02/1994||Scott Sports & Social||KCP||Away||1-1||Bray|
|19/02/1994||Aylesford Paper Mills||KCP||Away||1-0||Bible|
|26/02/1994||Woodnesborough||KCP||Away||3-0||Walmsley, Gealer, Hayes|
|19/03/1994||Thames Polytechnic||KCP||Home||4-2||Paul Stanton 3, Pinch|
|09/04/1994||Otford United||KCP||Away||2-1||Walmsley, Hayes|
|13/05/1994||Teynham & Lynsted||KCP||Home||0-1|
Tony Hunter continued as manager for the 1994-95 season, where Hythe were aiming to do well in the Nuclear Electric Kent County League Premier Division to help the club’s aim to make a return to the Kent League. There were a few new signings, Joe Latty and Andy Bennett joined from the manager’s former club, New Romney, forward Eddie Davies joined from a Dover Sunday League club as well as Paul Hambrook and Paul Westall from Folkestone Invicta. Hythe’s reserve side continued in the KCL Division Two East under joint managers Steve Ashton and Ian Daffin.
In an earlier start than usual, Hythe played a challenge game against a Folkestone Invicta side during the Hythe Festival week, ending in a 2-2 draw in front of around one hundred spectators. The friendlies went well with only a single defeat to Ashford’s Southern League squad. This season’s kit was all red with white flashes, again sponsored by Star Plant.
After opening the season with a home defeat to Stansfeld, the next game saw a fine 1-0 win over last season’s champions, Sevenoaks Town. After another win and a defeat the club embarked on a long unbeaten run that lasted until February. In all it covered seventeen games with ten of those in the various cups. Hythe climbed to third in the table as a result and Hunter was awarded Manager of the Month for October. In the cup game at Woodnesborough Kent cricketer Trevor Ward played for the home side. Away to Scott Sports in the league Hythe were forced to start with ten men due to the late arrival of one car and scored the only goal of the game before its occupants arrived, with keeper Paul Miller later saving a penalty.
The good run ended with not one defeat but six in a row, three in the league and exits from the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield in the semi-final, the KCL Invitation Floodlight Trophy in the semi-final and a quarter-final defeat at Teynham & Lynsted in the KCL Inter-Regional Cup, a game played at Sittingbourne’s huge Central Park.
There was one successful semi-final; after wins against Techpro and Lydd Town Hythe managed to beat Tenterden & St Michaels on penalties to reach the final of the Weald of Kent Charity Cup. The final was played on its traditional date and venue, Good Friday at Tenterden, against Bromley Green. Despite Hythe taking the lead through Joe Latty after only 20 seconds, a Green equaliser took the game to extra time where the Ashford side scored the winning goal.
The cup successes had left twelve league games to be played in April and May and only three wins saw Hythe slip to finish in ninth place. The club had confirmed that their application to join the Kent League would be heard in June, with Woolwich Town also applying.
The reserve side had a good season, finishing in fifth place in the league and, after big wins over Wittersham and Sandhurst, reaching the final of the Weald of Kent Charity Plate. But, like the senior side, there was disappointment with a 5-4 defeat at the hands of Tenterden & St Michaels Reserves. Hythe’s goals were scored by Paul Westall (2), a young Roy Godden and Tony Heron.
The season ended with good news as at the AGM of the Kent League Hythe were voted into Division One with the KCFA granting the club senior status again a month later.
In a very small squad, goalkeeping duties were shared between Paul McLean and Paul Miller, defenders were Paul Hackett, Spencer Pinch, Andy Ovenden and Paul Hambrook, midfield was Dave Geeler, Paul Stanton and Ian Hayes with the forwards being Andy Bennett, Eddie Davies, Joe Latty and Andy Bates. One odd stat from the season is that the side scored the same number of league goals, 44, as cup goals. With ten goals still unaccounted for, we know that Bennett scored 25, Davies 22 and Latty 11.
|Teynham & Lynsted||28||15||6||7||67||37||30||47|
|Aylesford Paper Mills||28||13||6||9||55||39||16||45|
|Ten Em Bee||28||6||4||18||30||56||-26||22|
|Scott Sports & Social||28||3||5||20||35||74||-39||14|
|* one game not played|
|09/07/1994||Folkestone Invicta||F||Home||2-2||Mark Mahon 2|
|06/08/1994||Deal Town||F||Home||4-0||Mahon 4|
|10/08/1994||Maidstone Invicta||F||Home||4-1||Andy Bennett 2, Mahon, Paul Stanton|
|13/08/1994||Ramsgate||F||Home||2-1||Joe Latty, Eddie Davies|
|27/08/1994||Herne Bay Res||F||Home||12-0||Bennett 5, Mahon 2, Stanton, Hambrook, Ovenden, Davies, OG|
|24/09/1994||VCD Athletic||KCP||Away||4-1||Davies 3, Bennett|
|01/10/1994||Ten Em Bee||KCP||Home||0-1|
|08/10/1994||Bishopsbourne||KICS1||Away||4-0||Bennett 2, Davies, Ian Hayes|
|15/10/1994||Lydd Town||LLCP||Away||4-3||Davies, Hayes, Bennett 2|
|29/10/1994||Aylesford Paper Mills||KCP||Away||3-2||Davies 2, Latty|
|05/11/1994||Scott Sports & Social||KCP||Home||2-1||Ovenden, Davies|
|19/11/1994||Otford United||KICS2||Away||2-1||Bennett (pen), Hayes|
|26/11/1994||Bishopsbourne||IRCC2||Away||4-2||Andy Bates, Davies 2, Latty|
|03/12/1994||Woodnesborough||LLC1||Away||6-1||Davies 2, Bennett 2, Bates, Latty|
|17/12/1994||Sutton Athletic||KICS3||Home||3-2||Stanton, Latty, Davies|
|03/01/1995||Aylesford Paper Mills||KCP||Home||3-1||Paul Hambrook, Stanton, Latty|
|07/01/1995||Scott Sports & Social||KCP||Away||1-0||Bennett|
|14/01/1995||Tenterden & St Michaels United||IRCC3||Away||2-0||Stanton, Davies|
|04/02/1995||Aylesford Paper Mills||KICS4||Home||3-1||Bates, Bennett (pen), Latty|
|11/02/1995||Lydd Town||WOKCQF||Away||3-0||Bates, Bennett, Davies|
|25/02/1995||VCD Athletic||KICSSF||Home||1-2 aet||Davies|
|11/03/1995||Teynham & Lynsted||IRCCQF||Away||2-4||Hambrook, Ovenden|
|14/03/1995||Lydd Town||KCLICSF||Away||3-5 aet||Bates, Davies, Bennett|
|18/03/1995||Ten Em Bee||KCP||Away||3-0||Bennett, Stanton, Hayes|
|01/04/1995||Tenterden & St Michaels United||WOKCSF||Away||1-1 aet||Latty (Won 4-1 on Pens)|
|04/04/1995||Teynham & Lynsted||KCP||Home||1-1||Latty|
|08/04/1995||Sevenoaks Town||KCP||Away||2-3||Bennett, Davies|
|14/04/1995||Bromley Green||WOK CF||Neutral||1-2 aet||Latty (at Tenterden & St Michaels United FC)|
|24/04/1995||Teynham & Lynsted||KCP||Away||1-3||Davies|
|29/04/1995||Thames Polytechnic||KCP||Home||2-4||Mahon, Hambrook|
|06/05/1995||Knockholt||KCP||Away||4-2||Latty, Davies, Bennett 2|
|08/05/1995||New Romney||KCP||Home||3-0||Bennett 2, Ovenden|