The 2013/14 season finally kicks off this Saturday with the first of our seven pre-season friendlies. Can you help us by printing and displaying a fixture poster? Admission Prices have been set at lower levels for pre-season and prices have also been set for the Ryman South season, Season Tickets are also now available. Scott spoke recently to Andrew Gidley about his plans for pre-season. Expected to make their debuts at some point are new signings Shaun Welford and Ryan Cooper, unfortunately it looks like it will be a while until Hythe supporters get to see Sam Bewick in action, as the midfielder is currently recovering from a knee operation.
For those who tend to switch off from their football during the summer, it is worth pointing out our departures as well as our arrivals. Brendon Cass has joined up with local rivals Faversham Town, Greg Smith has also left the club, whilst Ronnie Dolan will look to fufill his undoubted potential by giving things a go at Conference Premier new-boys Welling United.
Ryman Premier side, Margate are the visitors to Reachfields on Saturday, a side who finished a decent 9th in the Premier Division last season, and started their pre-season on Tuesday night with a 5-1 win at Ashford United. There will be a 'Happy Hour' after the Margate game, which will be followed by a supporters & volunteers get-together from 6pm, including the chance to meet our new Chairman, John Dowsett and new Commercial Manager, Peter Cuffe.
This Tuesday we are delighted to welcome back our old friends and rivals, and current Kent League champions, Erith & Belvedere. The Dere's won't be joining us in the league this year as they have been placed in the Northern Division, and are now jointly-managed by Chris Cosgrove and a certain Martin Ford. Martin always used to bring the best out of his sides against us and we have always responded to that challenge, so no doubt it will be a stern test.
Next we take the short journey to Lydd Town, approaching their third season in the now established Step 6 Kent Invicta League. The Lydders are a much changed outfit since Dave Smith took over from our ex-Reserve Manager Dave Johncock midway through last season. However, there may well be the familiar faces of ex-players such as Gary Lockyer, Lloyd Taylor, Buster Beaney and Paul Egan, of course our own player Darren Winfield will be making his first return since joining us towards the end of last season.
We then welcome back Hythe Town FC legend Tommy Warrilow, who brings his Blue Square South Tonbridge Angels side to Reachfields for the second time in three pre-seasons. Last time out the then two newly-promoted sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.
For the third pre-season season running we come up against our friends from nearby Ashford United, this time at Reachfields. Our opponents have been promoted into the Southern Counties East League (formerly the Kent League), two years after reforming and joining the Kent Invicta League. Of course, the list of ex-Hythe men who appeared in an Ashford shirt last year is lengthy, including Sam Conlon, Gary Mickelborough, Liam Whiting, Roy Guiver, Ollie Finch, Kieran Byrne, Gary Clarke, Sam Marsh, and Damian Abel!
Buster Smissen will be joining the Homelands outfit this season, whilst it appears that Lee Winfield will start the season as an Ashford player and Jamie Collado for Hythe. It is unknown which of the two sides Lee Coburn will begin the season with, not forgetting Ashley Porter and Craig Thompson's short spells at Ashford last season, it should be a lively afternoon!
There will be a tough midweek trip to current Kent Invicta League champions Phoenix Sports, who had a tremendous season to gain promotion to the Southern Counties East League. Finally we conclude our preparations for the new league campaign with a visit from Kent Invicta side Sutton Athletic, the return fixture from last pre-season when our opponents asked us the honour of playing the first ever fixture at their new home.
Saturday 13th July - Hythe Town v Margate - Kick-off 3pm
Tuesday 16th July - Hythe Town v Erith & Belvedere - Kick-off 7.45pm
Saturday 20th July - Lydd Town v Hythe Town - Kick-off 3pm
Tuesday 23rd July - Hythe Town v Tonbridge Angels - 7.45pm
Saturday 27th July - Hythe Town v Ashford United - 3pm
Tuesday 30th July - Phoenix Sports v Hythe Town - 7.45pm
Saturday 3rd August - Hythe Town v Sutton Athletic - Kick-off 3pm
Originally Published - 10/07/13