Margate Football Club

Friday 2nd of March 2007
History l Honours l Cup Competiton History l FA Cup History

Margate Football Club was founded in 1896/7 as an amateur club, playing friendly matches on school grounds, with the club colours being black & white.

The Club moved around the Margate area and played at various grounds but in 1924/5 was reformed and moved to the Lower Pitch at Dreamland in Margate and competed in the Kent League Division One.

In 1929 the Club once again reformed and moved to its present home at Hartsdown Park, Margate, and its playing colours changed to amber & black.

1934 saw the club become the nursery side to Arsenal Football Club, with the Hartsdown Park pitch being reduced in size to match Highbury. The Club started its impressive FA Cup pedigree by reaching the 3rd round proper of the FA Cup, losing 3-1 to Blackpool, having defeated Q.P.R. and Crystal Palace in the earlier rounds.

In 1949/50 the Club changed its playing colours to the present blue & white. On 23 September 1959 floodlights were used for the first time at Hartsdown Park. The Club reached the 1st round of the FA Cup before losing a replay at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace in front of a current record crowd to watch Margate of 29,300. The Club officially opened the Floodlights with a game against West Ham United in front of 4,216 spectators.

1961/62 saw the players tunnel constructed at Hartsdown Park. The Club also purchased their own coach in September 1961 with the aim of being able to save money on travel expenses. In the FA Cup Margate defeated Third Division leaders Bournemouth away 3-0.

1964 saw the floodlight pylons replaced in the summer.

1964/65 season saw the Club go full time professional with the team finishing 6th in the Premier Division.

In the following season the team failed to win a single away game, and finished bottom of the Premier Division being relegated to Division One. The full time policy was scrapped and the team returned to a semi professional status.

1966/67 saw the Club as runners up in Division One, securing promotion back to the Premier Division. In the early part of the season the Clubhouse on the Hartsdown Road terrace was opened.

1972/3 saw the mighty Tottenham Hotspur visit Hartsdown Park for a 3rd round FA Cup game, which Margate lost 6-0 in front of allegedly over 14,000 spectators being a home ground record.

1981/2 saw the Club become a Limited Company and changed names to Thanet United, but this was reversed back to Margate Football Club in 1989/90 when the Club was taken over by Keith Piper & Gordon Wallis.

In 1996/7 Chris Kinnear was appointed as manager. In November 1997 the Club were beaten 2- 1 in the 1st round of the FA Cup by Mohamed Al Fayed’s Fulham, who were managed at that time by Kevin Keegan and Ray Wilkins in front of ‘Sky TV’ cameras for a live televised game at Hartsdown Park. By 1999 the Club had achieved promotion to The Dr Martens Premier Division.

2000/01 saw the Club win The Dr Martens Premier Division title and promotion to the pinnacle of non-league football into the Nationwide Conference.

The first day of the Nationwide Conference saw Margate Football Club highlighted as relegation candidates, but the players thought otherwise and secured an opening day away win at Boston United 1-0 and eventually finished the season in a highly credible 8th position.

During that first season playing in the Nationwide Conference at our ‘home’ of Hartsdown Park, Margate, attendances climbed to see an average for the season of 1,700 per game, with the highest single attendance being just under 4,000 for the Boxing Day game against local rivals Dover Athletic.

The Club set out a five-year plan to develop both on and off the field of play and this has led to the football club becoming tied down in negotiations to deliver a new stadium fully compliant to Football League ‘Grade A Standard’ to enable the Club to maintain its Nationwide Conference status.

The second season of Nationwide Conference football saw the Club groundsharing at Dover Athletic FC, having secured planning permission for the redevelopment of Hartsdown Park. Despite playing all their games ‘away from home’ the Club finished the league in a respectable 10th position. The season also saw the Club defeat Leyton Orient in the 1st round of the FA Cup, they then went on to draw 2nd Division Cardiff City at ‘home’ for the 2nd Round, but eventually lost 3-1 after a brave battle. This game was featured on the BBC’s Match of The Day.

August 2003 and the commencement of the 2003-2004 season saw the Club once again groundsharing due to the delays on the redevelopment project, highlighting the fact that whilst the Club has performed ‘on the pitch’, delays and problems ‘off the pitch’ have meant that the Club’s goals have not as yet been achieved.

In June 2004 the club despite finishing 16th in The Nationwide Conference were relegated one division due to the ongoing delays and problems with the redevelopment plans for the club’s home at Hartsdown Park, Margate and played the 2004/5 season in the Nationwide South division, groundsharing at Ashford Town FC. Following continued issues with the redevelopment of Hartsdown Park, Margate were again relegated one division to the Ryman Premier Division.

Margate Football started the Ryman Premier Division on 20th August 2005 back at Hartsdown Park with a temporary stadium. Continued work on the redevelopment of Hartsdown Park can currently be seen at


Kent League
Champions: 1932/33, 1937/38, 1946/47 & 1947/48
Runners-Up: 1927/28, 1929/30, 1953/54, 1955/56 & 1957/58

Southern League
Premier Division: Champions 2000/01
Division One: Champions 1962/63, Runners-Up 1966/67

First Division (South)
Champions 1977/78

Southern Division
Runners-Up 1998/99

Central Section
Champions 1935/36

Eastern Section
Champions 1935/36, Runners-Up 1933/34

Midweek Section
Champions 1936/37

Margate Football Club – Cup Competition History

Southern League Championship Match
Winners 1936/37, 1937/38, 1968/69 & 2001/02
Merit Cup Winners 1966/67 & 1977/78

Southern League Cup
Winners: 1967/68 & 1997/98
Runners-Up: 1961/62 & 1974/75

Kent Senior Cup
Winners: 1935/36, 1936/37, 1973/74, 1993/94, 1997/98, 2002/03 & 2003/04 & 2004/05
Runners-Up: 1929/30, 1933/34, 1959/60, 1962/63, 1966/67, 1968/69, 1969/70 & 2001/02

Kent Floodlight Cup
Winners: 1962/63 & 1968/69
Runners-Up: 1965/66 & 1969/70

Kent Floodlight Trophy
Winners: 1975/76

Kent League Cup
Winners: 1947/48 & 1953/54.
Runners-Up: 1952/53, 1954/55, 1955/56, 1957/58 & 1958/59

Kent Senior Shield
Winners: 1920/21, 1930/31, 1935/36, 1936/37, 1947/48, 1952/53 (Joint), 1961/62 & 1962/63
Runners-Up: 1937/38, 1950/51 & 1954/55

Kent Junior Cup
Winners: 1901/02

Eastern Floodlight Cup
Runners-Up: 1984/85

Isle of Thanet Gazette Cup
Winners: 1986/87, 1988/89 (Joint) & 1989/90

Margate & District Charity Cup
Winners: 1906/07, 1907/08, 1912/13 & 1913/14
Runners-Up: 1905/06

Margate Football Club - FA Cup History

1st Round Proper
1933/34 (+Replay), 1955/56 (+Replay), 1957/58, 1958/59, 1962/63, 1963/64 (+Replay), 1968/69, 1969/70, 1970/71, 1971/72 & 1997/98

2nd Round Proper
1929/30, 1932/33, 1956/57, 1959/60 (+Replay), 1961/62 (+Replay), 1967/68 & 2002/03

3rd Round Proper
1935/36 & 1972/73

Next Home Match
Tuesday 6th March 2007
Leyton at Hartsdown Park
Kick Off 19.45
Ryman Premier Division
Live Streaming Commentary - Listen Live

Match Info - the official home on the web of Margate Football Club l disclaimer