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Whitstable Old Boys Football Club


INTRODUCING THE CLUB


Old Boys in Context....

 

Whitstable Old Boys FC was one the most successful "non-pro" football clubs in the town's history and a stream of nearly eighty young locals passed through its ranks during its lifespan from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Along the way, those young players picked up a string of honours and gained much respect in local footballing circles.

Here we tell the early history of the club with the help of Old Boys and their families around the globe. 

 

School Origins in the Late '50s

 

The story starts almost half a century ago - at the end of the 1950s. From their home in Australia, Denise & Roger Harris kick us off with this story.....

    

  

The First Match...

Our earliest photo was taken in 1958 when a teacher at the Sir William Nottidge School, David Bateson, got some boys together to have a try out for the Old Boys Team..... 

 

Whitstable OLd Boys FC Team of 1958

Back Row (L to R): Alan Jones, Neville Walker, Alec Adams, Alan Hadler, Roger Harris.

Front (L to R): Ian Turner,  Brian Wanstall, Peter Hadlow, Don Marsh, David Bateson, Les Hinkley

 

It was taken before the West Ham colours were used. (West Ham were my team, by the way. Roger supports Manchester United). The match was a trial game played at Church Street against Herne United and we lost rather badly. We cannot remember the score.... thank goodness.

 

Denise & Roger Harris
Beaufort, 
Victoria
Australia

   

Thus, the origins of the club were firmly tied to the Sir William Nottidge school and it was this link that first suggested the name "Old Boys". 

 

Other Backing....

 

Apart from the sterling efforts of schoolteacher Dave Bateson, the "Old Boys" had other backers as Phil Page points out.....

   

 

Behind the Scenes

The club Chairman at the time was Mr. Thomas - owner of the Fish and Chip shop in Harbour Street and, if my memory serves me correct, we also called upon the services of two of the teachers from the Nottidge - Mr. Bateson and Sports Master Peter Wilkie. 

Phil Page
Ramsgate

   

Church Street Home

 

The school connection also provided access to the wonderful green swathe of grass at Church Street playing field. In fact, for many years, the club was the only organisation officially allowed to use the facility as it was reserved for the inter-house and inter school football exploits of the Sir William Nottidge, Whitstable Boys School, St Marys and St Vincents.

Of course, in those days, school sports fields were coveted and lovingly "cared for" assets and Church Street was a large area of springy turf. It included five pitches of varying sizes and two cricket squares. On the southern edge, there were concrete changing rooms and a brick toilet block. The ground was maintained by a full time groundsman

Interestingly, Denise and Roger's early photo shows the pitch running in a East-West direction. Shortly after the picture was taken, the pitch was rotated thorough 900 and ran North-South.... as it does to this day.

   

Progress of the First Team...

 

Despite the inauspicious start in that friendly against Herne United, it wasn't long before the Old Boys were making progress. 

As a new club, it was necessary to start at the bottom... and that meant Division 3 of the Canterbury & District League. They won the division title in their first season (1958/59) and gained further promotion the following year (1959/60)

During 1960/61, the team consolidated its position in Division I before winning a  place in the Premier Division and a spot amongst the elite of local amateur teams at the end of the 1961/62 season. 

By then, the team was already geared for the challenge and it finished as Premier Division runners up in both the 1962/3 and 1963/64 campaigns. The club was also gaining a reputation as one of the best cup teams in the area.... by picking up the Whitstable Charity Cup (1962/63) and the Canterbury & District League Senior Challenge Trophy (1963/64).

Jane and Bobby Townsend (Australia) have forwarded a shot of the first team during the highly successful years....

  

Whitstable Old Boys FC - Team of the Early 1960s

Back Row: Ray Keam, Richard Huson, Alec Adams, Brian Shingleston, Bobby Banks, Dave Hills

Front Row: Bobby Townsend, John Baker, Dave Hurdman, Dennis Hardy, Alan Howells

  

The 1964/65 season saw the team hit the league heights by winning the Premier Division Championship. This was followed by a string of near misses with the club finishing in second place. However, the silverware continued to roll in with successes in cup competitions including the Senior Challenge Trophy, Whitstable Charity Cup and Faversham Charity Cup.

In the glory years between 1958 and 1969, the team finished a variety of competitions as winners or runners up on no fewer than 18 occasions and eight trophies were brought back to Church Street.

For full details  of the sides exploits (including photos and reports), see the following web pages...

  

Club Honours
Magic Moments of the First Team

  

Expansion... 

  

Of course, Whitstable Old Boys FC didn't just move upward, it also expanded... and it did so very quickly.

So much interest was generated amongst young local players during the club's inaugural season that a reserve team was established for 1959/60. Immediate success followed with early promotion from Division 3 to Division 2.

Like their first team counterparts, the second team also started to establish a fine cup tradition.... finishing runners up in the League Challenge Trophy (Reserves Section) in their first season and winning the trophy the following year....  

 

Whitstable Old Boys FC - Reserve Team of 1960/61

  

This was achieved despite playing sides from higher divisions.

In 1962/63, the team picked up the Challenge Trophy yet again but, this time, it was part of a double success - including the Division II league title. Denise and Roger Harris have provided a shot of the Reserves taken at Church Street in 1963....

   

Whitstable Old Boys FC - Reserve Team 1963

Back Row (L to R): Roger Watson, Roger Harris, John (Fred) Wraight, David Ralph, Con Camburn, Rodney Wood, Mervyn Gatehouse, Mr Thomas from Thomas's Fish Shop.

Front (L to R): Trevor Sandy, Bernard Keam, Anthony Maflin, Alan Hadler, Phili (Flash) Gordon, Reg Huson.

  

The reserves had now reached Division I but, sadly, further league progression was prevented by the rule book and, ironically, their own first team colleagues. League regulations prevented a club from fielding two teams in the same division. The Premier Division was therefore an unobtainable goal.

Nevertheless, cup successes came at regular intervals with the team dominating the Reserves Section Challenge Trophy throughout the decade and achieving strong finishes in both the Kent Junior Cup (Section C) and the Faversham Charity Cup (Reserve Section).  

For more detailed information on the reserves exploits see the following pages...

    

Club Honours
Magic Moments of the Reserves

  

Quiet Thought...

  

Sadly, the club's founder wouldn't share in the club's success as John Wraight explains.....

  

The Founder

I joined the club in its second year - 1959. The founder, teacher Dave Bateson, soon emigrated to Australia and I kept in touch with him for a while. I believe he returned to the UK and moved to Southampton. That was the last I heard of him. 

Founder of Whitstable Old Boys FC - Dave Bateson
 Dave Bateson

I wonder if he ever knew what a successful side he had started?

John Wraight
Australia

 

That seems like a poignant moment to leave our history. It's now time to look at things in more detail....

  


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