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Whitstable Town FC: Records of the Kent League 1946-1959

Article Produced in Conjunction with Ian Johnson

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The Most Championship Titles....

  

Based on the number of Kent League titles, the most successful  team of the Golden Era was Ramsgate with 3 championship successes. In all, the names of eight clubs were engraved on the trophy during those 13 seasons....

     

Club

No of Title Wins

Title Years

Ramsgate 3 1949/50, 1955/56, 1956/57
Folkestone 2 1950/51, 1952/53
Margate 2 1946/47, 1947/48
Sittingbourne 2 1957/58, 1958/59
Ashford 1 1948/49
Deal 1 1953/54
Dover 1 1951/52 
Snowdown CW 1 1954/55

   

The Dominance of the East Coast

    

Although no one team wholly dominated the competition, one section of the county most certainly did. The map below locates the 24 clubs that, at some stage, took part in the league between 1946 and 1959. By plotting a star for each title win, we quickly see the superiority exerted by East Kent... and particularly the east coast. 

 

   

In fact, the trophy travelled west of the Kent coalfield on only three occasions and it never actually made it beyond Sittingbourne.

Perhaps, one of the reasons for this was that the Kent League featured every major football club in the East Kent area. This was not the case further west where some major semi-professional clubs played in higher grade competitions (eg Dartford, Gravesend and Tonbridge in the Southern League) and top amateur outfits opted to compete in powerful and prestigious amateur leagues (eg Bromley in the Athenian and Isthmian, Dulwich Hamlet in the Isthmian and Erith & Belvedere in the Corinthian). 

  

Overall Club Records

  

Of course, the number of title wins is just one way of assessing a club's influence. Another involves consistency.

The table below shows the positions achieved by each club during the 13 years of the old Kent League. Championship winners are denoted by a "C". Yellow squares have been used to highlight a finish in the "top 3".

 

Year 46/47 47/48 48/49 49/50 50/51 51/52 52/53 53/54 54/55 55/56 56/57 57/58 58/59
No of Clubs (16) (18) (18) (17) (17) (17) (17) (16) (17) (17) (17) (18) (18)
Ashford 9 12 C 7 4 7 7 14 12 11 10 16 9
Aylesford PM   17 17 16 17                
Betteshanger CW 15 13 5 14 8 11 4 7 15 13 14 13 13
Bexleyheath           16 16 15 10 10 11 5 4
Bowater-Lloyds 6 6 15 8 11 14 15            
Canterbury   11 7 3 3 13 8 9 9 7 4 9 6
Chatham   10 8 15 15 15 17 16 16 15 17 12 14
Deal 16 14 16 12 13 9 6 C 11 6 13 15 18
Dover 14 7 2 4 5 C 2 10 2 8 5 4 7
Faversham       10 16 12 14 13 14 16 12 11 15
Folkestone 2 2 4 2 C 5 C 3 3 9 9 6 2
Gillingham Res 11 3 6           8 12 6 10 8
Gravesend Res 7 8 11                    
Herne Bay                       18 12
Maidstone 4 5 13 9                  
Margate C C 10 6 6 4 11 2 5 2 8 2 5
Ramsgate 5 4 3 C 9 8 12 8 6 C C 3 11
Royal Marines 13 18 18 17                  
Sheppey 3 16 9 11 10 3 9 12 17 14 15 14 16
Sittingbourne 10 9 14 13 7 6 3 5 4 5 7 C C
Short Sports 8                        
Snowdown CW 12 15 12 5 2 2 10 4 C 3 3 8 10
Tun Wells Utd         14 17 5 11 7 4 2 7 3
Whitstable         12 10 13 6 13 17 16 17 17

    

The Most Consistent!

   

Those yellow squares give some indication as to which were the most influential clubs. Not surprisingly, there are substantial splashes of yellow for the acknowledged "elite" of Kent football. The table below simplifies the situation by listing  the clubs that  finished in the "top 3" most frequently. The result is somewhat surprising...

    

"Top 3"
Finishes

Clubs

8 Folkestone
5 Margate, Ramsgate, Snowdown CW
4 Dover
3 Sittingbourne
2 Canterbury, Sheppey, Tunbridge Wells
1 Ashford, Deal, Gillingham Res

   

Folkestone led the way despite being champions on only two occasion. But the real "turn up" concerns one of the second placed teams..... Snowdown Colliery Welfare.   

It is quite remarkable when you consider that Snowdown was a relatively small village located in the wilds of the Kent countryside. On top of that, the allegiance of the Kent coalfield was actually split between Snowdown and another Kent League outfit - Betteshanger Colliery. All this demonstrates the sheer sporting prowess of the mining fraternity and how much can be achieved in close-knit, partisan communities.

  

Club Playing Records....

  

A similar picture emerges from a study of the overall playing records of all 24 clubs that competed during the 13 years of the league - see the table below. This is sorted according to the average number of points gained per match (ie the number of points divided by the number of games played.... 

  

  Club P W D L F A POI

POI PER GAME

No of Title Wins

1 Folkestone  420 245 79 96 1164 615 569 1.35 **
2 Ramsgate 420 228 79 113 1023 661 535 1.27 ***
3 Margate 420 225 77 118 1073 651 527 1.25 **
4 Dover 420 221 82 117 978 671 524 1.25 *
5 Sittingbourne  420 214 70 126 959 716 508 1.20 **
6 Snowdown 420 203 83 134 964 768 489 1.16 *
7 Canterbury  390 180 79 131 898 712 439 1.13  
8 Shorts Sports 30 12 9 9 81 66 33

1.10

 
9 Gillingham Res 262 114 52 96 544 437 280 1.07  
10 Maidstone 130 60 17 53 297 290 137 1.05  
11 Gravesend Res 98 42 19 36 199 146 103

1.05

 
12 Tun Wells 290 131 47 112 568 574 309 1.07  
13 Ashford 420 175 76 169 863 739 426 1.01 *
14 Bowater-Lloyds 226 86 33 107 516 573 205 0.91  
15 Betteshanger 420 146 82 191 806 927 374 0.89  
16 Deal 420 134 85 201 743 939 353 0.84 *
17 Sheppey 420 137 76 207 763 977 350 0.83  
18 Bexleyheath 258 86 41 131 509 639 213 0.82  
19 Whitstable 290 77 61 152 420 676 215 0.74  
20 Faversham 322 83 55 184 523 864 221 0.69  
22 Herne Bay 68 19 7 42 109 174 45 0.66  
21 Chatham 390 100 51 239 666 1113 251 0.64  
23 Aylesford 132 18 19 95 169 474 55 0.42  
24 Royal Marines  130 21 11 98 183 554 53

0.41

 

   

This approach also shows Folkestone to be the most consistently successful club. It also re-emphasises the dominance of that East Kent footballing fratenity.  

The six most consistent clubs lifted the title most frequently. However, there were "one off" successes by two of the less powerful clubs - Ashford (1948/49) and Deal (1953/54). Interestingly, Deal is located on the eastern edge of the Kent coal field and I suspect that they drew some of their players from the mining communities.

The overall assessment places Whitstable in 19th place.... but ahead of local rivals Faversham and Herne Bay.

  

Town in the FA Cup...

   

We are currently trying to piece together Whitstable's FA Cup exploits during the Golden Era. However, information is fairly limited in this area and, in any event, it seems that the Reds had very limited success. 

Records located to date are as follows....

  

1946/47 Extra Prelim Round Whitstable... 3 Ashford... 10
      
1947/48 Extra Prelim Round Whitstable v Chatham (walkover)
  Prelim Round Ashford... 4 Whitstable... 1 
      
1948/49 Prelim Round Whitstable.... 0 Ashford.... 1
      
1949/50 Extra Prelim Round Snowdown CW... 2 Whitstable... 1
      
1950/51 Extra Prelim Round Whitstable... 1 Chatham Town.... 0
  Prelim Round Whitstable... 0 Ashford Town... 2
      
1951/52 Prelim Round Whitstable... 0 Dover.... 4
      
1952/53 Progress not yet known ????
      
1953/54 Progress not yet known ????
      
1954/55 First Qualifying Round Whitstable... 0 Epsom... 0
  Replay Epsom... 1 Whitstable... 4
  Second Qualifying Round  Dover... 2 Whitstable... 1
      
1955/56 Prelim Round Dover... 5 Whitstable... 1
      
1956/57 Prelim Round Ashford Town... 3 Whitstable... 1
      
1957/58 Prelim Round Maidstone Utd... 1 Whitstable... 3
  First Qualifying Round Whitstable... 2 Canterbury City... 2
  Replay Canterbury City... 1 Whitstable... 5
  Second Qualifying Round Whitstable... 2 Betteshanger CW... 0
  Third Qualifying Round Whitstable... 0 Gravesend... 3
      
1958/59 First Qualifying Round Deal Town... 3 Whitstable... 4
  Second Qualifying Round Whitstable... 1 Ashford Town... 2

   

Strangely, Whitstable's cup exploits improved as their league position deteriorated. The most successful cup run was achieved in the 1957/58 season and it set up a money spinning tie with one of the county's top clubs - Gravesend & Northfleet from the Southern League. It also established a ground attendance record for the Belmont - see our Attendances page and Ian Johnson's reminiscences on our Memories page. 

Both Ian Johnson and I have tried to track down the results for seasons 1952/3, 1953/4... but without success. It is just possible that the club did not enter the competition during those years.

For the other eleven seasons, Whitstable appear to have had a couple of bogey teams. They were eliminated by either Dover or Ashford on no fewer than NINE occasions!

  


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