Whitstable Town FC A Brief History
Whitstable Town F.C. is a football club based in Whitstable, Kent, England. The club was established in 1885 and joined the Kent League in 1950. In the 1996/97 season, the team reached the 5th round of the FA Vase. They were champions of the Kent League Premier Division in the 2006/07 season and were promoted to the Isthmian League. After nine seasons they suffered relegation and played in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division for the next two, but in 2017/18 they won both the Kent Senior Trophy and League Cup, whilst also finishing runner-up in the league, which was enough to gain promotion back to the Bostik League, where they are currently members of the South East Division.
Although the first recorded football match in Whitstable was in 1885, the first record of Whitstable Town’s existence was the following year. After a couple of years playing in a field behind the railway station, the club relocated to The Belmont Ground in 1888, where they play to this day.
In 1909 the Oystermen joined the original Kent League, where they played until it folded in 1959, winning the Division Two title three times. They also lifted the Kent Amateur Cup (now Kent Senior Trophy) in 1929. After the collapse of the Kent League, the club played for a while in the Aetolian League, but this meant long trips to play London teams as opposed to the earlier money-spinning East Kent derbies, and this was a period of financial struggle for the club, which dropped into the amateur leagues for a number of years.
In the late 1960s the Kent League reformed, with the Oystermen among the founder members, moving back from the Greater London League. They also attracted national publicity in 1989 when striker Gerry Allen scored a goal after just 4 seconds of a match. They had remained members of the Kent League until their promotion to the Isthmian League in 2007. The 2006–07 season marked the best in the club’s history when supporter Tony Rouse took over as chairman from long time servant of the club Joe Brownett. Rouse appointed first team captain Marc Seager as the club’s manager taking over from Matt Toms. Under Marc Seager’s leadership the team won the Kent League and the Kent Senior Trophy.
In 2012 former local referee Gary Johnson took over as chairman from Joe Brownett (after his second spell in the chair) who stepped down after many years at Whitstable Town. The club’s best finish in the Isthmian League was 8th under managers Jim and Danny Ward in 2014/15, while Nicky Southall led them to the last 32 of the FA Trophy in 2013/14, before losing 2-1 to Ebbsfleet United in front of 742 supporters at the Belmont Ground.
Towards the end of a turbulent 2015/16 season that saw the chairman resign and the club relegated, Joe Brownett returned as chairman and Scott Porter took over as Manager for the last few games in the Isthmian League before relegation was confirmed. The club rebuilt off the pitch and after two seasons in the Southern Counties East League, promotion back into the Bostik (Isthmian) League was achieved with 2nd placed finish during a season that also brought cup final wins in the Kent Senior Trophy and the SCEFL Challenge Cup.
Things look a lot brighter for the future with a new football academy being launched at the start of the 2017/18 season and in association with Whitstable Town Junior Football Club, there are now opportunities for girls and boys under the age of 18 to train and play football and be part of the town’s senior club.
Whitstable Town play their home games at The ‘Belmont Ground’, Belmont Road, Whitstable, Kent. There is a good sized car park available, but please note its entrance is on Grimshill Road, CT5 4LN. The ground boasts a newly seated stand along one side as well as covered terracing behind each goal. There is a clubhouse and bar that can be hired for private functions, when not in use on match days.