It Never Rains, But It Pours
Saturday 21st December 2013
—Margate FC 2 Hampton & Richmond 2—
After the excitement I previously spoke of for Margate fans, surprises were still coming thick & fast – starting at the EGM that was called by the clubs board Tuesday. Although not being present at the EGM, a fans forum was held afterwards which can only be described as a roaring success – our fans are a superb bunch, & it really was a pleasure to see so many smiling faces as new owner Bob Laslett & the new management team of Terry Brown & Stuart Cash outlined their plans for the future.
With die-hard fan & ever-smiling Gate fan Terry next to me, trying her utmost not to burst into a celebratory jig (although I did promise to sweep her off her feet & foxtrot her down the terraces at a game in the near future!) her reaction really did sum up the feel-good factor going round the club at the moment.
It’d be hard for me to describe all the changes in detail without sounding like I was going over old ground (no pun intended!) I feel however, that new owner, new manager, new players, & new ground just about covers it!
Links to an article & interviews regarding these developments are included below. (credit to margate-fc.com & Ryan Day, who runs the new highlights & interview package – Gate Player)
Having lived in Thanet just over a year & still being relatively new to Margate Football Club, I’m still learning a lot of the history – a lot of our stalwart fans have filled me in on various parts, very much in the style of a history lesson with an injection of humour! I won’t embarass them by mentioning their names here, but thank you – I really do enjoy listening to anything MFC related, past or present.
Credit to Jeff Trice too, whose MFC history site has been a wealth of information – I will be including the links to all the websites I’ve previously mentioned in this article – all well worth a read / watch, as the case may be!
One of the things I have learnt is that Keith Piper has had a hell of a journey keeping the club afloat – so credit to him for all his work regarding MFC & for handing over to Bob Laslett – who cut an extremely genial & approachable figure at the fans forum, along with Terry Brown & Stuart Cash – the trio really do seem to have the fans, & clubs best interests to heart. Always reassuring to see!
So it was with great optimism that over 200 Margate fans, including myself, left the Fans Forum Tuesday, & before too long there was even more reason to be cheerful – three reasons, to be precise!
The signings of stalwart defender Jamie Stuart (a former England U21 international, no less!) as well as midfielder Rashid Yusuff – who had played in the Conference playoff final for AFC Wimbledon – a game that took them into the Football League – completed with the signing of diminutive striker Dean McDonald – whose former clubs included Ipswich Town, Gillingham & Inverness Caledonian Thistle, to name but a few! Impressive signings with impressive pedigrees, particularly at Ryman League level – & a clear statement of intent from the new management team.
All three signings started in our home game against Hampton & Richmond – who I strongly believe have some of the nicest fans in our league, along with Hornchurch! It was a pleasure to see some of them again, having met a few of their fans at our opening game of the season at The Beveree, where they were friendliness personified despite Margate winning 2-1 with an injury time Matt Bodkin winner.
It must be said that due to the weather conditions, which were a heady mixture of gale force winds & torrential rain, a lot of people feared that the game might be in doubt – including myself. In a spur of the moment ‘Del Boy’ decision (you know it makes sense!) I had purchased 16 blue & white Santa hats – credit to everyone who bought one! Credit also to Ivesy for working miracles to get the game on – so thankfully I didn’t find myself out of pocket, & even more importantly, got to watch the mighty MFC in action. I definitely owe you a Boxing Day pint, mate!
After a bright start from Gate, backed by the Choir, Mini Shark Lads, & new recruit – George’s Dad – it was clear to see that our new signings were already impressing, obviously showing their class, having previously played at levels above the Ryman Premier. Rashid Yusuff had an effort cleared off the line, before the curse of the short referee struck again.
Following an attack by Hampton, their striker Charlie Moone attempted to round Holloway before falling somewhat dramatically under Craig’s challenge – even the Hampton fans said it was never a penalty!
Sadly though, the man in black pointed to the spot. Picking himself up (I saw a bad Moone rising…) the prolific forward buried the penalty with aplomb, sending Hollers the wrong way.
1-0 down after a quarter of an hour – however this was soon remedied by the conditions & a comedic gaffe from the ever friendly Hampton keeper Rodney Chiweshe – the custodian failing to reach the ball in time, leaving Matt Bodkin the early Xmas present of an open goal, in which he gleefully slotted into. Rodney, you plonker! Credit to him though, he played the game with a smile on his face & had some excellent banter with the Choir.
After our gleeful Poznan, the half seemed to fizzle out somewhat, however Gate seemed to be having the better of the play, and were exerting pressure on Hampton right from the off, in the second half. Against the run of play I felt, we contrived to shoot ourselves in the foot – poor marking from Gate left Luke Wanadio to gleefully slot home, with the weather & conditions ever worsening.
It looked like the same old story in terms of the result, despite a majorly improved display from Margate for the second week running – although it has to be said that playing football in the weather conditions must have been nigh on impossible! As the clock ticked down, despite winning several corners, it looked like another 2-1 reverse at home – however late substitute Charles Ademeno had other ideas.
As the two new signings Yusuff & McDonald left the pitch to generous applause for their excellent efforts – they really did look a class apart – Ademeno & Warren Whitely came on, and in our quest for an equaliser, Charles hit the post with a thunderbolt of a shot which was hurriedly cleared behind by a panicky Hampton defender.
From the resulting corner, there was a scramble in the box, leading to Ademeno majestically stretching out his big toe to divert the ball into the net! 2-2, & as it turned out, another last minute get out of jail card against Hampton, although I felt a draw was a fair result.
As the ref blew up for full time, the sodden Santas from the Coffin End (including Margator) made their way to the bar, to thaw themselves out & reflect upon a game which had lots of positives to take from it.
Next up is a Boxing Day fixture against the Big Time Charlies from Maidstone United – a game which I’m lucky enough to be attending due to the heroics of Mark Sandwell – a brisk Boxing Day walk to Cecil Square beckons for me & Stu! We even get the pleasure of Mel’s company – rumours that she’ll be wearing her Cruella De Vil coat are as yet, unconfirmed.
As ever, this blog wouldn’t be complete without Terry & Mel’s Away Keeper Arse-O-Meter – in the absence of Mel, Terry took the mantle and judged Rodney’s derriere thus –
Terry’s Away Keeper Arse-O-Meter –
“Keeper’s arse was a 5, but added banter made him an 8 – so an 8 out of 10”
The links that I mentioned earlier (if you’ve not drifted off yet!) are included below –
All that’s left for me to do is wish everyone a very Merry Christmas – & to thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings so far this season. It really does mean the world, & I hope you all have the Christmas you deserve.
Up The Gate!