Monday, 31 August 2009


I have been visiting Hartsdown Park for almost 2 decades now. The gradual transformation of a classical Southern League football ground into a soulless "stadium" makes me feel nostalgic for football as it used to be. Today's ground is extremely well kept with everything as neat and tidy as the ongoing hopes of redevelopment allow. It feels though on three sides as if the sponsors should be Portakabin.

Where there was some height and definition from the old stands now things are low level. This allows the ground to appear in many ways one of the most scenic and pastoral with trees from Hartsdown Park framing the backdrop. The changing rooms and offices are the only "real" part of the ground left with a character of their own.

In recent years the talk amongst the crowd has at times been as much about what may happen off the pitch as on it. Again today I heard idle speculation on where houses might be built to help fund redevelopment of the ground. Margate's fans are good natured. At today's game they were muted by a poor home team performance. The biggest difference between them and opponents Cray Wanderers who won 1-0 through a Tommy Tyne goal was effort.

The hardcore Margate fans behind the goal have a big drum, but it was rarely used with only rare corners bringing anticipation of a goal. Margate committed more fouls and in truth were a litle flattered by the 1 goal margin. Off the field the Hartsdown Football 5s is a great initiative to see people at the ground throughout the week. Sad to see in my top picture the mindless vandalsim of the headline advertising for it in Hartsdown Road.

Margate is a very friendly and the club shop is well laid out and worth a visit for any football fan. I hope that in time the club will be able to fashion a stadium that has the quirks and character that made the old Hartsdown Park an arena to fill the eyes with pleasure. Sometimes architecture even if only haphazardly designed works in a way that one only realises when it has gone. If I want to view trees I can go for a walk in the country or a park, but at football I want to view a place were passions are captured on all 4 sides.


  1. I stopped going when the ground share was in place and have only been back once since they have been back I used to go every home match and have been there with 56 others to see em loose and was there when the pitch invasion followed the win to take us into the Conference. I am not sure the council grasp the idea of promoting our local team but I doubt I will ever go again as I feel the heart is gone the council killed it as much as the then chairman

  2. I'm no sports enthusiast and most people will tell you that I find it hard to get much excitment up even arround local stuff but that's not to say that I don't want to see my home town get it's name out there and if a bunch of footballers can do it then all is well.

    I can't echo Don's comment's but even I can see that someone needs to make a plan because all I hear from Jermomy Jacobs via twitter is about the iminant end of the club.

    A damn good write up here by the way.