Chatham Town F.C.

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Chatham Town
Chatham Town F.C. logo.png
Full name Chatham Town Football Club
Nickname(s) The Chats
Founded 1894
Ground The Sports Ground, Chatham
Ground Capacity 5,000 (500 seated)
Chairman Jeff Talbot
Manager Darren Anslow
League Isthmian League Division One South
2016–17 Isthmian League Division One South, 22/24 (relegated)

Chatham Town Football Club are an English Association Football club based in Chatham, Kent. They currently play in the Isthmian League Division One South and are nicknamed "The Chats".

Former Premier League club Portsmouth and West Ham United played their first ever league matches against Chatham.

History[edit]

The club was formed in 1882 as Chatham United, when Rochester Invicta merged with the Royal Engineers Band football team.[1] Chatham played their home games at the Army owned pitches called "The Lines", where they were to remain until 1889 when they moved to the Maidstone Road Ground.[2] The move to the new ground was prompted when the club reached the quarter-finals of the FA cup in 1888–89, and at the "The Lines" admission fees could not be charged because of Army regulations. This cup run was also instrumental in the Football Associations ruling that all future matches in the competition must be played on fully enclosed grounds, where the visiting club would receive a share of the gate money.[1] So the club moved to the Maidstone Road site which was owned by a George Winch, who allowed the club to enclose the ground and build a pavilion with seats in front for £125.[2]

In 1894 Chatham became founder members of both the Southern League and the original Kent League, winning the Kent League in its inaugural season. For the first two seasons the club competed in both leagues, but left the Kent league to concentrate on the Southern league in 1896.[3] In the 1900–01 season, owing to financial difficulties, Chatham resigned from the Southern League. They played as Chatham Amateurs in 1901 for a season and rejoined the Kent league, where two seasons later in 1903/04, they won the Kent league and repeated the same feat the following season, as well as winning the Kent Senior Cup.

After The First World War, Chatham returned to play and in the 1919 season won the Kent Victory Cup and the Chatham Charity Cup. They rejoined the Southern League in 1920–21, but withdrew at season's end because of the burden of travel costs on club finances. In 1927–28 they rejoined the Southern League for two seasons.[3] Again, the expenses to play proved a financial strain on the club, and returned to the Kent League. The club struggled financially and for the 1933–34 season the club took a voluntary relegation into Division Two of the Kent League. A season later they won the division but decided against promotion, and reverted to Amateur status. Having played in both the Kent League and Kent Amateur League in 1938–39, they decided to limit play to amateur competition the following season, however this was interrupted by WWII.

After the War Chatham won the Kent Amateur League Premier Division in 1946–47, which was to be their last honour under that name. On 7 January 1947 they merged with Shorts F.C., with the amalgamated club taking the name Chatham Town at the request of the local council. They then joined Division One of the Kent League for the 1947–48 season and stayed there until 1959, when the Kent league disbanded. For the 1959–60 season they joined as a founding member of the Aetolian League. The following year they captured the League Championship and the Aetolian League Cup Final. In 1964–65 the Aetolian League merged with the London League and the club moved to the Metropolitan League. Four Seasons later they returned to the Kent League when it was reformed in 1968.

They remained in the Kent league until 1983, when they joined the Southern League. During the 15-year period in the Kent league they won League 4 times and won League and Cup double in both 1971–72 and 1977–78. The club changed its name in 1974 for 5 years to Medway F.C.,[4] at the request of the local council, returning to Chatham Town in 1979.

The club stayed in the Southern League until 1988, when having failed to gain re-election they were relegated to the Kent League; there were financial troubles. They experienced crowds, as had other poorly supported clubs, in double figures; Kent League days had healthier attendance with more local competition. Upon returning to the Kent League, the club struggled, until former player John Adams became First Team manager. He guided the club to the Third Qualifying Round of the F.A. Cup in 1993–94, the Final of the Kent Senior Trophy in 1995–96 and finished among the top three of the Kent League for three successive seasons. However he was dismissed by the club following a bad start to the 1996–97 season.

In 1997 the club was forced to briefly return to Great Lines when a new drainage system saw parts of the Maidstone Road pitch collapse. The Kent League allowed them to use the Garrison Ground in Kings Bastian for several matches, before they could arrange a brief ground-share with Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium. The club returned home for the 1998–99 season under new manager Carl Laraman, with results improving immediately; however he left in January of that year to take up a coaching position at Charlton Athletic. His assistant, Steve Hearn, was appointed player-manager and saw the club become Kent League Champions and promoted to the Southern League, in 2000–01. At the end of the first season in the league Steve Hearn resigned due to poor results and was replaced by his assistant Peter Coupland. However Peter Coupland only lasted until the middle of the 2003–04 season (with the club looking likely to be relegated) with Clive Walker replacing him, and steering the club to a mid table finish.

The league was restructured for the 2004–05 season and saw Chatham being placed in the Southern League Eastern Division. During this campaign Clive Walker return to his old club Dover Athletic and his assistant Steve Binks was appointed manager. Since that season the club has moved between the Isthmian League North and South Divisions with regular mid table positions. For the 2006–07 season the club saw former player Phil Miles take over as Manager; however this lasted until December that season when he had to stand down due to work commitments with Steve Binks taking over the job again. During this season the club achieved the FA charter Standard award. Between the seasons 2006–07 and 2007–08 the club played in Isthmian League Division 1 South. The club played in Isthmian League Division 1 North in the season 2008–09, but transferred the following season to Division 1 South.

The Season 2010–11 saw a management change with Paul Foley and his assistant Mark Newson move from VCD Athletic. In this season, the club played in Isthmian League Division 1 South finishing 21st, a relegation place. However, the club was reprieved from relegation and instead were transferred for the next season to Isthmian League Division 1 North. The management team of Foley and Newson lasted until the end of that season when Player Manager Kevin Watson took over at first in a caretaker role and then as Manager for the 2011–12 season.[5]

Between the seasons 2011–12 and 2014–15, the club played without notable success in Isthmian League Division 1 North. From the start of season 2015–16, the club has played in Isthmian League Division 1 South.[6]

Darren Anslow is now first team manager. He was appointed at the beginning of October 2016. He holds a UEFA 'A' Licence and has extensive experience at a number of non league clubs in the south east .

FA Cup 2013–14[edit]

Chatham Town experienced their best ever FA Cup run for more than 80 years by reaching the Fourth Qualifying Round, one round prior to the First Round proper. On their way Chatham Town earned £16,795 in prize money.

Results were:

31 August 2013 – Preliminary Round: Erith & Belvedere 0 Chatham Town 5 (attendance 96)

14 September 2013 – First Round Qualifying: Chatham Town 2 East Preston 1 (attendance 147)

28 September 2013 – Second Round Qualifying: Whyteleafe 1 Chatham Town 2 (attendance 166)

12 October 2013 – Third Round Qualifying: Horsham 0 Chatham Town 1 (attendance 466)

26 October 2013 – Fourth Round Qualifying: Chatham Town 0 St Albans City 2 (attendance 809)

Ground[edit]

Chatham Town play their home games at The Sports Ground, Maidstone Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 6LR.

Club honours[edit]

  • Kent League Premier Division :[1][3][4]
    • Winners (10 Times): 1894–95, 1903–04, 1904–05, 1924–25, 1926–27 1971–72, 1973–74, 1976–77, 1979–80, 2000–01
    • Runners-up: 1902–03, 1925–26, 1974–75, 1980–81, 1994–95
  • Aetolian League:[3]
    • Winners: 1963–64
    • Runners-up: 1962–63
  • Kent League – Division Two:[1]
    • Winners: 1934–35
  • Kent League cup:[1]
    • Winners: 1971–72, 1976–77
    • Runners-up: 1969–70, 1973–74, 1979–80
  • Aetolian League Cup:[1]
    • Winners: 1962–63
    • Runners-up: 1959–60, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1963–64
  • Kent Amateur League:[1]
    • Winners: 1946–47
  • Eastern Professional Floodlight Cup:[1]
    • Winners: 1980–81
  • Aetolian/London League Cup:[1]
    • Winners: 1963–64
  • Aetolian League Benevolent Cup:[1]
    • Winners: 1963–64
  • Thames and Medway Combination:[1]
    • Winners: 1896–97, 1903–04, 1904–05, 1919–20, 1923–24
  • Kent Senior Cup:[1]
    • Winners: 1888–89, 1894–95, 1904–05, 1910–11, 1918–19
  • Kent Senior Trophy:[1]
    • Runners-up: 1995–96, 1999–00
  • Kent Senior Shield:[1]
    • Winners: 1919–20
  • Kent Badge:[1]
    • Winners: 1885–86, 1886–87, 1887–88
  • Chatham & District Charity Cup:[1]
    • Winners: 1891–92, 1894–95, 1898–99, 1902–03, 1904–05, 1910–11, 1913–14, 1918–19
    • Runners-up: 1912–13
  • UK Insulations Supplies Charity Cup:[1]
    • Winners: 1999–00

Club records[edit]

  • Best league position:[3] 3rd in Southern League, 1896–97
  • Best FA Cup performance:[1] quarter-final, 1888–89
  • Best FA Trophy performance:[3] 1st round, 2001–02, 2002–03
  • Best FA Vase performance:[3] 2nd round, 1999-00.

Former players[edit]

A list of former Football League or international players who have played for the club:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Club History Chatham Town
  2. ^ a b Chatham Town FC Pyramid Passion – Chatham Town FC
  3. ^ a b c d e f g FCHD Football Club History Database
  4. ^ a b FCHD Football Club History Database – Medway
  5. ^ Kevin Watson Kevin Watson profile – Chatham Town FC website
  6. ^ http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/sport/welcome-move-south-for-chats-36963/

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°22′7.439″N 0°31′17.940″E / 51.36873306°N 0.52165000°E / 51.36873306; 0.52165000