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Club History

A brief history of Herne Bay FC

It could be argued that Herne Bay FC had their most successful season in their 125th year. Having been runners up for two consecutive years in the Kent League they secured the League Championship with games to spare and had a superb run in the FA Vase becoming only the second Kent League club to reach the semi-final stage where they went out to Northern League side West Auckland Town over the two legs by the odd goal in seven (4-3.)

Herne Bay were formed in 1886 and began life in the East Kent League, then having a short period in the Kent League before winning the East Kent League in four successive years between 1902 and 1906 returning to the Kent League as a result.

1953 saw the move to Winch’s Field. Over 1000 spectators saw their first match at their new home; a 2 - 2 draw against Tunbridge Wells Reserves in Kent League Division 2. Within two years they lifted the Division 2 title, winning promotion to Division 1. In the 1957-58 season the club won The Kent Amateur Cup beating Bromley 2 - 0 in the final. The following season saw the Kent League fold and a move to the Aetolian League followed.

The 1964-65 season saw another move to Division 2 of the Athenian League, where they enjoyed several successful seasons followed by promotion to Division 1 on winning Division 2 in 1970-71. A good run in the FA Cup saw the Bay reach the 4th qualifying round, where they lost to the then ‘mighty’ Margate in front of a record home attendance of 2303.

At the start of the 1974-75 campaign the Club returned to the Kent League, and in the 1978-79 season they had good runs in the Cup competitions; defeating Welling United in the Kent Senior Trophy Final and losing to Sheppey United in the Kent League Cup.

The nineties saw the Club become the most successful and consistent side in the Kent League, winning four Kent League titles. The 96-97 season was without equal in the history of the Kent League. Within the space of four weeks the Club won the Kent Senior Trophy, The Kent League Division 1 Cup and The Kent League Championship. A unique treble!

A complete change of management and playing staff took place after the 97-98 season, with manager Tommy Sampson leaving the Club to take over the reins at Deal Town taking the majority of the established first team players with him. That Deal Town side became the first Kent League club to win the FA Vase at Wembley in the last ever Vase Final staged at the old stadium in May 2000.

The team had a fantastic 2000/2001 season finishing runners-up in the Premier Division, scored 93 goals in the league. Nick Denly (father of England cricketer Joe Denly and current Herne Bay manager Sam Denly) received an unprecedented three manager of the month awards in his first full season at the helm. However the following season proved to be one of great disappointment. Exiting all cup competitions at the first round stage and finishing a poor 7th position in the league, despite being one of the few teams to defeat league and cup double winners, Maidstone United.

A major grant was awarded to provide new perimeter fencing and refurbishment of the changing facilities and these works were complete prior to the start of the 2003/2004 season when the club celebrated 50 years at Winch’s Field.

With the appointment of Simon Halsey as Manager for 2009/10, Herne Bay FC pushed on to finish runners up in the Kent League Premier Division two seasons running, the second of those going down to the last few minutes of the last match where a goal at Tunbridge Wells gave Hythe Town the title. But, in season 2011-12 Herne Bay swept all before them, narrowly missing out on a Wembley appearance in the FA Vase and capturing the Kent League Premier Division title and promotion to the Ryman Isthmian League.

Sam Denly was appointed manager during the 2013/14 season and continues to blend youth and experience and last term Bay finished 8th, the highest finishing spot to date, having flirted with the play-offs for most of the season. A 9th place finish had been achieved the previous season.


Honours Board

Kent League Champions 1991-92, 1993-4, 1996-7, 1997-98, 2011-12

Kent League Cup Winners 1996-7, 2009-10, 2010-11

Kent Amateur Cup Winners 1957-58

Kent Senior Trophy Winners 1978-79, 1996-97

Athenian League Div 2 Winners 1970-71

Best FA Cup Season 4th Round Qualifying 1970-71, 1986-87

Best FA Trophy Season 2nd Round Qualifying 2015-16

Best FA Vase Season Semi-Finals 2011-12

Former players who have gone on to play in the Football League

Liam Hatch Barnet & Peterborough Utd
Carlo Nastri Crystal Palace
Alec Eisentrager Bristol City
Danny Kedwell Gillingham

Revised August 2016.

Where next?

1886 - 2012 126 Years A brief history of Herne Bay FC It could be argued that Herne Bay FC had their most successful se

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