An August Bank Holiday trip for the first of three scheduled meetings with them up the road.
The earliest use of the name “Whitstable Town” can be traced to the 1886/87 season. They joined the Kent League for the 1950/51 season but the disbandment of the League in 1958 came as a hammer blow. Whitstable joined the Aetolian League briefly. The Kent League was reformed in 1968 and Town re-joined immediately. It was in the Oystermen’s 41st year in the Kent League, 2006/07, which marked the best season in the club’s history winning the Kent League title and promotion to the Isthmian League. In 2015/16 they spent 28 out of the 46 matches at the bottom of the table until a last day win moved them up a place, but relegation followed. They ended their first season in the Southern Counties East Football League in 5th position before finishing as runners-up to Sevenoaks Town in 2017/18 and winning promotion back to the Isthmian League.
Until Whitstable’s relegation in 2016 the matches between the two sides had gone very much the Oystermen’s way with Bay winning just one of the clashes with Whitstable victorious three times and there were four draws. Cup ties were shared at one apiece. Last season manager Scott Porter used such words as “Embarrassed, pi**ed off. I could go on all night!”, “The players have let me down, let the supporters down, let the club down”, “There was no passion, no heart, no desire from any of my players”, “It was disappointing, too many players had off-days” and “we just didn’t show the fight” to describe the two Herne Bay wins, 4-0 at the Belmont in front of 368 with nearly a 100 more watching Bay’s 3-1 victory at Winch’s Field.
Since then Porter has moved upstairs and been replaced by former Ramsgate boss Lloyd Blackman. Blackman was in charge of the Rams last September when Bay came back from 1-3 and 3-4 down to win 5-4 thanks to four goals from Jake Embery.
Whitstable finished 9th last season in the attendance table with an average of 209 and there were 368 at the Belmont for the visit of Herne Bay.
Whitstable Town manager Lloyd Blackman: “I think the targets we set are set purely in the four walls of the changing rooms. We do realise this is a process, there has been a change in management as well as with the board and the club is in a new chapter so to speak. We’re just looking to ensure that any targets on the football side we’re going to approach in a pragmatic way. I’m obviously pleased with how everything is coming along with the boys we recruited earlier in the summer. Players were joking that they wouldn’t want to be in my shoes but that’s the nature of the business and competition for places is healthy.”
The Oystermen kicked-off their season with a 1-1 home draw with Sittingbourne, Tijan Jadama scoring. Last Tuesday they visited Hythe Town, who were on the back of a 2-7 thumping at Burgess Hill Town. Hythe won 2-0 to leave Whitstable in 17th place, one point above the bottom. On Saturday Whitstable entertained Newhaven in the FA Cup, goals from Aaron Millbank, Luke Girt and Alex Anderson gave them a 3-1 victory in front of 219.
Ben Smith: “Whitstable will be a tough one where form goes out of the window. It’s a tough one to call, we need to go there with the mindset of Tuesday’s performance and if we can repeat that we will be fine, if we don’t then it will be a tough game. I am looking forward to it, the players are looking forward to it. I have history with both clubs, a lot of the players have history with both clubs, so it means a lot to us as well as the supporters. Fingers crossed the players will do us proud.”
We were due to return to the Belmont on Tuesday 3rd September 2019 for an Isthmian League Cup clash, but this has now been postponed to allow the FA Cup replay at AFC Croydon Athletic to take place. The return league fixture is scheduled at Winch’s Field for Monday 1st January 2020.