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/ Hartsdown Park: 2019 Review
Hartsdown Park: 2019 Review
There are no January Blues at Hartsdown Park this year as the board and squad prepare for a new decade and a new year. Before moving ahead too quickly, the club wanted to provide a look-back on 2019 and review the work taking place on the pitch and off of it.
On The Pitch
- In 2019, Margate amassed 58 points, scoring 52 and conceding 60 goals.
- A total of 7,821 watched men’s games at HDP in 2019, at an average of 412.
- Our biggest attendance in 18/19 was 644 (vs Folkestone) and in 19/20 so far it is 509 (vs Lewes)
- Ever present for the team this season are Dan Johnson and Jay Porter (21 games out of 21) and last season Tom Mills played all 42 league games.
- League Appearances in 2019: Ben Swift 29, Noel Leighton 28, Jordy Robins 23, Kadell Daniel 22, Liam Friend 20.
- League Goals in 2019: Noel Leighton 13, Kadell Daniel 11, Kudus Oyenuga 5, Adem Ramadan 4, Elliott Reeves 4, Tobi Sho-Silva 4, Ben Swift 3, Dan Johnson 1, Frannie Collin 1, Dave Martin 1, James Rogers 1, Reece Prestedge 1, Al-Hafeev Sanusi 1, Kieran Monlouis 1.
- The Gate scored two hat-tricks in 2019, Tobi Sho-Silva away at Harlow and Kudus Oyenuga away at Kingstonian.
- Margate scored four penalties in the league in 2019; Dave Martin, Frannie Collin, James Rogers and Kadell Daniel all striking from the spot.
- The Blues used six goal keepers in 2019; Henry Newcombe, Louis Wells, Kleaton Perntreaou, Jonathan Miles, Owen Kallmeier and Joe Tupper.
- Returning players James Rogers and Liam Friend both made one additional league appearance after leaving at the end of the 18/19 season.
Following months of negotiations and hard work in 2018, 2019 started with the club securing the freehold of the land it leased from Thanet District Council, together with additional land required to facilitate redevelopment of the ground. This was a major step forward for the club as it enabled us to be masters of our own destiny and removed the main barrier to previous redevelopment schemes since 2005.
Once this had been completed, work started to review our previous planning consents and plan changes to meet current demands and future needs.
The initial stages of redevelopment would be to facilitate the development of the East block of the ground with a new hotel, club facilities, a new covered seated stand and car parking.
To enable this the existing changing rooms would need to be relocated, or rather replaced and a planning application was submitted in Spring 19 and subsequently approved by Thanet District Council for new changing facilities between the main pitch and the fives.
A review of the North (Coffin) end was also carried out, with the intention of looking to provide a new terrace with a building to the rear to accommodate spaces that could provide a revenue stream.
Once we had completed on the freehold purchase of the ground, discussions started to take place with hotel partners, and these continued into Spring and concluded with a decision to work with The International Hotel Group (IHG) and their brand Holiday Inn Express. These discussions concluded that due to the increased interest in Margate and Thanet in general, an increase from 80 to 120 rooms at the hotel would be appropriate. During the summer design work with Holiday Inn Express technical teams continued to bring together an economic and functional design to suit all parties. In parallel with this, discussions have been ongoing with modular design companies to provide prefabricated hotel rooms manufactured off-site and able to be delivered and installed once foundations and concrete frame have been completed.
This element of work concluded in November with the submission to Thanet District Council and Kent County Council for a pre-planning application for both the east and north blocks.
Whilst the outcome from this application and a highways application to KCC has still to be formally received our initial discussions have been well received. A formal response is expected in early January with a full planning application, for the change to 120 beds and the North stand, to follow shortly after.
A presentation of the proposals will be given at the club prior to formal application.
Further pre-construction work has also been undertaken concurrently with the design outlined above, in preparing for archaeological investigations, drainage and environmental strategies and traffic impact assessments.
Whilst it is understandable that many fans wish for redevelopment to begin immediately, after many years of delays, we are determined to ensure that any redevelopment is planned and executed properly to meet current and future needs of the club.
Margate FC Community Trust
After sitting dormant for a number of years, in 2019, Margate’s Community Trust made huge strides setting up correctly to make a difference to the local community and lives of people across Thanet.
The club has written a number of successful funding bids amassing to an amount of £8,500 to run projects to engage with and benefit the local community.
In the summer, The Gate successfully received funding from the Collyer Ferguson Trust. The two projects are the Young Carers Projects and our Community Coaching Scheme; projects our supporters should be familiar with.
The charity is an area the board plans to continue to develop, seeking to offer more to our local community throughout 2020.
Further Club Engagement
McDonalds extended their community partnership at Hartsdown Park enabling the club to run more Family Fun Days to treat loyal supporters to activities on a match day, as well as welcome first-time supporters to the club.
1,610 supporters attended a McDonalds Family Fun Day in 2019 and this growth looks set to continue into 2020.
The club’s website and social media channels have attracted 91,901 visitors and followers in 2019, reaching hundreds of thousands of people across the world each month, as the club continues to build its outreach across Thanet and beyond.
Over the past 12 months, the club's website has been visited by supporters from countries all across the world, including but not limited to, Germany, Russia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Tanzania and South Korea!
We have continued our partnerships with Kent Messenger and Community Ad to help promote work the club is doing at HDP and beyond. The club also has a good relationship with The Isle of Thanet News supplying players and staff for interviews to provide insight and reaction to weekly goings on.
As part of The Gate's collaboration with The Libertines, the club's new hashtag for the 2019/20 campaign #TimeForHeroes has unified an approach to celebrate success, not only on the pitch across our two senior men's and women's teams but to include Margate's fantastic FA Charter Standard club. It has also enabled the club to recognise 'heroes' within the local community including young carers who have visited HDP as part of our work with the Coyler Fergusson Charitable Trust and the dozens of volunteers who help keep the club running week in, week out.
Travelling as Chairman
Over the past year I have tried when possible to attend as many of the away games that I could and it was very pleasing to see that we have had such a good number of loyal fans who have made these away trips to support our Team. May I say a big thank you to all.
The reception and hospitality from the clubs that I have managed to visit varies considerably in terms of the type of welcome that you receive, as well the food and beverages offered.
It is not for me to make any comments on the way we are received in the different board rooms as we also have to be judged on how we behave on receiving other clubs. What I can say that our Board Room Ambassadors Colin and Sandra Page assisted by Lynne do an excellent job for us. Chris Carter always provides a tasty and varied menu, well done!
On my visits to these other Clubs a number of the different officials are friendly and welcoming but one club that does stand out as good hosts is Leatherhead.
On the team front Jay has had to deal with some difficult situations trying hard to get a consistent side together to perform, he is getting there, and I am sure he will not disappoint us.
Apart from the fact that we always want to win, it is also important that the matches are exciting and enjoyable to watch.
Good luck to everyone for the coming year.
Monday, 13 January 2020
By Charlotte Richardson