David Pye's Memories


David was a goalkeeper who was signed by Margate in the summer of 1966 and started his spell with the club by taking part in a tour of West Germany before taking over from the experienced Brian Hughes for much of the 1966/67 season...

What is your full name and date and place of birth ?
Richard William David Pye, 2nd March 1944, Ponthenri, Carmarthenshire.

What is your marital Status?

Do you have children ?
Two girls - now married with two children each.

Did / do any of your family play football ?

Where do you live now ?
Storridge, Herefordshire - although with a Malvern postcode.

What is your occupation now ?

What was your occupation during your time with Margate ?
School teacher.

How did you come to join Margate ?
I think it was because I'd played quite well for Chelmsford against Margate and Almer Hall remembered that particular game. I'd also played ok for Hastings against Ramsgate whose player-manager was Les Riggs who told me (on the West Germany tour) that he'd mentioned me to Almer.

What do you remember about your Margate debut ?
Barry Town - won 5-2. I remember leaving a cross-shot thinking it was going nicely wide - it clipped the join of the far post and the crossbar and thankfully went wide. It was at the top end - Hartsdown had a considerable slope back then.

What were the highlights of your Margate career ?
Beating Ramsgate 6-4 after being 4-1 down at half-time. Beating Hastings United 4-0 at Hartsdown Park in the 2nd Leg of a Southern League Cup tie - in their attack was Bobby Smith of Spurs and England fame and also ex Charlton and Millwall player Jim Ryan. I'd played for Hastings the previous season so I was particularly pleased to play well that night - the crowd of over 1,500 were really supportive and noisy. A good night which I can still recall.

What were the highlights of your entire career ?
Playing with John Charles for Cardiff Reserves - people at Paddington Station ran along the platform to see him, he was a world class player.

Who was the best player you played with at Margate ?
Bob Harrop - he was strong, calm and controlled as a player and as a man he was the epitome of decency and I had great respect for him.

Who was the best player you played against whilst with Margate ?
Graham Vearncombe - Merthyr. He was the first team goalkeeper when I started at Cardiff.

Who was the best player you played with during your whole career ?
Has to be John Charles.

Who was the best player you played against during your whole career ?
Mike England for Spurs 'A' against Chelmsford and Bobby Mason (ex Wolves) for Poole Town against Chelmsford.

Who was / were your best friend(s) during your time with Margate ?
Because of the Chelmsford connections - Peter Gillott, Ron Smillie, Dave Kydd. Also Bryan Clifton who kicked a few off the line and Gordon Burden who I'd previously played with at Hastings.

Do you still keep in contact with any of your old Margate team-mates ?
No although I see Peter Gillott occasionally.

What was the best stadium you played in during your entire career ?
Probably Upton Park (West Ham) although Portman Road (Ipswich) holds fonder memories - the pitch was, and is, almost perfect.

What ground(s) did you most enjoy playing at during your time at Margate ?
Penydarren Park, Merthyr because of the support the crowd gave to their team and I'd played there before in the Welsh Cup for Cardiff. Margate lost 1-0 to a late Merthyr penalty.

And which ground(s) did you least like ?
We played a Kent Floodlight Cup match at Deal and it poured all through the match, the wind blew and I hardly touched the ball as we won 6-1.

Who was the best manager you played under (and at which club) ?
Billy Frith at Chelmsford.

Who was the biggest influence on your football career ?
George Swindin, an ex Arsenal goalkeeper, who saw me at college and signed me as an amateur at Cardiff. He was later sacked as Cardiff manager and Jimmy Scoular took over. After that many young hopefuls didn't last as there were quite a few changes.

What was the best goal you saw another Margate player score ?
We scored many goals in 1966/67 but I can't remember one in particular.

Do you keep an eye on Margate's progress / results and if so what do you think ?
Yes, especially since I've discovered the history website. I wish Margate could get promotion as they may play teams more to the west of London nearer to where I live.

Did you have a nickname during your career / time at Margate?
Sometimes Peter Gillott referred to me as 'Jess' after Jessie Pye (I hope) who was a well-known forward in the 1950's and played for the likes of Wolves, Luton and Derby. When Margate played at Wisbech in January 1967 Jessie Pye was their player-manager and I met him after the game - unusual surnames together.

What honours did you win during your career ?
Represented Welsh Colleges against English Colleges in 1963 and 1964. Promotion from the Southern League Division One with Margate during 1966/67 although I'd not played from about March 1967 onwards. In 1968 Chelmsford won the Southern League although I only played a handful of first team games including one against Margate which we lost 3-0 - all three were bad goals to concede.

Do you ever watch Margate now or, if not, when was the last time you saw them ?
Last game I watched was at Hereford during Margate's time in the Conference in the early 2000's and I was at Hartsdown Park for Margate's match against Wealdstone on 24.11.12 but it was rained off.

Who were the real characters at Margate during your time with the club ?
Bryan Clifton, Peter Gillott and Dave Kydd.

Can you recall any funny moments from your time at Margate ?
Peter Gillott, Ron Smillie and myself were to meet the team coach near Lords cricket ground - we lived in Chelmsford. Whilst waiting we somehow persuaded the gatekeeper that we were Worcestershire cricketers and got all the way to the Long Room. It was at the beginning of the season - probably Merthyr away on 24.8.66. Dennis Randall gave me a lift back from the Merthyr game and when we broke our journey in Cheltenham I was stopped by the police and questioned as they thought I may have been criminal Harry Roberts who was on the run at the time having been involved in the shooting of three policemen in Shepherd's Bush. He was later captured and is still in jail today.

Do you have any regrets about your football career ?
I left Margate after only one season, Almer had retained me so I could have had longer but it was too far to travel although we could have moved to Kent. So perhaps that is a regret but it's a long time ago.

Added to the site in December 2012.