Allison memories


Brian played for Margate Reserves in the mid 1970's and went on to become a referee, taking charge of the first Isle Of Thanet Gazette Cup match between Thanet United and Ramsgate in 1987...

Brian in a 1976/77 team photo

"I had the pleasure of working closely with Steve Bowtell for the two seasons I was with the Club; it was an enlightening experience as he was an excellent goalkeeper and very helpful to me. I was one of those types of goalkeeper that was just about OK for the reserves but if there was any problem with Steve then another goalkeeper was always found - not surprising, as I was only 16 at the time!

Seeing your site has brought some good memories, especially about how I got involved with the club and ultimately into the team photo (the 1976/77 pre-season photo in the gallery). I read in the "Isle of Thanet Gazette" on the Friday that Margate were going to start pre-season training the next day so I decided to take along my boots and see if I could join in. I arrived at the ground to be met by Phil Winfield (Trainer) at the dressing room entrance who asked who I was and what I was doing there. I said that I had come to join in the pre-season training (I must have been mad or my naivety just boundless!!!). Anyway, he said it was only for the First Team, but asked what position I played, I replied goalkeeper. He called over to Les Riggs (Manager) who said that I could join in if I wanted, as they did not have a second goalkeeper that day.

Well I never saw a ball in the morning, running, running and more running. Then the lunch break, well I had not told my Mum where I was going that morning so I ran back to Garlinge for my dinner and then ran back again afterwards, only to be greeted by Les Riggs who asked me "Where the f**k" had I disappeared too". He said that I better get changed again so that I could play in goal for the afternoon practice match. Well that was an experience, but must have done OK as I was asked to come back the following week to continue with pre-season training.

Well all this happened before the reserve team had even started pre-season training and I had circumnavigated the whole concept of the reserves feeding into the First Team. Well, when the reserves started training I was introduced to the manager Ray John, who informed me that I would be playing against Dartford in the first league game of the season. Well I played and saved a penalty to help gain a good draw, but from then only played a dozen or so games when they were "short" of a goalkeeper. It was the last season of Margate Reserves in the Kent League as the team was disbanded due to financial problems. Having played in the first match of the season I also played in the last at 2nd place Tunbridge Wells. They only had to win to become Kent League Champions, we saw the Champagne being delivered before the match and there was a good-sized crowd - well we got a well-earned draw and left them very disappointed!

I stayed at the club for another year and then, dare I say, I played for Ramsgate Reserves for two seasons - a highlight was playing in the First Team against Maidstone Utd in the Kent Floodlight Cup, we gained a good draw. I then went onto referee and one notable local game was Thanet Utd v Ramsgate in the 1987 "Herald of Free Enterprise Charity Match" - less said about that the better, other than it was a challenge!!"

On the subject of Frank Ovard's alleged dive to win a penalty for Thanet in the Gazette Cup game...
"I can picture the tackle/dive to this day - it was the only First Team match that I refereed at Hartsdown Park, but I used to line there at Christmas and Easter between 1987 & 1991. I always came down to see parents at these times and living in Bedford meant I ended up covering a large geographic area of the teams from the Beazer Homes League - well, was I conned by Frank - I expect I was!"

Some 1976/77 'Reserves' memories...
"The "Reserve" Team played under the name of Margate Social in the Thanet Works League. We won the league and cup that season. It was a team of mostly youngsters eg future First Teamers Alan Draper & Kevin Wherle were in the side."

On 1970's Reserve team centre-back George Shaw...
"George was a very man who did not suffer fools and goalkeepers gladly, he scared the life out of me as my Centre Half. Some years later I ended up refereeing George and after about half an hour he made an inappropriate comment to me so I sent him off - he refused to go, so I took the players off the field and informed them I was not prepared to continue until he went - I even reached the dressing room, but finally he relented so I then continued the game! I don't think George ever spoke to me again - sorry George !"

Added to the site in 2002.