Bryan Clifton's memories


Bryan was one of Margate's best players of the 1960's and famous for his long-range shooting...

What is your full name and date and place of birth ?
Bryan Clifton - 13th February 1939 - Bentley, near Doncaster, Yorkshire.

What is your marital Status?

Do you have children ?
Two sons - Kevan and Tony.

Did / do any of your family play football ?
My father played for Norwich City.

Where do you live now ?
Westbrook, Margate.

What is your occupation now ?
Landscape Gardener.

What was your occupation during your time with Margate ?
Lorry driver for a timber company.

How did you come to join Margate ?
I had left Ramsgate and had played a few games at Doncaster until the end of the season. I kept in touch with Arthur Blackley and he joined Margate and told Almer Hall I fancied returning to Kent. I came down and signed on the dotted line.

What do you remember about your Margate debut ?
A good crowd and playing against a very experienced Bath City side at Hartsdown - several internationals in the team. Malcolm Allison had recently left but they were one of the top sides but we won 2-0.

What were the highlights of your Margate career ?
Playing against West Ham. Although only a friendly being on the same pitch as Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters was a great thrill. Also going to Yeovil and beating them 3-1 in the FA Cup was a good evening.

What were the highlights of your entire career ?
I think your Football League debut takes some beating.

Who was the best player you played with at Margate ?
Bob Harrop - most consistent player I have ever seen. Hardly ever injured and had maybe two 'off' games a season.

Who was the best player you played against whilst with Margate ?
Bobby Moore.

Who was the best player you played with during your whole career ?
Alick Jeffrey at Doncaster. I played against him at school and six months later he was scoring goals in the old Second Division. A broken leg at 18 virtually ended his career.

Who was the best player you played against during your whole career ?
Bobby Moore.

Who was / were your best friend(s) during your time with Margate ?
Arthur Blackley, Jack Smith, Laurie Thomson and Hughie Cochrane.

Do you still keep in contact with any of your old Margate team-mates ?
Yes - I see Bob Harrop, John O'Mara, Arthur Blackley and Jack Smith.

What was the best stadium you played in during your entire career ?
Hillsborough, Sheffield. I played in a County Cup Final there when I was at school and it's still my favourite ground today.

What ground(s) did you most enjoy playing at during your time at Margate ?
Dover - I scored lots of goals there. Ramsgate - for old times' sake and Nuneaton - big pitch, nice playing surface.

And which ground(s) did you least like ?
Crawley - I played there lots of times and hated every one. Possibly because we never even got a point !

Who was the best manager you played under (and at which club) ?
Almer Hall - an old-fashioned manager who liked his teams to play football with a bit of style and he could also go out and sign a striker who could score a load of goals every season.

Who was the biggest influence on your football career ?
My dad. He used to give all the boys in our tiny village advice, the main piece being that you had to be able to use both feet. All my friends could and five of us played in the Football League.

What was your favourite / best Margate goal?
Probably one against Brentwood - I was a long way out and shooting downhill but whacked it into the bottom corner.

What was the best goal you saw another Margate player score ?
Too many to remember.

Do you keep an eye on Margate's progress / results and if so what do you think ?
Yes, I'm pleased to see the team are doing well but I would hate to be playing in a side that goes out not to lose, rather than try to win.

Did you have a nickname during your career / time at Margate?

What honours did you win during your career ?
Southern League - promotion with Margate and Ramsgate.

Southern League Cup winners and various Kent competitions.

I didn't worry about honours - only the bonus that went with them !

Do you ever watch Margate now or if not, when was the last time you saw them ?
Occasionally, I didn't go to Dover last season but did see the home game against Gravesend - awful !

Who were the real characters at Margate during your time with the club ?
Jack Smith - never a dull moment either playing or training. Laurie Thomson - hated refs, never stopped moaning at them from start to finish.

Can you recall any funny moments from your time at Margate ?
Laurie Thomson had been giving a ref his usual load of verbal abuse and towards the end of the game the ref gave a loud blast on the whistle. He called 'Thomo' over and reached in his pocket - another booking for Laurie ? No, the ref pulled out a sweet and said "suck that, it might keep you f...... quiet !"

Do you have any regrets about your football career ?
You always have regrets, I went to Ramsgate on loan from Doncaster when unknown to me six Football League clubs were interested in me. But I really enjoyed my 14 seasons in the Southern League and made many good friends.

What do you think about being featured on a website or the fact that a Margate History site exists ?!
Great ! Keep up the good work, maybe a few younger Margate fans will see that they had half-decent teams years ago.

Added to the site in 2003.