Jimmy Hunt's memories


Jimmy spent around ten years with Margate and was a star of the reserve team as well as making over 40 first team appearances...

What is your full name and date and place of birth ?
James Hunt - 10th October 1941 - Rochester.

What is your marital Status?

Do you have children ?
Yes, Jenny my daughter born 22.1.64 and James my son born 31.3.71.

Did / do any of your family play football ?
Yes, my grandad played for Margate up to the First World War and my dad played for Margate Old Centrals in local football. In his day Margate became the nursery club for Arsenal so his chances of getting to play for Margate were very slim. My son played for his school, Dane Court, with Mark Munday, then he played for Westgate Sports in youth football. He then broke his leg in a car crash so could not play anymore.

Where do you live now ?
Westbrook, Margate.

What is your occupation now ?
Taxi driver.

What was your occupation during your time with Margate ?
I did my apprenticeship as a Design Draughtsman with a toolmaking company. I continued this trade, also working at Rover Scale Models (now Hornby Hobbies). In 1965 I started my own company and traded up until 2000. At this point all my type of work was going to the Far East - I then took up taxi driving.

How did you come to join Margate ?
I originally met Almer Hall during my time at King Ethelbert school when he visited to do some football coaching. Almer then invited me to train with Margate once a week when I was around 13 years old. I later went to Herne Bay before signing for Margate as I'd always wanted to play for the club.

What do you remember about your Margate debut ?
It was a Floodlight Cup game at Ashford. I played at left half in place of Davie Laing and I was very nervous but all the lads helped me so much. We lost the match. My home debut was against Gravesend. I was at left back and marked Roy Dwight who had famously broken his leg playing for Nottingham Forest against Luton in the FA Cup Final some years before. The game went well and I really enjoyed it.

What were the highlights of your Margate career ?
Being asked to go training with Margate by Almer Hall when I was at school and mixing with all my favourite players - Dougie Bing, Albert Foan, Jimmy Bonds, Jackie Yeomanson and Freddie Kearns to name but a few. Then a few years later getting into the reserves and playing with many of them as well as Derek Wells, Peter Hingley, Lennie Long, John Prodger, Alan Brown, Peter Peters, Dave McFall and many more. Then a few months later my debut for the first team - and what a team that was.

Also, captaining the Under 18 team in the FA Youth Cup. We beat Gillingham 2-0 at Hartsdown in the First Round, then we drew 2-2 with Charlton at Hartsdown in the Second Round. We lost the replay 6-1 at the old Valley ground.

Another highlight was captaining the reserves for several years.

What were the highlights of your entire career ?
In addition to the above...

Winning the Cup Final for Garlinge School against Holy Trinity at Hartsdown in 1951.

Winning the cup and league for King Ethelbert School in 1955/56.

Playing for Thanet Boys (schools) - trial for Kent Schools but didn't get in.

Being picked for the senior Kent side but had just signed professional forms for Margate so couldn't play.

Captaining Thanet Premier Sunday League team after becoming a permit player and being selected for the Kent Sunday team.

Winning cup and league for Paddock Wood and captaining the Tonbridge League team.

Who was the best player you played with at Margate ?
I think it must be Bob Harrop, followed by Alan Blackburn. In the reserves it must be Albert Foan. Before I started playing for Margate I used to watch and train with them, Albert Foan was a first team regular then and he was my favourite player.

Who was the best player you played against whilst with Margate ?
I think it must be Ronnie Bacon (ex Gillingham) of Kings Lynn. He was very quick and turned me inside out. Then followed by Roy Dwight of Gravesend, Jackie Henderson (ex Arsenal, Fulham and Scotland) of Poole, Barry Rowan of Dover, Micky Williamson of Ramsgate and Stan Crowther (ex Aston Villa and Manchester United) of Rugby.

Who was the best player you played with during your whole career ?
Bob Harrop.

Who was the best player you played against during your whole career ?
Ronnie Bacon.

Who was / were your best friend(s) during your time with Margate ?
I seemed to get on with everyone at the club. I got married when I was 21 years old so didn't go to the clubs or pubs as most of the lads did.

Do you still keep in contact with any of your old Margate team-mates ?
I only see / chat with those that are local - Bob Harrop, Bryan Clifton, Derek Wells, Ray John, Peter Donnelly, Terry Morris etc.

What was the best stadium you played in during your entire career ?
Charlton's Valley, Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road and Kings Lynn.

What ground(s) did you most enjoy playing at during your time at Margate ?
Hartsdown, Cambridge United, Nuneaton, Hereford (early in the season), Ramsgate, Dover and Folkestone, plus those listed above.

And which ground(s) did you least like ?
Trowbridge, Corby, Rugby, Yeovil and Cray.

Who was the best manager you played under (and at which club) ?
Almer Hall.

Who was the biggest influence on your football career ?
Almer Hall and Billy Hamilton (reserve team manager).

What was your favourite / best Margate goal?
I think I only scored three goals for the reserves, the best was at Gillingham. I also scored for the Under 18 side against Gillingham - at Hartsdown in the FA Youth Cup.

What was the best goal you saw another Margate player score ?
I have seen so many, starting with Peter Vandepeer (the Flying Dutchman), then Len Dolding. Later Freddie Kearns, Ken Tucker and Peter Peters. Then when I was playing Alan Blackburn was terrific. Also David Hills, John Fraser and Johnny Roche all scored great goals.

Do you keep an eye on Margate's progress / results and if so what do you think ?
Yes, it's the first result I look for. I was very pleased we reached the Conference but sorry about the drop. I'm just so happy to have football at Hartsdown Park again and hope we can climb back up to the Conference in due course.

Did you have a nickname during your career / time at Margate?
Not that I know of !

What honours did you win during your career ?
1952 Watson Trophy Cup Winners (Garlinge School)
1956 East Kent Schools League & Cup winners (King Ethelberts)
1960/61 Seanglian League Winners (Margate Reserves)
1966/67 Kent Senior Cup Runners-Up (Margate)
1966/67 Kent Intermediate Cup (Margate Reserves)
1966/67 Kent League Cup & League Winners (Margate Reserves)
1967/68 Kent League Winners (Margate Reserves)
1967/68 Kent Intermediate Cup Runners-Up (Margate Reserves)
1967/68 Thanet Premier Sunday League Division One Cup Winners (Garlinge FC)
1967/68 Thanet Premier Sunday League Morgan Cup Winners (Garlinge FC)
1968/69 Kent Floodlight Cup Winners (Margate)
1968/69 Kent League Cup Winners (Margate Reserves)
1970/71 Thanet Premier Sunday League Morgan Cup Winners (Minnis Bay FC)
1971/72 Thanet Premier Sunday League Cup Runners-Up (Whitehall FC)
1972/73 Thanet Premier Sunday League Runners-Up (Whitehall FC)
1973/74 Tunbridge Wells Senior Cup Winners (Paddock Wood FC)
1973/74 Tonbridge Premier League Cup Winners (Paddock Wood FC)
1973/74 Tonbridge Premier League Runners-Up (Paddock Wood FC)
1974/75 Tonbridge Premier League Runners-Up (Paddock Wood FC)
1974/75 Tunbridge Wells Senior Cup Winners (Paddock Wood FC)
1975/76 Tonbridge Premier League Senior Cup Runners-Up (Paddock Wood FC)
1975/76 Tonbridge Premier League Winners (Paddock Wood FC)
1975/76 Kent Junior Cup Division 'A' Winners (Paddock Wood FC)
1975/76 Kent Junior Cup Final Runners-Up (Paddock Wood FC)
1985/86 Thanet Premier Sunday League Division Two Runners-Up (Margate Athletic 'A')

Do you ever watch Margate now or if not, when was the last time you saw them ?
Yes, when I can due to work. Saw the first two games at Hartsdown this season (05/06).

Who were the real characters at Margate during your time with the club ?
David Hills, John Fraser, Lennie Long, Ray Flannigan and Bob Wainwright (groundsman / sponge man).

Can you recall any funny moments from your time at Margate ?
Bill Parry brought in some everyday shirts which were very cheap, they were wrapped nicely or boxed. Everything looked good until they were washed when they ended up about 7" wide by 4 foot long ! Bill shrugged his shoulders and kept our money !!

Tommy Marshall bought some new boots which were made from kangaroo hide - while training one evening he said "I think I definitely can jump higher in these" !

Margate bought their own coach and on an away trip the exhaust broke, it was bouncing up and down and would have broken if left. Luckily there were trap doors in the floor and we were able to lift up one of these and reach the exhaust. I always carried plenty of spare laces and I think it was little David Jarman who went down with a pair of laces and lashed the exhaust back into position. This lasted until we got back home !

If you needed treatment Almer Hall would put you under the heat lamps and wire you up to a machine with pads strapped to the injured part, this would last for 20-30 minutes and he would then massage the injured area. When Almer was not around Bob Wainwright would perform the procedure and leave you to 'cook'. But he would often forget you and you ended up snatching the pads off to save getting burnt ! After this you would get in the bath for a soak. On one of these occasions I came out of the treatment room with my towel over my shoulder and wearing nothing else. I came face to face with a lady who had got in through the front door (someone had left the latch up) but she didn't bat an eye lid and just asked if she could see Almer. The towel should have been around my waist and not over my shoulder !

Billy Hamilton was not only Reserve Team Manager but drove the club coach for away games. He was a strong centre half for the first team, and later in the reserves. He had not played for a long time when on one away trip (it might have been Chertsey Town) two of the London lads didn't turn up. We only had a twelth man (no subs then) so old Bill had to turn out. On the return trip Bill kept getting cramp while driving the coach and had to keep standing up while driving. What other road users thought I don't know but we got home safely !

Before Margate bought their own coach they used to hire one from East Kent (now Stagecoach). We used to have the same driver (whose name I have forgotten) and he was a good sport. On one occasion coming home after an away game several of us wanted a toilet stop. Our driver didn't know of any so pulled up along the road and told us to go in the hedge along the roadside with the coach at our backs to shield us from the road users. Our driver waited till we were all lined up doing our business and then drove off up the road, leaving us in full view of the oncoming headlights !

After one game at Sheppey we all got in the bath, just sitting chatting. Right above the bath was a trap door to the loft but the door was missing. After a while we heard noises from above and looking up we saw several teenage girls looking down at us ! As soon as they knew they'd been spotted they disappeared into thin air. Every time we went back to Sheppey after that the first thing we looked at was that trap door !

We were playing under floodlights at Hartsdown one evening (cannot remember who we played) and Alan Brown the Kent fast bowler was playing up front at number 9. When we arrived to get changed he opened up his bag and found that he had only packed one boot. He took a size 11 and no other player had anything near that size. Panic started to go through the dressing room when suddenly the door opened and in came a young lad named Lionel Myres (later to be well known in Sunday football) who used to help Bob Wainwright clean the dressing rooms and would clean your boots for a shilling. Although he was only 14 he said that he had size 11 boots. He only lived a short distance from Hartsdown so he went home and got his boots so that Alan Brown could play after all.

When I was playing for Garlinge in a Sunday game just after leaving school one of the opposing team made a couple of bad tackles. The referee was Ron Morphy (well known in local football) and he warned this lad to cut it out. The lad gave him some back chat so Ron said "ok son what's your name ?", the lad replied "Roy Rogers" - then a famous cowboy. Ron told him "get on your horse Trigger and trot off to the dressing room" !

One last story, although not a funny one, concerns Margate's former ground at Old Crossing Road, between the tram shed that still stands on the Margate side of the new hospital (Victoria House) and Bridge Road where I live. At that time Bridge Road wasn't there and nor was the bridge itself. There was a pathway with a hedge each side that went past the side of my house, then over the railway line (using kissing gates) and on down to the sea. The people that lived in my house then used to keep some trays (that hung around the neck) filled with chocolate, sweets, peanuts, etc and my late uncle Frank Russell as a boy would collect one of these trays on match days and walk around the ground at half time selling his stock. This story was told to me by my dad, also Jim Hunt, and my uncle Frank. At that time my house stood on it's own.

Do you have any regrets about your football career ?
Yes at the age of 22 I left Margate because the club went full time and signed many new players from League clubs. As the reserves had been disbanded for financial reasons I was not guaranteed a regular game and I was only offered a match-by-match contract so signed for Ashford. But that didn't work out - my daughter Jenny had just been born and I got fed up with the travelling. At Ashford every game was an away game for me. Looking back now I should have carried on as a pro for a few more years but Margate later reformed the reserve team so I returned to play for some years. So everything worked out alright in the end.

What do you think about being featured on a website or the fact that a Margate History site exists ?!
I am very proud to have played for Margate - my hometown club - and to be included on the website is the icing on the cake. We are very lucky indeed that you have Jeff have decided to do it. You are doing a terrific job and hope you can continue. We must be one of the few clubs to have such a detailed and easy to use website.

Added to the site in 2005.