Johnny Ray's Memories


Johnny was a prolific Southern League striker who scored 36 goals from 80 appearances for Margate during the 1969/70 and 1970/71 seasons...

What is your full name and date and place of birth ?
John Ray - 25/05/1941 - Falmer (near to the Amex Stadium, Brighton and Hove Albion's new ground).

What is your marital Status?
Married to Jacqui since 1962.

Do you have children ?
Three - Nick, Lisa and Peter.

Did / do any of your family play football ?
My great-uncle was Jimmy Seed who played for clubs including Tottenham and Sheffield Wednesday. His brother Angus Seed also played and Jimmy was later Charlton Athletic manager whilst Angus managed Aldershot ! My father Cecil Ray played for Lewes and Aldershot and my brother David Ray had a spell at Crawley Town before playing in Sussex Football. My youngest son Peter played local village football.

Where do you live now ?
Bolney, West Sussex.

What is your occupation now ?

What was your occupation during your time with Margate ?
Tree Surgeon.

How did you come to join Margate ?
Mid-season when I was with Dover, on a train back from a game, Margate manager Almer Hall made himself known to me, bought me a coffee on the train and then at the end of the season I joined Margate.

What were the highlights of your entire career ?
Winning the Southern League with, dare I say it !... Dover, also the Kent Senior Cup, again with Dover, in which we beat, yep you've guessed it - Margate, will keep the score quiet ! Also scoring 42 goals in one season for Dover.

Who was the best player you played with at Margate ?
Jack Smith.

Who was the best player you played with during your whole career ?
When at Chelsea, I played with Terry Venables, Bobby Tambling and my good friend Peter Bonetti.

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

Who was / were your best friend(s) during your time with Margate ?
Bill Swain, great defender - one of the best in the Southern League - and Jack Smith.

Do you still keep in contact with any of your old Margate team-mates ?
Not kept in contact with anyone, however do see former Crawley player Vic Bragg at some games and also ex-Crawley goalkeeper John Maggs.

What was the best stadium you played in during your entire career ?
Played at most of the London stadiums during my time with Chelsea so they would have to be among the best.

What ground(s) did you most enjoy playing at during your time at Margate ?

And which ground(s) did you least like ?
I certainly did not like playing at Crawley, hence the reason I never joined them ! Although I did recommend they sign Margate winger Mickey Griffiths who signed for them !

Who was the best manager you played under (and at which club) ?
Has to be Almer Hall - a true gentleman.

What was your favourite / best Margate goal ?
Too many to choose from ! (said with a smile !).

Do you keep an eye on Margate's progress / results and if so what do you think ?
I do keep an eye out for Margate's results and hope to watch them soon.

Who were the real characters at Margate during your time with the club ?
Best Character at the club has to be Jack Smith ! He said to me "John if you can't score from one of my passes it's my fault !".

Can you recall any funny moments from your time at Margate ?
*Before reading on click here to see the article Johnny mentions and click to enlarge it*
The morning of the Aldershot FA Cup game there were meat pies everywhere and in the dressing room my wife Jacqui had received a call from Nigel Clarke of the Mirror ! She thought it was a joke being played by an old friend of mine (and a former Margate player) Mike Tomkys ! And of course it wasn't. I remember the players asking me if I wanted a meat pie, then I was shown the article !

Do you have any regrets about your football career ?
No regrets apart from I wish I was playing now - due to the game changing defenders can't do what they used to do now ! Might have scored more goals.

What do you think about the website ?
My son Peter has been keeping me informed of the website and it's a great trip down memory lane, keep up all the good work. I enjoyed my time at Margate and hope to be back soon to watch a game.

Added to the site in November 2013. Johnny died on 10.3.14 aged 72.