How the League was Won – Kent Online Sport

During this extended close season Kent Online Sport have been going back through the years and reminding us of how some Kent sides gained glory by claiming a League title.

Their Decade of Champions series has reminisced about how Kent teams higher up in the Pyramid won their silverware but their main focus has been on how the Kent League, or SCEFL League was claimed.

They start back in the 2009/10 campaign with Faversham Town winning the Kent League. Justin Luchford was the manager and he remembers the run-in well.

“We needed a point out of our last three games I think. I was desperate for it to be a home game on a Saturday afternoon but as the fixtures worked we ended up playing the Kent Senior Trophy Cup final on the Sunday, against Greenwich Borough at Welling, when I famously left my brother out.

“That didn’t go down well from a family perspective. My dad wasn’t happy and my brother wasn’t happy butGreenwich were really strong in midfield and I played four centre midfielders across the middle to stop them trying to run the game. They were decent at the time.

“I had one eye on the Tuesday night against Corinthian, and we would win the league if we won it. I tried to say that to my brother, he was starting that Corinthian game whatever because we would go back to our usual line up and Tuesday was more important to me than the cup final. We were trying to get in to the Ryman League.

“I was vindicated because we won the cup final 2-1 and then played Corinthian on the Tuesday, my brother got the first goal and we beat them 8-0. There weren’t that many people there on a Tuesday night, there was a celebration, but it would have been nicer on a Saturday afternoon, but I wasn’t complaining.

The full story of that season can be read at Kent Online Sport here

The following year saw Scott Porter’s Hythe Town lift the same trophy.

If you want a thrilling end to the season – look no further than the 2010/11 finale.

Scott Porter’s team needed to avoid defeat at Tunbridge Wells on the last day to clinch the Kent League title but found themselves 2-0 down at the break. The match was levelled and the season settled with just a minute to go after the home keeper fumbled the ball into the net.

It’s a great read and can be seen at Kent Online Sport here

In 2011/12 Simon Halsey was in charge at Herne Bay. He had narrowly missed out on the main prize in the seasons before but this time he was to get his hands on the trophy.

Halsey remembers it well, from the first game to the last;

“We didn’t play great on the first game. We were away to Beckenham, but we won 4-2 which was no mean feat. I might be getting old now but I remember Darren Marsden, an exceptional player at that level and the level above, and watching him do things with his feet that day against a very good Beckenham side that were obscene.

“He scored some outstanding goals. Marso was completely unplayable and it got us off to a good start. We got our noses infront early doors.”

Following a loss in the semi-fianls of the FA Vase, Herne Bay just needed to concentrate and get the league title wrapped up.

“We could have been caught if we had lost every game following the draw to Corinthian but we went away to play Greenwich Borough, who were playing at Holmesdale. We got the result were needed.

“We went wild afterwards, went out and enjoyed the day. It wasn’t packed at Holmesdale but the rest is history. Job done.”

The full story of that season can be read at Kent Online Sport here

The final ever Kent League campaign was in 2012/13. Micky Collins was the manager at Erith & Belvedere, and they won the trophy… but only just!

After a tight season-long battle it looked like the Deres were going to be pipped to the post by VCD Athletic.

Because the odds had been stacked against Collins’ side so much, the trophy had followed VCD to Lordswood but when their final game ended goalless, it was whisked back up the A2. Erith & Belvedere had done it.

Collin recalled: “There were four or five die hard fans at the end of the game who had let flares off, they couldn’t believe it.

“We then had to wait on the pitch for 25-30 minutes for the trophy before it was presented to us. It was incredible, an incredible way to win a league title. It was my first one so quite a nice thing and we knew we had got them promoted back to step four.

“I can’t remember what time I rolled in after winning the title but I woke up cuddling the league trophy!

Read about that one at Kent Online Sport here.

After the change from the Kent League to SCEFL Whyteleafe, Phoenix SPorts and Greenwich Borough would finish up on top. Then in the 2016/17 season it was Ashford United’s turn.

Some managers don’t ever get to taste that title-winning feeling but it didn’t take long for Danny Lye – although the ride was far from smooth.

In his one and only full season as manager of the Nuts & Bolts, Lye’s team lifted the Kent Senior Trophy and clinched the Southern Counties East Premier Division crown, success gained despite a world of problems going on off the pitch.

It’s a fascinating story and can be read at Kent Online Sport here

Thanks to Kent Online for this great series. It has been great looking back through the years at these great winning stories. And it’s not quite over yet! Next-up from them is another one from Micky Collins! It’s Sevenoaks Town and their winning SCEFL campaign of 2017/18. Catch that one next week.