Margate Football Club, nicknamed “The Gate,” is a non-league football club based in Margate, Kent.
Established in 1970, they currently compete in the Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division, which is part of the seventh tier of English football. The team calls Hartsdown Park their home ground.
Founded in 1896 as Margate Town, Margate Football Club initially played friendlies before joining amateur leagues and eventually settling at the Hall-by-the-Sea Ground in 1912. Post-World War I, they joined the Kent League but folded in 1923 due to financial issues, only to reform and settle at Hartsdown Park in 1929. In the 1930s, Margate briefly served as Arsenal’s nursery side and achieved FA Cup success in 1935–36.
Post-World War II, under manager Charlie Walker, Margate won two Kent League championships, followed by managerial instability until Almer Hall’s appointment in 1950. They rejoined the Southern League in 1959, won the Division One championship in 1962–63, and briefly turned professional. The 1970s saw financial difficulties and memorable FA Cup matches, including a tie against Tottenham Hotspur.
In 1996, Chris Kinnear’s management led to promotion to the Football Conference in 2001. The 2000s were marked by ground redevelopment issues and forced relegation. The club returned to Hartsdown Park in 2005 amid managerial changes. Kinnear returned in 2011 but left in 2013. Terry Brown’s leadership brought promotion to the National League South in 2015. Steve Watt managed the team in the Bostik League from 2017 but was replaced due to relegation. In 2018, The Libertines sponsored the club, coinciding with Jay Saunders’ appointment as manager, leading the team to a 12th place finish in 2018/19 and looking forward to the 2019/20 season in the Bet Victor Isthmian League.