Ide Hill FC were offically formed in 1923 and became an affiliated member of the FA in 1924, and this year we are celebrating the club's 90th anniversary. However it is widely rumoured that football was played in Ide Hill from 1901, when a member of the Boakes family, who had just successfully won the Sevenoaks Charity Cup with Holmesdale FC, decided to bring his friends along to what is now known as the recreation ground in Ide Hill.
The football club's home pitch has remained the same since and is located behind The Cock Inn pub in the picturesque village of Ide Hill. As per the village church, the football pitch has the distinction of being the highest in Kent.
The club first started playing competitive football in the Edenbridge & Caterham Football League and it was at the end of the 1933/34 season that the club received their first medals when they finished runners up in Division One.
Not a lot has been documented about the early years of the football club, however we are very grateful to Janet Richardson from Hildenborough, who has kept these old photos and medals in her family from when her grandad and dad both played for the club.
In 1939, the club halted like most others in the country as the Second World War had started. However the war was to bring us one of the greatest stories of the club. Harry Schultz, a german fighter pilot had been shot down somewhere close to Ide Hill and was captured as a prisoner of war. He was then put to work in the surrounding fields, helping the local farmers plough and harvest their crops.
When the war had finished, Harry had married a local girl and remained in Ide Hill rather than going back to Germany. He then started playing football for the club where he enjoyed a very long career as the clubs goalkeeper and later on, as manager. We do have some photos of Harry and his team mates from his time at the club and will hopefully upload them soon.
Post war community football
It was also shortly after the war ended that Ide Hill Football Club left the Edenbridge & Caterham Football League and joined the 'more local' Sevenoaks & District Football League, where they still remain to this day. Fierce battles ensued with local derbies being held every week against teams like Halstead, Chipstead, Sundridge, Brasted, Westerham, Seal, Otford, Riverhead, Kemsing, Ightham and Wilderpark.
In the 1960's, the villagers of Ide Hill were handed a gift from local lady Mrs Mitchell. The covenant, which was issued as part of the sale of land to the Parish Council, stated that the land on which the pitch was located, would now become a recreational area for all the villagers to enjoy forever more. Mrs Mitchell's grandson now plays for the club, keeping her wonderful gift alive through her own family.
The club enjoyed mild success during this era, but also didn't win anything of note, with promotions and relegations being the only real things to shout about. However it was during this period that the club started their reserve team due to the vast number of players in the village and the surrounding area. Dennis Couchman, Ide Hill FC's Life President, was present in goal for the first team whilst his son took a more outfield position. Dennis, has some statistical records that we will upload soon, as plenty of goalscoring records were broken during the period. Dennis then went on to manage the reserves in the 80's, as you can see in the photo below.
Successful end to the 80's
Wally Paxton, Jon King and Keith McGinn all celebrated their club debuts in the 1980's and towards the end of the decade they really did make their prescence felt. In April 1988, the reserve team pictured above, won the Fisher Shield for the first time in a "shock win" according to the Sevenoaks Chronicle.
Only eight months later, in December 1988, came the infamous story of the McGinn brothers who, when on holiday in Newcastle, left early on Boxing Day morning to make it back for the Smith's Junior Cup Final. They beat Crockham Hill that day 6-2 and along with Dennis, Wally, Jon, the Alfieri brothers, Bertie Downard and Joff Shepherd, they lifted the trophy for the first time in the clubs history.
As if that wasn't enough, the reserves then went on to win the thrid division and make the Fisher Shield final once again. They successfully retained their title beating Nomads Reserves in a replay on penalties. Keith McGinn was to be the hero of the day scoring the winning penalty, after John King had got them a replay in the last 5 minutes of the first match.
Start of a new era
With the winning ways of the late 1980's came the start of a new era for Ide Hill FC. Wally Paxton and Keith McGinn, who are both still with the club as joint managers for the first team and also hold management committee roles too, started to organise an annual tour.
In 1988 it was Belgium, but it wasn't until the turn of the millennium that they suggested going "back home" to Newcastle. 14 years later and the club still have their annual tour to Newcastle, playing the Top Club 'Consett' for the Yuk Cup (sadly Yuk died a few years ago and it is now know as the Yuk Memorial Cup). The Top Club team are a fantastic bunch of lads who love playing Ide Hill FC, and although their winning record is a little tarnished, it never stops them from playing against us (only the wild north east weather does that!).
Also, since 2000, the club has also been looking to rebuild the clubhouse on the Ide Hill recreation ground, and in the summer of 2014, this finally looks to be given the go ahead to build. Keith McGinn has been at the forefront of all negotiations, with great assistance from Sebastian Pennells. And once the new pavilion has been built, the club can move all teams back home and utilise the home advantage once more.
Ide Hill FC are a charter standard club who play in the Kent County League and the Sevenoaks & District League. They were formed in 1923 and became an affiliated member of the FA in 1924. The football club's home pitch is located behind The Cock Inn pub in the picturesque village of Ide Hill and is reported to be the highest football pitch in Kent. Read more