Finding the net with Minster FC

CommunityAd go 90 minutes with the 100-plus year football club.

 

Founded in 1911, Minster FC are a club at the heart of the village community who are rapidly climbing up the grassroots leagues. CommunityAd had the pleasure of speaking to the Chairman of Minster FC Mr Colin Holden to find out more about this wonderful club.

 

To readers who may not know can you explain your background in football and how you became Chairman of Minster FC?

It was definitely my Dad’s fault! As early as I can remember kicking a football, I would have been going to watch my dad and his mates play for Minster FC. We never had youth teams back then and so I had to wait until I was 17 to get the chance to play for Minster. This happened in the early 80’s when my Dad had to gather up some local youngsters to make sure the club fielded a team for the last few matches of the season when there was a threat of the club folding.

Local football was very much my level and I played for Minster FC on a Saturday in the Thanet Football League. On a Sunday I played for Daryns FC, Club Tiberius FC and then McCarthys FC in the Thanet Works League.

I became Secretary of the club in the late 90’s and also pushed for the reintroduction of a reserve team – probably to give me more opportunity to carry on playing! It was a family affair with my Dad as Chairman and myself looking after the admin and keeping the teams ticking over. When I hung my boots up (too late many would say) I continued to manage the team and look after the progression of the club.

The last 10 years has seen the teams make their way up the leagues in terms of performance and the club grow with additional teams coming along – including youth teams. Sadly, my Dad passed away in 2020 during early lockdown and left a legacy for me to continue with and I have effectively stepped into his shoes to continue the work as Chairman of Minster FC.

 

As a club what is Minster FC’s ethos?

Being over 100 years old (established 1911), we have always been a club that understands the history of Minster FC being part of the village community. To this day we still have many players who had relatives over many generations who have played for the club and have themselves become lifelong friends who – in later life – can go and watch their children and grandchildren play for Minster FC. I often say that winning on the pitch is great but the real win is to have gained friendships through Minster FC that outlast your playing career and has given you many enjoyable memories – including a few good stories along the way.

We now have a 1st team who are climbing the grassroots league ladders at a pace – so this has added an additional level of competitiveness – but we still keep to our values of good attitude and respect of others.

Whilst our aim on the pitch is to win in the right way, the bigger picture is to provide an enjoyable environment for all to play football, make friendships and contribute back to the community where we can.

 

From your role with the club what would you say have been Minster FC’s most memorable moments? 

From my time at the club some notable events have been winning the Kent Junior Cup in 2018 which was probably the platform on which the current success has been built. Entering the Kent County League in 2019 was a big moment for our club as this had not been achieved since the 1960s and then that team rapidly moving up that league in the recent years has been special. Unfortunately, COVID lockdowns meant that league titles were not awarded as seasons were incomplete so it feels as though one of the most successful periods in the club history has gone unrewarded. At the end of last season, we won the Kent County Inter-Regional Challenge Cup – it was a great moment to see this team win some silverware at last.

 

Are you currently looking for any players and if so, how can any readers who may be interested get in touch to find out more? 

We are always looking to provide football for as many players as we can. We have some players who attend training but cannot play at the weekends – this is good for us as we still like to provide football for all. We have 4 youth teams for next season at U14, U15, U16 & U18 age groups – whilst we have some settled squads we would always welcome parents to get in touch – we are especially looking for U18 players at the moment for our Kent Youth League squad. Any Over-35s would also be welcome to join our Old Boys team in the Len Martin Thanet Football League.

As well as players – and with our club growing very quickly – we are always open to hear from volunteers to help run the club. This could be coaches, match day volunteers, committee members, sponsor/funding management or anyone wanting to get involved with Minster FC.

Readers can get in touch with the club via email [email protected] or through our social media channels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

 

Looking further ahead, what are the club’s long term plans over the next 5-10 years?

In terms of growing the club and adding teams, we know that we have a maximum capacity based upon current availability of pitches to train and play on. We are close to this capacity already and we are conscious of over-committing – not only financially but in terms of volunteers and places to play. The future may see alternative opportunities in Minster and surrounding areas to build facilities to enable more people of all age groups, background and abilities to enjoy football.

As mentioned above, our first team are on an upward projection at the moment to the point that we are investing in the ground share opportunity with Ramsgate FC. A future challenge will be to look at funding/sponsorship opportunities to be able to build and manage a facility of our own in Minster that will not only provide a home for our club but a home for further community projects.

A definite aim will be to increase our community involvement away from the football pitch – here there are less obstacles in our way and an opportunity for the club to have more of a positive impact than ever before. We can be a football club that is not just about football.

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