Dover United F.C. 1920-33
With local interest never allowed to flag under the magic wand of Mr.Geddes(pictured above), the United went on to firmly establish the town's name in Kent footballing circles. Look at the records of the following seasons:-
1922-23: Winners: Kent League(Eastern), Folkestone & District League, and Dover Charity Cup. Played 42, won 30, drawn 6, lost 6, goals for 130, against 67.
It was during this season that the United entertained the Racing Club de France at Crabble at Christmas and later payed a return visit to Paris, both games resulting in 2-2 draws. The story goes that the Dover party in Paris sang the Geddes triumph song, "Rumpshi-Bumpshi," so lustily that the deeply impressed French spectators stood to attention and responded with their National Anthem.
1923-24: Winners: Kent League(Eastern) for third successive year, Folkestone & District League, Dover Charity Cup for third successive year. Played 36, won 26, drawn 2, lost 8, for 135, against 46. Scorers: Foad 33, Standen 24, Pyatt 15.
1924-25: Winners: Folkestone & District League for 4th.successive year, Deal Hospital Cup. Played 32, won 18, drawn 3, lost 11, for 79, against 60. Scorers: Hurry 15, Foad and Barrett 13 each.
Their run of successes was halted the next season, 1925-26, when they had to be content with fourth place in the Folkestone & District League and runners-up in the Dover Charity Cup. Of their 37 games they won 14, drew 3, lost 20, scored 88 and had 118 scored against them. Dick Standen topped the list of scorers with 18 goals, Newis 10 and Don Pyatt 9.
Some of their past glory was returned however, in the 1926-27 season, when, though 8th. in the Folkestone & District League, they reached the final of the Kent Amateur Cup and won the Dover Charity Cup. Under the captaincy of Bill Osborne, they made this path to the Amateur Cup final;
South Staffordshire Regiment 3-3
(South Staffs were subsequently eliminated for not having a single player signed on)
Bexley Heath 3-2
Canterbury Waverley 1-1
In the final at Crabble before a gate of 4,412 (£244) they lost to the Royal Naval Depot 2-1.
The season's record was: played 42, won 23, drawn 14, lost 5, for 121, against 112. Leading scorers were: Ridgwell 30, Jock Sanderson 19, Neal 17, Eddie Couzens 14, Campbell 13.
While most other clubs in the County were struggling with financial headaches, Dover went through 1927-28 scoring more successes, reaching the semi-final of the Kent Amateur Cup before losing 4-1 to the Royal Naval Depot after a 1-1 draw. They were third in the Folkestone & District League and finalists in the Dover Charity Cup, losing 4-3 to the Queen's Royal Regiment.
They played 45 games, won 22, drew 8, lost 15 (8 of these in the last month), scored 124 goals and had 102 scored against. Ridgwell again topped the list of scorers with 36, Neal 16, Palmer 14, and Sanderson 13.
For the first season since they were formed, the United captured no medals in 1928-29, but finished 5th. in the Folkestone & District League out of thirteen competing sides, and 8th. out of the eleven teams which had formed the newly formed Kent Amateur League.
Of their 57 games they won 25, drew 2, lost 30, scored 148 and had 192 scored against. "Tanner" Silk was top scorer with 27 goals, Makaula-White 23, and Masters and Ridgwell 12 each.
Three disastrous seasons:
After their nine successful seasons the Club's desire to improve their status was not unnatural, and in 1929-30 they entered the Kent League Division 1, renewing an association with the County's premier competition which had remained broken since the old Dover professional club became defunct at the beginning of the century.
Always so easy to be wise after the event but their decision to fight as amateurs among the professionals proved to be the beginning of the end for the United.
Though they won the Dover Charity Cup in this season they finished 14th. out of the seventeen clubs in the Kent League (won by Gillingham), next to bottom in the Folkestone & District League (won by the Sherwood Foresters) and the balance of £80 with which they had started the season had dropped to £57. Chief scorers were Ridgwell 29, Ellis and Philpott 19 each, Silk 13, Grant 12.
In their next season, 1930-31, with forty-three players on their books, they finished next to bottom in the Kent League and bottom in the Folkestone & district League. The senior side's record was:- played 47, won 12, drew 6, lost 29, scored 102, against 166. The Res. side won only two of their 29 games and the Club's only success was in becoming joint holders with Deal Town in the Deal Hospital Cup. Leading scorers:- Ridgwell 29, Philpott 15, Cartwright 14, Southey 9.
Between 1925 and 1931 three Army Cup winners competed in the Folkestone & District League - the Queen's Royal Regiment, the South Staffordshire Regiment and the Sherwood Foresters. Two of the Queen's players, "Darkie" Hill and Charlie Woodards, subsequently assisted Dover.
The last of Dover's three disastrous seasons in the Kent League, 1931-32, found them at the bottom of the table, heavily beaten in many of their games and obviously out of their depth in the County's senior competition. Frank Lawson headed the list of scorers with 9, Rich 6, and Ridgwell 5.
As is invariably the case with a losing side, their support dwindled, and Secretary Mr.F.G.Tapley, listening to a balance sheet which showed liabilities of £284 could tell the annual meeting little more than that the Kent League had proved too much for the amateur side.
The Club might have admitted defeat then, but hoping that a winning side would revive local interest, they reverted to the Folkestone & District League for 1932-33. They finished 6th. in the table with a record of:- played 32, won 15, drawn 3, lost 14, goals for 80 and against 99. Top of the scorers were:- C.Pryce 18, A.Bunn 16, L.Kiddy and F.Profitt 15 each, Frank Lawson and T.Nicholls 14 each.
The Curtain Falls:
The last game they played was against the Pick of the Dover Junior League and resulted in a 2-2 draw. The sides were:- Dover: Coleman; Burville, Prescott; Collins, Couzens, McNeir; Standen,Gosling,Bunn,Pryce and Profitt. Junior League: Hogben(St.Martin's); Tarver(Charlton Mill), Taylor(Charlton Mill); Gregg(Holy Trinity), Langford(Folkestone Corinthians), Fisher(Charlton Mill); Newell(St.Bart's), Easley(Charlton Mill), Fox(St.Martin's), Grant(Holy Trinity) and Petters(Holy Trinity).
The curtain fell on the Dover United Club at the end of the 1932-33 season. Mr.A.C.Leney, as Chairman of the Directors - the same Mr.Leney who had figured among the pioneers of 1891 - presided at the meeting when the Club was wound up. Considerable unemployment had resulted in poor support, he told them.
The Club disbanded with outstanding debts of £121 to be cleared, and so another phase in our footballing history is drawn to a close.