A Brief History of Cliftonville Hockey Club (Copyright Cliftonville Hockey Club)
As far as can be ascertained,the club began its activities in 1926. Among its founder members were S.P.Glenn. Sidney Glenn is widely recognised as having been the major driving force behind the club's development and undoubted success
The standing of Cliftonville as one of the leading clubs in Kent and the South has been largely due to Sidney Glenn's energy and drive in the office of Hon. Secretary
R.L Hollands Editor-Hockey News April 1967
The club's first game was played against Kent College in 1926, the score being 18 - 1 to the College.
"...our goal was scored by our centre forward who was very much offside but their old Headmaster had not got the heart to say ' off side '."
Sidney Glenn - Interview 1970
Unfortunately the early records and minutes of the club were destroyed when the Presidents home was bombed in 1940. Thus little is known about the club before this date.
It began as a mid week side playing on Thursday afternoon, early closing day. Most of the Cliftonville players played for Westgate 'A' on Saturdays, captained by Sidney Glenn. The Westgate 'A' mid week players finally combined to form the Cliftonville Hockey Club, running two teams before the Second World War. The club ceased playing between 1939 and 1945 but restarted in 1945, playing against Service sides.
The club was the first sporting side of any kind to go into France after the war, despite the inconvenience of obtaining visas and military permits. A past President Mr N.H. Steed confirmed the date of this venture as 20th September 1946.
The club continued to make tours to the continent, often bringing home the silverware.
The earliest minutes available dated 18th April 1947 show that by that date the club had moved from playing at Cliftonville to Hartsdown Park in Margate. The club moved to Jackey Bakers, The Ramsgate Corporation Sports Ground for the start of the 1950-51 season.
Following a proposal by Sidney Glenn at an extra ordinary meeting on 15th February 1950 a Margate Hockey Festival took place during the weekend of 29th-30th April 1950. The following year this festival became known as the Thanet Hockey Festival.
The Thanet Hockey Festival was once the largest festival of its kind in the world, significantly its chief organiser up to the 1970's was Sidney Glenn.
The club had early links with local schools. School boys were often influenced to join the Cliftonville Hockey Club by the staff. However, as the following story shows the type of "influence" was a cause for concern :
"A rival club had received a number of complaints from the parents of boys attending a local boarding school. They said that their sons were returning home from matches 'late and smelling of alcohol'
A member of staff of the school approached the then president and was given assurance that Cliftonville's policy was always to ensure that transport was available so that youngsters could return from matches without being obliged to attend the customary drinking".
N.H Steed-Interview 1970
The club was joined by the Thanetians in 1980 and in 1983 Ramsgate Ladies joined to give the club a much needed Ladies section. A section which was furthered expanded by the arrival of Westgate Ladies in 2007.
Over the years a number of Cliftonville players have gone on to play hockey at County, National, International and Olympic level.
Perhaps Sidney Glenn 75 years ago, provided a foundation for the hockey experiences that both past and present players remember and enjoy to this day.
Cliftonville currently fields four men's sides, three ladies and boasts strong Junior and Veteran sections. The club is looking to push forward its development, with a pitch and clubhouse of it's own the next target!
The future is bright for Cliftonville Hockey Club, and long may the Club continue to prosper.