Cliftonville Hockey Club

Established 1926

Friday 25th May. 7pm. Smiths Court Hotel, 21-27 Eastern Esplanade, Cliftonville, Margate, CT9 2HL.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have come to a point where the club needs to assess its future course. As members, we all have a voice to be heard in this decision, but it is also for anyone who is linked to Cliftonville Hockey Club. With the dwindling volunteers within the club, and the struggle to field teams / find umpires / turn up to training, alongside the increased politics and off-field challenges, it feels like this is the right time to step in and make a decision over the future of the club. All of the existing Management Committee that started three years ago will have left the club (not just the Committee) by the end of the season, due to the difficult off-pitch struggles within the club which has made all the other sacrifices made in trying to run the club feel worthless, and it is only because of the love that we all have for the club that we have fully investigated a number of different paths for the club to follow.

The challenges that the club is facing are numerous, and should be considered when reviewing our options. We have identified the main problems as follows:

  •  ~ Lack of player numbers: We are dangerously close to dropping to one men's team, and aren't far away from struggling to field two ladies teams, unless we can pick up a number of players. If this happens, we lose competition for places, lose even more attendance at training, and potentially need to increase subs to cover the shortfall in income.

  •  ~ Current players: We are in a situation where we have two 1st XIs and which are of a much higher standard than our 2 2nd XIs. Newcomers who play a good level of hockey may not stick around unless guaranteed a 1st XI spot. There are very few 2s players who are of the required level to step up into the 1s squads, or even push the 1st XIs at training.

  •  ~ Lack of club volunteers: We cannot find enough people to assist with the running of the club, across a range of areas: Umpiring, Coaching, Standing on the committee, running tours, running summer hockey, assisting with juniors.

  •  ~ Lack of club feel: Our socials are very badly attended. We don't have any socialising within teams or across the different sections, and we don't include juniors in any senior events, or vice versa. Apathy reigns.

The Aim

Hold an EGM to vote on the future path of the club - open to all who wish to have a say. For those who cannot attend, we will accept emailed votes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or votes in proxy (with proof), as we feel that it is vital that everyone be able to have their say in the future of the club. Depending on the vote at this EGM, we will then hold an AGM to vote in Committee positions, etc. if needed.

Without any further preamble, we present these paths here, without comment or favouritism. We have tried to include all the positive and negative options within the four different sections, and list all the known facts about the different options. 

1) Continue with the status quo

Keep everything as it is.

We will need to find committee positions as follows (although a few may be held by current incumbents) : Chairman, Treasurer, Fixtures Secretary, Umpires Secretary, Welfare and Safeguarding Officer, Social Secretary, Juniors Committee, Media and Communications, Disciplinary Officer, Secretary.

Are there enough people to fill all these positions? If so, how do we attract more players? If we don't, is there any way of surviving long term?

2) The St Lawrence College Route

This option effectively allows the club to focus on the playing side of things.

SLC will:

  •  ~ Provide all coaching

  •  ~ Arrange all home umpiring

  •  ~ Arrange fixtures

  •  ~ Collect subs

  •  ~ Take over the control of website design, marketing, etc.

  •  ~ Provide teas

  •  ~ Push CHC to all former SLC pupils, many of whom played hockey and are local, which may increase numbers.

CHC will:

  •  ~ Deal with socials

  •  ~ Team selection

  •  ~ Player disciplinary

  •  ~ Team captaincy, etc.

Areas that may be available:

  •  ~ CHC receiving some players from SLC (to be selected by team captains, and not forced into certain teams).

  •  ~ SLC may provide use of the gym and squash courts to the club.

The drive for SLC is to build the club, and they have suggestions for achieving this. However, all models and plans are contingent on the creation of a 3rd men's team, which it is suggested will be made up of older members who used to play at the club, alongside very good young players from SLC. Should this be achieved, and because of the opportunity to pay for pitch fees in advance, there is a chance for the club to drop subs by a significant level, meaning the maximum subs level for someone playing every game would be around £150, which in itself may attract more players. With three mens teams and two ladies teams, the suggestion is that the club will run at breakeven with these lower subs levels.

It is strongly suggested that there will be a pavilion next to the new pitch within 3 years, which will allow more social interaction and better links with the school. This would give us state of the art facilities to surround a truly amazing playing surface. SLC have delivered on all promises and timescales relating to hockey and the club in the past so can be read as pretty much fact.

Strengths of this proposal:

  •  ~ Low subs

  •  ~ No need to find volunteers for coaching / committee membership / umpiring.

  •  ~ Top level coaching.

  •  ~ Freedom for CHC to control on pitch matters.

  •  ~ Excellent playing surface.

  •  ~ No change to anything like training location or logistics with matches.

Areas of potential concern, or holes which haven't been filled (or can't be filled):

  •  ~ CHC will still need to find away umpires (unless we can persuade all opposition to provide 2 umpires at home).

  •  ~ Should we not fill 3 mens teams, the same concerns arise with playing numbers and squad depth.

  •  ~ There is no pavilion, and won't be for 3 years.

  •  ~ Players who would fill spaces in teams for home matches may not play away.

  •  ~ Attendance at training may not improve (especially if 'veterans' become the 3rd men's team).

3) The Herne Bay Route

Herne Bay Hockey Club are moving sites this close season to a new venue on the old site of the Herne Bay Golf Club, called the Herne Bay Sports Hub. There will be 2 x sand dressed hockey pitches (one small step down from water-based). They have suggested that CHC and HBHC merge clubs to create one new club to move into these new pitches. This new club would then vote in a new committee and new captains, where all CHC members are available to stand in any positions that they want to. HBHC would welcome all players moving over into the new club, and are excited to also accept new captains and committee members within the new club, and have approached all conversations with a real sense of community and collaboration, to the extent that they are open to having red in the kit, or changing the name to (maybe) Herne Bay and Cliftonville Hockey Club. They see this as the creation of a new club, rather than assimilation. Current HBHC and CHC teams seem to fit together nicely, with hardly any in the same leagues next season, and the new committee or new AGM can decide which teams enter into which leagues. The suggestion is also to create a team which plays on a Saturday which is a veterans team, with some of the old boys at Cliftonville coming back to play in this team if they want to, and to enter an over 40s and over 50s team into the Veterans Cups.

As Herne Bay are moving pitches this season, redesigning kit and starting something new, it is a perfect time to merge with an equal voice for both clubs. Should we try and merge in a year or two, it will be much more of a player move into Herne Bay Hockey Club, rather than the creation of a new hockey club with equal status to both. As such, we would suggest that this is a “one time” deal which has come at exactly the time that we are discussing the future of the club.

Strengths of this proposal:

  •  ~ No need for CHC to provide any volunteers more than those who already want to step up.

  •  ~ Many more players to allow for better attendance at training across men and ladies, more competition for places across all teams. 

  •  ~ Two new playing surfaces next to each other, with club house ready within six months. 

  •  ~ The hockey club to control one pitch which will be solely used for hockey, allowing for more training sessions if required.

  •  ~ Juniors section to still be run in Thanet, but with junior players to play under the club banner to play many more games throughout the season (with potential provision of minibus for travel, etc.)

  •  ~ Links (especially with older club members) are already there within the club, where the clubs have toured together and shared players (especially during the Thanet Hockey Festival times).

Areas of concern:

  •  ~ Location - this is 15 miles away from where we are based currently. 

  •  ~ Club identity - potential to lose all history and background of CHC

  •  ~ Us vs Them feel - especially if players move across into a team (although we really don't think this is going to happen).

4) Fold the club

This doesn't need any explanation. We all pack our things and go our separate ways. Thanks for the memories...

This is intended to give an indication of the different options available to CHC moving forwards. Should there be any questions or concerns, please feel free to email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you for your passion in making this decision, and your commitment to Cliftonville Hockey Club.