Home   Thanet   Sport   Article

Kent County League Premier Division side Minster explain decision to end first-team’s ground-share agreement with Ramsgate at Southwood and to play at the Minster Recreation Ground again from the 2024/25 season

A football club’s first team will be back at their “natural home” next season.

Kent County League Premier Division Minster have spent a single campaign at Ramsgate’s Southwood ground.

Ramsgate’s fans at Southwood during the Rams’ FA Cup run - the club will not be ground-sharing with Kent County League Minster during the 2024/25 season. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ramsgate’s fans at Southwood during the Rams’ FA Cup run - the club will not be ground-sharing with Kent County League Minster during the 2024/25 season. Picture: Barry Goodwin

While the facilities at the Minster Recreation Ground would not yet be of sufficient standard to continue progressing up the football pyramid, that’s where they will return to for now, having opted against the terms set out for an extended Southwood stay.

A statement from chairman Colin Holden on Saturday read: “We wanted to confirm that our first team will be returning to our natural home at Minster for the 2024/25 season in the Kent County Football League Premier Division and explain the events leading up to this.

“While we initially discussed the potential of playing at Southwood for a longer term with Ramsgate FC back in December 2022, the ground-share agreement was for this first season 2023/24.

“During discussions in January in relation to the continuation of our tenure, Ramsgate FC confirmed that some additional conditions would need to be put in place for us to continue playing at Southwood.

“Our clubs both share a philosophy of being able to provide good levels of competitive football for young players from Thanet and the surrounding areas - that’s certainly not disputed.

“The condition that we could not accept was for Ramsgate FC to have some input within our club structure and an element of control of players coming into our squads.

“We would essentially become a feeder club.”

Holden revealed the 2023/24 season has seen the first batch of youth-team club players start progressing into Minster’s four senior squads.

He said: “This has been something we are very proud of.

“I should also add that if those youth players had the opportunities of playing for clubs further up the pyramid - such as Margate FC and Ramsgate FC - then we would be equally as proud and would actively encourage and support them to progress.

“With all of the above in mind, we could not accept all of the conditions laid out by Ramsgate FC and, therefore, the opportunity of playing at Southwood for next season was not offered to us.

“With all of the senior clubs around us having ground-shares or other agreements in place for the 2024/25 season, we shall revert back to our first team playing at Minster Recreation Ground at least for next season.

“While we have a requirement for our first team to play at an FA-graded ground to allow opportunities of climbing the football ladder, our home is very much the King George V Field Minster Recreation Ground and all our other teams play there.

“The Rec is considered one of the best grass pitches in the area and, with recent Football Foundation Funding, the amazing support of Minster Parish Council and the tireless efforts of groundsman Neil Cooper and his team, the surface will only get better.

“We thank Ramsgate FC chairman James Lawson and all at the club for their help and support for this season.”

Their divisional rivals, Ashford FC, will ground-share at Southwood during 2024/25.

They will play Halls in the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield Final at Chatham Town this Saturday.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More