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Isthmian League club with EFL ambition after back-to-back promotions and big rise in attendance

Chatham Town are Isthmian League club with EFL ambition after securing back-to-back promotions and seeing a big rise in attendance.

Manager-chairman Kevin Hake spoke back in April 2023, as per Kent Online about his dream of getting them in the Football League.

They now average crowd of over 2,000 at home matches in the last year which saw then secure promotion back to the Isthmian League.

It was only in the 2021/22 season they have over 600 fans through the turnstiles. They’ve come a long way since.

After finishing on 100 points and scoring 122 goals, Chatham finished the season in second place behind Sheppey United.

The following season, the club achieved back-to-back promotions when they were crowned champions of the Isthmian League South East Division, and an average crowd of 1,000 with over 2,500 in for the promotion battle against Ramsgate.

Kevin Hake says: “We try to interact with them [Gillingham] as much as we can.

“I said I wanted to get to the Football League – I’m now two promotions down and have another three to go. People will, hopefully, laugh a little bit less!

“We’re just pleased to play in the Isthmian Premier next year. It’ll be fantastic.

“They’re passionate,” he said of the squad.

“Medway people are passionate, we’re passionate, and hopefully we have matched it.

“I’m just pleased we are where we are and, now, we can start planning for next season already which is great.

“We’ve had to make some difficult decisions throughout the season.

“It’s not been easy.

“But if we wanted to succeed and not have a consolidation season, these are the tough decisions we have to make.

“We had to make a decision five or six weeks ago and we brought [back] in Danny Kedwell, Ashley Nzala, Che Krabbendam and Nathan Harvey, who we had to bring in as back-up because Ben [Bridle-Card, the regular keeper] was injured, as well as Paris Lock.

“They’ve all just performed brilliantly.”

Hake said on those in the league for 2023/24: “There’s some massive teams in there and there will be teams coming down from National League South as well.

“We are just looking forward to testing ourselves against these guys.”

How are they getting on? They’re absolutely smashing it, five wins from five games, scored 13, conceded 5 and are top of the table, two clear of second place Enfield Town and three of Billericay Town in third.

 

APPEARANCES FOR CHATHAM 23/24 (30TH AUG 2023)

Ben Bridle Card – 5
Kristian Campbell – 5
Jack Evans – 5
Ashley Nzala – 5
Jordan Robins – 5
Seidou Sanogo – 5
Jamie Yila – 5
Dean Beckwith – 4
Alex Brefo – 4
Cameron Brodie – 4
Simon Cooper – 4
Ben Allen – 3
Matt Bodkin – 3
Che Krabbendam – 3
Nods Bobomurodov – 2
Ollie Hobden – 2
Danny Kedwell – 2
Joseph Taylor – 2
Chinedu McKenzie – 1
Jack Munns – 1

On the Bank Holiday Weekend, Chatham won 2-0 at home to Potters Bar Town, and then two days later won 5-2 away at Dulwich Hamlet.

Champion Hill was packed out, and a decent amount of the crowd was of that supporting Chatham, watching on as Jamie Yila netted a brace and Jack Evans produced a 13 minutes hat-trick.

Chatham are also getting set to host Ramsgate in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round, a huge crowd also expected for that one.

Sales of season tickets at Chatham have according to Kent Online, gone up by more than 70% heading into 2023/24.

Kevin Hake said on this: “It’s a great boost to the club.

“It will be great to see the Bauvill packed again after the amazing levels of support we had last season.

“To attract crowds of over 2,500 is just a dream and an average of over 1,000 makes us one of the top supported teams in Kent.

“It’s no coincidence we have the second-best home record in country with the overwhelming support we get.

“We know we face tough opposition in the Isthmian Premier as the likes of Dulwich (relegated from the National South), Billericay and Hastings have similar support which will make for a great atmosphere both home and away.

“I know a lot of our supporters will have a keen eye on the Bognor game as they plan a similar weekend away to when we faced Littlehampton!

“It’s great to see smiles on faces of both old and young who follow us all round the south of England and both myself and the players really appreciate it.

“We always go over to them to offer our thanks after the games win, lose or draw as it’s them who are paying their hard- earned money to watch us play.”

AVERAGE ATTENDANCES IN THE ISTHMIAN LEAGUE

(According to FootballWebPages after 5 games)
1 Dulwich Hamlet – 1,920
2 Chatham Town – 1,571
3 Horsham – 965
4 Hastings United – 948
5 Folkestone Invicta – 896
6 Bognor Regis Town – 857
7 Billericay Town – 749
8 Lewes – 724
9 Hornchurch – 706 
10 Haringey Borough – 570
11 Concord Rangers – 526
12 Whitehawk – 497
13 Enfield Town – 491
14 Cheshunt – 489
15 Margate – 453
16 Canvey Island – 373
17 Carshalton Athletic – 356
18 Hashtag United – 327
19 Potters Bar Town – 311
20 Kingstonian – 299
21 Cray Wanderers – 292
22 Wingate & Finchley – 163

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