This was the era of the rise of the internet. This was also the era of the rise of the Groundhopper. This means that there is plenty of material available on the internet displaying the status of the ground from the 1990s up to the present day. This also means easier research! Wherever possible I have provided links to other websites rather than recreating the detail of those websites here.

The Folkestone FC club folded in 1990 and, although a new club, Folkestone Town (1990) F.C. was formed, it also folded without even completing a full season.

Folkestone Invicta FC (who began life in 1936 in the East Kent Amateur League) took over use of the Cheriton Road ground in early 1991.

 

There were very few changes to the ground that the new occupant club needed to make. One was new floodlights. Another was that Folkestone Invicta's first shop was in the now named “Stripes Club” (the old Red & White club), open on match days. It was a trial run before the new Supporters Club got going when the club moved into Dr Martens League in 1998. Nick Heighton was in charge of the shop at the time. When Invicta moved to Cheriton Road  the PA returned to its first home with Don Linkin and Dave Shackle setting it up . The first voice for Invicta was Dave Shackle . Mark Jenner and Audio Energy gave it a much needed update after a few years  .

By 1998 some upgrades were required. This included rebuilding of the dugouts, and resurfacing of the pitch:-

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1998 Dugouts PitchRepair2 Clive Arnold.j

Pictures credit: Clive Arnold

In 1999 the turnstiles at the Cricket Ground end had a makeover: Erection of replacement turnstiles and provision of flat roof to form a link with adjacent toilet block, re-siting of existing portable buildings, 2 of which to be linked, disabled access and gates between clubhouse and pitch, re- siting of security gates and general refurbishments.

It was about this time that the toilets at the Cricket Ground end, built in 1925, were destroyed by fire. They had been derelict for many years.

2000 – Folkestone Invicta’s elevation to the Dr Martens Premier League (Southern League) led to some ground changes:

  • there was a new shop converted from the old portakabin next to the tea bar and close to the entrance and PA hut at the intersection of the Harvey end and the Grandad stand side. This was a big move: the first replica shirts sold to fans and the new shop had thousands of programmes donated by Alan Bird from Ashford FC . It was run by Clive Arnold and Paul Everitt. It was very successful  and made a lot of money for the Supporters Club.

  • The supporters club ran the PA with Oli Johnson taking over the mike with the help of Lawrence Arnold they played some interesting music which always caused some discussion. Chris Harrison had a long stint standing in as well.

A year later & Stripes Club was fully refurbished.

Renamed Westbourne Stadium in 2003 following a sponsorship deal with a local cleaning firm. That year the PA location moved to the club shop to give a better view . Terry Hardie took on the role and added to the quality with some fun times . Guest voices have come and gone .

The Folkestone Invicta club switched from the Southern League to the Ryman (Isthmian) Premier League for the 2004-05 season, and there were changes to the ground set up: the Directors moved back to The Wilf Arnoury Suite and club shop took over the portakabin and turned it into the new enlarged shop which was run by Clive Arnold with helpers. Subsequently to that it became the Invicta Superstore with Geoff Senior in charge. The various incarnations of the clubs shops have been a meeting point for fans and helped the Supporters Club raise thousands of pounds.

It appears that new floodlights were introduced around this time. These renewed floodlights were paid for by fundraising by the Supporter's club . Herbie Tyler was the lead fundraiser . They used to be lowered to change the bulbs . The first record that I have of them is via the excellent Pyramid Passion website in 2004.

Around this time the old turnstiles at both the Stripes Club end, and the cricket ground end, were demolished by club stalwarts Clive Arnold & Phil Orris. New ones were built: Stripes club end paid for by the supporters club & built by John and Peter Hancock, Phil Orris, Nigel Patey, Herbie Tyler, Jon Law and many other helpers; the Cricket ground end ones were paid for & built by Shepway District Council.

In 2005-06 the ground was re-named the Buzzlines Stadium

In January 2006 there was possibly the first ever segregation of fans at the ground in its entire history when AFC Wimbledon FC visited. The away team were given the Cricket ground end and half of the Grandad stand. The decision had been taken after advice from the AFC Wimbledon safety officer and Kent Police as unfortunately there had been problems at a number of Wimbledon away games this season with the majority of incidents happening at grounds in Kent. This had been following crowd disturbances earlier in the season at Bromley, Ramsgate and Dartford. In many ways the ground was and still is very well set up for crowd segregation and home & away turnstiles. May be useful in the future – here’s hoping.

During this period of time there was general stability in the layout of the ground, possibly because all that was needed was already in place for the level of football being played: sufficient numbers of seats; sufficient turnstiles; sufficient changing rooms; sufficient food & drink outlets; etc. A time of stability reflected in these general photos of the ground……

 
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2008 DS3.png
2008 DS1.png

Photo credit: Duncan Saunders

…….until February 2010 Folkestone Invicta FC went into a CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement). Despite the doom and gloom, there seems a positive view of the ground in March 2010 from this Groundhopper http://footygrounds.blogspot.com/2011/10/folkestone-invicta-cheriton-road.html

 

The Cricket Ground end had stayed mostly unchanged for the last 90 years. However the trees behind dating from the same time were mostly cut down in the late 2010s, leaving only one tree standing. Here are the last few hanging on in 2013.

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Photo credit: Duncan Saunders

In 2012 an Ambulance Community Response Post was built at the rear of the Cricket Ground terrace.

2013 the ground is named the Fullicks Stadium

Also in 2013, yet another positive review from a Groundhopper https://nonleaguefootball.club/folkestone-invicta-fc/

Next door the Three Hills Sports Complex opened in March 2013.

December 2013 and a storm rips off the roof of the main stand. Stands on this side of the ground appear to have been particularly unlucky over the years.

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2013 roof2.jpg

Subsequently the remainder of the roof was removed, as it was too dangerous or not cost effective to repair. A large number of the seats were moved over to the Grandad Stand on the other side of the pitch, and this main stand was converted to terracing. This was probably the one biggest change to the ground in the last 40 years, since the burning down of the previous old main stand.

This gave an altogether new look to the Grandad stand, possibly giving it a new lease of life. It was definitely spruced up. The amount of rust falling form the roof every time a wayward ball hit it seemed to massively decrease, and the ‘grandads’ now having somewhere to sit seemed to be less vociferous. The few remaining moans being about the pillars being in the way now that it’s not so easy to bob your head round one when sitting. Gentrification of modern football?

This left the main stand as an open terrace, as this photo form 2017 shows (note the camera box at the back of the terrace. This appeared ~2016 but was not too popular with  some of the media team due to the sides of the box obscuring views of the ends of the ground.

2017 DS.jpg

Photo credit: Duncan Saunders

In March 2014 the Folkestone Invicta club secured a lease on the ground for 5 years, after plating there for the previous decade with no lease.

 

Along with many other football grounds at this time, the ground was opening up to other uses, although clearly the Horse of the Year Show in the 1960, and the fair of the 1920s were both quite innovative. A typical examples being the regular Guy Fawkes night fireworks and in 2014 & 2015 the Religious festival “Big Event” by Folkestone Churches Together..

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Picture credit: The Big Event

January 2015 Folkestone Invicta exit the CVA . A happy time, and another happy Groundhopper in 2015 http://worldgroundhop.blogspot.com/2015/09/folkestone-invicta.html . From his review, heres the place he couldn’t get a pie from, but definitely the place to get a celebratory pint from: Stripes club and tea bar in 2015.

2015 DS.jpg

Photo credit: Duncan Saunders

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Photo credit: Duncan Saunders

December 2017 wheelchair cover built between Grandad stand & cricket ground end.

2017 the Folkestone Invicta club was running things on a very professional basis, and the club “brand” becoming apparent around the ground, with renaming of parts of the ground and other commercial spin offs. Stripes Club became Bar Invicta and again had another complete refurbishment, and even got its own website https://www.barinvicta.com/. The Tea bar became “The Seasider”.

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Photo credit: Duncan Saunders

Photo credit: Folkestone Invicta

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