Southwick football saga continues: New club formed - but who will get to play at Old Barn Way?
The complicated saga of football in Southwick has taken another twist.
The players and management who left Southwick 1882 in a row over signing-on fees have formed a new club – and will play in a division one higher than the team they have left.
The other big question is which team will get the chance to be the home club at Old Barn Way once the old club's home is brought up to stndard by its new leaseholders the Russell Martin Foundation. Both AFC Southwick and Southwick 1882 say they want to play there in due course.
They’re called AFC Southwick and will be managed by Sammy Donnelly and Tony Gratwicke, who were axed by Southwick 1882 when a dispute arose over players who’d won promotion being asked to pay to play in the new season.
A statement from the new club said: “After a summer of reorganisation we can confirm the Southwick team which won the Mid Sussex Championship with a 100 per cent record last season has taken its rightful promotion place in the Mid Sussex Premier – one step away from returning to senior football.
“The name of the club is AFC Southwick, but the management and playing squad are the same and the aims are identical - to continue our progress up the football pyramid and return to our spiritual home Old Barn Way as quickly as possible. As before we are committed to doing all we can to assist with the redevelopment of the ground in the interests of the local community. Our slogan remains the same: Bring Home The Wickers!”
Because the team are in a higher league, ground requirements mean they will use Whitehawk’s ground in Brighton for the next two years.
If the team are successful this season a promotion back to the Southern Combination League would be possible.
AFC Southwick added: “We invite our fans to watch us at our new temporary home.”
Meanwhile Southwick 1882 confirmed their first team would continue in the Mid Sussex Championship at Southwick Rec this term.
They said: “Our decision to not play in the Mid Sussex Premier Division meant we could remain playing within our local community in Southwick and continue with our preparations to return to Old Barn Way as the affiliated football club.
“For anyone wishing to join us on our football journey back to Old Barn Way, we train twice a week at Southwick Recreation Ground, please contact Malcolm on 07793 973464 or visit www.southwick1882fc.org