Happy Halloween here at The Dripping Pan for today’s Bostik Premier League game with Harlow Town.

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Darren from the Dugout

Today’s match music

Chairman’s Notes

Come back tomorrow for more Cup magic

Be careful what you wish for…

Recent match review

Ben Lane’s pre-match podcast

Today’s opponents

Stodgebusters on tour

Sponsor a Lewes FC player

Today’s teams

Upcoming fixtures

Credits and legal info


This season, we’ll be interviewing Darren ahead of every game. Click Play below to hear his thoughts ahead of today’s game.


We’ve created a playlist of the music you’ll hear in the stadium before the match and at half-time. If you’re a Spotify user, you can listen to the songs on the playlist below. Today’s match music has been chosen by John Peel.



Good evening and welcome to the Dripping Pan for this Halloween, or should I say Harloween, game against our visitors from Essex. This is actually the first ever league meeting between the two sides and I’d like to welcome the fans, players, management and officials from Harlow Town and wish them a safe journey home.

Whilst I’m sure that Darren will disagree with me, we come into this game on the back of four consecutive wins without actually playing that convincingly. I missed our games against Folkestone Invicta, and Whitehawk due to work commitments on the other side of the world but got reports from Darren. On Saturday we huffed and puffed to beat Ashford Town in the FA Trophy, but to me a win is a win.

Would we rather be playing great football and losing, or stuttering sometimes and winning?  We’ve had a great run in the FA Cup, are still in the FA Trophy, and a win tonight will take us level on points with second-placed Enfield Town. That’s a pretty impressive fact, irrespective of our performances!

Our reward for the win at Ashford Town on Saturday is a home tie, finally, against fellow fan-owned club, Merthyr Town.  That means we have to move another home league game, this time against Brightlingsea Regent, to a midweek game. We’ve had to move a number of these so far this season, including tonight’s fixture, which does have an impact on us. We tend to see a 40% reduction in our midweek attendances, so thank you to everyone who has come tonight.

Next Wednesday we host Brighton & Hove Albion Development Squad in the Sussex Senior Cup Second Round. We could have asked for an easier draw, but our record against County League sides in previous seasons (Pagham and Littlehampton Town for instance) hasn’t been good, so perhaps playing The Seagulls at this stage may lead us down a different road – after all our last final appearance four years ago concluded with a 2-1 win here against The Albion.

Last week we held the Annual General Meeting in the Rook Inn and thank you to everyone who attended. We presented the full year accounts and there was a good debate held about the current financial situation and what the future holds. Whilst we can count ourselves fortunate that we are more stable than some clubs, we cannot escape the fact that we still need to increase our revenues over the next few years to achieve sustainability. Every penny that the club takes on a match day in the raffle or golden goal goes to the club so please dig deep tonight.

Just a reminder that tomorrow night our Under18s host Sutton United in the FA Youth Cup First Round. Should we win that tie then we head to Aldershot Town or Clevedon Town in the Second Round. It would be great to get a big crowd here at The Pan tomorrow night to cheer on Dale Hurley’s side who have once again been so impressive this season in all competitions.

Get behind the boys tonight and Come on you Rooks!




Kevin Brook previews the Under-18s first round FA Youth Cup tie with Sutton 

For the second season in a row, our Under-18s have reached the first round proper in the FA Youth Cup and face a cracking tie against Sutton United on Thursday night under the floodlights of the Dripping Pan.

It was 10 years ago when the likes of David Wheeler and Grant Hall were part of our all-conquering 2008 youth side who memorably reached the third round proper of the competition, a feat only achieved by two other Sussex non-league clubs in the cup’s 66 year history, only for them to unluckily lose 2-1 to Hull City in front of over 650 at the Dripping Pan.

Last season, a memorable run to the second round was only halted by an impressive Portsmouth side that eventually showed their quality to beat the courageous Rooks 3-1 at Fratton Park.

This season’s run has been equally impressive under the watchful eye of new gaffer Dale Hurley. In their previous matches in this season’s competition, Hackney Wick were successfully negotiated at the Pan with a 6-2 victory – Dylan Gifford’s hat trick and Leone Gravata’s brace doing the damage. Next up was the tough trip to last season’s Academy Champions, Dover Athletic, but a resounding 4-0 away win was more than enough to progress. Tougher was yet to come as Croydon waited in the third and final qualifying round – and after 60 minutes, two players injured and two nil down it looked like the run was over but an unlikely fight back, inspired by two goals from skipper Ross Barclay, became a reality when Alfie Headland slotted home to make it 3-2 and complete the incredible comeback.

Our opponents on Thursday have impressively beaten Bognor Regis Town and Whyteleafe to reach this round and, while their Bostik Youth League form has suffered as a result, their Academy side is unbeaten this season. Sutton’s main goal threat this season has come from forward Juan Castillo although their goals have also been shared between their other attacking players.

Its attacker Dylan Gifford who leads the Rooks goalscoring charts on ten goals, but with Ross Barclay on five and Leone Gravata and Elliot Bennett on four each there’s been no shortage of goals this season. In fact we’re currently scoring at over four goals per game, with a whopping 37 goals in only 8 matches this season.

Gaffer Dale Hurley commented “We showed unbelievable character in the previous round at Croydon to get ourselves back in the game and I’m glad we’ve been rewarded with a home tie. We started slowly in first half but we made some tweaks, changed our shape a little and the boys did the rest and I couldn’t have been any prouder. Any side reaching the first round proper will be decent and we know Sutton will be a tough test but if we ensure we give everything we’ve got then we’ll be in with a chance”.

Assistant manager Craig Stevens added “Playing in the FA Youth Cup is a great occasion for any player and Thursday’s game should be a fantastic contest between two strong sides. The second round proper is a great incentive for both clubs and I hope we can get a decent crowd in to cheer on the lads. They certainly deserve your support”.

Please come along to support your Rooks of the future on Thursday 1st November, 7.45pm kick off at the Dripping Pan.


flat screen television

Should football fans complain about the imposition of TV schedules, asks Stuart Fuller

Over the weekend I had a lively debate with a Wolverhampton Wanderers-supporting friend who was venting his anger that eight out of their first ten games in 2019 would be moved for TV purposes.  My argument was that he should have known what he had signed up for at the start of the season. Wolves are the current ‘fad’ club, fuelled by significant overseas investment from a long line of messiahs promising to make the club “the biggest in the world” within a few years.

For all we know, Fosun International’s claims may be right. Wolves fans who have suffered years of boom and bust (significantly more of the latter than the former) are quite rightly full of beans at the moment, blinkered to the pitfalls of their owners current strategy. Unfortunately, they are in a crowded race of other high net worth club owners all trying to make their club the biggest in the world.

Few football fans or commentators would have predicted Manchester United’s current predicament of looking at a League Cup trophy as a good return from their season, but they are now behind their “noisy” neighbours in terms of on and off-field success. Who would have seen that a decade ago? And it’s not just City. Add in Chelsea and a resurgent Liverpool.  Spurs new stadium could see them finally make the step up to that level too. West Ham, in the 50,000+ stadium they play at for a hugely subsidised fee could potentially move into that elite category if they find owners who are willing to invest in the squad.

Why? Why are wealthy individuals investing in clubs? Fans may believe it is to deliver on-field success, but at the end of the day it is simply an investment, one which they expect to grow substantially over time. Part of that growth is based on success on the field, but the English Premier League is like no other – it is the potential returns off the pitch that fuels that interest.

Most clubs now make more money from TV than from gate receipt that, in its most basic form, means fans have become less important than the TV slot. This is why you won’t see club owners complaining when they have to play on a Friday night 250 miles away. There will be some noises made about “the difficult journey for our loyal fans” but no one involved is prepared to go out on a limb and say “No”.

So, the situation for clubs like Wolves, or further down the leagues, Leeds United, won’t get better any time soon. Success on the pitch means compliance off it. But what if there was no TV revenue of substance? To understand a little how that would look, fly 1,375 miles east to Belarus.

In the next few weeks Borisov Automobile and Tractor Electronics, or BATE as they are more commonly known, should wrap up their 13th consecutive title, a European record equalled only by Norway’s Rosenberg. The former works team from Belarus’s biggest tractor manufacturer rose to become the biggest club in the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union after 1992. Dinamo Minsk, funded as most other “Dinamo” clubs within the Soviet Union by the Military, were the biggest club and had won the Soviet Championship back in 1992. Since then their dominance has waned, and in 1996 the company and consequently the football team, were taken over by successful businessman Anatoli Kapski. A decade later and the club had retained their title at the start of their record-breaking run.

That initial investment happened at the right time as other clubs struggled to find their feet in Belarus’s post-independent world, when money started to flow from UEFA and their commercial partners into European competition. As each season passed and BATE celebrated another title, the prize money from their forays into Europe got bigger and bigger, which in turn saw them build a stronger and stronger squad.

They became the first and only Belarus side to feature in the Champions League Group stage, a feat they have repeated on four occasions and can include wins against Roma, Bayern Munich and Athletic Bilbao. Each game played in the competition just adds another obstacle to the remaining teams back in the Belarus Football League.

Without meaningful domestic TV money no other club stands a chance of competing in the foreseeable future. This is the alternative scenario for fans who feel that the TV companies have too much influence over the Premier League. I’m sure there will come a time when Dinamo Brest, owned by Middle Eastern company Sohra will challenge for the title, but until then domestic fans will have to make do with the odd domestic cup and a long-shot at the Europa League.

So, what do we want? The devil or the deep blue sea?

Many thanks to Steve Menary for his excellent background on BATE in October’s When Saturday Comes.


Whitehawk 0 vs Lewes 1, 23rd October 2018

Darren Freeman returns to Whitehawk for the first time since leaving the club and comes back with all three points.

Ashford Town 1 vs Lewes 2, 27th October 2018

Our first game in the FA Trophy ends with our first cup victory on the road this season, at the fourth attempt! Here’s Darren’s reaction:

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Ben Lane is back with his regular pre-match preview. Click below to listen.


Harlow Town were founded in 1879. Designated for development as a post-war New Town in 1947, the club joined the Premier Division of the London League in 1954 and won the League Cup in 1960. In the same year they moved to the newly-built Sportcentre on Hammarskjold Road, and the club staged a friendly against Uruguay – staying nearby in preparation for the World Cup – in July 1966. Uruguay won 6-1.

In 1961 they switched to the Delphian League which merged with the Athenian League in 1963. A third place finish in Division Two in 1964 earned Harlow promotion to Division One, and winning the latter in 1972 saw them step up to the Premier Division. In 1973 the Harlow switched to the Isthmian League, and in 1979 won Division One to gain promotion to the Premier Division.

The 1979-80 season was noteworthy for a memorable run in the FA Cup. Entering at the preliminary round Harlow won five ties to reach the first round proper for the first time in their history. They defeated Leytonstone/Ilford 2-1, and then drew 1-1 at Southend United before dispatching their Football League opponents 1-0 at home in round two. Harlow were drawn away to Second Division leaders Leicester City in round three, and after a 1-1 draw at Filbert Street won the replay 1-0 watched by a club-record attendance of 9,723. They bowed out in the fourth round, going down 3-4 to Watford.

Relegation in 1982 was followed by an immediate promotion, but two consecutive relegations in 1985 and 1986 saw the club drop into Division Two North. In 1989 they won the division and returned to Division One.

Ground grading forced Harlow to move home in 1992, and having missed the 1992-3 season altogether, returned to the Isthmian League third division at their upgraded Sportcentre home in 1993. Promotions in 1998 and 1999 took Harlow to Division One and in 2004 the club were transferred to Division One East of the Southern League, returning to the Isthmian League in 2006.

In October 2006, the club moved to their new ground at Barrow’s Farm. After finishing as runners-up in Division One North in 2007 Harlow won promotion to the Premier Division via the play-offs, defeating AFC Sudbury in the final. However, they were relegated back to Division One North in 2009 and finished bottom in 2010 but were reprieved from further relegation.

Harlow suffered play-off defeats in 2011, 2014, and 2015, but in 2015-16 they went on a club record streak of 12 consecutive wins between 19 December 2015 and 13 February 2016 to finish third. Harlow defeated AFC Hornchurch 3-1 in the play-off final at the Harlow Arena in front of a crowd of 1,655.

Harlow achieved a new club record highest league finish of tenth in the Isthmian Premier Division in 2017, though last year they finished 21st (of 24 teams). This year they currently lie 21st in the table with two wins from 13 games, though did record a 3-2 win at Whitehawk in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Danny Chapman – Manager
Danny was a defender for Harlow having first signed for the club in 2003, after spells with Barnet, and Wingate & Finchley. Danny left the club in December 2008, but returned in February 2010. He was appointed Club Manager in February 2011 and, after three consecutive appearances in the play-offs, Danny lead the club’s triumph in the 2016 Ryman Division One North play-off Final, beating Hornchurch 3-1.

Richard Hayward – Goalkeeper
Richard is well known in the local non-league scene, and has coached and played at a number of clubs including Cheshunt, Enfield Town and Waltham Abbey. He joined the Hawks in October 2018 to provide competition for the existing goalkeeping options.

Josh Bexon – Goalkeeper
Josh joined Southend United in 2014 as a 15-year old, and then signed his first professional deal at the age of 18 in 2017. Josh then signed for the Hawks in August 2018 on loan from Southend to add more goalkeeping options to Danny Chapman’s squad.

Paul Rodgers – Defender
Paul plays at right back, and is a former England youth international who began his career with Arsenal. He moved to Northampton Town in 2009 before joining Newport County in 2011. Since then he has played for a host of non-league clubs, and signed for the Hawks in January 2018 from Kingstonian.

Christian Scales – Defender
Christian is a left-back who came through the Norwich City Academy before signing professional at Crystal Palace, then Leyton Orient. Following injuries, Christian was released by Orient, signing for Harlow in September 2018.

Yannick Kissi – Defender
Yanick came through the 10 Coaching academy, and was on the books at Northampton FC for a period, signing for the Hawks in July 2018.

J.J. Da Cruz – Defender
An imposing defender at 6’ 5” with plenty of experience, JJ signed for the Hawks in August 2018 from Barking.

Harold Joseph – Defender
Harold has played the majority of his career in the upper levels of non-league football, having started his career at National League side Barnet, then in League 2. He is a big, strong defender who signed for the Hawks in October 2018.

Louis Yuill – Defender
Louis is a young defender who can play at right-back, centre-back or in midfield. He came through the youth system at West Ham United before signing for Birmingham City. He has also represented Scotland at youth level, and signed for the Hawks in August 2018.

Nathan Fox – Defender
Nathan came through the Norwich City Academy and also played for Brentford. He signed for the Hawks in September 2018 from Coggeshall Town.

Fabion Simms – Defender/Midfielder
Fabion signed for the Hawks in March 2014 from Potters Bar Town where he was a regular starter. He was last season’s Players Player and is comfortable at either centre-back or midfield.

Charlie Edwards – Midfielder
Charlie is decribed by Harlow as a dynamic midfielder. He signed for the Hawks in December 2017 from nearby Hertford Town.

Nathan Koranteng – Midfielder
Nathan is an experienced winger who started out at Peterborough United, before spells at Boston United and Woking. He went on to represent a host of non-league clubs before signing for the Hawks in September 2018.

Lawrence Vaughan – Midfielder
Laurence is a left winger or wing-back who signed for the Hawks in July 2018. He started out at the MK Dons academy, featuring regularly in the Under 18’s before he was released at the end of his scholarship.

Matt Foy – Forward
Matt Foy signed for the Hawks on work experience terms from Cambridge United in February 2018. A striker who came through the youth ranks at Cambridge United, he had loan spells at two clubs before returning to his parent club following the end of last season. Matt returned to the Hawks on loan in October 2018.

Tom Hitchcock – Forward
Tom came through the youth ranks at Blackburn Rovers before moving to Plymouth Argyle, followed by loan spells at Bristol Rovers and Rotherham United, before joining MK Dons. He signed for the Hawks in October 2018 from Biggleswade Town.

Emile Aqcuah – Forward
Emile signed for the Hawks on loan from Southend United in August 2018. He is regarded as a promising young striker with a formidable scoring record at various age groups.

Jules Haabo – Forward
Jules joined Harlow in September 2018 from AS Étoile Matoury and has made 7 appearances for the club without scoring; that will read 8 without scoring when he comes up against our mighty defence.

Sewa Marah – Forward
Sewa is a forward or attacking midfielder who came through the Southend United youth academy. He joined the Hawks on loan from in October 2018.


Another away game. All this travelling takes its toll on the Stodgebusters and their pensions. We wanted to see the Rooks get back on track after three defeats. The previous Saturday’s match at Potters Bar had been a fairytale……..bleedin’ Grimm.

Malcolm cried off from this one, probably due in part to the rest of us telling him about Hornchurch’s home ground. It’s not a great place to watch football. We really don’t like athletics tracks around the pitch as it means the action is that much farther away. Our usual place behind the goal is a non-starter because you end up being 50 yards behind the goal.

So we have to stand down the sides, but with our old eyesight it’s sometimes difficult to see what’s going on over the far touchline. Anyway, the rest of us met up at Roly’s mansion in Polegate from where Turnstile Alan would take the wheel and PJ would supply the evening’s sweets in the form of a bag of Lidl Butterscotch. We didn’t fancy the train for this one even though the tube station is just around the corner. Upminster Bridge is so far along the District Line that we would never get back to Victoria in time to get a sensible train home to our cocoa. Arriving at Lewes at 01.20? No thanks.

Driving at rush hour is never a lot of fun. There was some huge hold-up at Tunbridge Wells, and the usual chaos at Dartford Tunnel but we passed the time by predicting the score and deciding on where to eat before the Whitehawk game. Despite the delays we parked up outside the ground with half an hour to spare.

Although we don’t like the ground much we do like our recent record there. A couple of one-nil victories have taken the points. Hornchurch FC were another club who, several years ago, were splashing big money around on big players thanks to their sponsorship by, in this case, a big double glazing company. We played them in Conference South in 2004/5 and although we had a great team they were too good for us. The parent company went belly up halfway through the season, the money stopped and the clubs youngsters completed the fixtures. A familiar story. Worse still was that the club was liquidated. Reformed as AFC Hornchurch they worked their way back up to Conference South for one season. They are doing well again this season.  This would be a tough game. We thought.

So to the food. Gary went for the £4.50 Urchinburger and Roly plumped for a £3 bacon roll. Both seemed pretty good with enough calories to keep them going for the evening’s football feast.

We had barely found our viewing positions for the first half when Leon drove in a shot which deflected past the keeper. Pretty soon Brinky got his first goal in four years when he poked home after a corner. It wasn’t long before a nice move and a sublime finish from Omarr put Lewes three up, at which point a Hornchurch supporter near us decided he had seen enough and headed for the exit with his head down and muttering expletives. Three up at half time and it could have been more. Wonderful. We were playing some superb stuff. If Darren had asked for a reaction after the dismal Potters Bar defeat then he had got it. It was virtually the same team but looked a totally different outfit. The home defenders had been in disarray, shouting and swearing at each other. If they could play as well as they could swear they wouldn’t have been three nil down.

We have followed Lewes long enough to know not to count our chickens. We have seen three-nil leads evaporate. Sure enough, and after a surefire half time rollocking, out came Hornchurch on the front foot. Down went a home player in the box and in went the resulting penalty. Now they had hope. They were now re-invigorated. If they got another it could be a final half an hour resembling The Alamo. There were a few scary moments but Lewes held firm.

It was finally game over when a lovely cross field ball found Ronnie. He had given his fullback a torrid evening. He cut inside and lashed the ball past the keeper and kept running into the outstretched arms of the ecstatic Lewes fans for a joint celebration.  In injury time another nice passing move stretched the defence more than a Stodgebuster shirt, and saw Jonte stroke the ball home for five-one. We were in raptures but we still shouted for six.

We gave the lads a warm round of applause at the end. They deserved every bit of it. We were back up to eleventh in the table. If only we hadn’t lost those silly points versus Worthing and Potters Bar we would be joint second! But that’s football. Playing like this we would soon make those points up.

Back in the car we inevitably shared our post match thoughts. No-one had predicted that scoreline. In fact no-one had predicted a Lewes win. The drama wasn’t quite over for the evening. Just off the Dartford bridge all the traffic was stopped. All four lanes. Nothing moving at all. Something serious must have happened as it was engine off and stationary for a full 45 minutes. Good job we were in a good mood. Eventually we moved off expecting to find some carnage up ahead. But there was nothing at all. No hint of what the delay had been for. How bizarre. But thankfully no bad accident.

The Stodgebusters will return in “A Bus To Whitehawk”.


It costs only £50 to sponsor a player or manager for home or away Kit. £25 for training kit and boots. All funds raised go to Lewes FC Supporters Club, helping to fund Lewes FC throughout the season.

Contact: david.arnold@me.com or see David or Barbara on match days.

















STILL AVAILABLE FOR SPONSORSHIP: Stacey Freeman, Alex Malins, Ronnie Conlon or any player of your choice.


Teams will be announced here…


Opponents H/A Date
Kingstonian A Sat 3rd November, 3pm
Brighton & Hove Albion U-23s H Weds 7th November, 7:45pm
Merthyr Town H Sat 10th November, 3pm
Haringey Borough H Sat 17th November, 3pm

Full season fixtures, results and stats embedded below

Credits and legal info

The Bostik League strongly support recent FA statements that there should be a zero tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly, any form of discriminatory abuse, whether it be based on race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, faith, age, ability or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association. (The FA 0800 085 0508/Kick It Out 020 7253 0162)

Lewes 2000 FC Limited. Registered in England and Wales with Company Registration Number 03790979.

Honorary President Terry Parris
Chairman Stuart Fuller
Charlie Dobres, Eddie Ramsden, Stuart Fuller, John Peel, Barry Collins, Jackie Gilligan, Ed Briggs, Jon Ruben, Roger Warner, Galia Orme
Club Secretary Barry Collins
Youth Secretary Kevin Brook
Operations Manager Duncan Thompson

Life Members
Mr and Mrs Brook, Vic Blunt, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox, Billy Nixon, Derrick Parris, Terry Parris, Jimmy Quinn, P. Swaysland, Steve Ibbitson, Jason Hopkinson, Steve White, Martin Elliot, Kevin Fingerneissl, Kevin Powell, David and Barbara
Arnold, Roger and Cathy Feltham, Ethel Treagus, Roy Dartnell RIP, Ron Moore, Derek Southouse, Ray Smith, Ken Carter

Manager Darren Freeman
Assistant Manager Ross Standen
First Team Coach Tony Coade
Physiotherapists Paul Baskin & Debbie Adams
Performance Analyst Matthew Strong
Development Squad Manager Steve Eke
Development Squad coach Luke Carter
Development Squad/Under-18s sports therapist Chris Dumbrell
Under-18s Manager Dale Hurley
Under-18s Assistant Manager Craig Stevens
Under-18s coaches Jake Legrange and Johnny Buggy

Golden Rook Rob Read
Web Editor Stuart Fuller
Progcast Editors Paul Sheppard and Duncan Thompson
Progcast Designer Barry Collins
Club Photographer James Boyes