Saturday 4th September 2021 3pm – The FA Cup First Qualifying Round

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WELCOME TO THIS AFTERNOON’S FA CUP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND TIE AGAINST METROPOLITAN POLICE FC. HERE IS YOUR COMPLIMENTARY PROGCAST FOR THE GAME

SHOULD TODAY’S GAME END IN A DRAW (THERE WILL BE NO EXTRA TIME), WE WILL TRAVEL TO IMBER COURT NEXT TUESDAY (7th SEPTEMBER 2021), KICK OFF 7:45pm FOR A REPLAY.

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NOTES FROM THE BIG CHAIR

Good afternoon all and welcome to The Pan for this afternoon’s FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie against Metropolitan Police. I’d like to welcome the fans, players, management and officials of the club to East Sussex and hope they enjoy our hospitality.

This is only the second time in ten years that we have been drawn at home in our first round tie in the competition – for those with a good memory you will remember the last time being a 3-3 draw against Newhaven back in August 2017.

Our FA Cup record since I have been involved at the club is quite frankly dire. This is my eleventh season on the board and in that time the ‘Magic of the Cup’ has produced 12 wins in 30 ties. We’ve lost to lower ranked teams on four occasions, including the 3-1 defeat at Bedfont Sports last season and yet to beat one side from a division above. We came within one game of the First Round Proper in 2010, losing 3-0 away at Cambridge United, whilst in 2018 our epic seven game run in the competition saw us score fourteen goals, yet exit at Bath City in the Third Qualifying Round.

Every club hopes that this season will be “the year” of the cup run. You only have to see what the impact of a run of form and some luck brought to Chichester City in 2019 and then Marine last season who made an estimated £400,000 from their cup exploits, which has enabled them to invest in their facilities and squad, plus keeping some back for a rainy day.

It was great to see such a big crowd here on Monday when over 1,000 fans watched the Sussex Derby against Horsham. On balance the draw was a fair result – Horsham have spent big in the summer and will be challenging towards the top end of the table. We just needed that little slice of luck to unlock their defence but it didn’t happen. However, it was our first clean sheet of the season. That was our biggest crowd here at The Pan for almost two years and thank you to everyone who attended.

We are almost there with the squad we want. There’s a few more players we are tracking who may be released by clubs at Steps 1 and 2, which will give us the opportunity to loan a couple of our squad players to get some game time. We may even have a new face in the squad today.

On Thursday night our Under18s got their FA Youth Cup campaign underway with a 6-0 win here against Worthing United. Due to the withdrawal of our next round opponents, Badshot Leas, we have a bye through to the Second Qualifying Round in the coming weeks.

On Sunday our Women’s side head to Bristol City in their first Championship game of the season after last Sunday’s match versus Charlton Athletic fell foul of a Covid incident in the opposition camp. Finger’s crossed they return from the West with three points.

Enjoy the game and COME ON YOU ROOKS!

Stuart

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MEET TODAY’S MASCOT…..DOM MAIDMENT

We have a special guest in the house today – Dom Maidment is celebrating his “Stag do” despite actually getting married last year, as his mate Matt Hutchins explains:

“Dom Maidment’s Stag Party are delighted to be in attendance at this afternoon’s match especially as Dom has been waiting to visit The Dripping Pan to catch The Rooks in action for a number of years. The fact that he had to get married in order to have a good enough excuse to travel from Devizes in Wiltshire to Lewes is enough to demonstrate his commitment to the cause. Dom married his beautiful wife Hannah back on 2nd July in Salisbury and as such we are celebrating Dom’s ‘last days of freedom’ a little bit later than planned due to Covid.

However this has ensured that Dom has had a couple of months to lay down some solid ground work with Hannah and obtain some vital brownie points in the lead up to this weekend away. For example, he has always returned home from the pub on time whilst never blaming his mates for ‘forcing me to have another pint’, he has certainly never missed any important family lunch dates and was always keen to invite hoards of well oiled England fans into his garden to watch the Euros during the summer.

When Dom isn’t being the perfect husband at home he can often be found studying books on the collapse of the Communist Bloc or delving into a podcast about Bundesliga tactics and the next unearthed gem to come out of Bremen. Even more recently he can be spotted on the terraces at Twerton Park next to his No1 Instagramer cheering on his Roman warriors Bath City whilst his scorned ex-lover Arsenal looks on jealously from afar. He loves nothing more than visiting One Spice in Devizes for a relaxing curry before heading home to settle down in front of an episode of Line of Duty with a Perlenbacher in hand whilst admiring Laura Woods’ latest social media updates.

It is somewhat poetic that the opponents here today are The Met Police as Dom himself is also one of the beautiful boys in blue fighting crime on a daily basis, just as long as it happens between 08:00-16:00 Monday to Friday, and certainly not during a live stream of Gloucestershire’s latest defeat in the County Championship. Therefore we cannot guarantee who he will be supporting today. However, given that so far during his policing career he has crashed two vehicles, perhaps the Met Police may not feel that Dom is a particularly lucky omen for them.

We would also like to express our thanks to everyone connected with Lewes FC for looking after us so well and for being so accommodating, it has been a pleasure. Fingers crossed for a good win today with progression in the FA Cup and more reasons to celebrate. COYR”

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TONY’S THOUGHTS

Afternoon everyone. On reflection last week’s draw against Horsham was a fair result – neither team did enough to warrant all three points. It sort of bubbled just under the surface, with both teams not wanting to make a mistake. The stats were really close although we had the majority of possession but we didn’t do enough. The keeper made a couple of good saves, especially the effort from Razz in the first half.

There is still a lot of work to do but every game we are getting stronger and against Horsham we showed that we could defend and scrambled well – blocking shots and working for each other. The togetherness in the squad is getting stronger – we could play a lot better but we only had one day’s rest between the two games. I don’t think people realise how much energy goes into games these days – almost to a man they ran over 10km each during the 90 minutes. But four points from the two games was our “par” – that’s our aim for the season (2 points on average per game).

Today we welcome Metropolitan Police to the Pan. They’ve had a great start to the season, sitting third in the league and coming off a 5-0 win away at Walton Casuals. We know they will be a tough outfit but we’ve had a good week and training this week was impressive. Bradley Pritchard came through training and will be in the squad, and we will have a new face in the team who we got over the line yesterday who will add some real quality to the squad.

We’ve got some really good young players in the squad and we’ve worked hard with Ollie and Razz this week, both of whom have huge potential. Both will just keep getting better I am sure. Razz came in as a squad player but his performances in the last few weeks have been impressive. Both want to improve and want to be coached, constantly asking questions of us as coaches as to how they can get better. It’s not just us that work with them – JT for instance spends a lot of time with them too, building that understanding so it can help him as well. It’s great to see as they are real flair players on their day, the type of players that get fans excited too.

We’ve started to build on and off the pitch. Three games unbeaten and getting stronger. Today will be a big test for us and I hope the lads get your support today. Who knows, perhaps this will be our season in the FA Cup?

Tony

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TEN UNMISSABLE FACTS ABOUT LEWES IN THE FA CUP

  1. Today is our 157th FA Cup tie in the club’s history
  2. We made our debut in 1962 with a 5-1 here against Horsham
  3. Our biggest win in the competition was in 2018 when we beat Molesey 8-1 here in the Preliminary Round replay
  4. Our biggest defeat was in 1995 when we lost away at Fisher ’93 7-0
  5. The teams we have played the most in the FA Cup are Bognor Regis Town and Leatherhead with five matches each
  6. This will be the fourth meeting between Lewes and Met Police in the FA Cup, with the visitors having won two and there being one draw
  7. The last time we played each other was a First Qualifying Round Replay back in 1993 when Met Police ran out 3-2 winners at Imber Court
  8. The Rooks have played four current Football League sides in the FA Cup – Stoke City, Mansfield Town, Sutton United and Cambridge United
  9. The only time The Pan has hosted a First Round Proper tie was in 2006 when Darlington were the visitors and won 4-1
  10. In August 2016 the Pan was the venue for an FA Cup tie that didn’t feature Lewes as Guernsey hosted Phoenix Sports. Ironically 24 hours previous the draw for the next round had paired the winners with the Rooks. Whilst we all hoped for a trip to Guernsey, Phoenix Sports won and then went on to beat us 2-0 in the next round
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LEWES 0 HORSHAM 0 – MONDAY 30th AUGUST 2021

Lewes made it four points from two games over the Bank Holiday weekend with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Horsham at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made one change to the side that won 3-1 at Potters Bar on Saturday, with Tom Carlse replacing Iffy Allen in the starting line-up on his return from suspension.

The Rooks started brightly after recording their first win of the season on Saturday, and were unfortunate to see Freddie Parker just unable to make meaningful contact with a Razzaq Coleman De-Graft cross from the right early on.

The visitors had also won for the first time two days previously and came close to taking the lead themselves minutes later, as Charlie Hester-Cook missed the target from just inside the area after Lewes had been unable to clear a corner.

Both sides continued to look dangerous as the half progressed, with Ollie Tanner hitting the side-netting after good work down the left by Tom Carlse.

Horsham enjoyed arguably their best spell of the game in the 20 minutes before half-time, as Tom Richards sent a free-kick from the edge of the area just wide, before Lewis Carey made a smart save to deny Luke Robinson.

The visitors thought they had taken the lead ten minutes before the break, but saw Shamir Fenelon flagged offside as he helped the ball over the line from point-blank range after a good run down the right by Robinson.

Robinson was the next player to go close for Horsham, shooting wide from the edge of the area after Rob O’Toole had helped a long ball forward and found him in space.

The Rooks had the final opportunity of the half, as De-Graft forced Sam Howes into action after a purposeful run from midfield.

Lewes started the second half on the back foot, as the visitors forced a succession of corners without testing Carey.

Carey did have to be alert minutes later though, as he got down well to keep out a powerful strike from former Lewes defender Tom Day.

There were fewer clear-cut opportunities for both sides during the second half, with Lewes seeing plenty of the ball but finding it difficult to turn that possession into chances.

The closest Lewes came to scoring as the half progressed saw Joe Taylor draw a fine save from Howes with a powerful effort after he had done well to turn former Rook Alex Malins in the area.

Both sides continued to try and win the game in the closing stages and the final chance of the game fell to Fenelon, who shot over the bar after being picked out at the far post by Richards.

The final few minutes passed with little incident, with both sides settling for a point at the end of a competitive local derby.

Pictures thanks to James Boyes – you can see more of his work from Monday here.

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ISTHMIAN PREMIER ROUNDUP – MONDAY 30th AUGUST BY IAN TOWNSEND

In our early kick off, Haringey Borough made it three wins in a row as they defeated Wingate & Finchley. The match went forty minutes without a goal, and then got two in four as David Olufemi and Georgios Aresti gave the hosts a comfortable lead at the break. Fifteen minutes into the second half Christos Djamas made it three, and although Ibrahim Meite pulled one back soon afterwards, Olufemi’s second- and Borough’s fourth- made quite sure six minutes from time- four goals, three points and up to fourth.

Corinthian-Casuals hosted Kingstonian in a Royal Borough battle, and it was the visitors who made the breakthrough from the spot just after the hour, Gus Sow holding his nerve. That turned out to be the only goal of the game, and it was enough for the K’s to end the day two points clear at the top.

The A10 derby between Enfield Town and Cheshunt looked to be a match between quite evenly-matched sides. It was the hosts who took the lead, talisman Mo Faal opening the scoring seven minutes before the break to the delight of most of the six hundred and eighty six present- and that turned out to be the only goal of the game, as the Towners stay second.

Merstham hosted Folkestone Invicta, and Invicta maintained their unbeaten record. Ronnie Dolan got the opening goal on twenty four minutes, and David Smith made sure of the points eleven minutes from time as the visitors ended the day in third, the hosts in nineteenth.

Margate had been very mean in defence so far this season, but weren’t so mean when Cray Wanderers took the lead, Wands boss Danny Kedwell putting them ahead on nine minutes. The Blues were level, however, on twenty three- Vance Bola with the equaliser, and took the lead with six minutes remaining, Dan Thompson with what proved to be the winner. Gate are fifth, Wands slip to ninth.

Managerless Leatherhead fell behind on the quarter hour as they hosted Carshalton Athletic, Paris Hamilton-Downes opening the scoring for the Robins. It took until ten minutes from the end for another goal, and that also came to the Robins, as Dan Hector secured the points. Harry Ottaway got number three in the last minute to see the Robins up to sixth.

Worthing welcomed two thousand, one hundred and one to the Crucial Environmental Stadium as they hosted local rivals Bognor Regis Town. After a goalless first half the majority of those in attendance would have been shocked into silence when Ashton Leigh put the Rocks ahead just after the hour mark, and the stadium would have resembled a library- albeit with a rowdy section for visiting bookworms – as Kayne Diedrick-Roberts made it two five minutes later. That was that, and the Rocks faithful will be dancing on the train home.

Bishop’s Stortford got the first goal of the three o’clock kick off’s as Frankie Merrifield gave them the lead against Bowers & Pitsea, but they were only ahead for just over half an hour before Lewis Manor equalised. Manor was next on the scoresheet, too, putting the visitors ahead on sixty three minutes, but the hosts hit back, Jake Cass equalising from the penalty spot.

Those watching East Thurrock United and Brightlingsea Regent waited seventy six minutes for a goal, the first one coming to Alex Hernandez for the hosts- his second of the weekend. They got another five minutes from time, this one going to Regent through Harry McDonald, and that’s how it ended, one-one.

Hornchurch had not been at their usual high standard of late, but Sam Higgins gave them a fifteenth minute lead against Potters Bar Town, and then made them fairly comfortable ten minutes later when doubling their advantage. Their comfort increased when the Scholars saw Aryan Tajbakhsh dismissed soon after the break, and the ten men were three down when Rickie Hayles got on the scoresheet for the Urchins. Ellis Brown got number four four minutes from time, and the Urchins had their mojo back. Hornchurch are up to eighth.

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CASH IS KING…OR IS IT?

One of the hottest topics for debate among Rooks fans in recent months has been the floating of the idea that the Pan will go cash free at some point in the future. As with may public debates, you only tend to read those who feel strongly on the subject matter, either for or against. Naturally, this is a big decision for some, who feel that this will impact their, and others, ability to attend games as they do today.

The idea isn’t something that has just been randomly thought up. There is logic behind moving in this direction just as there was on decisions like stopping printing a match day programme. That logic is based around ensuring that our already stretched resources in the post-Covid world are put to the most efficient use.

I am sure that sounds like something a politician would say so let me give an insiders view on preparations for a game in terms of the gates.

At present we have to prepare floats for the turnstiles. As we are not a 7 day a week operation, we do not keep cash on the premises. It would be an unnecessary security risk. Therefore, someone from the club has to go to the bank on a Friday (prior to a Saturday) game and wait to be served to get the cash. I’m sure those of you who have tried to get counter service in a bank in the last 2-3 years will know that banks are trying everything in their power to move all transactions to machines and away from human interaction. Once they are back they will prepare the floats which can take some time.

On a match day fans come into the ground and are given a ticket when they enter, in exchange for their cash (and card payments). Towards half-time the turnstile operators return their cash and the ticket stubs to the office. Then, we need to reconcile cash versus tickets sold to get our attendance. Cash taken then needs to be banked, which involves the same process as the collection – queuing up to be served by the limited number of counter staff.

Some clubs, who will remain anonymous, will use the cash taken at the turnstiles to pay players and management. We don’t. We do not even pay the officials in cash anymore. All are paid through payroll (staff) or via bank transfer (officials). Therefore, having the cash around the club is a security risk, as too is sending someone with the takings to the bank.

Whilst it is great to see so many fans coming back to the Pan to watch us, we never like seeing long queues outside come kick off. It is frustrating for fans and us as a club. It is difficult to change everyone’s behaviour and asking them to arrive earlier – transport logistics do not always make that easier, so we need to find ways to get people into the ground quicker. Unfortunately, having cash payments at the turnstiles doesn’t help in that objective – about 50% of fans paying cash don’t have the correct money which slows down the queue.

One of the longer term impacts of the pandemic has been the rapid growth in the use and acceptance of contact-less payments. They are fast, efficient and allow organisations to very quickly collate the data they need. For venues such as football grounds we are able to see in real time the number of fans who have been admitted and what types of tickets they have bought, which makes the reconciliation process very fast. Last season we also had to implement pre-booking of tickets as the only method to enter the Pan, which again worked really well.

Therefore, our consideration is to adopt a model whereby we remove cash handling at the turnstiles. We already have card-only payments at the bars and food outlets which allows us visibility not only on sales but also on stock and inventory levels without the need for someone to manually count stuff. There was a suggestion about having one cash turnstile where exact money only would be accepted. A good idea, but what happens if someone turns up with just a £20 note? Do we refuse them entry?

One solution could be a way for fans to buy a ticket from point X at the ground and then enter the gate with a paper ticket that is scanned. Possible, yes although it would still mean needing to handle cash and have a float.

To encourage more fans to either buy in advance (approximately 30% of our gate versus Horsham bought a match ticket prior to 12.30pm on the day) we offer a £1 discount. Likewise, season tickets reduce the cost of admission by around 30%. Payment by contactless card on the day is the third option.

Most sporting venues have now gone cashless. A few weeks ago on a visit to watch Ascot United in their FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie I was amazed to see they had gone completely cashless and welcomed a record attendance of over 500 for their game. In a summer (ha!) of cricket watching, having been to over 25 different county venues, only one accepted cash whilst inside and that was just for food. Likewise, for major cultural events, festivals and public transport, cash payments are being rapidly phased out not because cash isn’t important but because of the logistics in handling it and the ease of using pre-payment or contactless for reporting and insights.

Nobody is suggesting this is a move to exclude any fans or penalise those who for a variety of reasons do not have a contactless payment method or cannot use online ticketing and we will continue to consult with fans on this in the coming weeks. We are open to ideas and suggestions from any fan as to how we can improve the experience for everyone.

If anyone wants to get in touch direct with me about the topic please do so at stuart @ lewesfc.com

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THE 2020/21 LEWES SQUAD

Lewis Carey

Carey will be a familiar face to Rooks fans having previously played for us in the 2018/19 season and winning Supporters Player of the Season. Lewis came through the youth ranks at Bristol City, and is an experienced non-league keeper having appeared for Bromley, Tonbridge Angels, Eastbourne Borough and Cray Wanderers.

Tom Carlse

An energetic full-back, Tom has previously played for Sittingbourne, Greenwich Borough, Ashford United and was part of the Cray Wanderers side that were promoted from the Isthmian South in 2018/19.

Killian Colombie

Able to play in defence or midfield, Killian has spent most of his career so far playing in the US for Iona Gaels, AHFC Royal, Brazos Valley Cavalry and Sporting Kansas City II. Killian joined Aldershot Town in November 2020 and making 12 appearances before switching to the Rooks ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Nic D’Arienzo

Nic made his first team debut for the Rooks in the League Cup in 2019/20 against Three Bridges, graduating from the Under 18s and went on to make four first team appearances that season and another seven in the curtailed 2020/21 season.  An accomplished left-back who is also comfortable in the centre of defence.

Ben Mundele

An England C international, Ben is a full back by trade but can also play at centre back and in midfield. Ben was named in the Isthmian Team of the Season in 2017/18 and 2018/19 and joined the club from Cray Wanderers ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Mitchell Nelson

An experienced centre back, Mitchell started his career at Bournemouth and subsequently played for Eastleigh, Sutton United, Margate, Dulwich Hamlet, Welling United, Tonbridge Angels and Cray Wanderers. Mitchell has previously played for the club joining on loan from Bournemouth in the 2010/11 season.

Matt Weaire

A young but composed centre back, Matt has represented Denmark Under 19’s. Starting his career at Brighton & Hove Albion, Matt joins the club from Colchester United.

Kenny Yao

A versatile young player who can slot in at centre back, full back or in midfield.  Kenny was released by Charlton Athletic in the summer, having spent time on loan at Dartford last season.

Karl Dent

A highly technical midfielder, Dent was with Arsenal in his youth, going on to join Dartford before joining up with Tony Russell at VCD Athletic and Cray Wanderers.

Michael Klass

With Fulham and Queens Park Rangers as a youth player, Michael went on to join Southend United making 12 appearances for the first team. Had an impressive spell on loan with Bromley in the 2019/20 season before returning to Southend and joining the Rooks in 2021/22. A player with exciting potential and one to watch this season.

Ayo Olukoga

Previously played for Romford, Cheshunt and East Thurrock, some impressive performances in pre-season saw the industrious centre midfielder snapped up by the management team for 2021/22.

Freddie Parker

Still only 21, Parker is a strong and technically gifted midfielder and has scored 30 goals in just over 75 games in the Isthmian League. Started his career with Millwall and had a spell at Crystal Palace before joining Cray Wanderers.

Bradley Pritchard

Pritchard joined us from Cray Wanderers to link up once again with Tony Russell and Joe Vines, although he is probably better known for his performances in the English Football League for Charlton Athletic and Leyton Orient. Rooks fans may also remember him from our encounters against Greenwich Borough. He made 67 appearances for Cray Wanderers between 2018 and the end of last season, scoring nine goals.

Kyron Richards

A promising and versatile midfielder, Kyron has previously played for Atlantis FC in Finland and FC Barkingside  before joining Tony Russell at Cray Wanderers in 2020.

Iffy Allen

A very skilful wide player who can also play as a Number 10, Allen joined the club from Ebbsfleet United in the summer of 2021. A youth player with Fulham, Allen went on to play for Barnet, Yeovil Town, Torquay United, Aldershot Town, Wrexham, Dulwich Hamlet, Braintree Town and Maidstone United.

Razzaq Coleman De-Graft

A technical and powerful player, Razzaq can play in a front three and as left back, the former Hampton & Richmond Borough player joined the Rooks following a series of impressive performances in pre-season including a goal against Dartford FC.

Brad Santos

Made is first team debut at Margate in August 2019, Brad had several successful season with the Under 18’s as well as appearances for Sussex and England Under 18s.  Known for his close ball control and speed, Brad has joined the first team squad in 2020/21 going on to make 11 appearances before the season was curtailed.

Ollie Tanner

A highly promising and exciting winger, Ollie was a Charlton and Arsenal youth player before joining Bromley’s academy and was promoted to their first team squad in 2019/20, making his debut at 17. Joined the Rooks in the summer of 2021.

Joe Taylor

A prolific goal scorer, Taylor counts Ramsgate, Folkestone, Margate and Cray Wanderers amongst his former clubs. Scored 32 goals in 38 appearances for the Wands in the null and voided 2019/20 and 13 goals in 14 games in the curtailed 2020/21 season. Taylor was Tony Russell’s first signing as Lewes manager.

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WELCOME TO…..METROPOLITAN POLICE FOOTBALL CLUB

THE HISTORY

Metropolitan Police Football Club was formed in 1919 playing friendly matches until joining the Spartan League in 1928. The club remained in that competition until 1960. During that time the Blues were League Champions eight times, runners-up once and League Cup winners once. In 1960 the Blues joined the Metropolitan League, winning the League Cup in 1969.

In 1971 the Blues were accepted into the Southern League and played in Division South until 1977, under Team Manager Vic Rouse, the former Wales and Crystal Palace goalkeeper. In 1977, the Blues moved to the Isthmian League, becoming one of the founder members of the restructured Division Two. A successful first season resulted in the club finishing runners-up and being promoted to Division One. In the 1981/82 season the club finished 3rd in Division One, missing promotion by just two points.

In 1984/5 the Blues were relegated to Division Two South, yet in thatsame season the Blues enjoyed their best run in the F.A. Cup, reaching the First Round Proper. The home tie against Dartford was subsequently featured on BBC’s Match of the Day. Defeat against Dartford was followed by a run of defeats in the league that saw the Blues drop into one of the four relegation places introduced that season. On returning to Division Two South the club finished 7th in both 1985/6 and 1986/7. During 1987/88 they led the table in January by seven points, but were overhauled by Chalfont St Peter, who won their last two games of season and became champions by just one point. The Blues were runners-up by virtue of a one-goal difference over Dorking. It was a close finish to a season in which they lost just two league matches, both away from home.

The next two seasons saw the club finish in mid-table in Division One but in 1990/1 the club finished second from bottom and were relegated into the newly formed Division Two of the restructured Diadora (Isthmian) League where they remained for several years, but always finishing in the top half. In 1993/4 the Blues again reached the First Round Proper of the F.A. Cup, losing 2-0 to Crawley Town.

Season 1994/5 saw the club celebrate its 75th Anniversary with a game against the Army and the opening of a new grandstand at Imber Court. The Blues finished in 5th position in Division Two and ended the season with a thrilling victory in the Carlsberg Trophy, defeating Collier Row in a penalty shoot-out following a 1:1 draw after extra-time. During the next few seasons the club continued to finish in the top half of Division Two, and in 1999/2000 reached the 5th Round of the F.A. Vase (last 8), losing to eventual winners Deal Town.

In 2002/3 the Ryman League was restructured and the Blues were placed in Division One South. That season the club finished second from bottom. By a stroke of good fortune, only three teams were relegated from Divisions One North and South, therefore, they found themselves in a relegation play-off against Wembley who finished second from bottom in Division One North. The Blues won both legs of the play-off and retained a place in Division One South.  

Following another restructuring of the non-league pyramid, 2004/5 was played in the Ryman League Division One, qualifying for the play-offs. They lost to Bromley with the scores 1-1 after extra time, losing 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out. The following season they finished in 4th position in the Ryman Division One but again fell at the play-off semi-final stage, losing 1-0 to Dover Athletic. 

Further F.A. restructure resulted in a Ryman League Division 1 North and Division 1 South in 2006/7, and the club finished in sixth position in the Division 1 South.  With only one club promoted automatically, they narrowly missed out on a play-off place.  However, the Blues reached the final of the Surrey Senior Cup but beaten 4-1 after extra time by Tooting & Mitcham, the score after 90 minutes being 1-1.

In 2007/8 the Blues finished 4th in the Ryman League Division 1 South, but for the third time in four years were beaten in the play-off semi final, this time 2-0 by Cray Wanderers.In 2008/9 the club again finished in 4th position thus qualifying for the play offs for the fourth time in five seasons, winning the semi final play off match 1-0 against Fleet Town, but losing 1-0 to Cray Wanderers in the final.

In 2009/10 the Blues had a disappointing Ryman Division 1 South league campaign, off-set by winning the London Senior Cup for the first time in their history, beating AFC Wimbledon in the final, 4-3 on penalties after the match ended 4-4 after extra time.

The 2010/11 season culminated in the club winning the Ryman League Division 1 South Championship by just one goal.  Bognor Regis Town had a 2 point advantage during the latter stages of the season and that was the situation when the clubs lined up for the final match. Bognor were held to an unexpected draw by Chatham Town, and the Met managing to scramble a 1-0 win against Merstham was enough to win the title with a goal difference of 61 against Bognor’s 60. So, for the first time in the club’s history they competed in the Ryman League Premier Division during the 2011/12 Season.

The 2012/13 season proved to be the most successful in their history at that stage, finishing in 6th position in the Ryman League Premier, missing out on a play-off place on goal difference.  The club had a good run in the F.A. Cup, again reaching the First Round proper, eventually losing 2-1 to Crawley Town.

The 2013/14 season was less successful, although the 2014/15 season ended with the Blues reaching the Ryman League Premier playoffs, losing the semi-final 2-1 to Hendon, but compensated by success in the Surrey Senior Cup, beating Merstham 2-0 in the final.

The next three seasons were relatively uneventful, until the 2018/19 season when, due to more restructuring, the Blues moved from the Bostik league to the Southern League. This led to the departure of long serving manager Jim Cooper, and a number of players owing to greatly increased travelling costs. Gavin Macpherson was appointed manager, with Jon Nurse as his assistant, and they gave youth a chance playing outstanding football to finish 3rd in the league, and then beating Salisbury and Poole Town in the play offs. There followed a super play off final against Tonbridge Angels, winners of the Bostik league play off, for promotion to the National league South, losing 3-2 in extra time. Yet once again with a tremendous run in the FA Cup the Blues reached the First Round proper, losing to AFC Newport County of League Two, but winning the Surrey Senior Cup against Tooting and Mitcham 2-0.

THE SQUAD

Gavin Macpherson – Manager

Gavin was appointed Manager at the start of 2018/2019 season following the resignation of Jim Cooper. He has been with the club as a player, assistant and manager for over 12 years and is regarded by his peers and many players as a fantastic, innovative coach. As a player, he was a professional at Barnet and Carlisle, and played on loan at Wealdstone, Slough Town and Woking.

Liam Beach – Goalkeeper

Liam was signed in the pre-season from Farnborough. The 23 year old ‘keeper is no stranger to the area having previously played for local rivals Hampton & Richmond Borough as well as Walton & Hersham. His commanding presence in the box is valued by his team.

Oliver Robinson –  Defender (Club Captain)

Ollie is a centre-back in his fifth season in a Blue shirt. Made club captain in July 2019, he is a commanding presence who has previously played for Walton Casuals and Molesey.

Bernie Tanner – Defender

The versatile 21 year old Bernie signed for the club during pre-season and is already forming an impressive partnership at the back with Ollie Robinson. He has previously played for Farnborough, Walton Casuals & Hanworth Villa.

Alex Fisher – Defender

Alex is a left-back who joined the Met from Ashford Town in June 2018. The former QPR youngster was a major part of the successful 2018/2019 campaign helping win the play offs and the Surrey Senior Cup, and continues to improve his game.

Zac Chislett – Defender

Zac is a graduate of the successful youth system at Imber Court, a right-back who broke into the first team during the 2019/20 season with a string of impressive displays. The teenager is younger brother of ex Met and current AFC Wimbledon midfielder Ethan Chislett.

Jude Molloy – Defender

Jude is another player who has come through the Met development pathway. He is regarded as highly talented and is already alerting football league teams.

Charlie Wickham – Defender

Charlie is a highly rated young centre-back signed from Boreham Wood having come through their youth system. He has represented England Colleges.

Luke Robertson – Midfielder

Luke emerged from the youth team ranks at the Met and was part of the famous FA Youth Cup team that eventually lost at Wolves. After a brief move to Farnborough, he returned to Imber Court in October 2018 and was a major part of the team that won the Southern League play off in May 2019.

Louis Birch – Midfielder

Louis is a tough tackling central midfielder who was part of the club’s successful reserves. He is now a massive part of the first team who can also fit in to the back four when required.

Sam de Saint Croix – Midfielder

Sam signed for the Blues in 2020 from Frimley Green. He started his career at Aldershot before spending several years playing in the New Zealand Premier League with Hawke’s Bay & North Shore United among others.

Oliver Knight – Midfielder

Ollie is an attacking midfielder who joined the Blues at the start of the 2018/2019 season from Frome Town, and played a massive part in the Blues’ successful 2018/2019 season. His previous clubs are Forest Green Rovers and Cirencester Town.

George Frith – Midfielder

George is in his second stint at Imber Court having returned in December 2019 from Westfield. A marauding midfielder, he previously played for Slough Town before injury kept him side-lined for the 2017/18 season.

Archie Vincent – Midfielder

Archie is another youth product pushing for a first team spot. A promising midfielder he is looking to build on some eye-jcatching pre-season performances.

Alfie Brewster – Midfielder

Alfie is another product of the Blues’ pathway system. Regarded as a composed central/right midfielder who scored on his 1st team debut, Alfie previously played for AFC Wimbledon.

Jack Mazzone – Forward

Jack joined the Blues in 2018 having previously played for Woking, Hendon and South Park. Known for the spectacular, he has been the clubs top scorer for the past two seasons and is expected to play a pivotal role leading the forward line.

Liam Ferdinand – Forward

Despite facing stiff competition for his signature the prolific 27 year old striker joined the Blues during the pre-season from Harrow Borough. A goal threat at every club he has played for, his record includes scoring two goals at Wembley in the last FA Vase Final for Binfield.

Jack Knight – Forward

Jack is a former youth player who took some time out from the game but is now back for the Blues. He is seen as a direct and tireless forward who adds a different attacking option for his team.

THE FORM

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TODAY’S TEAMS….WILL APPEAR HERE AT 2:30pm

Lewes FC

(1) Lewis Carey
(12) Kenneth Yao
(3) Tom Carlse
(4) Matt Weaire
(5) Mitchell Nelson (C)
(6) Michael Klass
(7) Ollie Tanner
(8) Karl Dent
(9) Joe Taylor
(11) Taylor Maloney
(18) Razz Coleman De-Graft

Subs
(31) Roman Hall
(14) Ayo Olukoga
(10) Freddie Parker
(16) Nic D’Arienzo
(17) Iffy Allen
(15) Bradley Pritchard
(19) Kyron Richards

Met Police

(1) Liam Beach
(2) William Wickham
(3) Alex Fisher
(4) Ollie Robinson (C)
(5) Bernard Tanner
(6) Rudy Allen
(7) Ollie Knight
(8) Luke Robertson
(9) Jack Mazzone
(10) Liam Ferdinand
(11) Sam De St Croix

Subs
(12) Archie Taylor
(14) Louis Birch
(15) Archie Vincent
(16) Zac Chislett
(17) Josh Keeya
(18) Jack Knight
(13) Ashley West

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DAMAGING THE FOUNDATIONS OF FOOTBALL BY STUART FULLER

One knock on effect of the potential creation of the European Super League has been the concern over how an similar event in the future would lead to the reduction in revenues that the Premier League would likely see from future broadcast deals and commercial partnerships. Whilst there were fourteen other teams in the Premier League who weren’t planning on leaving, it is fair to say that a significant amount of revenue is generated indirectly for the league by the six sides who planned to join the new organisation. Consequently, the revenue impact would not only have been and would be felt by the remaining clubs, but also in a reduction in funding to other areas of the game.

One organisation that has been instrumental in changing the lives of many clubs, players, fans and volunteers right down into the grass roots of the game is the Football Foundation. Their work has seen clubs able to build new community facilities and new ways to generate revenues. That has only been possible by funding from a number of sources which includes the Premier League.

Since 2000 when the Football Foundation was created, it has supported over 17,000 grassroots sports projects with grants worth £684m. Combined with partnership funding, investment into community football projects across the country now exceed £1.5 billion in total worth. There’s few clubs around that haven’t at some point benefited from the foundation. Thanks to the organisation, we have been able to build a fantastic 3G floodlight training facility adjacent to The Dripping Pan that is used extensively by the club and the local community – our affiliated junior teams, mental wellbeing, Vets and pathway teams all use it on a regular basis. Without access to that funding, we wouldn’t have been able to build it.

So any impact on the contributions the Premier League can make to the Foundation would ultimately impact football at the grass roots level. If the level of funding available through the Football Foundation is reduced because of the knock-on effect of any similar European Super League competition, then it would restrict what clubs can access funds for community projects and the amounts they are able to use. The impact on local communities could be significant – since 2000, according to the Premier League, the following facilities have been funded through the Football Foundation

  • 829 artificial grass (Astroturf) pitches
  • 3,160 natural grass pitches
  • 1,091 changing facilities
  • 182 multi-use games areas

In the words of the Premier League, you can see the potential impact losing some or all of this funding would cause:

“The facilities do not just help to increase sports participation. Some of the new facilities are used to strengthen the bond between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country – with the aim of becoming hubs for football club community organisations’ outreach work.”

In some of the early press releases and articles about the creation of the European Super League, there was talk of “solidarity” payments being made by the clubs who break away, up to €400m according to a report published by the Financial Times but whether that would have ever materialise is another matter.

As well as the Football Foundation, the Premier League also funds a number of charitable initiatives such as Premier League Kicks and the PFA Community Fund, which would also be impacted by a reduction in the revenue generated by the commercial and broadcast deals.

This was without a doubt a watershed moment for English Football. We’ve had them before – events that radically change the way we consume or think about the game. The creation of the Premier League, the first European manager and the change in approach to games, the first overseas billionaire owner, the Bosman ruling and of course the latest TV deals. All transformational in a way, but each has ultimately delivered some benefit to the English game. The ESL has proved to be highly embarrassing for the clubs involved but the danger that one day it will happen is real. And if it does it will destroy value, both financial and reputational, away from our game, a void that will stretch deep down into the roots of the game and be almost impossible to fill.

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TWO HUNDRED PERCENT INTERLUDE BY IAN KING

Ian is one of the finest football writers on the Internet and his website Two Hundred Percent is a treasure trove of insight and information. This week he looks at the transfer activity up to Deadline Day and what it means for English clubs.

The transfer chaos that has engulfed European football this week has, to a point, come a little out of the blue. There had been whispers that Cristiano Ronaldo was seeking an escape route from Juventus for a couple of weeks, but in the maelstrom of activity elsewhere, little credence was given to the story. With Sancho, Messi, Kane and Lukaku all hogging the headlines for varying reasons, there seemed little reason to push too deeply into this particular story, as well. Where would he go anyway? PSG were busting the bank on Messi. Real Madrid, we thought, were skint. Manchester City were chasing Harry Kane, and Barcelona were definitely skint. And who else, realistically, would be interested and able to afford him?

The whole of the football world gave a theatrical double-take on Wednesday night, when it was confirmed that Read Madrid were planning to offer €160m to take Kylian Mbappe from PSG. Mbappe’s contract with PSG runs out in 10 months time, at which point Real could pick him up for nothing. Alternatively, in just 128 days they could legally sign a pre-contract with him, committing him to the Bernebeu from the start of next season, for nothing. It’s such a ludicrous waste of money, it was said, that they’ve made an offer that they know will be rejected, but yesterday they were already back at the bargaining table, with Real upping their offer to €180m.

At this point, of course, we might be forgiven for wondering who is the more stupid, here. Is it Real, for offering so much money for a player that they could literally pick up next summer for nothing? Or is it PSG, for not biting their hands off to accept an amount of money that would come close to paying for Lionel Messi, lock, stock and barrel? Truth is, it’s entirely plausible that this isn’t about money in the first place, and that the rest of us proles are being a little gauche in fixating on the shiny numbers. This is an arms race, a Cold War that is turning hot. Or, for those of you  who prefer your metaphors a little more crudely expressed, a dick-swinging competition.

The only rational conclusion to reach from all of this is that money is literally no object, in that it’s a relative irrelevance, at least to one side. The players are passed around like pawns in a real-time game of penis-revolving chess. If Real Madrid bid €160m out of the blue and then €180m the next day, how much more can be squeezed out of them? And what effect would this have on their finances? They’re not in quite as bad a shape as Barcelona, but they still have debts of €770m. It seems utterly implausible that they could make anything like their money back in a year, and that’s before we take into account the small matter of his wages and the other costs of having him there. Goodness knows where this all ends up. Probably, at a guess, in a smoking crater. The doctrine that governed Cold War defence was called “Mutually Assured Destruction”, or “MAD”, for short. This, it increasingly feels, is elite level football’s very own form of MADness.

Yesterday morning, meanwhile, started with news that we’d rather been expecting, a public statement from Harry Kane, essentially confirming the collapse of his hopes of joining Manchester City. It was reported that City had only offered £75m plus add-ons for Kane, an amount which vindicated those who openly questioned how keen they even were to sign him in the first place. Anybody could have guessed that Daniel Levy was not going to sell his biggest asset to a rival Premier League club for anything less than a vast amount of money. In the rapidly overheating world of megaclub transfers, the offer made was never going to cut it, and Manchester City surely knew this. If Harry Kane should be angry at anyone over this, he should probably be angry at them.

Kane also has a lot of rebuilding work to do to his reputation. He spent a lot of time cultivating his on-field persona, and this included strains of both professionalism and leadership. Both of these qualities have been notable primarily for their absence with regard to his conduct over this transfer, and the best that we can say for it all is that he has been exceptionally badly advised. Goals may well prove to have a pacifying effect on a proportion of the Spurs support, but while some have been performatively angry about it all, for many more there has just been a feeling of overwhelming disappointment that this relationship with this player should have ended up this way, coupled with something of a shrug at him deigning to lower himself to play for Tottenham Hotspur again this season.

Contract law is contract law, and it doesn’t respect ‘gentleman’s agreements’. It is legally possible to form a verbal contract that’s legally binding, but ‘gentleman’s agreements’ would not ordinarily meet the threshold required by law, and certainly not for contracts worth tens of millions of pounds. Will Charlie Kane now fade back into the background? It would probably be advisable for him to do so, since there are likely few less popular people at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the moment. Even those who are prepared to cut Harry Kane considerable slack over the events of the last three or four months are unlikely to extend the same courtesy to his brother.

Those amongst us who were wondering how Manchester City might ever recover from the disappointment of all this got their answer later in the day. There are two sides to Manchester City at the moment. On the one hand, there’s what we might call the ‘football operation’, and on the other there’s what we might call the ‘sportswashing’ (or, if we’re feeling kinder about it, the ‘brand management’) side of the club. The ‘football operation’ has, as you may have noticed, been superbly run over the years. City have state of the art facilities and have had a transfer policy that has eschewed ‘celebrity’ signings in favour of building a team that transcends the sum of its parts.

But when these two differing visions clash, it now seems evident that the latter usually wins. That will certainly be the perception of the club, if Ronaldo does end up at The Etihad Stadium. It’s difficult to think of a stranger or more cognitively dissonant signing than this, for Manchester City, at least. Ronaldo is now 36 years old, and over the course of his three years at Juventus the club, if anything, started to look less powerful than it had done prior to his arrival. They lost the Serie A title one short of winning ten in a row, and their Champions League progress stalled year after year. They exploded their wage structure in order to accommodate him, but it’s difficult to see what tangible benefit they’ve actually taken from his three years there.

The upper echelons of elite European club football require complete players in every position, and it’s difficult to imagine Ronaldo being the sort of player who will be all over the pitch, winning back possession and defending, as well as scoring 20 or 30 goals per season. Such is the rarefied air at the top end of European club football that ‘just’ scoring quite a lot of goals isn’t really enough, any more. There will doutbless be some glorious moments for the CR7 showreel should he sign for Manchester City, but the risk of unbalancing the squad with such a signing is real, and bringing in a 36 year old would seem to be sharply against the philosophy that has dictated how the football side of the club has been run for most of the last decade or longer. There’s little point in even talking about the money, though. We all know that it’s no object here, too. The concept of ‘value’ has no meaning here.

The actual Cold War started to wind down when one of the sides involved went too far in trying to keep up with the arms race. But is elite level football starting to head in the same direction? The wild west capitalist economics of professional football will continue to boil down the whereabouts of the planet’s finest footballers until they are owned by the smallest number of clubs possible, and it’s clear that the European Super League was conceived as a stepping stone towards that ultimate aim. Competition, Florentino Perez et al decided years ago, was a thing of the past. But the biggest clubs remain in furious competition with each other, and even if the ultimate destination of silverware ends up being sidelined, these battles will continue because this long ago ceased to be about sport in any meaningful way. How much damage will this do? Supporters of Barcelona might be about to find out, and others may be about to follow.

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STODGEBUSTERS TAKE ON CRAY WANDERERS…AND WIN

Every away game a group of 4/5/6 Rooks fans seek out the truth and justice in the world of stodge – finding the mythical cafes that serve good old fashioned and honest British grub. Once the plates have been cleaned they head off to watch the Rooks. Win, lose or draw they return, full in belly if not in triumph at the result.

This was it, the first competitive match for……well, a long time. It was the start of yet another odyssey  around the grounds of the Isthmian Premier League. We were excited by this like never before and had planned the travel as soon as the league’s computer had proved it had a sense of humour by sending us to Cray on the first day. Yes, the club that a fair proportion of our new-look team had just migrated from.

It was the 10.57 from Lewes for Gary the Badge and PJ, with Polegate Roly already on board in coach four. We had to eke out the sweets for the one hour journey to Victoria and the further twenty minutes to Bromley South as PJ was only one to remember to bring some. We spent the time discussing our prospects for the new season. With a new team that had looked impressive in pre-season and a new management we were very optimistic that we wouldn’t be looking at the bottom of the table again this season. Even the play-off words were mentioned. Victories against Worthing and Horsham would go down well too, as would a decent F.A. Cup run which is well overdue. It’s been far too long since we were in the first round proper. Are we asking too much?

 Outside Bromley South station there was a problem. The Bromley Cafe, our usual watering hole, was no more. What were we going to do? We would have a walk up the road and see what else was around. PJ pointed out a Subway to which Gary muttered something unrepeatable. It’s fair to say he’s not a fan of Subway. OK, so we wouldn’t be going in there. Just up the road was salvation in the form of The Olive Tree Cafe. The menu in the window looked right up our street and in we went. To be honest, any menu that mentions All Day Breakfast is fine by us.

Roly and PJ went for a traditional British cafe favourite in ham, egg and chips while Gary plumped for the interestingly named Big Bertha, which was really just a big full English. It was all very nice and the cafe itself was very pleasant with a nice air of cleanliness. We gave it a Stodgeometer rating of nine. Many calories and much saturated fat later we made our way to the bus stop to catch the 119 to the ground.

Cray play their home games at Bromley’s Hayes Lane stadium, a ground we have visited many times over the years. It’s changed a bit with a large all seater stand behind one of the goals in place of the health and safety hazard that used to be there. Long standing supporters that have been there will remember it.

After some banter with the usual suspects it was down to business. Cray started impressively and hit the post almost immediately. Whoa, that wasn’t supposed to happen! We’ll get going in a minute and we’ll show them how to do it.  Twenty five minutes into the game and all our pre match optimism had been shot to pieces. Two-nil down and deservedly so. Our defence had gone AWOL too many times. We had been taken to the cleaners by Cray. This was NOT in the script. But then a bright moment for Lewes just before half time when Ollie Tanner went on a run down the left and finished beautifully. We were back in it. We would sort them out second half after a bit of the hairdryer treatment from the manager. Wouldn’t we?

No, we wouldn’t. The sloppy defending continued along with the poor passing and Lewes soon found themselves three-one down. We never really looked like turning the result around and, to be honest, that final scoreline flattered us a bit. But for Lewis Carey and some glaring misses it could have been quite embarrassing.

We trudged off back to the bus stop, chewing over what we had just witnessed. We hadn’t expected that. We had spells of looking a little defensively frail in pre-season but Cray had really found us out. Not many came out of the game with much credit apart from Tanner and Carey. A bad day at the office but we know we are better than that. And at least Worthing and Horsham had been clobbered too. Roll on the next game.

The Stodgebusters will return for Potters Bar Town

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UNDER18s REVIEW

LEWES 6 WORTHING UNITED 0 – FA YOUTH CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND

Thursday night saw the Under18’s play in the FA Youth Cup Preliminary Round, a competition in which the Rooks have made the First Round Proper in 3 of the last 4 seasons.

Lewes played Worthing United for the 3rd successive season in cup competition, this time hosting The Mavericks at The Dripping Pan.

The first half was frustrating period of football for the Rooks, having a lot of possession but not turning that into a clear advantage meant we went in only 1-0 up at half time, Kaiden Hummerston (Akbar) with the goal.

In the second half Lewes started to crank up the pressure with the possession and creating more chances went ahead 6 minutes into the half with Destiny Ojo, on his 17th Birthday, scoring his third of the season. This one a direct free kick from 20 yards out that flew over the wall and past the outstretched keeper.

The rooks continued to dominate, Kaiden ended up scoring the perfect hattrick, right foot, left foot, header. The goal scoring was completed by Finley Agnihotri with his 1st for the club and Ezra Roeg scoring for the second game in a row.

Lewes eventually running out 6-0 winners. Our potential opponents in the first qualifying round, Badshot Lea and Raynes Park, both withdrew from the FA Youth Cup so the u18’s await the second round draw due next week to find out who we’ll face next.

The team are in action again on Monday when they travel to Horsham YMCA for an Isthmian Youth League fixture.

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AND FINALLY….GETTING SHIRTY

The biggest news story coming out of Manchester United this week was about Ronaldo’s shirt. The Portuguese star had always worn number seven throughout his career, but United had already registered that squad number to the Uruguayan Edinson Cavani. Cavani in turn wanted to wear number 21, but that belonged to Daniel James. Simple answer? Sell Daniel James to Leeds United, then give Cavani and Ronaldo their chosen numbers.

The story reminded me of the strange case of Paulo Futre, another Portuguese winger, who was a legend at the peak of his career and would never consider a move to West Ham United. However, having suffered serious injury in the latter stages of his career, in the summer of 1996 he moved to London, dodgy knees and all. And of course, the man at the centre of it was Harry Redknapp.

Futre made it through pre-season unscathed and was set for his debut in the opening game of the new campaign against Arsenal at Highbury. Thousands of fans massed in the away end in glorious summer sunshine, ready to witness the brave new dawn of Harry’s Hammers.

What happened next remains the stuff of West Ham legend.

The story goes that, at about 2.15pm, West Ham chairman Peter Storrie was tucking into his lunch when he was summoned by a member of Redknapp’s backroom staff into the changing room. There was a problem. A big problem. The Portuguese Maradona had packed his bags and was about to jump into a black cab. 

By the time Storrie made his way downstairs, Redknapp and Futre were unleashing a furious stream of expletives that might make Quentin Tarantino wince. The problem lay with his shirt. Erstwhile kitman Eddie Gillam had handed him his new strip with FUTRE 16 on it. 

This was a man third only to the likes of Maradona and Platini in his era. And now here he was, being asked to give up his beloved number 10 to… John Moncur? 

The chairman’s arrival had done little to ease the situation. With 45 minutes to go, there was no time to print something new, despite Futre’s protestations. So he grabbed his bag and headed for the taxi rank.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, a new challenge arose. The teams had already been submitted to the referee and by the letter of the law they couldn’t be changed. West Ham would start the season with ten men unless Redknapp could find a solution or, even better, a scapegoat. So he marched into the referee’s office and did the decent thing: blamed it on his coaching staff, who had forgotten his glasses and mistaken Paulo Futre, one of the most famous names in world football, for Stevie Jones, the centre forward signed from Billericay.

The match official, unaware that Futre was now halfway to his hotel in Canary Wharf, accepted the excuse. After all the drama, thankfully, the game was on. West Ham’s eleven men duly rolled over and lost 2-0. So much for that brave new dawn.

The following week the shirt situation was resolved when Futre’s legal team arrived under strict instruction to thrash out an agreement for their client’s beloved number 10 shirt at all costs. Moncur, hardy a student of the law, knew a good deal when he saw one. A wad of cash and a golf weekend at Futre’s beachside villa in Madeira was too good to be true. Within a few weeks Moncur could have his shirt back as Futre had got fed up of the East End lifestyle and headed to Spain to play for Atletico Madrid.

I’m sure there are other versions of the story out there but I like to believe that this was the gospel.

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CREDITS AND LEGALS

“The Isthmian Football League strongly supports the FA statement that there should be a zero tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly any form of discriminatory abuse whether it by reason of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex and sexual orientation 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).The Isthmian League and all Member Clubs in the League are committed to promoting equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and providing access and opportunities for all members of the community.”

Lewes 2000 FC Limited. Registered in England and Wales with Company Registration Number 03790979. Lewes 2000 FC Limited is 100% owned by Lewes Community Football Club.

Honorary President Terry Parris
Chair Stuart Fuller
Directors Sue Anstiss MBE (co-opted), Ed Briggs, Charlie Dobres, Karen Dobres, Stuart Fuller, John Peel, Ed Ramsden, Claire Rafferty (co-opted) Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Match Coordinator Jessie Maes
Youth Secretary Kevin Brook
Operations Manager James Barker

Equality FC Campaign Manager Karen Dobres

Life Members
Mr and Mrs Brook, Vic Blunt, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox RIP, 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 RIP

Manager Tony Russell
Assistant manager Joe Vines
Head of Recruitment Adam Drew
First team coach Dale Hurley
First team coach Nathan White
First team physio Lydia Woodland
Goalkeeping coach Grant Hall
Match logistics Vik Dogra
Kitman Clive Burgess
Data Analyst Shaun Harrison
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 Stuart Fuller
Club Photographer James Boyes

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NEXT UP AT THE PAN

Saturday 11th September 2021
3pm kick off
Tickets on sale NOW!