Welcome to The Dripping Pan for today’s Pitching In Isthmian Premier League game with Potters Bar Town. Here is your complimentary e-programme.


“I am still stunned by the absolutely fantastic display of love and affection for my late brother Dave at Lewes FC on Saturday 20th November at the game against Folkestone Invicta. I was unaware of the depth of feeling that the management, team and supporters had for him.

As a family member it was both emotional and joyous to be part of the celebration of his life in Sussex that took place before, during and after the match. My family are humbled and thankful for everything that was arranged, from the “Cynical Dave” T shirts to the Northern Soul sounds and the emotion conveyed during the minute’s applause. 

Dave will always be a part of the club as much as he remains a part of the Mckay family and part of the lives of the vast amount of his friends who I met last weekend, both at Lewes FC and in Brighton.

I was overcome by the welcome I received as his brother and have made friends and friendships that I have no doubt will be enduring. Once again, a massive and sincere thank you for last weekend. It was truly appreciated and would have made Dave smile at all the fuss over him!”

Pat Mckay 


Good afternoon and welcome to the Dripping Pan for this afternoon’s Isthmian Premier League game against Potters Bar Town. I’d like to welcome our visitors from Hertfordshire and hope their journey back north is problem-free.

Last Saturday we certainly weathered a storm at Wingate & Finchley with the tail end of Arwen making conditions pretty bad for both sides. There were chances at either end and both sides could have won it, although I felt we just shaded it after a strong first half. Tony had demanded a reaction to a poor second half against Corinthian-Casuals and we saw that in North London. The goal was a typical Lewes goal – a driving run down the left from Ollie Tanner, a dangerous ball across, the hold up from Freddie Parker and a controlled finish from Bradley Pritchard. Thanks to the hardy group of Rooks who made the trip and held firm in the face of the terrible conditions and a massive shout out to Liam Beresford and Dan Bentley (and Malcolm of course) whose support is simply amazing, home and away, rain or shine.

Despite dropping a few points in recent games we are still in third place in the league and have an opportunity over the next few weeks to put pressure back on Worthing and Enfield Town. When we look at the teams in the top 8 at the moment, Worthing are the only side to have beaten us. We’ve recorded comprehensive victories over Folkestone Invicta and Enfield Town, grabbed three points off Carshalton Athletic and draws against Cheshunt, Bishop’s Stortford and look forward to the clash against Kingstonian on the 3rd January. A decent run of form in the next month and we are on the way to a very exciting second half of the season.

Just a reminder that on Saturday 18th December we now travel to Worthing for the Third Round of the Sussex Senior Cup, with our fixture against Cray Wanderers rescheduled due to their participation in the FA Trophy, to Tuesday 25th January 2022, kick off 7:45pm. All tickets already purchased are valid for the new date.

It is disappointing that today is our last home game before Christmas – we have almost four weeks until our next game here now, so for the first time this year I can pass on Christmas greetings – I hope you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued support of the club and our teams – it means so much to us all.

Don’t forget to buy your Christmas raffle tickets!

Come on you Rooks!



Good afternoon everyone and let’s hope the weather is a little kinder than last week at Wingate & Finchley where we had to battle 11 men, storm-force winds, driving rain and freezing temperatures. In hindsight I wish I had filled my cool box with hot water before the game so I had some heat underneath me! I’d like to thank our fans who traveled to North London and braved the conditions.

We played well in the first half, getting into the game and playing the conditions. Their keeper made a few decent saves and that kept them in the game. I thought we came out for the second half stronger and we were outstanding, if I am being honest, keeping the ball really well, creating chances and scored a really good goal, a move we have worked on the training ground. We didn’t take those half chances to double our lead, then had a penalty decision go against us when Will was pulled by the neck to the ground as a corner came over. Then out of nothing they equalised from a superb free-kick into the area that Carlsey has got there but he heads it against their centre-back and the ball flies into the roof of our net. To come away with a draw was disappointing but in terms of the performance I was pleased. Michael Klass was fantastic and he seems to get better every week – the last two games he has been outstanding. His footballing brain is on another level and he shows that in training so we just need to keep working with him on transferring that into games.

We played Potters Bar early in the season, and it was my first competitive win as Lewes manager as we beat them 3-1. They’ve changed a lot of personnel since and have recorded some impressive results. I saw them on Tuesday against Carshalton Athletic and although the Robins won, Potters Bar must have had 60%+ of the ball and controlled the game for long periods. I was really impressed with them and today will be a tricky game – they’ve recruited to become a possession-based side, something that we do, so we know we have to be on the top of our game, especially when we don’t have the ball.

The squad know the plan for today and we’ve prepared them as much as we can. I know the last two results have not been what we have been looking for but there’s been promising performances in there. We’ve played nine games in the last five weeks and it is hard – we often forget they work 9-5 (or longer in some cases) and football is an added strain. But our schedule is reducing now and we don’t have the midweek fixtures for a few weeks (bar New Year’s).

Look forward to seeing and hearing you all today.



Last week sees the start of an ongoing advertising campaign designed to push Lewes FC towards its goal of being the UK’s most-owned football club (and then the world’s). Really.

Because the more Owners Lewes FC can sign up, the bigger its platform for using football as an engine for change, in football and in the wider world. And the bigger its revenue, so it can compete on the pitch against the big clubs.

Lewes Football Club is 100% owned by single-shareholding individuals and its board members are elected from and by that group. The club currently has just under 2,000 Owners in 34 counties around the world. ANYONE, ANYWHERE can join. Including you…

The club’s message is one of democratic fan-ownership, gender equality, good football governance and no to gambling advertising in football. This has seen it attract support from football fans of many clubs, but also people with no previous interest in football.

So now the club is asking all #FansOfChange to show their support by signing up as an Owner.

The advertising campaign, created by ad agency Horse’s Mouth, is designed to convey that, though change may be happening, it isn’t really happening fast enough. It features ten different people from Lewes, ranging from players to supporters to owners to community activists and shop owners. And every ad ends with the star of the show, Roger (the groundsman). What they all have in common is their belief that, when it comes to change, in football and in the wider world… It’s About Bloody Time.

The campaign runs from Wednesday 24 November through to Christmas, across social media, in (local) cinema, on SkySports TV, in podcasts and in print. Print work has been designed by Brighton agency Baxter & Bailey who recently completed the club’s new website.

And in a show of people power, the ads will also be individually posted and spread by the club’s players, staff, Owners and fans. When you can’t afford that much paid media… be your own media network!


Ringmer Rovers under 10’s have been together since the age of 6 having trained together at the Ringmer Rovers Academy.  Ringmer Rovers under 10’s have a squad of 25 with two x 7-a-side teams entered in to the Crowborough mini football league playing on Saturday mornings.  The Ringmer Rovers under 10’s side is full of talent with 3 players attending Brighton academies having been spotted by Brighton scouts. 

Although leagues at their age are non-competitive, last season they managed to lose only 1 game across both teams in the league and won an incredible 5 summer tournaments (beating the record of all previous Ringmer Rovers teams).  The tournaments won include their own tournament, Burgess Hill’s, Hailsham’s and Lewes’ tournaments.  The boys are extremely excited to get the opportunity to come and watch Lewes, to get on the pitch and hopefully gain some tips to take back to the Crowborough league.


Photos thanks to Stuart Tree

A disappointing second-half performance saw Lewes fall to a 2-1 defeat against Corinthian Casuals at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made one change to the side that beat Folkestone 3-0 in their previous game, with Razz Coleman De-Graft replacing Iffy Allen in the starting line-up.

Lewes started brightly and were ahead after just eight minutes through Joe Taylor, who finished from close range after Taylor Maloney had headed an Ollie Tanner cross into his path.

The Rooks nearly doubled their lead just seconds later, as Bradley Pritchard won the ball back high up the pitch before finding De-Graft, who dragged his effort wide when through on goal.

Lewes were dominating proceedings and only the linesman’s flag denied them a second goal, with Tanner seemingly just offside as he latched onto a Michael Klass through-ball before finishing past Daniel Bracken in the visitor’s goal.

Taylor was the next player to go close for the Rooks, seeing a close-range effort blocked after good play down the right by Killian Colombie.

Casuals slowly began to grow into the game though, and came close to levelling the scores minutes later, with Lewis Carey forced into a superb save to push a Benjamin Cheklit volley over the bar.

Kieron Cadogan then blazed a very presentable chance over the bar for the visitors after patient build-up play down the right.

Lewes finished the half strongly, with Taylor guiding a De-Graft cross-shot just wide from inside the six-yard box, before Tanner narrowly missed the target with a powerful strike with almost the final kick of the half.

Having been under pressure for long periods of the first half, the visitors started the second brightly and saw Cheklit send a curling effort just wide after cutting in from the left.

Casuals equalised after 49 minutes, as Cadogan made space for himself on the edge of the box before finding the bottom corner with a well-placed strike.

They turned the game on its head completely by taking the lead on 61 minutes, with Cheklit crossing from the left for the unmarked Warren Mfula to finish from close range.

The visitors were dominating the second half, moving the ball well as they looked to add to their lead and giving Lewes very few opportunities to build any attacking momentum.

Carey was the busier goalkeeper heading into the closing stages, having to be alert to help a powerful Emmanuel Mensah cross-shot round his near post, and then making a more comfortable save to deny Elliott Bolton at the end of a swift counter-attack.

Lewes continued to look for a route back into the game and forced a succession of corners deep into the five minutes of injury-time, with Klass and substitute Ayo Olukoga both going close.

The final chance of the night fell to Carey, who sent a far-post header just wide from a Maloney corner, leaving the Rooks to reflect on a dominant first half that they had been unable to build on after the break.

Lewes: Carey, Colombie, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Pritchard (Olukoga 76), Maloney, Tanner, De-Graft (Allen 78), Taylor (Parker 65).
Unused Subs: Weaire, Gillela.
Booked: None.

Corinthian Casuals: Bracken, Tucker, Mensah, Thompson, Strange, Williams, Cheklit, Bolton, Mfula (Sitch 79), Cadogan, Bendle.
Unused Subs: Mills, Adelakun, Pinney, Ojemen.
Booked: None.

Attendance: 530



Lewes were forced to settle for a point at Wingate & Finchley after a game of few clear-cut opportunities played in terrible conditions in North London, reports Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made one change to the side that lost 2-1 to Corinthian Casuals in their previous game, with Freddie Parker replacing Joe Taylor in the starting line-up.

Lewes had the strong wind behind them in the first half but found it difficult to create any chances early on.

The first opening of note fell to Freddie Parker, who failed to make a proper connection with a Killian Colombie cross after good play down the right.

The hosts were defending well and looked capable of posing a threat going forward too, with Peter Dexter hooking a close-range effort just wide after a free-kick from the left wasn’t cleared.

Lewes were being forced into strikes from distance and saw Taylor Maloney draw a smart save from Ben Goode with a powerful 25-yard shot.

Wingate continued to cause the Lewes defence problems when they got forward and were unfortunate not to take the lead through Dylan Kearney, who cut in from the right before seeing his effort deflected onto the bar before eventually being scrambled clear.

Maloney went close for the Rooks again towards the end of the half, but once again found Goode equal to his long-range strike, this time from nearer 30 yards.

Lewes showed plenty of composure playing into the wind at the start of the second half and took the lead on 56 minutes through Bradley Pritchard, who was teed up by Parker to find the bottom corner from the edge of the area after good play down the left by Ollie Tanner.

The hosts levelled the scores just nine minutes later though, as a free-kick from just inside the Lewes half was headed in from close range by Dexter.

The Rooks responded well and nearly regained their lead minutes later, Parker seeing a shot deflected wide after a Michael Klass free-kick had been cleared into his path.

The next 15 minutes or so passed with very little goalmouth action, as both sides looked to take the lead but were unable to force either goalkeeper into meaningful action.

With the wind behind them, Wingate ramped up the pressure in the closing stages and saw a Bilal Sayoud free-kick deflected just wide.

They thought they had taken the lead late on, only to see substitute Liam Smyth flagged offside after converting a left-wing cross from close range.

The final chance of the game also fell to the hosts, with Tyrique Clarke heading a Luke Ifil cross over the bar, leaving both sides with a hard-fought point after an even game played in challenging conditions.

Lewes will hope to return to winning ways when they welcome Potters Bar Town to the Pan on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Wingate & Finchley: Goode, Ifil, Mavila (Smyth 65), Hatton, Hobbs, Stirling, Cotter, Clarke, Kearney, Sayoud, Hinds (Ofori 79).
Unused Subs: Achuba, Armoo, Berchiche.
Booked: Kearney, Hinds.

Lewes: Carey, Colombie, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Pritchard (Olukoga 87), Maloney, Tanner, Parker (Taylor 87), Allen (De-Graft 87).
Unused Subs: Weaire, Hall.
Booked: Salmon, Klass.

Attendance: 144 (approximately 30 travelling Rooks)



Potters Bar Town FC history dates to their formation in 1960 as “Mount Grace Old Scholars.” The club dropped ‘Old Scholars’ from the name in 1984, and changed to their present name in 1991. The change of name to Potters Bar Town coincided with joining the South Midlands League Premier Division. In the 1996–97 season they won the championship on goal difference. The following season the club were runners-up in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division North, and reached the quarter-finals of the FA Vase.

After winning promotion to join Division One East of the Southern League in the 2004–05 season, ground renovations included the building of a turnstile block. The turnstiles used came from the old Wembley Stadium and they possess a certificate from Wembley to prove it! The following year they moved to the Isthmian League Division One North. Potters Bar gained promotion to the Bostik Premier League in the 2017-18 season by finishing second.

In the 2019–20 season the club were drawn against Barnet in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round. The BBC selected the game to live-stream, and the match finished 1–1 with the Scholars scoring in the 101st minute of injury time to force a replay. However at The Hive they lost 3–1.
Potters Bar lost at home on Tuesday night to Carshalton, and visit us sitting 15th place in the league on 21 points.


Lee O’Leary – Manager

Lee is 36 years-old and was himself a former central-midfielder with Potters Bar; amongst his former clubs as a player are  Kingstonian, Canvey Island, Hendon, Chertsey Town, Wealdstone, and AFC Wimbledon.

Hafed Al Droubi – Goalkeeper

Hafed is an Iraqi-born ‘keeper who spent some time in Turkish football and joined the Scholars in the summer.

Dwight Pascal – Defender

Dwight is a 20 year-old who began his career at Barnet by becoming their youngest ever debutant at 15. He first joined the Scholars in November 2019 and, after another brief period with Barnet, rejoined Potters Bar.

Jaden Sharman – Defender

Jaden is a young defender who can play in both a central position and on the right-hand side. He arrives for his debut season with the club having joined from Northwood. 

Alfie Young – Defender

Alfie joined from Worthing in October 2021. Prior to his time as a Mackerel Man he came through the Watford Academy, before moving on to play for Hendon and Wingate and Finchley. He normally turns out at centre-back, but can play right-back as well as defensive midfield.

Ergys Pepaj – Defender

Ergys joined the Scholars from Braintree Town.

Calvin Dickson – Defender

Calvin appears to be a utility man who has made 5 appearances this term for his team.

Kieron Cathline – Defender

Kieron is a versatile defender at centre or right-back.

Corey Parchment – Defender

Corey has made 14 appearances for the club this year. Any other information remains secret.

Aryan Tajbakhsh – Defender/Midfielder

Aryan is now 31 and has played for a host of clubs, signing for Potters Bar this summer.

Devonte Aransibia – Midfielder

Devonte’s main position is central-mid. He started his career with Norwich City and joined the Scholars this summer.

Ben Ward Cochrane – Midfielder

Ben joined Potters Bar during the 2018-19 season from Enfield Town and was voted Supporters Player of the Year the following year.

Samson Esan – Midfielder

Samson joined the Scholars from Enfield Town in 2019; said to possess great pace and an excellent passer.

Amine Sassi – Midfielder

Amine is gaining experience having stepped up from the club’s Academy and looking to establish himself as a first team player.

Nathan Livings – Midfielder/Forward

Nathan began his career at Chelsea, joined the Scholars this season from Enfield Town, and plays on the right.

Joseph Boachie – Forward

Joseph is a centre-forward who joined the club from Concord Rangers in September on a dual-registration deal.

Kazaiah Sterling – Forward

Kaz started his career at Tottenham Hotspur and later had spells with Doncaster Rovers, Sunderland, and Leyton Orient. He joined the Scholars from Greenock Morton in Scotland.

Luke Joyce-Dwarika – Forward

Luke can play centre-forward or on the wing. He is 27 years-old and has played in Portuguese as well as French football.




Rooks Manager Darren Freeman was left fuming after his seeing his side concede an injury time equaliser pushing forward looking for a fourth goal. In an entertaining game, the Rooks went behind to a Bradley Sach effort in the 32nd minute but two goals, either side of the break, first from James Hammond and then from striker Olajuwon Adeyemo gave them the lead. That lasted 2 minutes before Josh Hutchinson equalised but Adeyemo scored his second and it looked as if the points would be staying in East Sussex until Thomas Gogo’s injury time equaliser.


Eight years ago today we hosted a Robert Dyas League Cup Third Round tie here against Redhill. But how much can you remember about the game, and what has happened to our opponents that night since?


#1. Who started in goal on the night?

#2. And who finished the tie in goal?

#3. Which of the Crabb's scored in the game

#4. Who opened the scoring for the Rooks in the 7th minute?

#5. What was the official attendance?

#6. Lewes won the game 3-2 but were knocked out in the next round but by who?

#7. We played Redhill in the FA Cup in 2016. What was unusual about the game?

#8. Redhill now play in which league?





Lewes FC Men will be using their Isthmian league fixture v Potters Bar as another opportunity to show male allyship with the cause for gender equality championed by the club.

The global theme for the UN’s dedicated 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence set by the UN Secretary General’s UNiTE campaign is ‘Orange The World: End Violence Against Women Now!’.

To mark the period The Rooks will wear bright orange beanies as they walk onto the Dripping Pan on Saturday 4th December with their mascots, giving the beanies to the mascots as the match kicks off at 3pm. The 16 days begun on 25th November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – and runs until 10th December, Human Rights Day.

The club are also supporting one of their ‘SisterShips’ at the game – Brighton-based Survivors’ Network. The charity is the Rape Crisis Centre for Sussex and works with those dealing with the consequences of sexual violence, the vast majority of whom are women and children. Survivor’s Network will be collecting at the turnstiles and selling Xmas cards, tote bags and badges to raise funds for presents to give survivors this Christmas. Our Supporters Club are kindly donating proceeds from the day’s ‘Golden Goal’ and raffle to the charity too.

Joe Vines, Assistant Manager of Lewes FC Men said: ‘Violence against women, whether domestic or otherwise, is an issue predominantly caused by and carried out by men – there’s no denying that. It’s important that we, as men, recognise this and call for change and better support victims of violence.

One of the ways we’re trying to affect change is by calling out micro-aggressions and inappropriate behaviours we may witness.

Our voices as men carry more weight in this instance and we have to make ourselves allies to victims of violence’

Director Karen Dobres said: ‘It’s brilliant that our male footballers – role models for many boys and men – are drawing attention to the widespread social problem of male violence against women and girls. Another great example of our socially-owned club doing what is right by the community as a whole’


About the Len Salmon Stadium
The ground has gone through a major transformation in recent years after the club’s promotion to the Isthmian Premier League last season. The club installed a 3G pitch for the start of the aborted 2019/20 season as well as redeveloping a couple of the small stands around the pitch. It is a compact ground but has plenty of cover and more than adequate for the club and their ambitious plans.

How to get to the Len Salmon Stadium
The ground isn’t easy to reach by public transport with the nearest train station, Pitsea, being a forty minute walk away. Basildon has more trains but it is 3 miles from the ground. Buses 5 and 28 both run from the station to Crown Avenue.

So driving is the best option but allow plenty of time to navigate the Dartford Tunnel. When you are through the tunnel take the junction 30 and head East onto the A13. After 14 miles take the turn off for Pitsea.

At the roundabout take the first exit so that you pass Tesco’s on your left. At the next roundabout take the third exit (Ashlyns) – go straight at the next roundabout (approx. 20 metres). Follow the road until the next roundabout and take the second exit and then take the first left into Kenneth Road. Follow the road to the end and turn right and then immediate left into the ground.

Visitors car park is at far end of clubhouse building. Access to clubhouse via pathway between clubhouse and football pitch then side door beside patio area.

Admission to the Len Salmon Stadium
The club sell tickets in advance via their website although they also accept payment by card or cash at the gate. Admission is £12 for Adults, £6 for Concessions, £3 for Under12s and Under6s are admitted free with an Adult.

Fancy a beer?
There’s not a lot around the ground although The Gun on London Road, about 20 minutes walk from the ground is recommended.


The club were saddened to hear of the passing of Author and Non-League fan Dave Roberts who died after a short illness last Sunday. Roberts shot to footballing fame with his story of his teenage years supporting Bromley, who at the time was in a terrible state of affairs. His book, The Bromley Boys was later made into a film of the same name.

Roberts followed up the best seller with 32 Programmes and The Long, Long Road to Wembley and Home and Away. He followed Bromley in recent years firstly from the US and then from Yorkshire, hoping to see them finally make the Football League.

He summed up the essence of being a Non-League football fan perfectly in his books, combining the beautiful game with plenty of cultural references and his writing will be sorely missed by many.

You can read an interview with Dave, from 2011, with Chair Stuart Fuller.

Rest in Peace Dave.


As someone who keeps a keen eye on the world of intellectual property infringements, scams and frauds, and how we can all play our part in avoiding them, I read with interest an excellent piece written by Joey D’Urso in The Athletic about an increasing trend in fake agents defrauding players.

D’Urso’s story focuses on a Step 4 player in the Non-League game who was approached by an individual through his Instagram page. The individual claimed he was an agent and could secure trials for the player at a professional club, suggesting that it would be easier to arrange at an overseas club. The two continued their conversations in private before the “agent” told the player that Belenenses SAD, who play in the Portuguese Primeira League, wanted to take him on a week’s trial in Lisbon.

As you can imagine, the thought of playing against the likes of Benfica, Sporting Lisbon and Porto in some of Europe’s best stadiums, on professional terms, was hugely exciting for the player who was used to playing in front of crowds of a few hundred and he jumped at the opportunity being offered to him. The agent sent across an agreement for the player to sign to get the wheels in motion. However, there was one outstanding item that needed to be sorted – the payment of a deposit of around £900 to the agent, which would be refunded on the second day of the trial.

Such an opportunity was too good to miss and so the player borrowed the cash from a friend and sent it to the agent. At first he heard nothing and then he was blocked by the individual on Instagram when he tried to follow up on progress. It is fair to say that the player will never see that cash again or that there was ever an offer of a trial from the Portuguese team.

FIFAPro, the worldwide organisation for professional players, recognise the case as part of a growing problem in the global game and have cited similar cases from Australia to Paraguay and many countries in between. The modus operandi always seems to be contact through social media and from individuals who appear to be based in Slovakia.

Whilst in this case the player suffered only moderate financial damage, there is a much wider problem that still exists in the global game related to human trafficking. An article in Inside World Football earlier this month encapsulated the issues caused by criminal gangs operating in many regions of Africa who look to recruit players for cash:

“Sport inadvertently creates a perfect storm for organised crime syndicates or opportunists, to infiltrate, defraud and exploit the young people, in a global market where there are significant gaps in sports governance, education, and supply chain monitoring for talent identification and recruitment. This exposes youth, who placed their trust in unregulated sports clubs or unscrupulous agents, to the imminent threats of trafficking or smuggling.”

Football often claims to operate outside the realms of normal business activity, with the insane amounts of money that flows at the top of the global game making it a very lucrative market for fraudsters to try to exploit. The aspirational pull of the professional game is one that seduces players especially those just starting off in their careers or playing at a level where they may not get spotted by professional clubs and fraudsters will naturally try to take advantage of that, as we have seen in the case highlighted by Joey D’Urso.

Football agents have had a bad rep in the past and the growing number of scams that see players defrauded does not help their case, but these are still few and far between thankfully. Fake agents exist not only in other sports but in the entertainment business, but when it starts to hit close to home there is a need for caution and warnings for all players. Any solicitation which looks too good to be true should be verified with the authorities such as national football governing bodies or FIFAPro themselves. Even asking for references of other players an agent has worked with previous could sound alarm bells if none are forthcoming.


Another cup competition but hopefully not another first round exit. This wouldn’t be easy as Littlehampton Town had been going well in their league and could well be on their way to the Isthmian league next season. They would be well up for this.

This was going to be a train outing but only three of us could make it. PJ, Gary the Badge and Steve met up at Lewes station for the 16.13 train to Brighton. Gary handed out the Groupsave tickets. PJ handed out the Fox’s Glacier Fruits.  We reminisced about Cynical Dave and how we would miss him, especially on away trips when we always used to bump into each other on some station platform somewhere. We will miss the comical banter he would have with opposition goalkeepers and defenders.

We were confident of getting a good result although a lot depended on how strong a team we put out. We felt certain that some of our more prominent players would be rested for this one with a big game against Folkestone looming and maybe some of the U18’s might get a game or at least be on the bench. At Brighton we had a short wait for the Littlehampton train to come in. The platform wasn’t announced until about 5 minutes before departure resulting in something akin to the Charge of the Light Brigade, without the horses, to be at the front for seats. More often than not these coastway service trains have no onboard facilities at all which can be a problem at our age if one doesn’t prepare oneself properly for the journey! But we were all sorted.

Before long we were exiting Littlehampton station and heading off down the street towards the town centre and the promising looking chippy that PJ had researched online, stopping briefly at a corner shop for some half time choccy bars. We do like a chippy and, unusually for an evening game, we would be having a sit down meal. We found the originally named Littlehampton Fish and Chips restaurant and it looked good. A large and a medium cod and chips, and a large haddock and chips with 3 cups of tea were ordered up. We were the only people eating in but they were doing a very brisk takeaway trade. That’s always a good sign as it means the chips are usually freshly cooked. Chips that have been hanging around for a while just aren’t the same according to the Stodgebusters chip connoisseur PJ.

We further studied the interesting menu. Deep fried Mars Bars? No thanks, and one wouldn’t think that the Stake Pies would be very popular with any local vampires. Sausssage and chips? The spell checker must have been turned off when the menu was produced. It’s a pretty basic place but that doesn’t matter as long as the fayre on offer is good. And it was. In fact it was bleedin’ excellent with quick and pleasant service. It wasn’t as good as the legendary Mac’s Plaice in Brightlingsea but, to be honest, probably nowhere is. Why doesn’t Lewes have chippys this good? Anyway, we gave it a 9 on the Stodge-o-meter and left very happy and full.

This would be a new ground for PJ to tick off the list, although Gary had been before many years previous, probably when Terry Parris was still a teenager. We were very early at the ground with a good 45 minutes to kick off so we checked out the bar. Three Bulmers ciders was the drink of choice but, of course, the first thing to do was to raise our glasses in a toast in memory to our absent fellow supporter Cynical Dave.

The Sportsground is not a bad ground to watch football. They have a decent sized covered stand down one side but no cover behind the goals where we like to congregate. At least there was a concrete path so the twenty or so of us who had turned out weren’t standing in mud.

Lewes had named a strong team although understandably Tanner, Taylor and Pritchard were missing. We were right. Littlehampton were well up for the game, obviously looking to cause an upset against the higher tiered team. They started fast. Lewes looked more assured on the ball though and, to be honest, looked a class above and raced to a three goal lead with three lovely goals. Littlehampton didn’t throw the towel in though and  pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time.

That goal gave them some belief and they came out for the second half on the front foot, pressing Lewes back. A second goal would have made things very interesting but Lewes made things safe when Freddie Parker got on the end of a lovely little dink over the defence and finished well. 

It ended 4-1 and that was job done. It was nearly midnight before we got home as the rail connections timings weren’t very convenient, but one cares a lot less about minor inconveniences like that when one has a victory to enthuse over. 

The Stodgebusters will return at Wingate and Finchley.




It is hard to think back a year in the current football world, let alone over one hundred, but when next year we celebrate the 135th anniversary of the first league, won by Preston North End, the Football Association will celebrate the 150th year anniversary of the FA Cup.

Back in 1872 with football clubs springing up left, right and centre it was the the vision of one man to create a nationwide competition to find out who the best team in the country would be. The Football Association drew up a list of teams who would be invited to play in the first ever competition.

With no Sky Sports, Talksport or 5 Live, nobody had an idea who would be the favourites for the competition, but it soon became apparent that The Wanderers were the team to beat, not only in the first ever competition, but in subsequent competitions.

But what happened in those formative years of the cup?  In the first twelve years of the competition the cup was won by a number of sides who today have disappeared back into the backwaters of amateur football.  But what was life like for them back in the late 19th century?  Well read on McDuff.

1872 – The Wanderers – Home ground – Kennington Oval, London
Back in 1872 The Wanderers had become a bit bored of the nomadic lifestyle which was not fitting for such a fine bunch of upstanding gentlemen.  Until 1872 the club, made up of ex-public schoolboys and “gentlemen of a fine nature, temperament and spirit” played friendlies across the country, and occasionally used a pitch in Battersea Park as their home ground.  In 1870 they decided that Kennington Oval would be more suitable, and agreed to share the facilities with Surrey Cricket Club.  This move was down to C W Alcock who was not only one of the founders of the football club, but was also to become the secretary of Surrey CC in 1872.

Alcock had his finger in a number of pies and it was his idea as secretary of the FA to set up a nationwide competition.  Of course with his influence on affairs not only did he manage to wangle an invite for his side The Wanderers, but also that the final would be played at their “home” ground, Kennington Oval.  Fifteen clubs accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural tournament which started in November 1871, although Donington School, Harrow Chequers and Reigate Priory all pulled out before a ball had been kicked.

Jarvis Kernick would have been the name on everybody’s lips if Match of the Day was being broadcast as he scored the first ever FA Cup goal for Clapham Rovers in their tie away at Upton Park.

Out of those initial 15 teams, only one exists today in their true form – Crystal Palace.  Others such as Hitchin and Maidenhead have changed their names.  Oh, and lest I forget there was Queens Park.  Yep, that would be Queens Park from Glasgow not the ones from west London.

Queens Park were seen as the ultimate example of playing a modern game of football and so they were invited to play in the competition for sporting reasons.  They were so impressive that they actually managed to reach the Semi-Finals of the competition WITHOUT playing a single game, after Donington School pulled out of the competition twice (see here for the explanation).

In a motion passed on the 11th June 1895 by Surrey Cricket Club football was banned from being played at The Oval. The last FA Cup Final played here was in 1892 when West Bromwich Albion beat Aston Villa in front of over 32,000.

1874 – Oxford University – Home ground – University Parks, Oxford 
On the 6 May 1954 Oxford University’s Iffley Road Stadium surpassed any achievements the University had ever reached.  Despite being only the second winners of the FA Cup it was athletics that hit the headlines around the world.  On that day the record books were rewritten forever as British AAA and Olympic runner broke the four minute mile barrier.

The stadium announcer for the race was Norris McWhirter, who went on to publish and edit the Guinness Book of Records as well as being Roy Castle’s stooge for many years. He excited the crowd by delaying the announcement of the time Bannister ran as long as possible

“Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event 9, the one mile: 1st, No. 41, R.G. Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford, with a time which is a new meeting and track record, and which – subject to ratification – will be a new English Native, British National, All-Comers, European, British Empire and World Record. The time was 3…”

The roar of the crowd drowned out the rest of the announcement. Bannister’s time was 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.

Anyone would think it was the most exciting thing ever to happen at the University, but they would be wrong.  In the 1872-73 FA Cup, the second year of the competition, Oxford University won through to the final in a very strange set of events.  After wins against Crystal Palace, Clapham Rovers, Royal Engineers and Maidenhead they raised Queens Park in the Semi-Finals.  That would be Queens Park, the Scottish league side who had been given a bye all the way to the semi-finals.  Unfortunately costs were prohibitive so they pulled out of the game, leaving Oxford University qualifying for the final.

At Lillie Bridge (now Earls Court 2) they faced cup holders Wanderers, who had been given a bye directly to the final. In front of just 3,000 spectators, Wanderers won 2-0.

The following year the competition was expanded and teams such as Brondesbury, Pilgrims, Amateur Athletics Club, Swifts and Trojans had entered the tournament in the first round.  In round three the two finalists were drawn together again.  After a one all draw at The Oval, Oxford took the cup holders back to University Parks and in front of 1,500 they inflicted The Wanderers first ever defeat in the FA Cup.

Drawn at home in the semi-finals against Clapham Rovers, Oxford University already knew if they won they would be facing the favourites for the cup, Royal Engineers who had beaten Swifts four weeks previously. Despite making additional provisions for the crowds at The Parks only 1,500 came to see the University win 1-0.  Less than three weeks later after beating Royal Engineers 2-0 at the Kennington Oval, Oxford University were the second ever winners of the cup.

At the time The Parks was simply a patch of common ground.  Today, it has been developed into an area of recreation for the city and also hosts the University cricket team. The University eventually moved to Iffley Road in 1921 when Spurs provided the first visiting team.  And the rest, they say, is history.

1875 – Royal Engineers – Home ground – Great Lines, Chatham
The most successful military team ever in England?  Few can doubt this claim after the Royal Engineers were three times runners up in the FA Cup sandwiched between their sole win in 1875 against Old Etonions at Kennington Oval.

The Royal Engineers in the late 19th century were the place to do your military service and so they had the pick of the best players.  They played at Great Lines, a hill high above the town centre and home today of the Naval Monument.  The club were pioneers of the pre-season tour.  It is amazing to think that top clubs these days head thousands of miles at the drop of a hat whilst in the late 19th century Nottingham and Derby were classed as exotic for the likes of The Royal Engineers.

The following year they began the defence of their title by beating High Wycombe 15-0 in Chatham, before getting a bye in the next round when “Panthers” failed to show up.  In round three they lined up in Great Lines against Swifts FC (who later became Slough Town) and the world of football was shocked as the Berkshire club ran out 3-1 winners.  Two years later they reached the final again, beating , Highbury Union, Druids, Pilgrims, Oxford University and Old Harrovians before losing to The Wanderers.

Unable to offer professional terms to players during the early part of the twentieth century the team their influence on the game faded.  The regiment still puts a team out today, although only within the local levels of the game playing in the vicinity of the original ground although, the Great Lines ground has since disappeared, but the Royal Engineers Social Club meet every year on FA Cup Final day on the original site to commemorate the achievement of their forefathers.

Part two featuring the FA Cup winners from 1879 to 1883 follows in our programme against Cray Wanderers.




Belenenses’ Portuguese top-flight match against Benfica was abandoned early in the second half because the home side had only six players on the pitch – having been forced to start the game with nine men, including a goalkeeper as an outfield player.

A Covid outbreak had left Belenenses with 17 players unavailable and their nine men were already 7-0 down at half-time.

And, after a delayed break, the team third from bottom emerged with just seven players due to injuries before a further injury immediately after the restart left them with only six – resulting in an immediate abandonment.

Belenenses, who had to field goalkeeper Joao Monteiro in defence, got off to the worst possible start, scoring an own goal within the first minute.

Such was their dominance with the two-man advantage, Benfica averaged 85% possession.

The own goal from Brazilian defender Eduardo Kau plus two goals from Haris Seferovic, one from Julian Weigl and a Darwin Nunez hat-trick had ended any semblance of a contest by the break.

During half-time, Belenenses lost Diogo Calila and Antonio Montez to injury, reducing them to seven players.

The match was called off a minute into the second period as Monteiro dropped to the floor, forcing the referee to abandon the game because the minimum number of players – seven – were not on the field.

The Belenenses players released a joint statement before match that read: “Football only has heart if it is competitive. Football only has heart if it is really sporting.

“Football only has heart when it is an example of public health. Today, football lost its heart.”

Story originally published on the


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Directors Sue Anstiss MBE (co-opted), Ed Briggs, Scott Currie, Charlie Dobres, Karen Dobres, Stuart Fuller, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Ed Ramsden, Claire Rafferty (co-opted), Sally Taplin, Trevor Wells
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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

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Under-18s Assistant Manager Craig Stevens
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