Tuesday 26th September 2023 7.45pm – The Isthmian Premier League – The Dripping Pan

Welcome to The Dripping Pan for this evening’s Isthmian Premier League game against Hastings United. Here is your complimentary e-programme.

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Credit: Doyle
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Good evening everyone and welcome back to the Pan for this evening’s Isthmian Premier League game against our good friends from down the road, Hastings United, and thank their fans, players, management and officials for coming this evening.

The last couple of weeks have been frustrating. We dominated the game here against Folkestone Invicta, yet somehow found ourselves on the end of a 3-1 defeat. Then, we travelled to Ascot United in a tricky FA Cup tie, coming away with a 2-1 win and now face Hampton & Richmond on Saturday here. On Saturday we were definitely second best at league-leaders Chatham Town. We were missing Ryan, Brad and Deshane, then had to make changes at half-time to our midfield. There was no doubt that Nathan was our man of the match, with some superb saves. Alas, three late goals saw us leave pointless, and for the first time this season, goal less too.

We’ve unfortunately lost Ryan for quite a while after he picked up an injury in a training session two weeks ago. That leaves us a bit short, so we are looking at replacements – Tony and I are out at as many games as we can fit in at the moment so hopefully it won’t be too long before we identify new faces for the squad.

It is a very unpredictable league so far this season. We have seen that over the last few weeks and whilst we have dropped down the table, we know we have the players that can match any team. Getting back to winning ways is our priority, starting tonight and taking that into the cup game against Hampton & Richmond.

Last week many you will have seen former Rook Ollie Tanner hit the headlines after he scored with his first touches after coming on as a substitute in the Cardiff City versus Swansea City game. We all recognised the touch, the pace and the shot – for those who haven’t seen it, you can watch it here. We could see the talent Ollie had and we are made up for him, hoping he can go on and get a run in the team.

It’s been another busy week as we progress with the investment proposal from Mercury 13. We answered over 300 questions that had been raised via the Feedback Form, email inbox or at the Town Hall two weeks ago, a total of over 20,000 words. I understand and appreciate that there are still questions that people want to ask and get answers for. I haven’t singled out any person or comment previously, but I did take some exception to one statement on social media that the process has so far been “undemocratic” and not following “democratic norms”. At every step so far the club has been willing to listen, patiently, and answer where we have the information, or set a deadline to respond if we don’t have them to hand.

Completely unrelated to any investment proposal going ahead, we are delighted to be able to announce we will start construction of the new toilet block in Mid-November. It has been a pet project of Ed Briggs, and it has taken the best part of 2 1/2 years to get us to this point. The first block will be in the South-West corner of the Pan, replacing the temporary ones, whilst the second phase will see the replacement of the “temporary” structure at the top of the Philcox. I’d also like to thank the Supporters Club for their donation to complete the funding for the project.

Now is not the time for division. We have a team to get behind, irrespective of how the next few weeks goes, and that is something I hope we can all agree on.

Come on you Rooks


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Good evening everyone! Here are my thoughts following our last couple of games.

The Chatham game had been coming, so I’m not sitting here shocked at the result, if I’m being frank. In fact, we had a team meeting last Monday, after the Ascot game, as I wasn’t happy about where we were as a team, and I wanted the players to understand the levels and effort that is needed to win games of football at any level. It was said we had only lost one game in 8, but I knew where the team was in terms of the level needed.

Outside of the Kingstonian match and the first half of the Bognor game, it has not been good enough; I have made allowances for the fact that 10 out of the 11 are new, but these last few games, we have stopped improving and if anything, gone backwards. Everyone has had enough time to understand what is expected of them with and without the ball, so after Tuesday’s game, the plan is to sit down and assess the squad. If we have to shake the tree and move 3/4 out and bring in 3/4 new lads for the good of the team, then that will be done.

We were lucky to lose only by three against Chatham, and we have Nathan Harvey to thank for that. I don’t really want to go too much into it as I’m still angry about it. We have lots of hard work to do, that’s for sure. Joe, the players and I all need to step up, because it is not of the standard expected. Tuesday will be a chance for us as a group to respond in the right way. It won’t be easy, as Hastings have had a decent start to the season, but we need to get back to basics and have players on the pitch who will work hard for the group, as they are the foundations of any good team.

Just an update on the squad, Ryan Gondoh tore his adductor at training in the build-up to the Ascot game. We have had the scan results back, and he will need an operation, so until we know the date of the operation, it is hard to say when he is likely to be back.

As always, bring the noise


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  • The club was founded in 1893 as Rock-a-Nore and played their home games on the East Hill in Hastings Old Town.
  • Local lottery winner Mark Gardiner, previously involved at local rivals St Leonards Stamcroft, became involved ahead of the 1997-98 season and made a generous playing budget available to manager Garry Wilson. Even with the healthy budget available, the club found themselves in the bottom half of the table despite the signing of former football league players including Mark Morris and the goal scoring exploits of Stafford Browne. Wilson was sacked after a FA Trophy loss to Bath City and Dean White and Terry White were brought in as joint managers.
  • Despite the 2012/13 remarkable FA Cup run, the club’s league form left them languishing near the relegation places and the club were eventually relegated after a three-and-a-half month winless streak. Ray departed shortly before the 2013-14 season and John Maggs was appointed in September 2013. Maggs only lasted five months and was replaced by Terry White, who took the club the play-offs, losing to Folkestone Invicta in the semi-final. White resigned in October 2014 and was replaced by Dominic di Paolo, who himself only lasted until News Years Day and was replaced by Nigel Kane.

Femi Akinwande

Hastings’ number 9, Femi Akinwande, has started the season strongly, with 7 goals in 9 games for the club in all competitions.

26th December 2022Hastings 2-1 Lewes
29th August 2022Lewes 0-0 Hastings
26th December 2017Lewes 2-0 Hastings
28th August 2017Hastings 1-2 Lewes
17th April 2017Lewes 4-4 Hastings
26th December 2016Hastings 3-0 Lewes

Hastings beat Bishops Stortford in the first round of the FA Cup, to set up a tie against Harrogate Town in the second round. The tie at Harrogate ended 1-1, setting up a replay at the Pilot Field which was televised live by ESPN Sports and witnessed in front of a sell-out crowd. Hastings won the game on penalties and set up an away tie against Middlesbrough in the third round, where the club were knocked out after losing 4–1 in the biggest match in the club’s history.

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To find out more, please visit: https://branchingoutadventures.co.uk/

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#1. On this day in 1998, Paolo Di Canio was sent off playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal for pushing over which referee?

#2. On this day in 2004, Wimbledon hosted Burnley in a league match...but where was the game played?

#3. On this day in 1956, which club hosted the first ever European Cup tie on English soil?

#4. On this day in 1960, which new club competition started?

#5. On this day in 2015, Lewes hosted Billericay Town. Who played in goal for the Rooks and later went on to make over 100 appearances in the Football League?

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No Olympic Spirit in Lyon Sunday 17th September 2023

“To you, the Olympique Lyonnais 2023-2024 squad, this message is addressed to you, to some of you already, to those who assume the status of dressing-room leaders.

“The message is clear: if there are leaders in this dressing room, they no longer have the right to remain silent. You’re wearing the Olympique Lyonnais jersey. You’re the ones who wear the OL jersey.

“Others before you have worn it, glorified it. You don’t have the right to tarnish it. Now that the transfer window is over, the squad is here. All we ask is to be by your side. But to do that, you’re going to have to earn it.”

This extraordinary (literal translation) speech was given by one of the ultras leaders, addressing the Lyon team and management direct from the stands after their 4-1 defeat to PSG two weeks ago.  It is fair to say the result was the straw that broke the camel’s back and saw Les Gones hit rock bottom of Ligue 1 after four games of a season where they had been expected to be challenging PSG at the other end of the table.

The international break arrived just at the right time for the boss Laurent Blanc, or so it seemed.  A chance to go back to the drawing board, create a new strategy for his squad to drag themselves off the bottom of the table.  But ten days after the heavy defeat, and three days before they took on Ligue One minnows, Le Havre, the OL board sacked the former French captain.

As luck would have it (yawn), I was in town for the Rugby World Cup, or at least passing through to Saint Etienne to watch Australia versus Fiji. The fixture gods couldn’t have rolled better dice for me with Olympique Lyonnais’ game scheduled for 8:45pm on Sunday.  

The Rugby World Cup is taking place exclusively in football stadiums, aside from the multi-sport Stade de France.  Yet domestic football matches were still continuing in the stadiums without much fuss or rescheduling.  The two organisations had put their heads together to make sure that both rugby and football fans could enjoy their respective sports irrespective of the fixtures which meant I could see an oval ball in the home of Les Verts before making my first visit to the Groupama Arena for OL’s game.  Happy days.

The timing of the end of the rugby and the start of the football was tight but doable.  A blistering hot afternoon in Saint Etienne, the stadium packed to the rafters and the organisers counting the Euro from the €10 a pop beers, with alcohol for rugby of course.  I delayed leaving the game until I had no contingency- Fiji’s historic victory had to be savoured, especially in the face of the drunk, ungracious Australian fans around me.

I made the train back to Lyon with seconds to spare, then just made it onto the tram at Lyon Part-Dieu.  For such a big Stadium (the second biggest in the French league) it has incredibly bad public transport links.  One tram line heads to the stadium, which deposits you about a mile away.  I was going to make it on time, just.  There would be no visit to the club shop to buy some tat, no alcohol-free beer and no mountain of frites.  At the bag search the steward pulled out my compact camera.  He called over a supervisor and they closely examined it.

Without quoting the conversation in their pigeon English or my ‘Allo ‘Allo French verbatim, the conversation went something like this:

“You can’t bring that camera in.  It’s a professional one.  They are banned”

“It’s not a professional camera.  It’s a compact camera” I show them the lens.

“It’s has lots of dials and settings.  You need to be a professional to use it.”

“Do I look like a professional?”  There’s a long pause.

“You could throw it at someone and hurt them”

“It costs hundreds of Euro.  Why would I throw it at a someone?”

“Ah…so if it cost that much, it must be professional”

It was now 8:50 and the conversation was, like me, going nowhere.  I admitted defeat and was directed to the bag drop.  They looked at my tiny man bag and wondered why I was dropping it off.  I showed them my camera and they said “that’s not a professional camera”.  I’d apparently picked the biggest jobs worth steward out of the hundreds employed by the club on a match day.

Finally I was able to enter the impressive stadium.  It was a long climb up to the top tier but the view was superb – an absolute bargain at €12, less than the cost to watch most Step 4 clubs today, yet here I was watching one of France’s most successful teams in one of Europe’s most modern major stadiums.  The stadium has hosted the Europa League Final, a host venue in Euro2016, will be used in the coming weeks for the Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Summer Olympics.  Built it and they will come.  But having fantastic facilities doesn’t necessarily bring in the field success.

The ground was about 2/3rd full, with most of the top tier closed off on the opposite side of the stadium closed off, except the smattering of away fans who had made the 800 mile round journey from Normandy.

The hardcore OL support was split between the Virage Sud, with the fans who confronted the players two weeks ago at the opposite end, the Virage Nord.  They sang, bounced and at one point threw white towels towards the pitch midway through the second half, a symbolic gesture perhaps? 

It was a decent game.  All of my knowledge and experience of scouting was completely redundant here, as neither side seemed to be playing with any structure or formation.  Liquid, would be a summary of how Lyonnais played in the first period.  Centre-backs marauded at will, full-backs slotted into the number 10 role and Alexander Lacazette, the attacking option in what should have been a 4-3-2-1, made a last gasp tackle on more than one occasion (you read that right Arsenal fans). Despite all their possession, their attacking intent and goal scoring opportunities, the Le Havre keeper rarely had a save to make.

Half-time saw a murmur go around the stadium rather than encouragement.  On the plus side, they’d not conceded but had rarely looked like hitting the target themselves.  The visitors had they chances and probably came the closest to breaking the deadlock.  

There was no repeat of the post-match interrogation by the Virage Nord on the players.  They accepted a point and a clean sheet was progress from what had gone before, and that lifted them out of the relegation zone for the time being.  The fans piled onto the trams parked up outside the stadium, moving off as soon as they were full.  In a league where nobody was yet dominating, the talk of the tram was again more of a missed opportunity rather than any real positivity.  The fans alighted back at Part-Dieu and disappeared into the night, bouncing off the inebriated England (and for the night, Fiji) rugby fans coming out of the bars having seen them beat Japan.  The clash of sporting cultures and fortunes was clear.  There would be better nights for OL, the days are always darkest before dawn.

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Credit: Doyle
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“The ground is the best in the league, lovely people, big atmosphere of togetherness between the fans players and staff, and a decent team and all” – Harvey Lock

“1. Will Salmon is the goat. 2. We are the biggest club in Sussex” – Lucas Warner

“Travel really. Being so near to the station. I live closer to Whitehawk but it’s a mission to get to that ground” – Chris Sallis

“That community club feeling, the locally sourced pints, and of course, Ryan Gondoh” – Perry Anderson

“Great club, great community, great team…simples” – Ian Ward

“Chanting behind the goals and changing ends at half time” – @FootballMatchCentre

“Spooky” – Euan Baker

“The atmosphere” – Ollie Horton

“The thought that one day, one wonderful magical day, Barry Haffenden will buy a round” – Ash Head

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In this new segment in the Progcast, we welcome young Harvey Lock, who throughout the rest of this season, plans to rate each Isthmian Premier team’s home and away kit, as we all know we’ve seen some unique kits during our time…

Home – A proper classy attire, the claret and sky blue stripes are bold but work very well, along with the simple claret shorts and blue socks – the puma logo being in the middle strikes me as a very random choice, but they just about get away with it. combines the best of both modern and classic kit design to provide one of the best strips in the league – 9/10

Away – Unfortunately, nowhere near as good. The all-grey is still nice but a bit boring, but at least the puma logo is back in the right place, and the whited-out club badge is a nice touch – 6/10

Third – Seems rather pointless if I may be so bold, the all-white is again rather plain but with a weird gradient effect on the shirt, and not much else going on aside from the slight black trim on the shorts – the club badge is also coloured on this one which takes away from the black and white effect. Also, when when would it be worn instead of the home or away shirt? – 4/10

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Pitching In Isthmian Premier could have new leaders this evening- but for Hornchurch to take over at the top they will have to defeat Dulwich Hamlet at Bridge Avenue. The Urchins have had a superb start to the season, and- following last night’s defeat for Carshalton Athletic- are the only unbeaten side in the Division, a record which Hamlet will hope to end. Hornchurch have won their last five matches in all competitions, a run which has seen them score nineteen goals, and their forwards are looking particularly dangerous, Liam Nash already on six goals for the season, Ade Yusuff having scored seven in his last four matches. 

Hamlet got back to winning ways against Concord Rangers on Saturday, their first league win since August 15th- but you’d expect their talented squad to come good at some point, and the travelling faithful will hope that tonight is the night. 

We have a Sussex derby at the Dripping Pan as Lewes welcome Hastings United. The visitors- along with Billericay Town- have the best defensive record in the Division at present, but they have slipped up in their last two matches, losing at Dover in the Cup and then at home to Potters Bar Town on Saturday, so will hope to quickly put that behind them. The Rooks started the campaign very well, but have slipped up in their last two league matches, conceding three goals to Folkestone Invicta at home and another three at Chatham Town at the weekend.

United took four points from the two matches between the sides last season.

Potters Bar Town will hope to build on their first win of the season at Hastings on Saturday, as they welcome another set of Seasiders, Folkestone Invicta, to the Lantern Stadium. The Scholars are on their best run of the campaign so far, three matches- including a Hertfordshire Cup tie- undefeated; whilst Invicta have hit a bump in the road, losing in the Kent Cup and the FA Cup before holding Whitehawk to a draw on Saturday. 

When the two sides last met, back in February, a Ronnie Dolan hat trick and goals from Scott Heard and Lenny Atherton gave the visitors a five-nil win, revenge for a three-two loss on the Kent coast in September. That Scholars win was their only one over Invicta in eight attempts.

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About The Prospects Stadium
It’s not just the ground name that has changed significantly since we last visited Canvey. The club demolished the old club house and have built a cracking new venue for the club and its fans. The rest of the ground is as it was, and quite frankly, didn’t really need much changing. Yes, the wind blows off the Thames Estuary but fingers crossed it will be a warm wind and not one laced with an Arctic chill. The view from the excellent steep terrace at the north end of the stadium is one of the best in Non-League football.

How to get to The Prospects Stadium
Head to the M25 and then take anti-clockwise route towards Dartford Crossing. Exit M25 at Junction 30 and take the A13 towards Southend. You will reach a series of mini roundabouts. At these roundabouts, take the A130 towards Canvey Island. At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit which will keep a sports centre on your right and follow signs for Canvey Island Football Club. Eventually, you will enter a one way system. Keep left through the one way system and after one mile you will pass the Transport Museum on your right. Park Lane is on the right hand side shortly afterwards, with The Prospects Stadium located in front of you. There is plenty of parking outside the ground.

Benfleet Station is 40 minutes from London Fenchurch Street and 50 minutes from London Liverpool Street on the C2C line. The station is 5 miles from the ground. There is a taxi rank around the back of the station. Alternatively, you can use the frequent bus service from the front of the station – the number 22 or 27 buses drop you directly outside Park Lane. Alternatively, you can use the number 21 or 21A to be dropped by the sea wall. From here, continue walking in the direction you travelled across some playing fields, and you will see The Prospects Stadium on your left

Admission into The Prospects Stadium
Admission is £12 for Adults, £7 for Concessions and £2 for accompanied under 16s.

Fancy a beer?
There’s not much in the way of good pubs around the ground. The Hoy & Helmet and The Half Crown are next to Benfleet Station, whilst the Lobster Smack on the island has some interesting history but nowhere near the ground. Probably best to stick to the excellent clubhouse at the ground.

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Credit: Doyle
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Legals and Credits

“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 Priscila Aldridge, Willa Bailey, Tim Bradshaw, Ed Briggs, Stuart Fuller, Andy Gowland, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Fan Engagement Manager Shrey Nilvarna
Operations Manager Damian Watts

Life Members
Peter Brook, Dorothy Brook RIP, Vic Blunt, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox RIP, Billy Nixon, Derrick Parris RIP, 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
First team coach Nathan White
First team physio Toni Miller
Goalkeeping coach Charlie Himbury
Match logistics Vikram Dogra
First Team Performance Analyst Henderson Russell
Under-18s Manager Jon Miller

Golden Rook Rob Read
Web Editor Stuart Fuller
Progcast Editor Stan Lahood
Club Photographer James Boyes

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  1. The headlines were from Hillsborough where Sheffield Wednesday defeated Arsenal 1-0 in the Premier League. Wednesday’s Paolo Di Canio was sent off and he then pushed ref Paul Alcock who fell to the ground in a very dramatic manner. Di Cano was later charged with misconduct – he was banned for 11 matches and fined £10,000
  2. Following their much-criticized move from South London Wimbledon played their first ‘home’ League match at the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes, drawing 2-2 with Burnley. They didn’t change their name to MK Dons until the start of the 2004/05 season.
  3. In the first European Cup match was played on English soil, Manchester United entertained the Belgians of Anderlecht at Maine Road. In front of 40,000 fans United took the lead after only 9 minutes with a wonder goal from Tommy Taylor and went on to win…..by 10-0 (12-0 on aggregate).
  4. The first two matches in the League Cup were played – Bristol Rovers v Fulham and West Ham v Charlton – Fulham’s Maurice Cook scoring the first goal in the competition.
  5. Nik Tzanev was in goal for the Rooks and went on to make over 100 appearances for AFC Wimbledon.