These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the National League South in a swanky new ground. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


Printed in the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round game v Poole Town Saturday 20thSeptember 2017   We won 2-1 in front of 680.

If you like watching non league football while checking out some stunning modernist architecture and swimming in a community owned lido, then Saltdean is the place for you.

With a population of 12,000 this suburb of Brighton has a lido regarded by English Heritage as one of the Seven Wonders of The English Seaside! “Along with its sister modernist building, the Ocean Hotel, the lido was designed to be the centrepiece of Saltdean’s seafront to promote it as a fashionable resort in the competitive 1930s British holiday industry. Just as the Victorians, 60 years previously, had considered a pier to be an essential element of a seaside resort, by the 1930s, lidos had become an important status symbol for successful resorts.”

Re-opened this summer thanks to a relentless campaign by the local community who fought off developers and raised millions to resurrect the Grade II listed building. It now has a 40 metre heated swimming pool, a paddling pool and a "splash area" with further plans to restore the main building. Meanwhile the Grand Ocean Hotel once a Butlins holiday camp is now luxury apartments.

At the back end of the estate surrounded by the South Downs you enter Saltdean United's Hill Park ground through a dirt track. It's pretty basic with just one stand cut into the hill, where the large grass banks are ripe for roly-polys and the pitch slopes to the side.

As someone once said the FA Vase is the only cup competition where everyone who enters wants to win and after years in the doldrums the Saltdean Tigers are roaring back to life. Flying high in the Southern Combination Premier Division after promotion from Division One last year, gone are the days of managers programme notes having a go at players for not turning up for training! During the 2015/16 season the club were in a pretty sorry state. Having been through 3 managers in as many months the club were lying bottom of the league and its future was in grave doubt. However despite finishing bottom there was a massive resurgence of interest, led by a celebrated ex-player with the support of local businessmen the club were transformed on and off the pitch. Within a single season they went from bottom to top of the league gaining promotion back to the top flight of Sussex football last season.

Their opponents Stansfeld play a level below in the Southern Counties East Football League Division One. Stansfeld isn't a place but is named after the Anglican priest and doctor John Stansfeld. Ater visiting Bermondsey and seeing the poverty he decided to form the Club in 1897 to keep the waifs and strays off the streets! The Club's headquarters are now to be found in Webb Street, Bermondsey, where over 200 members enjoy various sections, i.e. football, golf, snooker, athletics, circuit training and drinking. Currently the club fields two football teams on a Saturday, both in the Kent County League. They currently groundshare with Glebe, whatever a Glebe is.

I hate to have a pop at refs, but I could see why the blokes from Bermondsey were blowing a gasket. Two dubious penalties, two sendings off and was the first goal off-side? The crowd were treated to hat-trick from a lad on his debut after a year out of football and a cracking goal from Stansfeld. Another débutante ended up with a broken collar bone after just 30 seconds on the pitch.

It finished 3-1 to Saltdean - an action packed afternoon of football for just a fiver. They now host the Oystermen of Whitstable Town in the first round proper. Only eight more rounds left before the final at Wembley.


Anonymous Luke said...

Funnily enough I'd just read this football blog before yours and he posts what a Glebe is!

3:32 pm


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