Eastbourne Borough F.C.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Eastbourne Borough
Eastbourne Borough FC logo.svg
Full nameEastbourne Borough Football Club
Nickname(s)The Sports
Founded1964; 50 years ago (1964) (as Langney F.C.)
GroundPriory Lane
Ground Capacity4,151 [1]
ChairmanJohn Bonar
ManagerTommy Widdrington
LeagueConference South
2013–14Conference South, 10th
Jump to: navigation, search
Eastbourne Borough
Eastbourne Borough FC logo.svg
Full nameEastbourne Borough Football Club
Nickname(s)The Sports
Founded1964; 50 years ago (1964) (as Langney F.C.)
GroundPriory Lane
Ground Capacity4,151 [1]
ChairmanJohn Bonar
ManagerTommy Widdrington
LeagueConference South
2013–14Conference South, 10th

Eastbourne Borough Football Club is an English football club based in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The club is a FA Chartered Standard Community club affiliated to the Sussex County Football Association.[2] The club participates in the Conference South, the sixth tier of English football. They are known as The Sports after their previous name as Langney Sports.[3] Eastbourne Borough play their home matches at Priory Lane in Langney. Their manager is Tommy Widdrington.


Early years[edit]

They were formed in 1964 as Langney F.C., naming themselves after the Langney district of Eastbourne in which the club continues to play its home games. It all started when a group of friends had played for the Langney and Friday Street youth team were too old to carry on playing and decided to form their own team so they could continue to play football.[4] On forming in 1964, Langney FC entered the Eastbourne & District Football League, competing in Division 2. (Clearly, the team was happy to just have 11 men on the pitch, sans fans.) Prior to the 1968/69 season there was a change of name to Langney Sports F.C. when the club affiliated to the Langney Community Association.[3] At this time the club was playing on local recreation grounds before moving to Princes Park near the seafront, next door to Eastbourne United's ground at The Oval. At the end of the season 1973/74, the club won promotion to the Premier Division of the Eastbourne & Hastings League.[3]

Sussex County League years: 1983–1999[edit]

In 1983 the club was elected as a founding member of Division 3 of the Sussex County League, minutely overshadowed by FA officials stating that the club was a "parks team" and not taking the club seriously.[3][5] They relocated from the playing fields at Princes Park to their current home ground at Priory Lane, in the heart of the residential area of Langney.

In 1986/87 Langney Sports became Third Division champions, and completed a treble by winning both the Division 3 League Cup and the Eastbourne Challenge Cup. Sports followed this with a second successive promotion the next season to Division 1. In 1992, Langney reached the final of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup, losing 0–1 to the reserve team of Sussex's only professional club, Brighton & Hove Albion. Apart from two seasons (1994/95 and 1995/96) when they finished in 11th and 9th place respectively, Langney never finished outside of the top four in Division One; the manager, Pete Cherry, left the club on mutual grounds having brought Langney Sports up from the Eastbourne and Hastings league into the county league; for two years Steve Richardson took the reins followed by Garry Wilson in 1999. In his first full season in 2000 they finished the season as Sussex County League Champions, and were promoted to the Eastern Division of the Southern League.[3]

Climb to the Conference: the Wilson years 1999–2012[edit]

Eastbourne Borough home to Maidenhead United on 18 August 2007.

After their first season in the Southern Football League Eastern Division, they finished 9th in the table, the club chairman, Len Smith, announced on 26 May 2001 that the club was to be renamed Eastbourne Borough to reflect the town the team played in.[6] In their second season they finished seventh, and in the following season finished second, losing out on the title on goal difference to Dorchester Town, and were promoted to the Premier Division.[3] Though they only finished 11th in their first season in the Premier Division, as the league system was changed the club were qualified to be one of the founders of the newly formed Conference South for the start of the 2004/05 season. A further promotion was almost earned immediately as the club finished fifth, and won the Conference South play-offs, beating Cambridge City 3–0.[3][7] However, they were beaten 2–1 by Altrincham (who had won the Conference North play-offs) in the play-off final at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium, and remained in the Conference South.[8]

The next season they finished in the bottom half of the table in 17th place and in the 2006/07 season they just missed out in the play-offs finishing in 7th place. The 2007/08 season was the best Eastbourne Borough had done. From the start of the season until 1 January 2008 they were unbeaten at the top of the league. Lewes became the first team that season to beat them and replaced them at the top of the table. At the end of the season Eastbourne finished 2nd with 80 points while Lewes won with 89 points.

The club won promotion to the Conference National on 8 May 2008 with a 2–0 win over Hampton & Richmond Borough in the Conference South Play-off final at Broadhall Way, Stevenage.[9]

Eastbourne Borough away to Woking 27 January 2009.

At the start of their 2008–09 campaign in the Conference they were struggling outside the relegation zone, however after a few loan players being brought in, with the likes of Dan Smith and Ashley Barnes from Plymouth Argyle,[10] and the signing of Dan Brown from Cambridge United,[11] Eastbourne managed to stay in the top half of the table after some surprising wins over full-time clubs such as Torquay United and York City,[12][13] until the last day of the season, losing 0–2 to Barrow.[14] They finished their first season in a comfortable 13th place with 60 points and a goal difference of −12. The season saw Eastbourne play 'live' for the first time at Priory Lane in front of national TV cameras, which broadcast their match against Stevenage, a match they won 2–1.[3][15] Eastbourne also completed the 2008–09 season by winning the Sussex Senior Cup beating Brighton & Hove Albion Reserves 1–0.[16]

Garry Wilson.

The 2009–10 season saw Eastbourne struggle from 'second season syndrome'. After a bright start, beating A.F.C. Wimbledon and eventual FA Trophy winners Barrow at Priory Lane,[17][18] Eastbourne experienced a slump in form and found themselves in a relegation battle. However a strong run of form towards the tail of the season saw them stay up in dramatic fashion beating eventual Play-Off winners Oxford United 1–0 on the final day of the season, with a late penalty scored by Simon Weatherstone in the 84th minute.[19]

Eastbourne were relegated back to the Conference South in 2010–11, after a season which started so promisingly. Having beaten both Hayes and Yeading and Altrincham 5–0 at home early in the season,[20][21] they found themselves as top scorers in the Conference National at one point. However, following a series of setbacks involving injuries to key players, they endured a run of 20 games without a win. The winless streak was put to an end with a 1–0 away win at Fleetwood Town courtesy of an audacious free-kick from the half-way line by Matt Smart.[22] Despite regaining some form late in the season, Eastbourne were unable to recover and ended on 39 points, 8 points short of safety.[23] Ironically, Eastbourne beat Altrincham on the final day of the season to sentence them to the drop.[24]

The end of the 2010/11 season was marked with the first competitive game ever to be played at Brighton and Hove Albion's new Falmer Stadium, contested between Eastbourne and Brighton & Hove Albion Reserves in the Sussex Senior Cup Final. Eastbourne lost the game 2–0 with Gary Hart scoring the first goal at the new stadium.[25]

Half way through the 2011–12 Conference South season, after a poor run of results, Eastbourne parted company with Garry Wilson and Head Coach Nick Greenwood.[26][27][28] Both had been at the helm for 13 years and had taken the club from relative obscurity to the pinnacle of non-league football. Long-serving player Ben Austin was given a temporary player-manager role while the club looked a suitable replacement.[29]

Eastbourne appointed Tommy Widdrington as their new manager on 1 February 2012. With the team lying 18th in the Conference South, chairman Len Smith outlined the aim to avoid relegation and rebuild for the 2012–13 season[30]

Boro secured their safety on the 41st and penultimate matchday, despite losing to a 3-0 scoreline away at Basingstoke Town. Results elsewhere meant their Conference South status was retained for the 2012–13 season.[31] They finished the season in 18th place.

Rebuild under Widdrington[edit]

Widdrington's arrival signaled a move towards a new look Eastbourne team, with the last few members of the 2007–08 promotion winning team leaving the club at the end of the season. Matt Crabb, Matt Smart and Ben Austin departed,[32][33] leaving Darren Baker as the sole survivor of the team that won promotion at Stevenage in 2008.[34]

The 2012–13 season was Widdrington's first full-season in charge and was a season of transition. In total 41 players pulled on a Borough shirt as the new manager tried to find the right mixture. Borough ended the season as the team having scored the fewest goals, but having one of the tightest defensive records, which contributed to their finishing the season in 12th place.[35]

In the spring of 2013, Eastbourne were in talks with Kuwaiti European Holdings (KEH) over a potential take over of the club.[36] Despite negotiations collapsing at the latter stages, Borough pressed on with their plans to develop the club, establishing an Academy which would act as a feeder to the first team.[37] Borough began the 2013–14 season cautiously optimistic, following an 18-month rebuilding process, and stormed to the top of the league after the first month with 10 points from 4 matches, earning Tommy Widdrington the August Manager of the Month award.[38] Their early season form, however, faded and they experienced a dip in mid-season which saw them fall away from the top. Re-grouping after Christmas and managing to maintain a steady stream of points, Eastbourne manoeuvred themselves to the fringes of the play-offs with 8 games remaining. A gruelling run of games against teams in the top-half of the table saw them fall short, finishing the season in 10th place on 58 points.[39]

During the early stages of the 2014–15 season, Len Smith, who had served as chairman of the club for more than 40 years, guiding it from its humble beginnings to the pinnacle of non-league all the while keeping it constantly in the black and building the club's infrastructure to suit the higher level, stood down from his position with Eastbourne sitting at the top of the fledgling Conference South table after 6 games.[5][40]

FA Cup history[edit]

During the 2005/06 season, the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club's history, when a battling performance saw them hold League Two club Oxford United to a 1–1 draw at home, winger Ollie Rowland, holding his nerve to score a 90th-minute penalty.[41]

This epic match gained the club three milestones. These were:

The East-Sussex side failed to win the replay at Oxford's Kassam Stadium on a cold mid-week November night.[42] losing 3–0, the Eastbourne squad put up a very good fight and were extremely unlucky not to score. Ex-Yeovil Town striker Yemi Odubade played particularly well and caused many problems for the defence, so much so that manager Brian Talbot admitted he was very interested in having the talented youngster play for his side and asked the Eastbourne Borough committee if he could take Yemi Odubade on a trial at Oxford United. In January 2006, Oxford paid Sports £15,000 to sign Odubade on an 18-month contract, rising to £25,000 with appearances.[43]

Again the club reached the FA Cup first round in the 2007/08 season and played Conference National side Weymouth. Borough lost 4 – 0 in front of a crowd of 2711 supporters.[44] Also lost to the same scoreline in the 2008/09 season away to Barrow in the 1st round replay.[45]


Eastbourne Borough have shared a rivalry with Lewes and Crawley in recent years. They have a lesser rivalry with the other two local clubs, Eastbourne Town and Eastbourne United due to not having shared the same league with either of them for a considerable time.


Eastbourne Borough play their home games at Priory Lane, Langney, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 7QH. The Stadium has an official capacity of 4,151. The Main Stand houses the Directors' Suite and Main Sponsor's Executive Suite; plus an Announcer's Box and Press area. The dugouts are located in front of the Main Stand. The Peter Fountain Stand, which is opposite the Main stand,is a terrace and it provides a tea bar The Mick Green Stand houses the dressing rooms, a tea bar (with seating inside), and provides covered terracing at the Priory Road end of the ground. The upper floor has four Executive Suites, in addition to the exclusive "Legends Lounge', with windows fronting on to the pitch. The River End terrace is the opposite the Mick Green Stand. This is where the away fans are located if segregation is forced. There is a car park behind the terrace where 400 vehicles can be located

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

EnglandGKLewis Carey
EnglandGKLouis Rogers
EnglandDFSam Beale
EnglandDFMarvin Hamilton
EnglandDFKiran Khinda-John
EnglandDFJay Lovett
EnglandDFMatt Parsons
Republic of IrelandDFIan Simpemba (captain)
EnglandDFAdam Watts
EnglandDFRichie Welch
EnglandMFMatt Aldred (3rd captain)
EnglandMFSimon Johnson (vice captain)
EnglandMFDean Sinclair
EnglandMFRyan Worrall
EnglandFWDean Bown
GrenadaFWElliott Charles
EnglandFWDarren Lok
CanadaFWGavin McCallum
DominicaFWRichard Pacquette
EnglandFWMax Taylor
Antigua and BarbudaFWJames Walker

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.


Notable former players[edit]

1. Players that have played in the football league or any foreign equivalent to this level (i.e. fully professional league).
2. Players with full international caps.
3. Players that hold a club record or have captained the club.

For a further list of former players, see Category:Eastbourne Borough F.C. players

Coaching staff[edit]

Other teams[edit]

Eastbourne Borough have other teams which include:

Management history[edit]

Below is a list of Langney Sports (1983–2001) and Eastbourne Borough (2001–Present) managers since 1983.

Stats as of 27 April 2013

From: 1983
To: 1997
England Peter CherrySussex County League
Division 3 Champions: 1986/87
Division 2 Champions: 1987/88
From: 1997
To: January 1999
England Steve Richardson583516760.34[4]
From: January 1999
To: 8 February 1999
England Nick Greenwood
(Caretaker Manager)
From: 9 February 1999
To: 17 January 2012
Scotland Garry WilsonSussex County League
Division 1 Champions: 1999/00
Southern League
Eastern runners-up: 2002/03
Conference South
Promotion: 2007/08
From: 17 January 2012
To: 1 February 2012
England Ben Austin
(Caretaker Player-Manager)
From: 1 February 2012
To: Present
England Tommy Widdrington10035432235.00[30][53]

Honours and achievements[edit]

Achievements before 2001 were under the Langney Sports F.C. name. After 2001 under the Eastbourne Borough F.C. name.

Club records[edit]

Darren Baker, 952 (as of 27 April 2013)[55][56]

Scott Ramsay, 185 (2002–2008)

£25,000 for Yemi Odubade, Oxford United, 2006[43]

3,770 V Oxford United, FA Cup R1, 5/11/2005[3]

3,108 V AFC Wimbledon, 11/8/2009[17]

11–1 v Crowborough (13 January 2009)[3]


  1. ^ "Facilities". Eastbourne Borough F.C. Retrieved 2014-09-12. 
  2. ^ "Community Club". Eastbourne Borough F.C. Retrieved 2014-09-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Our History". Eastbourne Borough F.C. Retrieved 2014-09-12. 
  4. ^ a b c Hollis, Steve (14 May 2008). "Borough's rise is the stuff of dreams". The Argus. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  5. ^ a b "Sir Len of the Lane - the man who built Borough". Eastbourne Herald. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-05. 
  6. ^ "Football: Langney taken off the map". The Argus. 29 May 2001. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  7. ^ "The Play-off Final". Cambridge City F.C. 9 May 2005. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  8. ^ "Altrincham promoted to Conference". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 15 May 2005. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  9. ^ Hollis, Steve (8 May 2008). "Wilson thrilled as Eastbourne Borough promoted". The Argus. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  10. ^ "Eastbourne capture Plymouth duo". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 1 December 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  11. ^ "Eastbourne sign Cambridge's Brown". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 7 November 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  12. ^ "Eastbourne 4–2 Torquay". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 9 December 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  13. ^ "Eastbourne 2–1 York". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 22 January 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  14. ^ "Eastbourne 0–2 Barrow". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 26 April 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  15. ^ Hollis, Steve (12 October 2008). "Osborne makes Borough debut in front of TV cameras". The Argus. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  16. ^ "Boro lift Sussex Senior Cup". Eastbourne Herald. 4 May 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  17. ^ a b "Eastbourne 1–0 AFC Wimbledon". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 11 August 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  18. ^ "Eastbourne Borough 2–1 Barrow". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 22 August 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  19. ^ "Eastbourne 1–0 Oxford". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 24 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  20. ^ "Eastbourne 5–0 Hayes & Yeading". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 17 August 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  21. ^ "Eastbourne 5–0 Altrincham". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 18 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  22. ^ "Fleetwood 0–1 Eastbourne Boro". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 26 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  23. ^ Hollis, Steve (16 April 2011). "Borough relegated". The Argus. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  24. ^ "Altrincham 3–4 Eastbourne Boro". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 30 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  25. ^ Naylor, Andy (16 July 2011). "Hart so pleased to score Amex opener". The Argus. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  26. ^ a b Griggs, Howard (17 January 2012). "Wilson and Greenwood sacked by Borough". The Argus. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  27. ^ a b "We are very proud to have been part of Borough’s history". Eastbourne Herald. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  28. ^ a b "A 13-year romance". Eastbourne Herald. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  29. ^ a b "Skipper Austin to take charge at Tonbridge Angels". Eastbourne Herald. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  30. ^ a b "Widdrington: I want to be part of another successful era with Eastbourne Borough". Eastbourne Herald. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  31. ^ "Borough avoid drop despite Basingstoke defeat". Eastbourne Herald. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  32. ^ "Boro' shake-up has just begun". Eastbourne Herald. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  33. ^ "Eastbourne Borough legend Ben Austin swaps Priory Lane for the Saffrons". Eastbourne Herald. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  34. ^ "Baker signs on for Boro' again but Crabb and Smart released". Eastbourne Herald. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  35. ^ Hudd, Maria (6 May 2013). "A season of transition and eventual stability". Eastbourne Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  36. ^ "Eastbourne Borough’s takeover talks with wealthy Kuwaiti investment company collapse". Eastbourne Herald. 20 April 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  37. ^ Griggs, Howard (25 January 2014). "Borough ensure future looks bright". The Argus. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  38. ^ "Manager of the month Tommy wanted a clean sheet". Eastbourne Herald. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  39. ^ "Boss plans to add ‘mature heads’ to squad after watching his young chargers fall just short". Eastbourne Herald. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  40. ^ "Len Smith steps down as Eastbourne Borough chairman". Eastbourne Herald. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-05. 
  41. ^ "Eastbourne Borough 1–1 Oxford". BBC Sport. 5 November 2005. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  42. ^ "Oxford 3–0 Eastbourne Borough". BBC Sport. 16 November 2005. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  43. ^ a b "Oxford capture Eastbourne striker". BBC Sport. 27 January 2006. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  44. ^ "Eastbourne 0–4 Weymouth". BBC Sport. 10 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  45. ^ "Barrow 4–0 Eastbourne". BBC Sport. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  46. ^ "Eastbourne Borough Youth FC". EBYFC. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  47. ^ "Eastbourne Borough Development Centre". EBDC. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  48. ^ "Football League is our aim – Wilson". Eastbourne Herald. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  49. ^ "A decade of success: from County League to Conference". Eastbourne Herald. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  50. ^ "Eastbourne Borough sack manager Garry Wilson". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 18 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  51. ^ "Did new style of football contribute to Wilson and Greenwood’s downfall?". Eastbourne Herald. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  52. ^ "Austin announces retirement". Howard Griggs (The Argus). 9 June 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-12. 
  53. ^ "This is the job I wanted". Eastbourne Herald. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  54. ^ "New Eastbourne Boro boss Widdrington targets promotion". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 3 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  55. ^ "Eastbourne Borough's Darren Baker targets 900th game". BBC Sport. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  56. ^ "Legend Baker calls time on 952 match Borough career". Eastbourne Herald. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 

External links[edit]