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Website last updated: 17 Sep, 2013 @ 08:29
EASTBOURNE TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB
THE OLDEST SENIOR FOOTBALL CLUB IN SUSSEX
A BRIEF HISTORY
Eastbourne Town football club was founded in 1881 as Devonshire Park FC, named after its first ground. It can thus claim to be the oldest senior football club in Sussex. In 1886 the club moved to the newly-opened Saffrons, and in 1889 changed its name to Eastbourne FC. Between 1890 and 1903 Eastbourne reached the Sussex Senior Cup Final ten times, winning the trophy on seven occasions.
Eastbourne joined the Southern Amateur League in 1907 where they remained until 1946, adding a further three Sussex Senior Cup wins during this period. The club moved upwards into the Corinthian League in 1946/47, which was subsequently merged into the Athenian League in 1963. The club won the Senior Cup for the last time in 1952/53, with the ground record of 7,378 being set in 1953 in the FA Cup against Hastings United.
At the beginning of the 1970s, the suffix â€œTownâ€ was added to the Clubâ€™s name, but the newly-named club came close to amalgamating with rivals Eastbourne United in 1975/76. The Club took the decision to join the Sussex County League the following season, and carried off the League championship at the first attempt - the only time it has ever come to the Saffrons, although the club finished third in 1984/85, and again the following season.
At the end of the 2000/01 season, Eastbourne Town were relegated to Division Two, after 25 seasons in the top division. However, after narrowly missing out on promotion in 2001/02, they made no mistake in 2002/03 to return to their rightful place in Division One of the County League, finishing as runners-up to Rye & Iden United. The club also had the satisfaction of being the best-supported in the entire County League at home.
Attendances surprisingly fell in 2003/04, although only Three Bridges had a better average gate in the entire League. The slightly lower gates perhaps reflected the loss of local derbies against Eastbourne United and to a lesser extent, Shinewater Association. The team once again performed well on the pitch, and were title contenders up until the last few weeks of the season, when they faded to ultimately finish fifth.
2004/05 was ultimately something of a disappointment, and had much to do with the departure of goal machine Yemi Odubade to Yeovil Town (later to return to Eastbourne Borough). The season also saw the departure of manager Dave Winterton, who was replaced by former Borough Reserve coach Ady Colwell. The arrival of Colwell saw a general upturn in fortunes on the pitch as he led Eastbourne Town to a mid-table position.
The revival under Colwell continued during 2005/06 as Eastbourne Town finished 5th in Division One for the second time in three seasons. In 2006/2007 Eastbourne Town FC won the Sussex County FA Division 1 League for the first time in 30 years and move up to the Ryman League for 2007/2008. The Club was certainly the best supported in the entire Sussex County League, with the local derby against Eastbourne UA regularly achieving the best aggregate figures in this supposedly â€œnon-footballing townâ€.
In 2007/2008 significant ground improvements were made and Town are looking forward to playing new teams and increasing support for the club. Town now play in the Ryman League South.
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