Double winners Hollington on the move to new league

Hollington United in action against Rye Town during the 2017/18 season. Picture by Simon Newstead
Hollington United in action against Rye Town during the 2017/18 season. Picture by Simon Newstead

Hollington United will compete in the Mid Sussex Football League Premier Division next season.

The Lions are making the move having completed a Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division and Hastings & District FA Intermediate Cup double in 2017/18 and 2016/17.

In fact, Hollington have won the East Sussex League 10 times in the last 25 years and been members of the league since the 1920s.

The Mid Sussex League inspected the club’s ground and facilities, and passed them to the required standard, and Hollington received confirmation of their place in the league late last week.

This year has finally seen the plans for Hollington United, which has been around since around 1889 and was previously known as Silverdale United (the name was changed to Hollington United around 1922), begin to bear fruit.

As one of the oldest and most successful local amateur sides since the early twenties, it was always a desire for the Lions to get promoted to county level.

They’ve certainly had the teams to achieve this through the years, however their pitch and facilities were always a barrier to this being possible.

Unfortunately it was a tragedy that began the journey to this possibly being achieved. Back in 1997 one of the stalwarts of the team at that time, Iain Johnson, died at the tender age of 29.

The club’s players and officials hatched a plan to start raising funds in his memory to improve the facilities at its Gibbons Field home in Wishingtree Road.

Although it took time (13 years to be precise), their new clubhouse was finally finished in 2008, with the project being run by one of Iain’s best friends, Danny Boorman, who had also been part of the club since the mid 1980s.

With many of the current and ex-Hollington players also giving their spare time and trade to the build, along with donations from local firms and the Greater Hollington Partnership, it really was a community project. And that is what the club has always been about.

With a nod to past stalwarts of the club like George Torrance, Harry “H” Mammone and Brian Rainton, to long-serving present committee members Wendy and Les Hustwayte, Dave Grass and Pete Nwaji, the club continues to thrive.

Local decorating company Martin & Bowles Ltd has helped out financially by being the Lions’ major sponsors for the last 15 years, while Dynamic Scaffolding and Coleman Construction & Utilities, ICS Roofing, Eastman Dry Lining and A2B Decorating have also sponsored the club more recently and continue to do so. Without these local companies the club would not be in the position it is today.

With ex-Rye United boss Scott Price and Andy Thomson (both former Hollington players) in charge of football affairs, the Lions are looking to move up to step seven level.

At the start of the 2017/18 season the club introduced under-16, under-18 and under-21 squads, and players from all three youth teams have already represented the adult first and second sides.

Next season will see Hastings Town Youth come under the umbrella of Hollington United, which means a minimum of another four youth teams for the Lions, along with a girls’ side.

The club is hoping to develop the youth section further, and is now looking for more youth teams and players of all ages - if interested, please contact Scott Price on 07895 705273.

Hollington are also looking for sponsorship for the adult first and second teams’ home and away kits, as well as on pitchside advertising boards. The club welcomes anyone who would like to be part of a working committee and possibly a commercial manager.

To compliment all of this, the club has recently redeveloped its clubhouse into the Hollington United Community Café, which is currently open seven days a week, serving breakfasts, snacks, and hot and cold drinks to the public.

Both the club and the café have their own Facebook pages (Hollington Utd FC and Hollington Utd Community Café), and the club is in the process of having a website designed and hosted.

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