Sussex football team ready for first home game since 2017

After nearly five years, Little Common Football Club are going home.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 8:49 am
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 8:50 am
Home sweet home - the view from the new stand at Little Common

They are returning to Little Common Recreation Ground following a successful ground grading inspection last Saturday.

Common last played a competitive fixture at their home ground in April 2017 before the club were forced into a ground-share with Eastbourne United having failed to meet the ground grading criteria for step six football.

The Commoners have spent the past four and half seasons travelling 12 miles to play home fixtures at The Oval, Eastbourne whie they tried to overcome the issues surrounding the ground grading criteria.

In September 2020 the club were granted planning permission to fully enclose their pitch at Little Common Rec, install two stands and extend the footpath at the southern end of the pitch.

A successful application was made to the Football Foundation and a grant of £67,000 was awarded for the project, while a £25,000 grant from the Rother District Council Community Fund was also secured.

Despite further setbacks and delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, work finally started in August and was completed last week before the inspection from league officials.

Club chairman Daniel Eldridge said: “It has been a very long journey and we have had to overcome many obstacles on the way but we are delighted to finally be coming back home to play at the Rec.

“It is fantastic news for the local community and we know that there is a real air of excitement that the people of Bexhill will now be able to come and watch their local team play without having to travel 12 miles to do so.

“There are so many people to thank and we really appreciate all the support that we have received throughout the project. The council has been very supportive, particularly Cllr Oliver and our ward councillors, Cllr Errington and Cllr Harmer.

“We must also thank Eastbourne United FC, who stepped in and supported us when we could have found ourselves relegated into intermediate football.

“They have been fantastic landlords and we will always be extremely grateful to them.

“It has been a difficult time for the club because you kind of lose your identify when you don’t have your own home ground.

“However, we remained positive and after what seems like hundreds of meetings and email exchanges, we have achieved what we set out to do.

“I always said that one day we would be back playing at Little Common Rec and now we will be.”

Common’s first fixture back home will be on Monday, December 27 when they host neighbours Bexhill United in an 11am kick-off.

On the pitch it was a weekend to forget as Little Common lost 4-0 to Loxwood.

Manager Russell Eldridge said: “It was as bad as we’ve been all season and the result and performance was not good enough.

“We played for over 70 minutes with 10 men over different periods of the game which meant having to reorganise.

“We conceded poor goals defensively and failed to create much going forward except from set pieces.

It’s not a time to feel sorry for ourselves but a time to work hard and show some fight and resilience.

“We know what is expected and what we’re capable of, but we’re not showing that at present and need to shift the momentum and confidence in the group.”

Little Common are 11th in gthe SCFL premier table and play their final match before the big homecoming when they visit AFC Uckfield tomorrow.