The oldest football club in Sussex is fighting to return to its home ground, having been locked out for three months due to financial problems.
Non-league Southwick FC was reformed as Southwick 1882 earlier this year due to severe debts. These debts forced the club to drop two divisions and play in the Mid Sussex League Championship this season.
The F.A. forced Southwick to leave Old Barn Way Stadium due to safety concerns. The stadium needs approximately £500,000 in repairs, but Southwick 1882 argues that it is a different club to Southwick FC and that it should move back once repairs are completed.
Locals posted #BringTheWickersHome to spread awareness of the problem and wrote to Brighton-based newspapers to publish articles.
Old Barn Way has a capacity of 2,000 spectators. It was the first in the Sussex County Football League to install floodlights, and it received new changing rooms thanks to a government grant in 2003.
Owner Tony Gratwicke handed the stadium’s lease to the council in March. The club subsequently began to play at Southwick Recreation Ground, which delayed the team’s start to the 2020/21 season. Southwick won the opening four games, despite the current predicament.
Southwick has won the Sussex County League six times and reached the FA Cup first round in 1975, the furthest the club has ever played in the competition.