50 years of football at Priory Lane

Langney Sports 1990 - Eastbourne Charity Cup winners
Langney Sports 1990 - Eastbourne Charity Cup winners

Eastbourne Borough FC is this season celebrating 50 years of football at Priory Lane.

Last Friday, the club invited old friends to drop by to share memories of the grassroots beginnings in 1965 as Langney Sports.

Anyone with past connections was welcomed to the Priory Lane clubhouse to renew old friendships, browse the memorabilia and relive the action.

Langney Sports has always been for long stayers. Since moving up from those youth days into senior football, the club has had only four managers.

The affable Pete Cherry was followed by Steve ‘Rico’ Richardson, who established the Sports in the Sussex County League.

Rico then handed over in 1999 to the legendary reign of Garry Wilson who, with assistant Nick Greenwood, took Borough to the highest level of semi-pro football, the Conference National.

Behind the scenes, so many involved in those early years are still around: Len Smith, Buller Key, Mick Syndercombe, Mick Grimer and many others.

The embarrassing 1970s haircuts are now replaced by wispy grey, and the nippy wingers have become a bit more stately. But the genial enthusiasm, the roll-your-sleeves-up ethic and the values of friendship and sportsmanship are unchanged.

Over the years the number of players, coaches, officials and supporters - and the ghosts of those past, some of them poignantly no longer with us - could fill the club’s impressive Priory Lane ground, never mind the clubhouse.

It’s not just a footballing family at Priory lane, but an extended family.

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