Eastboure Borough’s Non League Day was a huge success...now for the FA Cup

Eastbourne Borough V Torquay United - Dean Cox scores (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181015-114846008
Eastbourne Borough V Torquay United - Dean Cox scores (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181015-114846008

A GRAND DAY OUT - Can we have a Non-League Day about once a month, please?

It was an afternoon of real theatre at Priory Lane, even if the script for the final scene needed a bit of re-working.

Beaten 4-2 by a formidable Torquay United side, but winners in every other respect, Borough had good reason to be pleased.

The attendance, not far short of four figures, was boosted by 82 season-ticket holders of Premiership or Football League clubs. About half were from Albion, but others included Chelsea, Crystal Palace, and one from Rotherham United – a very long hop for a groundhopper, but welcome nonetheless.

“We were thrilled to bits with that turn-out,” said chairman John Bonar.

“Not just in cold financial terms, but because the mood and the match were great, and those visitors will hopefully return. We could just be turning a really important corner.” Casual visitors were clearly impressed.

“Much more entertaining than Friday night’s England-Croatia tedium!” commented one poster on Albion’s North Stand Chat board. “Tidy ground, tidy performance, top afternoon!” was another verdict.

And as the Sports prepare to receive Slough Town in a huge FA Cup clash this weekend, we can do it all over again….

This Sunday (October 21) sees a charity match at the Saffrons, kick-off at 4pm, for the You Raise Me Up foundation.

It is in memory of Josh Briggs, a 14-year-old victim of sudden heart death during a match 12 years ago at Priory Lane. I wasn’t there, but I do remember the first team game 48 hours later, on the Tuesday night against Welling.

It was muted, numb, disbelieving. The floodlights seemed duller, somehow, than the little candles lit along the perimeter. It finished 0-0 but nobody cared about the result. All our thoughts should be with parents Val and Andrew and with their family; and all our goodwill to the charity and the research which work to prevent another tragedy.

The Sussex Senior Cup draw turned up a local derby: Eastbourne United will visit the Lane on Tuesday 6th November.

Eastbourne Town must travel, though, to Whitehawk, while Hailsham Town receive Chichester City.

And spare some good wishes for Seaford Town – on their journey-and-a-half to Bognor Regis Town!

Matt Crabb is back. The man who mesmerised opposition full-backs for 500-odd games has this week accepted a coaching role at the Lane, passing on that phenomenal experience and expertise mainly with the Under-23s.

Matty is Borough through and through, a man without an enemy, and full of good sense and wisdom. The lads he will work with are fortunate indeed.

Club goalkeeping coach Dean Lightwood has just extended his reach.

“Well, I reckon I now have the longest pathway in football running!” Dean told me this week. “Our coaching starts at age 6 in the Development Centre, goes right through the senior teams, and we have just this week added goalkeeping for the Walking Footballers. From primary school to the pension!”

The next gig for the Professor of the Gloves is next Friday (26th) with a half-term Goalkeepers’ Fun Day. Goalkeeping? Fun? They really are crazy…