With the start of the Mid Sussex Premier this weekend and the long awaited return of competitive grassroots football, AFC Willingdon looks set for a stellar season across all three of its teams.
During the summer the club decided to consolidate its 4 teams from last season to 3 teams. The new format will provide a healthy dynamic between the teams, creating healthy competition for places amongst the reserves.
Ben Davis has returned for a second stint as manager for the First team with Tom Addems, Matt ‘Sheep’ Elphick and Tom Morton as player/coaches. This blend of experience and leadership will be invaluable to the team as they look to have a successful season in what is looking like a very competitive league.
The second team will also see the culmination of two experienced and established managers at the club. This season will see Carl Scott and Lee Calcott take the team forward in the pursuit of success at the division 2 level, in both league and cup competitions. We will see a mix of talented players from the former third team step up a level and join the experienced core second team players.
Our third team will be led by, Simon Hamilton. He will move up from the disbanded fourth team, bringing with him a wealth of talented, enthusiastic and committed players. The newly formed team will be looking to push hard in the Mid Sussex Division 5 league, which boasts healthy competition from other clubs second and third teams respectively.
New Campaign, new signings
The Front side start their campaign away from home against a new look Ringmer AFC, having merged Ringmer FC and AFC Ringmer, they will be looking to hit the ground running at their new look home ground.
The first team and its new management have been working extra hard this Pre-season to get the team prepared for the new campaign. Manager Ben Davis & co have managed to bring in some exceptional talent across all areas of the pitch.
Ashley Chatfield – Defender/Midfielder – Hailsham Town
Jordan Dickinson – Right Back – Punnetts Town
John Reeves – Defender/ Eastbourne Town & Langney Wanderers
Matt Jones – Defender – Eastbourne Town, Eastbourne United and within the Brighton league in recent seasons
Alex Burton – Midfielder- Langney Wanderers
Macaulay Gray – Midfielder – returns to the club after a stint at Langney Wanderers
The team also welcomes back pacey forward, Michael ‘Keefey’ Keefe, who has spent the last 2 years away from competitive football due to a serious injury. Michael suffered a break to his tibial plateau and a fractured fibula, so it is fantastic to see him back amongst the squad for the new season.
Huggetts Lane Ground Maintenance
The club has also been preparing Huggetts Lane for the return of competitive football with some extensive ground maintenance. The repairs to some areas of the pitch has meant no home pre-season friendlies could take place, forcing all three teams to conduct preparations for the forthcoming season away from home.
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