The Isthmian League is a regional mens football league covering London, East and South East England featuring mostly semi-professional clubs. It is sponsored by Ryman, and therefore known as the Ryman League. It was founded in 1905 by amateur clubs in the London area and it now consists of 72 teams in three divisions, the Premier Division above its two feeder divisions, Division One North and Division One South. Together with the Southern League and the Northern Premier League, it forms the seventh and eighth levels of the English football league system and it has various regional feeder leagues and the league as a whole is a feeder league mainly to the National League South. Before the Isthmian League was formed, there were no leagues in which amateur clubs could compete, therefore, a meeting took place between representatives of Casuals, Civil Service, Clapton, Ealing Association, Ilford and London Caledonians to discuss the creation of a strong amateur league. All the clubs supported the idea and the Isthmian League was born on 8 March 1905, membership to the league was through invitation only. The league was strongly dedicated to amateurism, the champions did not even receive a trophy or medals, teams less able to compete financially thus gravitated to it rather than the Southern League, while those with ambition and money would move in the opposite direction. By 1922 the league had fourteen clubs and over the five decades, only a few new members were admitted. Most new Isthmian League members joined from the Athenian League, which was dedicated to amateurism. The league began to admit professionalism in the 1970s, a second division of sixteen clubs was formed in 1973 and a third division followed in 1977. The reward of promotion into the Conference means that, since 1985, the Athenian League disbanded in 1984 when the Isthmian League Second Division split into North and South Divisions. These were restructured again to Second and Third Divisions in 1991, in 2002, the league was restructured again, with the First and Second Divisions merging to become Division One North and Division One South, and the Third Division being renamed as Division Two. In 2004, The Football Association pushed through a restructuring of the non-league National League System. The Isthmian League was reduced back down to three divisions, and its boundaries were changed to remove the overlap with the Southern League, in 2006, further reorganisation saw a reversion to two regional Division Ones and the disbandment of Division Two. This current plan calls for clubs based on the edges of the Isthmian Leagues territory to transfer to, One team, Clapton, had been ever-present in the Isthmian League since its foundation, but they moved to the Essex Senior League for the 2006–07 season. Dulwich Hamlet, who joined the league in 1907, are currently its longest serving member, for the 1973–74 season, the Second Division was added. For the 1977–78 season, the Premier Division was added, for the 1984–85 season, the Second Division was reorganised into North and South regions. For the 1991–92 season, the regional Second Divisions were merged, at the end of the 1994–95 season, Enfield were denied promotion to the Conference
East Preston F.C.
East Preston Football Club is a football club based in East Preston, near Littlehampton, West Sussex, England. They are currently members of the Southern Combination Division One and play at the Lashmar, the original East Preston Football Club was established in 1947, but folded within a decade. A new club was formed in 1966 and joined the Worthing & District League and they moved up to the West Sussex League in 1968, going on to win the leagues Premier Division in 1977–78 and then three consecutive titles between 1980–81 and 1982–83. In 1983 the club were members of the new Division Three of the Sussex County League. However, the club were relegated back to Division Three after finishing bottom of Division Two in 1991–92. East Preston were promoted to Division Two again after finishing as Division Three runners-up in 1994–95, the season saw them win the Division Three Cup. They spent three seasons in Division Two before winning it in 1997–98, earning promotion to Division One, the club remained in Division One until the end of the 2008–09 season, when they were relegated to Division Two. However, after winning Division Two and the Division Two Cup in 2011–12 and they won the Sussex RUR Cup the following season, beating Broadbridge Heath 1–0 in the final. In 2015 the Sussex County League was renamed the Southern Combination, after finishing second-from-bottom of the Premier Division in 2015–16, East Preston were relegated to Division One. The club play at the Lashmar on Roundstone Drive, floodlights were installed in the early 2000s and a 50-seat stand built during the 2002–03 season. C
Eastbourne Town F.C.
Eastbourne Town Football Club are an English football club based in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The club is a FA Chartered Standard Community club affiliated to the Sussex County Football Association, the club was founded in 1881 as Devonshire Park FC and they claim to be the oldest senior football club in Sussex, though they are certainly the oldest in the town of Eastbourne. The club are members of the Southern Combination Premier Division. Founded in 1881 as Devonshire Park Football Club, named after the ground they played at. A home they have shared since with Eastbourne Cricket Club and Eastbourne Hockey Club and they changed their name to Eastbourne F. C. in 1889 as the town was being expanded after the railway arrived into the town. Although at the time they were not in a league, they competed in the Sussex Senior Cup reaching the ten times between 1889 and 1903, winning eight times in that period. They were founding members of the Southern Amateur Football League in 1907 in which remained in until 1946. They briefly left in 1920 and was one of the teams of the Sussex County Football League, in which they stayed for one season. 1946 saw them join the Corinthian League, in 1953, Eastbourne played their local rivals Hastings United in the FA Cup, although they lost 7–2 they recorded their record attendance of 7,378. In 1971, they changed their name from Eastbourne F. C. to the present name, the 1975–76 season saw Eastbourne reach the 5th round of the FA Vase. During the same season they amalgamated with league rivals Eastbourne United but opted to re-join the Sussex County League. Unable to continue in the Athenian League, due to falling attendances and their first season in the new league was successful, winning the Division 1 title. They came close to the again in the 1984/85 and 1985/86 seasons. In 2001 they were relegated into Division 2 after 25 years and they did not manage to gain an immediate promotion back in the following season, but achieved a return to Division 1 at the end of the 2002–03 season after finishing in second place. In the 2006–07 season, they became Sussex County League champions again and they secured the title on the last day of the season by defeating Oakwood 6–1 away from home to pip Whitehawk at the post, earning promotion to the Isthmian League Division One South. In 2014 they were relegated back to the Sussex County League, during the 2015-16 season they reached the 3rd qualifying round in the FA Cup, the furthest they had reached in 47 years. For the 2015-16 season the club runs two teams and a ladies team. Eastbourne Town play their games at The Saffrons, Compton Place Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex
Hailsham Town F.C.
Hailsham Town F. C. is a football club based in Hailsham, East Sussex, England. They were established in 1885 and joined the Sussex County League in 1955 as Hailsham F. C. changing to their present name in 1970 and they are currently members of the Southern Combination Premier Division and play at the Beaconsfield. The club are known locally as The Stringers, a nickname which derives from traditional industry in the town, founded in 1885 as Hailsham Town, the club briefly played under the name of Hailsham Butchers before the First World War. They would win the East Sussex Junior Cup in 1896, changing their name to Hailsham between 1902–53, the club won the Sussex Intermediate Cup in the 1953–54 season and then won the Division Two Cup in 1956. In 1959, Hailsham became the first Sussex side to install floodlights, Hailsham joined the Southern Counties Combination League in 1972, which was a feeder for the County League. In 1975–76 the club won promotion to Division Two of the County League as champions, after six seasons, during which they were one of the leading clubs in Division Two, Hailsham finally won promotion to Division One, as runners-up to Whitehawk in 1980–81. In the early 1990s, the club proved itself as one of the best in the County League and, although never finishing higher than fifth, lifted the League Challenge Cup in 1994–95. The end of the 1990s however, saw a decline in the club’s fortunes, after just two seasons however, Hailsham returned to Division One, after finishing in third place behind Southwick and Peacehaven & Telscombe. In his absence, Ross Scarmadella took control of the team as Caretaker Manager, McCreadie returned to the club, having been found guilty, on the 14th of February. McCreadie then left the club by mutual consent in March 2009, Scarmadella again took charge in a temporary capacity, with the club advertising for a permanent manager at the end of the 2008/09 season. In June 2009, Dave Shearing was appointed to the position, McCreadie was reappointed manager in November 2009, returning to the club after a six-month spell coaching at East Grinstead. After being relegated due to Ground Grading issues in season 2010/11, McCreadie led Hailsham back into Division One at the first attempt in 2011/12, in May 2013, Kenny McCreadie left the club with a new manager Andy Goodchild replacing him. The following season however would see another tough year, despite the club reaching the Second Round proper of the FA Vase for the first time since the 2006/07 season, Hailsham play their home games at The Beaconsfield, Western Road, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 3DN
English football league system
There are more than 140 individual leagues, containing more than 480 divisions. As there are no definitions of any level below 11, any references to the structure at level 12. The pyramid for womens football in England runs separately to nine tiers, the Football League was created in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor. It was dominated by clubs who had supported professionalism. The twelve founding members consisted of six from Lancashire and six from the Midlands, no sides from the South including London initially participated. The system consists of a pyramid of leagues, bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation. A certain number of the most successful clubs in each league can rise to a higher league, in addition to sporting performance, promotion is usually contingent on meeting criteria set by the higher league, especially concerning appropriate facilities and finances. In theory it is possible for a local amateur club to rise to the pinnacle of the English game and become champions of the Premier League. While this may be unlikely in practice, there certainly is significant movement within the pyramid, the top five levels contain one division each and are nationwide in scope. Below this, the levels have progressively more leagues, with each covering progressively smaller geographic areas. Many leagues have more than one division, at the lower levels the existence of leagues becomes intermittent, although in some of the more densely populated areas there are leagues more than twenty layers below the Premier League. Clubs from these leagues may, if they feel they meet the standard of play and have suitable facilities. The seven levels immediately below the Premier League and English Football League are known as the National League System, in May 2014 The Football Association announced provisional plans for a new division between the English Football League and the National League which would include B teams of higher level clubs. The English football league system does not include the version of the game often called Sunday league football. These leagues are independent entities with no promotion or relegation involving the football pyramid, however, some Sunday League clubs have been known to join pyramid leagues if they desire to progress higher. There are also some Saturday leagues such as the Lincolnshire League which are not officially part of the pyramid, at the top is the single division of the Premier League, containing 20 clubs, all of which, up to the 2010–11 season, were based in England. Below the Premier League is the English Football League, which is divided into three divisions of 24 clubs each, The Championship, League One and League Two, the 92 clubs in the Premier League and English Football League are all full-time professional clubs. They are often referred to as League clubs because, before the establishment of the Premier League in 1992, clubs outside this group are referred to as non-League clubs, although they too play most of their football in league-type competitions
Southern Combination Football League
The Southern Combination Football League is a football league broadly covering the counties of East Sussex, West Sussex and southeastern Surrey, England. Formed in 1920 as the Sussex County Football League, the now has six divisions – three for first teams and three for reserve sides. The first team divisions – One, Two and Three, sit at Steps 5,6 &7 of the English football league system, below the regional divisions of the Isthmian League, the reserve divisions are not part of the league system. Also, for the 2015–16 season the league added two U21s divisions, one in the East, and one in the West, these two leagues consisting of 7 teams each. The league originally consisted of a section of 12 clubs. For the first post-War season, the league operated two divisions, East and West. After a single format, the league reverted to a single division for the next six seasons. A second division was instituted in 1952, a two-division format continued for over 30 years, the only deviation being in the 1962–63 season when the terrible winter made the league impossible to finish. The normal league competitions were abandoned and a set of competitions were played for in the second half of the season. After a two division format had proved sufficient for over 30 years, a division was added in 1983. While the top two divisions were for clubs holding senior status with the Sussex FA, the new Division Three was,8 – Peacehaven & Telscombe, Horsham 7 – Worthing 6 – Burgess Hill Town, Chichester City United, Southwick Southern Combination Football League
Worthing United F.C.
Worthing United Football Club is a football club based in Worthing, England. They are currently members of the Southern Combination Premier Division and play at the Robert Albon Memorial Ground, the club was originally called Wigmore Athletic and were one of the founder members of Division Two of the Sussex County Football League for the 1952–53 season. The first season in the league brought instant success as they finished as Champions, the club then spent the next thirteen seasons in Division one during which time they won the league cup in the 1959–60 season. This period also saw the club make their debut in the FA Cup, where they met Arundel in the Preliminary qualifying round, at the end of the thirteen seasons in Division one the club was relegated to Division two but after two seasons were back in Division One. However the club was relegated again, and had to wait until the end of the 1973–74 campaign to get back in the top Division. The club competed in Division one for four seasons before being relegated to Division two where they stayed until the end of the 1987–88 Campaign, at the end of the 1987–88 campaign Wigmore Athletic were relegated to Division Three of the Sussex County league. The club then changed its name to Worthing United when they amalgamated with local side Southdown FC, the newly named club took two seasons to escape from Division Three, when they gained promotion back to Division two as Champions. The club then spent the next fourteen seasons in Division two, with the final of these fourteen seeing the club promotion back into Division one as runners-up in the 2003–04 season. The club remained in Division one until the end of the 2008–09 campaign when they finished bottom of the division and they won promotion back to Division One in the 2010–11 season under manager Dominic Di Paola. In January 2013 Worthing United appointed Paul Curtis as their manager, in November 2013 John Foley was appointed as his replacement and George Bish took up his duties as the assistant manager. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to turn the fortunes around. This season Malcolm Gamlen, the secretary for over 20 years. June 2014 saw another change with Nigel Geary replacing John Foley. In his first year at the helm Geary guided the club back to the new premier division formally known as one, after winning the league. In August 2015, two of the players, Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, were among those killed when an aircraft crashed on the A27 road near Shoreham Airport. They were driving to the Robert Albon Memorial ground to participate in a match against Loxwood F. C. which was called off. Worthing United play their games at the Robert Albion Memorial Ground, Lyons Way, Worthing, West Sussex
Littlehampton Town F.C.
Littlehampton Town Football Club is a football club based in Littlehampton, England. It was established in 1896 and joined the Sussex County League in 1928, in the 1990–91 season, they reached the 1st round of the FA Cup. They are currently members of the Southern Combination Premier Division and play at the Marigolds, Littlehampton F. C. was formed in 1896, adding the Town suffix in 1938. The club became founding members of the West Sussex Football League in 1896, in 1928 the club joined the Sussex County League. That season was undoubtedly the finest in the Marigolds’ history, as well as finishing as Division One champions, the club also reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup where they were beaten 4–0 by Northampton Town in front of a crowd of 4,000 at The Sportsfield. A League & Cup ‘double’ was completed with a 3–0 win over Burgess Hill Town, if that wasn’t enough, Littlehampton also reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase, which remains the furthest that any Sussex club has ever progressed in the competition. The following season, Littlehampton finished third behind Peacehaven & Telscombe, however, fortunes declined to the extent that they were relegated at the end of the 1994–95 season. Two seasons later Littlehampton returned to the top division as champions of Division Two, together, the three most dominant clubs in the early 1990s. The club responded by investing heavily in the squad for 2003–04. This they duly did, finishing seven points clear of runners-up Worthing United, the two clubs also met in the League Cup final, with the Marigolds again coming out on top. Interestingly, there was no significant difference in the attendance from the previous wretched season. The club were the favourites of many to secure back-to-back championships, nevertheless, they did well to finish in a creditable 4th place, a position they occupied once again at the end of 2005–06. That proved to be the case and the Marigolds were always struggling throughout 2006–07, under new manager Trevor Waller, with a largely young, the 2012–13 season saw the club finish as champions of Division Two, gaining promotion to Division One. Littlehampton won the 2014–15 Sussex County Football League, finishing 1st and they however were not promoted after not applying for the Isthmian League. Their Twitter account said that we dont want to, although it is likely they couldnt because their ground would not pass the grading test for Step 4 teams, Littlehampton Town play their home games at The Sportsfield, St Floras Road, Littlehampton, West Sussex, BN17 2BD. Players that have played/Managed in the league or any foreign equivalent to this level. Richard Tiltman - Brighton & Hove Albion 1986-19882, players that hold a club record or have captained the club
Haywards Heath Town F.C.
Haywards Heath Town Football Club is a football club based in Haywards Heath, England. They are currently members of the Southern Combination Premier Division and play at Hanbury Park, the club was formed in 1888 as Haywards Heath. They joined the Sussex County League in 1927, and rejoined after World War II, Haywards Heath won the Eastern Division upon their return in 1945–46 and also reached the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. The club were champions of the recombined Sussex County League in 1949–50 and 1950–51, however, they rejoined the Sussex County League in 1961, being placed in Division One. The club were champions for the time in 1969–70 and finished runners-up in 1974–75 before being relegated to Division Two in 1980. They returned to Division One in 1986 after finishing runners-up, in 1989, they changed their name to their present name, and reached the Third Round of the FA Vase in 1990–91. However, from 1992 to 1993 the club was relegated twice in successive seasons to Division Three, Haywards Heath Town moved back up to Division Two in 2003 with a runners-up finish, but were relegated again the following season. Haywards Heath Town play their games at Hanbury Stadium, Allen Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex