East Sussex League champions to move leagues

Sidley United celebrate after winning the East Sussex Football League Premier Division title back in April
Sidley United celebrate after winning the East Sussex Football League Premier Division title back in April

Sidley United Football Club will be joining the Mid Sussex League next season.

The 2018/19 East Sussex Football League Premier Division champions will line up in the Mid Sussex League Championship in 2019/20.

A club statement read: A club statement read: “Having won the East Sussex Football League this year, the club was motivated to join the league to ensure we could enjoy regular, high quality, consistent football with the ambition of challenging ourselves to continue to progress.”

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Sidley will be following in the footsteps of Hollington United, who retained the East Sussex League Premier Division title in 2017/18 and joined the Mid Sussex League Premier Division in 2018/19.

Hollington finished runners-up in the league and Mid Sussex Senior Charity Cup, and won the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup.

Sidley’s statement continued: “After the success of winning the East Sussex League this year, the club would have been placed in the Mid Sussex League’s Premier Division.

“However the league have deemed that the current facilities the club enjoys are not adequate for that level. As such, the club will be placed in the Mid Sussex Championship Division for the 2019/20 season.

“We are very excited about the new challenges that lie ahead of us as a club and the new teams we will face as we look to continue our progression.”

Sidley played in Sussex County League Division One, or the Southern Combination League Premier Division as it is today, until losing use of their Gullivers ground when Sidley Sports Club closed its doors amid financial problems in 2013.

The club withdrew from the league and took a year out to regroup before joining East Sussex League Division One and playing home matches at Hooe Recreation Ground.

Sidley won the Division One title and the Sussex Junior Challenge Cup in the 2015/16 season, and have competed in the Premier Division since.

The Blues reached the Hastings & District FA Intermediate Cup final in 2017/18 and were runners-up in the ESFL Premier Travel Chauffeurs Challenge Cup in 2018/19.

“The club would like to place on record our sincere thanks to the East Sussex Football League for the last five seasons,” Sidley’s statement added.

“Following our withdrawal from the Sussex County League in 2013, the ESFL gave us a place to play as we rebuilt the club.”

Along with Bexhill United and Little Common, Sidley have expressed their interest in playing at the disused Gullivers site should it be redeveloped.