Hollington United explore £1 million ground project

Hollington United are exploring the possibility of laying a 3G pitch at their Gibbons Field ground. Picture by Justin Lycett
Hollington United are exploring the possibility of laying a 3G pitch at their Gibbons Field ground. Picture by Justin Lycett

Hollington United Football Club is exploring the possibility of installing a floodlit artificial pitch in a project which would cost around £1 million.

The Lions are hoping to have a 3G surface laid at their Gibbons Field ground in a possible venture alongside East Sussex College Hastings.

Hollington manager Scott Price said: “You always want to improve and we’re in talks with the college about a joint bid for a 3G pitch at Gibbons Field.

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“It’s needed. The town needs it and it would be a winner all-round. We would have to move away for a year (play home matches at an alternative venue), but I’m sure there’s plenty of people who would welcome us with open arms.”

Hollington won the East Sussex Football League Premier Division in 2016/17 and 2017/18, and came second in the Mid Sussex League Premier Division in 2018/19, but they cannot progress into senior level football with their present facilities as the pitch is too small.

A Football Association representative will shortly be visiting the club to carry out a feasibility report on whether the 3G plan is viable, potentially with the direction of the pitching changing.

“I wanted to push the club on and the club’s now ready to move on,” added Price. “It’s such a community-based football club there and very family-orientated as well. We’re also promoting education and getting kids off the street.”

Tim Hulme, East Sussex College’s executive director resources and organisational development, said: “As part of the college’s emerging estates strategy involving all five campuses, we are reviewing a range of long-term options with a variety of stakeholders for particular events of our curriculum, one of which is a potential arrangement with Hollington United FC.

“The college is extremely grateful for the positive manner in which the club representatives have contributed to discussions.”

Price praised a ‘fantastic’ 2018/19 campaign in which Hollington won the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup and reached the Mid Sussex Senior Charity Cup final, in addition to their strong league finish.

“I did say (at the start of the season) we want to be competitive and in April we were still in every competition we entered - and we ended up with the biggest prize of them all.

“I’m pleased with the kids we’ve brought through; we’ve used eight teenagers last year. And the other players who got us promoted last year, I can’t ask any more from them.

“They’ve all been fantastic. There’s a good vibe at the club this year. The whole club was going downhill before we got here (three years ago) and I would like to think we’ve turned the club around.

“I’d be surprised if anyone wants to leave and there’s always one or two players who become available. There’s a few areas we could do with strengthening, but nothing major really. Dommy (Clarke) has done well up-front, but as a team we’ve not created enough chances for him.”

Price added that he plans to start pre-season training for next term earlier than usual and the club has a home friendly against Hastings United to look forward to on August 6.