Sidley United will not be running a team next season, but is stressing that the football club is not folding.
The Blues, who have spent the last three years in Sussex County League Division One, reached the decision at a committee meeting tonight (Monday) after a turbulent period in which they were left without a ground and then a manager.
Sidley’s official Twitter account posted: “It is with sadness we announce that Sidley United FC will not be running a football side next year. After looking at the options it was decided that taking a year’s break was the best way forward for the long-term future of the club.
“This year off will allow us time to find new committee members to bring fresh ideas and to raise much needed funds. This will mean dropping out of the SCFL, we hope temporarily.
“It is hoped that in a year’s time we will be able to be back in our own ground, starting again from a new basis in whatever league we enter. I stress this is NOT the end of Sidley United FC. We will still be fundraising and seeking new committee members in anticipation of a return to football next season.
“Thank you for all your support and we hope Sidley United FC can prosper again with the right backing and support. We will rise again in a year’s time. Either in County League or East Sussex League. Sidley United will be in business in a season’s time.”
Sidley were formed way back in 1906 and were founder members of the Sussex County League in 1952. The club’s finest hour came in the 2000/01 season when Sidley clinched the Sussex Division One and John O’Hara League Cup double under the management of present chairman Dickie Day.
The current plight stems back to the closure of parent company Sidley Sports & Social Club at the end of April due to severe financial difficulties. That left Sidley without a ground for home matches and the resultant absence of summer boot sales at Gullivers took away a significant source of revenue for the club.
John Lambert stepped down as manager after four years last week, claiming his job had become virtually impossible given all the uncertainly surrounding the club’s future. Sidley Sports & Social Club members then voted in favour of insolvency at a meeting last Friday night.
The ground problem also meant that Sidley Cricket Club - which shared Gullivers with Sidley United - withdrew its first and second teams from the Sussex Cricket League just days before the start of the season. Sidley CC is still going, however, with its former third team in the East Sussex Cricket League.