Lewes F.C.

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Lewes F.C. logo.png
Full name Lewes Football Club
Nickname(s) The Rooks
Founded 1885
Ground The Dripping Pan, Lewes
Ground Capacity 3,000 (600 seated)
Chairman Stuart Fuller
Manager Darren Freeman
League Isthmian League Division One South
2016–17 Isthmian League Division One South, 9th of 24
Website Club home page

Lewes Football Club is an English football club based in Lewes, East Sussex, who play at The Dripping Pan. They are currently members of the Isthmian League Division One South.


Lewes Football Club was formed at a meeting at a local pub (The Royal Oak) in 1885 and initially wore green shirts designed to evoke the surrounding South Downs. The present red and black kit was adopted in 1893.

Having won the championship of the Mid Sussex League twice before World War I. After the first World War the club played in the Brighton, Hove & District Football League, until the end of the 1919–20 season when they became one of the founder members of Sussex County Football League.[1] They were runners-up on four occasions but it was not until 1964–65 that they were finally able to win the championship, after which they stepped up to the Athenian League.

After winning the Division 2 title in 1968, promotion to the Premier Division followed just two years later when the club won the Division 1 title.

Redevelopment work under way at The Dripping Pan

In 1977 Lewes joined the newly expanded Isthmian League, initially in Division 2. Promotion to Division 1 came in 1980 but in 1991 the Rooks were relegated. They bounced back at the first attempt but could only manage one season at this level before two successive relegations saw them in Division 3, where they actually finished second from bottom of the entire league on two occasions.

During the 1998–99 season Jimmy Quinn joined the club as manager and the club soon claimed two consecutive promotions, taking them to the Isthmian League Division One South.

After Steve King took over as manager, in the 2003–04 season they were champions of this division and stepped up to the unprecedented heights of the Conference South after a busy schedule of playoffs at the end of the season, in effect jumping two divisions.

They reached the play-offs in both the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons, finishing 4th in the league on both occasions.

In the 2007–08 season they won promotion to the Conference National for the first time after a 2–0 win over Dorchester Town.[2]

Controversially on the last day of the season, then manager Steve King's contract was not renewed by the board, this subsequently meant that all but one (Anthony Barness) players in the winning squad left the club.[3]

On 29 April 2008 Kevin Keehan was appointed to run the first team.[4] This was even more surprising considering Keehan's previous job was as Commercial Manager at Brighton and Hove Albion. After winning just 4 out of 36 league games for the Rooks and clearly out of his depth, he resigned on 10 March 2009[5] with Steve Ibbitson taking the role of caretaker manager until the end of the season.[6] On 25 March 2009, Lewes' relegation from the Conference National was confirmed after 39 games of the season, with the club finishing bottom of the league.[7]

The 2009–10 season was again a struggle for Lewes numerous winding-up orders were battled off the field and on the field Steve Ibbitson worked wonders with an inexperienced but talented squad of players. Safety was finally secured with a 2–1 away win against Hampton and Richmond on the final afternoon of the season.

Following a poor start to the 2010–11 season, Steve Ibbitson moved upstairs to take on the role as Chairman and Tim O'Shea and Neil Smith were announced as the new management team. However, despite some impressive results such as the victory over league leaders Braintree, O'Shea was unable to steer Lewes away from the bottom of the table. Their relegation to the Isthmian League[8] was confirmed on the 25th of April after a 1–2 defeat to relegation rivals Bishops Stortford.[9] O'Shea and Smith parted ways with Lewes at the end of the season. On 4 June 2011, it was announced that Steve King had returned to the club, three years after leaving in controversial fashion.[10] On 18 January 2012, following an internal investigation, Lewes announced that King had left his position by "mutual consent".[11] Former player Simon Wormull was appointed caretaker manager and after a successful run-in was appointed on a permanent basis in May 2012.[12] After a relegation struggle Lewes ended the 2012–13 campaign in a disappointing 19th place and as a result the manager Simon Wormull was dismissed after the last game.[13]

Lewes in action against Kingstonian in 2012

Garry Wilson was appointed the new Lewes manager on Friday 31 May 2013 and led the team to 16th in his first season.[14] Following a poor start to the new year in 2015, on 17 February 2015, Gary Wilson, assistant Danny Bloor and first team coach Dean Lightwood all stepped down by mutual consent,[15] with Martin Hinshelwood taking temporary charge of the first team.[16] On 4 March 2015, Steve Brown was appointed interim manager until the end of the 2014–15 season,[17] guiding the team to survival (finishing 19th) and reaching the final of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup, where they lost 5–0 to Whitehawk.[18] As a result, Brown was named first team manager for the 2015–16 season. However, after a series of disappointing losses at the start of the season, Brown's resignation was accepted by the board on 24 September 2015, with Hinshelwood, player-manager Jay Lovett and development squad manager Steve Eke taking temporary charge.[19]

On 13 October, former player Darren Freeman was appointed manager, alongside Ross Standen as his assistant.[20] Despite much improved performances and results under Freeman, the Rooks were relegated from the Isthmian League Premier Division to Division One South on 2 April 2016, with three games to play.[21] In their first season in the Isthmian League Division One South they challenged for the play-offs but finished just outside in 9th place. The season was also notable for one of the team, Jonte Smith, being called up to play for the Bermudan national football team in FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Lewes Community Football Club[edit]

On July 9, 2010 "The Rooks" became a member-owned club with six founder members of the new Rooks125 group forming the inaugural Board of the new Lewes Community Football Club ownership body [1]. Comedian, playwright and director Patrick Marber is one of the six Rooks125 founder members. Initially only "Founder Lifetime Membership Shares" were available at a minimum price of £1,000.

In April 2011, the club announced details on how fans will be able to become owners of Lewes FC. From July 2011 shares in the club have been available from £30 per annum. Shareholders are entitled to vote and stand for election to the Board of Directors. The first of these elections took place in October 2011. As of December 2011 the club has over 800 shareholders. In 2011 the club introduced the "Support and Save" scheme whereby shareholders are entitled to discounts from participating local businesses.

Folk-rock supergroup Mumford & Sons agreed to play in a fundraising football tournament for the club and other Lewes causes at the Dripping Pan on 19 July 2013 just before their Gentlemen of the Road gig in the town.

The Club has started a recognised football academy for 16–18-year-olds. It also runs a successful U18s men's squad that won the Sussex Youth Cup in 2012–13 and from 2014–15 will also run an U21 men's team to bridge the gap to the first team.

The Club has a very successful Ladies side which plays in the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division – finishing 5th in 2012–13, the highest position in its history; and 6th in 2013–14. It also has an U16 girls side which won its area league in 2012–13 and 2013–14 The girls won the prestigious Aces National Title in July 2013 and for 2014–15 will run as an U18 ladies team.


The club have always played their home matches at the Dripping Pan (often just called The Pan). The ground itself is known to have been used for football matches prior to the formation of the current club, and has been used by the local people for recreation since time immemorial. The ground is called "The Dripping Pan", because the site was where monks from the local priory used to dry water from the nearby river to make salt. This also accounted for the pitch being sunk below ground level and being surrounded by grass banks on all sides.

The Dripping Pan was chosen as one of the 5 top non-league away days by the football blog The Ball is Round in September 2010.

The Club allows a series of tournaments to be held at the Pan in May of each year. These include the Bonfire Cup between 8 local bonfire societies (Holders 2017: Newick Bonfire Society) and the Super Veterans Cup (Holders 2017: Southdown Swanderers).


A packed Dripping Pan for Lewes vs Eastbourne Borough, 1 January 2009

Lewes fans share a rivalry with local Sussex neighbours Eastbourne Borough, Horsham, Worthing and Bognor Regis. The rivalry with Eastbourne grew as the two clubs battled at the top of the Conference South in 2008 and bank holiday fixtures between the two have attracted large attendances.

Lewes have high attendances for a club at Isthmian League level, averaging 473 in 2016–17, the second highest in the division. Lewes Ladies FC who play in the Women's Premier League South regularly get over 100 supporters as well.


Current squad[edit]

The team before the match against Horsham on 29 August 2016
As of 23 June 2017

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
GK Nathan Stroomberg [22]
GK Chris Winterton
DF Steve Brinkhurst
DF Matthew George
DF Dean Stewart-Hunter
DF Stacey Freeman
DF Alex Malins
DF Frankie Chappell
MF Bouwe Bosma
MF Gus Sow
No. Position Player
MF Ronnie Conlon
MF Lloyd Cotton
MF James Hammond
FW Charlie Coppola
FW Dean Bown
FW Jamie Brotherton
FW George Landais
FW Liam MacDevitt
Bermuda FW Jonte Smith

Club officials[edit]

Management Team

  • Manager – Darren Freeman[22]
  • Assistant manager – Ross Standen
  • First Team Coach – Tony Coade
  • Sports Therapist – Paul Baskin
  • Development Squad manager – Steve Eke
  • Kit Man – Louis Erangey
  • U18s manager – Alex Walsh

Club Officials

  • Club President – John Edwards
  • Vice president – Terry Parris
  • Chairman – Stuart Fuller
  • Board Members – Jacquie Agnew, Barry Collins, Charlie Dobres, Stuart Fuller, Jackie Gilligan, Carol Joy, John Peel, Eddie Ramsden, Jane Roberts and Roger Warner
  • Club Secretary – Kevin Brook


FA Cup history[edit]

Lewes have reached the 1st round of the FA Cup three times in their history. In the 2001–02 season they played Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, losing 2–0,[24] in the 2006–07 season they were beaten 4–1 at home by Darlington,[25] and in the 2007–08 season they lost 3–0 to Mansfield Town at Field Mill.[26]

FA Trophy history[edit]

Lewes' best performance in the FA Trophy has been reaching the 3rd round. This has occurred on two occasions – in the 2002–03 season they lost 3–2 at Gloucester City, and in the 2003–04 season, they played Weymouth at home, but found themselves on the wrong end of a 13-goal thriller, losing 8–5.

FA Vase history[edit]

The last time Lewes were eligible to enter for the FA Vase was in the 2001–02 season. Their last season saw their best run in the competition, reaching the quarter-finals. They ended up losing 2–1 at home to AFC Sudbury.


  1. ^ "Brighton, Hove & District Football League". Bhdfl.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  2. ^ "Lewes are promoted as champions". BBC News. 20 April 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Barness signs new Lewes contract". BBC News. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Lewes appoint Keehan as manager". BBC News. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Keehan resigns as Lewes manager". BBC News. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ibbitson 'only helping out'". Lewesfc.com. 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  7. ^ "Lewes relegated after rivals draw". BBC News. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.lewesfc.com/history-of-lewes-fc/
  9. ^ "Lewes suffer relegation misery". Sussex Express. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "King returns at Lewes". TheArgus.co.uk. 4 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "King leaves Lewes by mutual consent". TheArgus.co.uk. 18 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Wormull gets Lewes job". TheArgus.co.uk. 27 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "Lewes announce departure of Simon Wormull". Sussex Express. 30 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Garry Wilson unveiled as new Lewes FC manager". Sussex Express. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  15. ^ http://www.lewesfc.com/club-announcement-regarding-management-team/
  16. ^ http://www.lewesfc.com/hinshelwood-in-the-dug-out-tonight/
  17. ^ http://www.lewesfc.com/welcome-to-steve-brown/
  18. ^ http://www.lewesfc.com/no-happy-ending-at-the-amex/
  19. ^ http://www.lewesfc.com/club-announcement-regarding-steve-brown/
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  22. ^ a b http://www.lewesfc.com/first-team-player-profiles/
  23. ^ "R.U.R. Cup Final Results – Sussex County Football Association". Sussexcountyleague.com. Archived from the original on 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  24. ^ "Lewes 0–2 Stoke". BBC News. 18 November 2001. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  25. ^ "Lewes 1–4 Darlington". BBC News. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  26. ^ "Mansfield 3–0 Lewes". BBC News. 10 November 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 

External links[edit]