Whitehawk F.C.

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Whitehawk FC
Whitehawk F.C. logo.png
Full name Whitehawk Football Club
Nickname(s) The Hawks
Founded 1945
Ground The Enclosed Ground, Brighton
Ground Capacity 2,175
Chairman Nigel Thornton
Manager Andy Woodman
League National League South
2016–17 National League South, 18/22
Website Club home page

Whitehawk Football Club is a semi-professional English football club based in Whitehawk, a suburb of Brighton in the city of Brighton and Hove. The club participates in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football. The team play their home matches at the Enclosed Ground, situated in East Brighton Park, just north of Brighton Marina. Prior to 2010 the club had never played above County League level, but after three promotions in four seasons, the Hawks reached Conference South in 2013 as well as the second round of the FA Cup in 2015. [1]

The Enclosed Ground, Whitehawk


Founded in 1945 as Whitehawk & Manor Farm Old Boys and playing in the Brighton & Hove District League,[2] they quickly moved through the divisions, winning Division 4 in 1947/48, the Intermediate in 1949/50 and then the Senior in 1951/52 season, going the whole season unbeaten. During this time the club also won its first major honour, the Sussex Senior Cup in 1950–51, beating Eastbourne 1–0 at Woodside Road, Worthing in the final. The club was promoted to the Sussex County League in 1952–53 and after finishing third in their inaugural season, were runners-up for three successive seasons from 1954–55,[3] and never out of the top five, before changing their name to Whitehawk FC in 1960.[4]

In 1961–62 Whitehawk won the first of four Division One titles,[5] as well as the Sussex Senior Cup, beating Eastbourne United 4–0 at the Goldstone Ground. The following season the competition was abandoned due to bad weather, but 1963–64 the Hawks retained the championship,[6] finishing three points clear of second-placed Lewes. The next three seasons were not as successful and the club found itself relegated at the end of the 1966–67 season, only to make an immediate return as Division Two champions in 1968.[7]

The next nine years saw Whitehawk continue to compete in the top division, during which time they lost 1–2 to Horsham in the Sussex Senior Cup final in 1972. The Hawks were relegated for a second time in 1976–77. This time they were to spend four seasons in Division Two, before winning promotion as champions in 1980–81.[8] They entered the FA Cup for the first time in the 1982–83 season but lost 5–2 to Dartford in their first match In 1983–84 Whitehawk won Division One for the third time [9] as well as enjoying a good run in the FA Vase before losing 0–1 at Corinthian-Casuals in the fourth round.[10]

1986–87 saw the Hawks finish as runners-up to Arundel. [11] In 1988–89 under manager Sammy Donnelly, Whitehawk had what was at the time their best run in the FA Cup, going out 0–2 in a fourth qualifying round replay to Bognor Regis Town, having previously drawn 2–2 at Nyewood Lane. Former Brighton & Hove Albion striker Gerry Fell scored the first equaliser in the away game.[12] The home attendance record of 2,100 for the replay stood for 27 years and was only bettered in 2015 for the FA Cup replay with Dagenham and Redbridge.[13]

The Hawks won the Sussex RUR Charity Cup in 1990–91, beating Peacehaven & Telscombe in the final 2–1.[14] 1993–94 was another good season for the club, finishing once again as runners-up [15] this time to Wick, as well as having their best ever run in the FA Vase, reaching the 5th Round before losing 2–3 at home to Boston.[16]

2002–03 saw the club under manager Ian Chapman once again finish in second place, this time to runaway winners Burgess Hill Town.[17] A comparatively modest 8th place followed the next season, but in 2004–05 the Hawks regained their position amongst the leading clubs in the League, finishing just a point behind runners-up Rye & Iden United.[18] The two sides also met in the final of the John O'Hara League Cup and the Hawks emerged as 4–3 winners. However, they were later found to have played an ineligible player in substitute Bertie Foster and therefore Rye were awarded the trophy. The Hawks could only manage third place again in 2005–2006 but reached both the League Cup and RUR Charity Cup finals, losing to Shoreham and Hailsham Town[19] respectively. In 2006–07 The Hawks reached the quarter final of the FA Vase, losing 0–1 at home to the eventual winners Truro City in front of a crowd of 1,009.[20]

The club finally achieved the league title success that had previously eluded them, winning the Sussex County League Division 1 in 2009–10 [21] under manager Darren Freeman to gain promotion to the Isthmian League Division One South for the first time. The Hawks also reached the semi-final of the FA Vase, losing 1–4 on aggregate to Wroxham of the Eastern Counties League Premier Division. [22] In their first season at the new level Whitehawk were in the title race but eventually had to settle for third place and the end-of-season play-offs against Leatherhead. The game at the Enclosed Ground ended 1–1 but the visitors won 4–3 on penalties. [23]

The Hawks completed a league and cup double the following season 2011–12, finishing as Isthmian League Division One South champions [24][25] as well as lifting the Sussex Senior Cup after beating Crawley Down 2–1 at the Amex.[26] They followed this up later by winning the 2012 Sussex Community Shield in August, with a 4–1 win against Three Bridges.[27] The club had planned to play the 2012–13 season at the Withdean Stadium in order to redevelop the Enclosed Ground but this was blocked by the Ryman League, who were concerned that the club would not return to East Brighton.[28]

The club achieved back to back promotions in the 2012–13 season by winning the Isthmian League Premier Division at the first attempt to earn a place in the Conference South.[29] For the 2013–14 season, the club intended to change its name to Brighton City Football Club[30] but the FA Council ruled against the proposal.[31]

The Hawks struggled in their first season in Conference South with manager Darren Freeman blaming the physical nature of some of the teams in the league.[32] After achieving three promotions in four years, Darren Freeman was sacked in January 2014 and replaced by Steve King.[33] King ensured the Hawks retained their place in Conference South on a dramatic last day of the season at the Enclosed Ground against Sutton United, with a late equaliser for the Hawks ensuring a 3–3 draw and an even later penalty by Dover Athletic relegating Hayes & Yeading instead.[34] The club enjoyed their most successful season ever in 2014–2015, finishing fourth in Conference South [35] and earning a place in the play-off semi-finals against Basingstoke Town. After a 1–1 draw at the Enclosed Ground, a tremendous strike from fans' player of the year Jake Robinson in the second leg won the match 1–0 to earn a place in the final against Boreham Wood, who had finished second in the league.[36] The play-off final at Boreham Wood's ground finished 1–1 in normal time but an extra time winner for Wood denied the Hawks what would have been their fourth promotion in six seasons.[37] Whitehawk completed the season with a 5–0 victory over Lewes at the Amex to lift the Sussex Senior Cup.[38]

After a good start to the 2015–16 season, the Hawks reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time and achieved national coverage with a 5–3 victory against National League Lincoln City.[39] In the second round the Hawks drew 1–1 at League Two Dagenham & Redbridge, following a dramatic headed goal in added time by Jordan Rose, which was broadcast live by the BBC.[40] In front of a record crowd of 2,174 at the Enclosed Ground, the Hawks lost the second round replay 2–3. To force the match into extra time, Whitehawk again equalised dramatically in added time with a header, this time by Juan Cruz Gotta.[41] The whole match was broadcast live on national TV by BT Sport.

The club submitted a further application to the Football Association to change their name to Brighton City in December 2015. This application was withdrawn a month later after opposition from fans and Chairman John Summers spending time on the terraces at an away game at Chelmsford City.[42]

In February 2016, the club parted company with Steve King after picking up just 9 points from the previous 36 available, a spell which also saw the club fall from 3rd to 13th. Pablo Asensio took over from King as Caretaker Manager,[43] reorganising the squad and playing style to such an extent that after drifting down towards the relegation zone, the Hawks finished the season in style, reaching the play offs for the second season running, with Asensio named manager of the month for April 2016.[44] In the play off semi final against long time league leaders Ebbsfleet United the Hawks lost 1–2 at the Enclosed Ground, but then won the second leg 2–1 in Kent, before eventually losing on penalties after extra time.[45]Pablo Asensio was appointed in May 2016 as permanent manager on a two-year contract, which was followed by a complete overhaul of the playing staff for the start of the new season.[46][47]

After a poor start to the 2016–17 season, with only one win in eight games, The Hawks replaced Pablo Asensio with former Eastleigh manager Richard Hill.[48][49] In Hill's first week in charge he signed five former Eastleigh players and a further two on loan from his old club, [50][51] before releasing seven Brazilian players signed at the start of the season, the following week. [52][53] Hawks again reached the first round of the FA Cup but were denied a dramatic winner against Stourbridge in unusual circumstances when Javier Favarel's 30-yard volley was ruled out after referee Robert Whitton blew for full-time with the ball in the air. [54] Stourbridge won the replay 3-0.

After ten league games in charge, five won and five lost, Hill left to join Aston Villa as a scout, [55] with Director of Football Alan Payne and player/assistant manager Ben Strevens taking temporary charge of the first team. Defender Paul Reid then stepped up to assist Alan Payne as joint player-manager after Strevens returned to Eastleigh. [56] Payne and Reid were appointed joint managers until the end of the season on 22 December[57] but with the Hawks in the bottom three at the end of January, the club advertised for a new permanent manager [58] and on the 1 February appointed former Crystal Palace goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman to the post.[59]


Whitehawk F.C. is a members' club. Success in recent years has been driven by financial benefactors and directors Chris Gargan, Peter ('Ned') McDonnell, Mark ('Ted') Ratcliffe and John Summers, who formed part of a new board in July 2009 when the club were playing Sussex County League football.[60] [61] In 2014, after back to back promotions from the Isthmian League and the club's first season in Conference South, Jim Collins was appointed chairman, with plans to further improve the club's operations off the field.[62] John Summers took over as Chairman for the start of the 2015–16 season [63] but stood down just over a year later, with General Manager Nigel Thornton stepping in on a temporary basis. [64]


Whitehawk have played at the Enclosed Ground [65] in East Brighton Park, Whitehawk since the 1950s. The pitch is famous for being set into a steep hillside adjacent to the South Downs National Park and sloping downhill towards the sea. The pitch also has a significant drop from one southerly corner flag to the other.

The ground has seen major redevelopment over recent years in order it to achieve the necessary ground grading to be used as a venue in the National League South. It has two covered seated stands, one uncovered seated stand and a grass bank along one touchline:

  • Sea End: The North stand is affectionately known as the 'Sea End' because of its views of the English Channel. There are two banks of open seating, which were previously at the Withdean Stadium when Brighton and Hove Albion played there. One section of seating is 11 rows high, has a capacity of just over 900 seats and extends from the east side to beyond the goalmouth. Then there is a gap, before another smaller bank of seating which is eight rows high and contains around 400 seats. The stand, or part of it, is used for visiting fans when segregation of the crowd is in force
  • The Din: The South stand, known as 'the Din' is partially covered. It is all seated and extends the full width of the pitch. However, as the ground also has a slope that runs up from the Main Stand side to the East Bank, the stand has been put together in four sections that are at different heights
  • Main Stand is a small, covered, seated stand on the halfway line adjacent to the clubhouse and backs onto the main turnstiles. It also houses the players' and officials' changing rooms.
Enclosed Ground step detail

The internet celebrity Wealdstone Raider gained his fame through ridiculing Whitehawk's small ground and small number of home supporters in a Ryman League Premier Division match against Wealdstone, the team he was supporting, played on 9 March 2013. [66]


Whitehawk Ultras following a home game against Dulwich Hamlet

A section of Whitehawk's fans call themselves the Whitehawk Ultras. This is a deliberately ironic name and they have a number of original songs and rituals,[67] including the re-working of a minor Taylor Swift song.[68] Some of the Whitehawk supporters[69] set up a fanzine in 2015 called 'The Din Monthly'.[70] The fans claim an anti-homophobic, anti-sexist and anti-racist ethic and a mantra that football should be affordable for local residents in East Brighton.[71]


The first team wear shirts sponsored by the trade union GMB, Southern Branch.[72]


Current squad[edit]

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

No. Position Player
Brazil GK Lucas Covolan
England GK George Hobbs
England GK Tom Stewart
England DF Lewis Broughton
England DF Dan Harding
England DF Robbie Keith
Albania DF Almpi Lengka
Spain DF Ramon Marimon
France DF Chris M'Boungou
England DF Elliot Omozusi
England DF Josh Passley
England DF Christian Scales
England MF Billy Barker
England MF Luke Emberson
No. Position Player
Argentina MF Javier Favarel
England MF Spencer Forte
England MF Alex Osborn
Brazil MF Lucas Rodrigues (dual registration with Burgess Hill Town)
England MF Glen Southam
England MF Frankie Sutherland
Argentina MF Sergio Torres
England MF Mike West
England FW Ibby Akanbi
England FW Hogan Ephraim
England FW Danny Mills
England FW Taylor Morgan
Montserrat FW Bradley Woods-Garness

Out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player
England DF Marvin Hamilton (on loan to Margate)
Saudi Arabia MF Ahmed Abdulla (on loan to Metropolitan Police)

Former players[edit]

For a complete list of current and former Whitehawk players with Wikipedia articles, see Category:Whitehawk F.C. players.


Current management team[edit]

Position Name
Director of Football Alan Payne
First Team Manager Andy Woodman
First Team Assistant Manager Jimmy Dack
First team Coach John Foley
First team Goalkeeping Coach Dean Lightwood
Sports Therapist Denise McLean
Kit Manager David Hunt
U18 Manager Jude McDonald
U18 Coaches Matthew Elphick & Harry Shooman

Club officials[edit]

Position Staff
President Chris Gargan
Chairman Nigel Thornton
Secretary & Treasurer John Rosenblatt
Executive Assistant Denise McLean
Commercial Jenna Freeman
Match Secretary Ant Scott
Safety Officer Gavin Chapman
Media Officer Tom Harris
Groundsman Keith Collingbourne
Fan Liaison Paul Tomlinson
Merchandise David Hunt

Source: Official Matchday Programme Whitehawk Football Club v Bishop's Stortford, 18 March 2017


League honours[edit]

Cup honours[edit]

  • Sussex Senior Cup
    • Winners (4): 1950–51, 1961–62, 2011–12, 2014–15
    • Runners-up (3): 1953–54, 1971–72, 2006–07
  • Sussex RUR Cup
    • Winners (3): 1954–55, 1958–59, 1990–91
    • Runners-up (2) 1956–57, 2005–06
  • Sussex Community Shield
    • Winners (1): 2012
    • Runners-up (1): 2015

Club records[edit]


  1. ^ "BBC football FA Cup Whitehawk v Dagenham & Redbridge". BBC. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Whitehawk". The Non-League Club Directory. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  3. ^ Whitehawk FC Club History, Official Matchday Programme vs Tonbridge Angels 22 March 2014
  4. ^ Howard Griggs (26 April 2013). "Whitehawk change their name". The Argus. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Sussex County League". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "Sussex County League". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Sussex County League". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Sussex County League". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "Sussex County League". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "FA Vase". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Non League Tables for 1986–1987". Non League Matters. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Brian Owen (24 October 2015). "FA Cup: The day Whitehawk braves Fell at final hurdle". The Argus. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "BBC football FA Cup Whitehawk v Dagenham & Redbridge". 
  14. ^ "Sussex Cups". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  15. ^ "Whitehawk". The Non League Club Directory. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  16. ^ "FA Vase". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  17. ^ "Whitehawk". The Non League Club Directory. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  18. ^ "Whitehawk". The Non League Club Directory. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "Sussex Cups". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  20. ^ "FA Vase". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  21. ^ "Sussex County League". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  22. ^ "FA Vase". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  23. ^ "Ryman Isthmian League". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  24. ^ Howard Griggs (28 April 2012). "Whitehawk are champions". The Argus. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  25. ^ "Isthmian League Division 1 South". Non League Matters. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  26. ^ Howard Griggs (12 May 2012). "Gargan hits late winner as Hawks lift Senior Cup". The Argus. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  27. ^ "Sussex Community Shield Report". Sussex Country Football Association. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  28. ^ Tim Ridgway (23 April 2012). "Future of football at Withdean is shelved". The Argus. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  29. ^ Howard Griggs (23 April 2013). "Whitehawk are champions". The Argus. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  30. ^ Howard Griggs (26 April 2013). "Whitehawk change their name". The Argus. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  31. ^ FA Staff (22 May 2014). "FA Council rules on Whitehawk F.C. and Darlington 1883". The Football Association. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  32. ^ Steve Hollis (31 August 2013). "Whitehawk suffer a culture shock". Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  33. ^ Howard Griggs (10 February 2014). "King takes over at Whitehawk". The Argus. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  34. ^ "Match Report". Sutton United. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  35. ^ "English Conference South Season 2014–15". Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  36. ^ Howard Griggs (2 May 2015). "Whitehawk clinch place in play-off final". The Argus. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  37. ^ John Mead (9 May 2015). "Incredible Wood go national!". Boreham Wood F.C. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  38. ^ Howard Griggs (16 May 2015). "Classy Whitehawk win Senior Cup at the Amex". The Argus. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  39. ^ "BBC football FA Cup Whitehawk v Lincoln City". 
  40. ^ "BBC football FA Cup Dagenham & Redbridge v Whitehawk". 
  41. ^ "BBC football FA Cup Whitehawk v Dagenham & Redbridge". 
  42. ^ "Whitehawk abandon Brighton City name change after fan opposition". BBC. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  43. ^ Brian Owen (17 February 2016). "Whitehawk part company with boss Steve King". The Argus. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  44. ^ "Vanarama Manager and Player Awards for April". Southport F.C. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  45. ^ Steve Tervet (8 May 2016). "Ebbsfleet United 1 Whitehawk 2 Match Report". KentOnline. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  46. ^ Tom Harris (13 May 2016). "Pablo Asensio signs new contract". Whitehawk F.C. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  47. ^ Howard Griggs (22 May 2016). "Whitehawk make six new signings". The Argus. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  48. ^ Brian Owen (9 September 2016). "National League: Richard Hill takes charge as Whitehawk sack Asensio". The Argus. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  49. ^ Tom Harris (9 September 2016). "Club statement – managerial change". Whitehawk F.C. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  50. ^ Wendy Gee (15 September 2016). "Four Eastleigh players – past and present – join ex-Spitfires boss Richard Hill at Whitehawk". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  51. ^ Brian Owen (18 September 2016). "National League: Richard Hill thanks Whitehawk after signing spree". The Argus. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  52. ^ Tom Harris (21 September 2016). "Seven Leave The Hawks". Whitehawk F.C. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  53. ^ Steven Coney (21 September 2016). "Whitehawk release seven as Richard Hill's rebuilding job continues". The Non-League Football Paper. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  54. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37807827
  55. ^ Steven Coney (29 November 2016). "Whitehawk begin search for third boss of season after Richard Hill departs for Aston Villa". The Non-League Football Paper. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  56. ^ Wendy Gee (11 December 2016). "Midfielder Ben Strevens linked with Eastleigh return". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  57. ^ Tom Harris (22 December 2016). "Alan Payne and Paul Reid Appointed Joint Managers". Whitehawk F.C. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  58. ^ Tom Harris (28 January 2017). "Club statement – Saturday 28th January". Whitehawk F.C. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  59. ^ Anthony Scott (1 February 2017). "Andy Woodman appointed Hawks Boss". Whitehawk F.C. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  60. ^ Howard Griggs (17 July 2009). "Hawks think big with new signings". The Argus. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  61. ^ "Success story for Brighton boys with £100 million contract". The Argus. 1 October 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  62. ^ Howard Griggs (25 July 2014). "New chairman wants to get Hawks ready for big move". The Argus. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  63. ^ Latest Brighton (24 July 2015). "John Summers interview". Latest Brighton. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  64. ^ "Whitehawk Football Club". Matchday Programme, Issue 15 v Bath City. 17 December 2016. 
  65. ^ "Whitehawk The Enclosed Ground". Football Ground Guide. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  66. ^ Gareth Davies (16 December 2014). "Whitehawk's 'Wealdstone Raider' is Internet sensation". The Argus. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  67. ^ Ian Townsend (11 April 2015). "The Wealdstone Raider and the world of Whitehawk". Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  68. ^ Ian Townsend. "Whitehawk nail-biter promises more". 
  69. ^ Jonathan Jones (9 January 2015). "Online magazine launch to celebrate Hawks". Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  70. ^ Doug Grant & Henry Stockley, eds. (May 2015). "The Din Monthly". Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  71. ^ "GMB Southern Region sponsor Whitehawk FC". GMB Southern Region. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  72. ^ "GMB Southern Region sponsor Whitehawk FC". GMB Southern Region. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°49′17.09″N 0°05′46.12″W / 50.8214139°N 0.0961444°W / 50.8214139; -0.0961444