Worthing F.C.

Coordinates: 50°49′13″N 0°23′6″W / 50.82028°N 0.38500°W / 50.82028; -0.38500
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Full nameWorthing Football Club
Nickname(s)The Rebels, The Mackerel Men
GroundWoodside Road, Worthing
OwnerGeorge Dowell
ChairmanBarry Hunter
ManagerAarran Racine
LeagueNational League South
2022–23National League South, 4th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Worthing Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in the West Tarring area of Worthing, West Sussex, England. They are currently members of the National League South and play at Woodside Road.


The club was established in 1886 as Worthing Association Football Club.[2] After playing friendlies, their first competitive game was a Sussex Senior Challenge Cup match on 27 November 1886 in which they defeated Brighton Hornets 1–0 at home.[2] In 1892–93 they won the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup, beating Eastbourne 2–1 in the final.[2] The club were founder members of the West Sussex League in 1896, and won the league in 1898–99.[2] In the 1899–2000 season the club dropped "Association" from their name,[2] and in May 1900 absorbed Worthing Athletic.[2] The club were West Sussex League champions and Sussex Senior Challenge Cup winners again in 1903–04,[3][4] also going onto win the Sussex RUR Cup, a competition played between the winners of the West Sussex League and East Sussex League, beating Hastings & St Leonards 3–2 in the final.[5] Although they left the league at the end of the season due to Worthing Rovers joining, they rejoined a year later after absorbing Rovers.[2] The club won back-to-back West Sussex League titles and RUR cups in 1906–07 and 1907–08 (also winning the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup in the latter season), and did the double again in 1909–10. They won the league title in 1912–13, and both the league and RUR Cup in 1913–14.[5]

After World War I Worthing rejoined the West Sussex League for the 1919–20 season and also entered a team into the Brighton, Hove & District League. In 1920 they were founder members of the Sussex County League, and were the league's inaugural champions.[6] The club retained the league title the following season, and applied to join the Athenian League, but subsequently withdrew the application.[7] Remaining in the Sussex County League, they went on to win the league title again in 1926–27, 1928–29, 1930–31 and 1933–34. In 1936–37 the club reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 4–3 at Yeovil & Petters United.[7] The club were Sussex County League champions again in 1938–39, and after World War II, won the Western Division of the league in 1945–46.[6]

In 1948 Worthing joined the Corinthian League. The higher level proved more challenging than the county league and they finished bottom of the Corinthian League in 1956–57, 1957–58 and 1958–59. When the league folded in 1963, Worthing and most other clubs joined Division One of the Athenian League. They were runners-up in their first season in the division, earning promotion to the Premier Division, as well as winning the AFA Invitation Cup with a 3–1 win over Harwich & Parkeston.[7] They remained in the Premier Division until relegation at the end of the 1966–67 season, and went on to be relegated from Division One to Division Two the season after.[6] In 1971–72 the club were Division Two runners-up, earning promotion back to Division One.[6]

Worthing transferred to Division Two of the Isthmian League in 1977. They were Division Two champions in 1981–82, resulting in promotion to Division One. The following season the club reached the FA Cup first round again, beating Dartford 2–1 before losing 4–0 at Oxford United in the second round.[6] The league season ended with the club winning the Division One title, earning promotion to the Premier Division. They went on to finish as runners-up in the Premier Division in both 1983–84 and 1984–85. However, the club were relegated back to Division One at the end of the 1986–87 season, and then to Division Two after finishing bottom of Division One in 1991–92. They were Division Two champions in 1992–93 and were promoted back to Division One. In 1994–95, another FA Cup first round appearance ended with a 3–1 defeat at AFC Bournemouth. They went on to finish the season as runners-up in Division One and were promoted to the Premier Division, but were relegated back to Division One after finishing bottom of the Premier Division the following season.[6]

In 1999–2000 Worthing reached the FA Cup first round again, losing 3–0 at Rotherham United.[6] League reorganisation saw them placed in Division One South in 2002. They were runners-up in the division in 2003–04 and were promoted to the Premier Division. However, after finishing third-from-bottom of the Premier Division in 2006–07 the club were relegated back to Division One South. A fifth-place finish in 2007–08 saw them qualify for the promotion play-offs, in which they were defeated 2–0 by Tooting & Mitcham United in the semi-finals. Another fifth-place finish the following season was followed by a 1–0 play-off semi-final defeat to Cray Wanderers. The club finished third in Division One South in 2009–10, but again failed to advance past the play-off semi-finals, losing 2–1 to Godalming Town.[6]

In 2015–16 Worthing finished third in Division One South again. After beating Hythe Town 7–0 in the play-off semi-finals, they secured promotion to the Premier Division with a 3–0 win over Faversham Town in the final.[6] The club were top of the Premier Division table when the COVID-19 pandemic halted both the 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons, but they went on to become Premier Division champions in 2021–22, earning promotion to the National League South.[6] In their first season in the National League the club finished fourth in the division, qualifying for the play-offs. After beating Braintree Town 2–1 in the semi-finals, they lost 2–0 to Oxford City in the semi-finals. The season also saw them win the Sussex Senior Cup again, beating Bognor Regis Town 8–7 on penalties after a 0–0 draw. At the start of the 2023–24 season the club won the Sussex Community Shield, defeating Broadbridge Heath 5–4 on penalties after the match ended 3–3. In 2023–24 they reached the first round of the FA Cup for the fifth time, losing 2–0 at Alfreton Town.


The club's nickname of "the Rebels" dates from when they resigned from the West Sussex League on a point of principle over a rule change. Worthing are also known as "The Mackerel Men", a reference to the three fish prominent on the club crest.


Woodside Road, 2018

The club initially played at People's Party (now Homefield Park), before moving to Beach House Park in 1889.[2] In 1901 they relocated to the Sports Ground, which later became known as Woodside Road.[2] A sports ground had been opened on the Woodside Road site as early as 1892,[8] when the site was part of the parish of West Tarring (which at the time was not yet part of the borough of Worthing). Then known as the Pavilion Road Sports Ground, it occupied a 13-acre site, with a Queen Anne-style pavilion giving its name to Pavilion Road along the south of the site.[8] The land was donated by a local benefactor, Mr Brazier.[9] A record attendance of 3,100 was set for an FA Amateur Cup quarter-final replay against Depot Battalion, RE in 1907–08.[2] A new record of 3,600 was set for an FA Cup fourth qualifying round match against Wimbledon in 1936.[7]

In 1937 the Sports Ground closed and the site's northern portion was developed into the existing Woodside Road ground. The southern portion of the Sports Ground became tennis courts and then in 1948 became home to Worthing Pavilion Bowls Club.[8] Floodlights were installed in 1977.[8] At the end of 1984–85 Woodside Road's main stand, which had been in place since the 1920s, burnt down.[9][10] A replacement was opened in 1986.[9] After being taken over by former player George Dowell in 2015, an artificial pitch was installed.[11]

The ground has also been home to Horsham (during the 2008–09 season) and Brighton & Hove Albion's reserve team after the closure of the Goldstone Ground in 1997.

Current squad[edit]

As of 22 February 2024[12]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK England ENG Roco Rees
2 DF England ENG Joel Colbran
3 DF England ENG Cameron Tutt
4 MF England ENG Kane Wills
5 DF England ENG Aaran Racine (captain)
6 DF England ENG Joe Rye
7 FW England ENG Greg Luer
8 MF England ENG Michael Klass
9 FW England ENG Jake Robinson
10 FW England ENG Ollie Pearce
11 MF England ENG Nick Wheeler
12 DF England ENG Luca Woodhouse (on loan from Wycombe Wanderers)
13 GK England ENG Ollie Wright (on loan from Southampton)
14 MF Spain ESP Odei Martin Sorondo
15 DF England ENG Reuben Livesy-Austin
No. Pos. Nation Player
16 MF England ENG Jesse Starkey
17 FW England ENG Tommy Willard
18 FW England ENG Ollie Starkey
19 MF England ENG Finlay Chadwick
20 MF England ENG Jack Wadham (on loan from Bournemouth)
21 FW Spain ESP Joan Luque
22 MF France FRA Dylan Fage
23 DF England ENG Joe Felix
24 DF England ENG Zac Jeanes
26 FW England ENG Brad Dolaghan
27 DF England ENG Alfie Young
28 FW England ENG Danny Cashman
31 MF England ENG Glen Rea
MF South Korea KOR Lee Suk-jae
GK England ENG Will Tillman


  • Isthmian League
    • Premier Division champions 2021–22
    • Division One champions 1982–83
    • Division Two champions 1981–82, 1992–93
  • Sussex County League
    • Champions 1920–21, 1921–22, 1926–27, 1928–29, 1930–31, 1933–34, 1938–39
    • Western Division champions 1945–46
  • West Sussex League
    • Champions 1898–99, 1903–04, 1906–07, 1907–08, 1909–10, 1912–13, 1913–14
  • Sussex Senior Challenge Cup
    • Winners 1892–93, 1903–04, 1907–08, 1913–14, 1919–20, 1922–23, 1926–27, 1928–29, 1934–35, 1939–40, 1944–45, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1951–52, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1970–75, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1998–99,[4] 2022–23
  • Sussex RUR Cup
    • Winners 1903–04, 1906–07, 1907–08, 1909–10, 1913–14, 1920–21, 1926–27, 1933–34 (shared), 1939–40, 1941–42, 1944–45, 1948–49 (shared), 1952–53, 1953–54[5]
  • Sussex Floodlit Cup
    • Winners 1988–89, 1989–90, 1997–98[13]
  • AFA Invitation Cup
    • Winners 1963–64
  • Sussex Community Sheild
    • Winners 2023–24


Managerial history[edit]

Dates Name
1981–1986[10] England Barry Lloyd
1986–1987 England Keith Rowley
1987–1988 England Alan Pook
1988–1989 England J.Rains
1989–1991 England Keith Rowley
1991–1994[10] Northern Ireland Gerry Armstrong
1994–1996 England John Robson
1996 England Mark Falco
1996–2001[10] England Brian Donnelly
2001–2003 England Barry Lloyd
2003–2009 England Alan Pook
2009–2010 England Simon Colbran
2010–2012 England Chris White
2012–2013 England Lee Brace
2013–2015 England Adam Hinshelwood
2015–2017 England Gary Elphick
2017–2024 England Adam Hinshelwood
2024– England Aarran Racine

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Capacity Upgrade Works Planned For Worthing FC". Football & Stadium Management.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Formation". Worthing FC.
  3. ^ "Part one – pre-war". Crawley Town History.
  4. ^ a b "The Sussex Senior Challenge Cup past winners". Sussex County League. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "The Sussex Royal Ulster Rifles Charity Cup". Sussex County League. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Worthing at the Football Club History Database
  7. ^ a b c d "Early Years". Worthing FC.
  8. ^ a b c d Elleray, D. Robert (1998). A Millennium Encyclopaedia of Worthing History. Worthing: Optimus Books. ISBN 0-9533132-0-4.
  9. ^ a b c "Worthing". Pyramid Passion. Archived from the original on 17 June 2007.
  10. ^ a b c d "Hello Isthmian League". Worthing FC.
  11. ^ "The George Dowell Era". Worthing FC.
  12. ^ "First team". Worthing FC. Retrieved 22 February 2024.
  13. ^ "The Sussex County Football Association Floodlit Cup". Sussex County League. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010.
  14. ^ a b c d e Mike Williams & Tony Williams (2020) Non-League Club Directory 2021, p546 ISBN 978-1869833848

External links[edit]

50°49′13″N 0°23′6″W / 50.82028°N 0.38500°W / 50.82028; -0.38500