Only days before the Covid lockdown struck, Bexhill College had proudly announced a new alliance with Eastbourne Borough Football Club. And despite the frustrating summer, both parties have been firming up those plans.
The agreement sees the College become the club’s main sponsor as well as its education provider. Sixteen- to nineteen-year-olds can now further their football education under the Eastbourne Borough Academy banner, while also pursuing a huge range of studies – more than 80 full-time courses are available – at the state-of-the-art College campus.
Borough, the highest-ranked semi-professional club in Sussex, are based on the north-east edge of Eastbourne, just a short drive – or flight of the crow – across the A259 from the College, who were based at the Priory Lane 3G for academy fixtures last season.
“We already enjoyed a super relationship before the season abruptly ended,” commented chairman John Bonar. “The College were able to use Priory Lane to supplement their own facilities, and under director Sean Noble they can offer great sporting expertise, as part of a seamless post-16 education. “
“The football will dovetail with the academics, and the Youth and Academy set-up dovetails with the seniors. Both the Academy and the Eastbourne Borough Under-19s, under top coach Sas Parsad, can feed into Danny’s first-team set-up.”
Bexhill’s widely regarded Sixth Form College model – as opposed to the more hybrid Further Education colleges – already attracts students from the Eastbourne area, including promising youngsters such as Daniel Blackmore, who has already featured in the Sports’ first team. If all goes to plan, Dan could be the first of many.
Meanwhile Borough will be carrying the Bexhill College name far and wide – with the name of the new sponsor emblazoned on the players’ shirts. “In the course of a season, we play in front of thousands of people, locally and nationally,” said Bonar, “and we’re aiming to be winning on all fronts!”
College Principal Karen Hucker gives her full endorsement. "The College is really pleased to be developing its relationship with Eastbourne Borough. The partnership will ensure students have access to the best post-16 Sixth Form College education in the area, with the ability to access all types of courses to suit their needs, whilst giving them the chance to play high quality football.”
At last week’s planning meeting, Sean Noble was equally upbeat. "This agreement further strengthens our already strong relationship with Eastbourne Borough, following our debut season with the club last year. As a College, we are proud to be partnered with and work alongside the leading football club in the local area, and we look forward to providing pathways into football for the local young players".
A previous open evening was scuppered by the Virus, but Borough will announce another as soons as the situation permits. Meanwhile, potential students and their parents and carers can discover more about the College on www.bexhillcollege.ac.uk . The website also has an online enquiries form, or a call to 01424 214545 will get you in touch with admissions staff. Players and parents can also contact the football club on [email protected] .