National football fans' group backs 'Bring home the Wickers' campaign

Southwick FC’s bid to returnr to Old Barn Way has won backing from a national group.

Old Barn Way
Old Barn Way

The Football Supporters’ Association has offered to get involved in talks with Adur District Council over the Wickers’ bid to return home.

It comes as the Herald learns there is more than one group claiming to represent the football club.

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The FSA’s backing is a boost for the campaign by the newly formed Southwick FC CIC (community interst company) to be allowed back to Old Barn Way, where a major amount of work is needed to get the gorund fit for use.

Richard Irving, network manager for community owned clubs at the FSF, has written to the council, saying: “We are writing to express our concern about the current situation surrounding Old Barn Way, the traditional home ground of Southwick FC.

"We understand that the new Community Interest Company (CIC), that represents individuals not associated with the previous ownership, has made an offer to your Council to obtain a temporary licence in order to make good the necessary repairs at the ground (at their own cost) and that it awaits your decision.”

The letter adds: “We agree with the members of the new CIC when they say that, regardless of who is granted the lease for the ground, there should be a precondition included that guarantees Old Barn Way as the home ground of Southwick FC in order for their good work within community football to flourish.

“The actions of those behind the CIC are motivated by a desire to see senior football retained in Southwick at a time when the community pulling together is needed most. The FSA has seen elsewhere how encouragement from a local council for similar initiatives can make a real difference.

“Sport and football can act as a dynamo for economic and social activity as well as physical and mental well being.”

It has now emerged there is more than one group claiming to be representing the club. The council says its main cooncern is making sure it gives the lease to whoever can make things work long-term.

A council spokesman said: “Be assured, football will always have a home at Old Barn Way which is why we are committed to exploring all avenues to ensure the beautiful game can return to this historic venue.”