Ringmer AFC ready for new era in a home fit for Kings
The 2020-21 season signals a new era for football in Ringmer and the area following the merger of Ringmer FC and AFC Ringmer to form Ringmer AFC and the development of a state-of-the-art new stadium at Kings Academy.
The merger has been two years in the making since the end of football activities for Ringmer FC and their withdrawal from the Southern Combination League.
Working closely with AFC Ringmer of the Mid Sussex Football League, competitive football was able to continue at The Caburn Ground which closed its gates for the last time in March.
After the successful tenancy of AFC Ringmer, the logical next step was uniting the two clubs to start a new outfit at the new ground. The new ground will have a floodlit 3G pitch providing year-round training and match facilities, supported by a clubhouse and bar, which the club hopes will become a social hub for the community from August 2020.
Murray Barnett, head of football strategy and development, said: “Plans to develop football in the village have been under consideration for a decade, and we are delighted that coinciding the merger of the clubs with the unveiling of the new ground gives a strong platform to grow our provision in the community.
“The inclusion of youth and women’s football teams is such that we are now able to provide opportunities for all to play our national game within Ringmer.”
Ringmer AFC will have three sides competing in the Mid Sussex Football League, with the first team competing in the premier division and second and third teams in division three and five respectively. A veterans’ side will compete in Mid Sussex competitions.
First team manager Oli Gibson said: “In challenging times, the committees have worked incredibly hard to bring to completion an exceptional facility that gives a platform for existing and future players to play, develop, and excel.
“We have realistic aims for our first season, as a transitionary period is probable, however as we look to the medium and long-term future, my expectation is that results on the pitch match the quality of the new stadium.”
A revitalised association with Ringmer Rovers Junior FC is also in the offing. Ringmer Rovers will remain as their own entity; however, this new relationship will see the clubs work more closely to ensure there is a progression from youth to adult football in the village.
Ringmer AFC have formed an U18s team who will compete in the Crowborough and District Junior League for their inaugural season.
A new women’s side will play regular friendlies for the first season with a view to moving into league football in 2021-22.
Away from competitive football, the facility will be available to pupils at Kings Academy during school hours and the club will soon announce an exciting new joint venture with Train The Way You Play, a local coaching business, to provide a football training campus during the school holidays. It is anticipated these additional activities help the club serve the community more completely.
Taking into account current training restrictions, the three men’s senior sides and U18s aim to commence pre-season training on Thursday, July 2, from 6.30pm on the school grounds at Kings Academy.
All new players are welcome – for further information contact Oli Gibson by email at [email protected], or visit the club Twitter or Facebook accounts, @RingmerAFC. New players are particularly welcome for the women’s and youth teams.