LEWES have secured a glamorous pre-season friendly match against a full-strength Brighton side – set to take place on the day the Olympic torch makes its way through the town.
Although rumours of the game first surfaced on fans forums last week, it wasn’t confirmed officially by the Rooks until Tuesday of this week, when the Rooks posted on their own website: “With the arrival of the Olympic Torch Relay in Lewes, Tuesday July 17 was already shaping up to be an historic day for the town.
“We can now add to the celebration by announcing the arrival of Gus Poyet’s Brighton and Hove Albion side for a prestigious friendly at the Dripping Pan that same evening.
“Our friends from Falmer have promised a first team squad in one of the few friendly matches they will play in Sussex during pre-season.
“We will provide more information nearer the time but planning has already begun for the Albion’s first pre-season visit to Lewes in four years – and their first as a Championship side.”
The club have also announced another pre-season friendly to add to the five already confirmed.
The Rooks will travel to Cherrywood Road on Tuesday, August 7 (7.45pm) to take on Farnborough.
The clubs are linked by Steve Duly, who was general manager at the Dripping Pan last season before he moved to the Rushmore Community Stadium to take over as Farnborough chief executive.
Rooks fans will also get another chance to see their former left back/winger Nic Ciardini, who moved back to his home town club amid controversial circumstances in the middle of last season.
The other pre-season friendlies confirmed by the Rooks are: against Fisher Athletic, for the Supporters Direct Shield, at Enfield Town on Sunday July 8, kick off 12pm; at home to Dover Athletic, Saturday, July 21, 3pm kick off; at home to Eastbourne Borough, Friday, August 3, kick off 7.45pm; and at home to Hayes & Yeading, Saturday, August 11, kick off 3pm.
The expected glut of information regarding the retention or otherwise of Lewes players for next season seems to have been replaced by a wave of silence this week.
Sport Express understands that Lewes boss Simon Wormull has not informed the club of any new developments regarding deals with any of his Rooks squad that finished sixth in the Ryman Premier last season – nor of any new signings coming to or leaving the club.
The Rooks’ playing budget for season 2012/13 has been reduced from last season’s approximate £3,400/week gross to a weekly gross of £2,000.
The club announced the change just after the Sussex Express went to press last week.
In a statment posted on the club website, the Rooks said: “Many playing budgets will be higher, but just as many will be lower in the Ryman Premier next season.
“This is clearly a significant drop, but it means that the playing budget now properly reflects the club’s true means, including an allowance for unexpected contingencies.
“Importantly, the playing budget is not at all dependent on Cup revenues, but the Board and Simon Wormull have agreed that should a Cup run be achieved, additional funds will be released to strengthen the squad.”
During half term next week, youngsters in Lewes will have the opportunity to attend a Soccer School.
Run by Lewes FC’s Community and Education Scheme, the Soccer Schools provide a fun environment for children to learn and develop new and existing skills.
They are being held on Thursday June 7 and Friday June 8 from 9.30am–3pm, although there are a number of options available including half day sessions, a breakfast club or a late session.
The qualified coaches run joint sessions for boys and girls aged between 4-12 of all abilities, where the emphasis is firmly on fun and participation.
Darren Ford, Lewes FC Community and Education Manager said: “Our aim is to continue to increase the numbers for our Soccer Schools and build on our fantastic Easter Soccer School numbers when we averaged around 50 children a day.”
“As a community club, it is really important that we provide opportunities like this and the success of our Soccer Schools shows that there is a demand for such activities.
“Not only do the children have a great time but it helps busy parents out during the school holidays, especially if they find it difficult to take leave from their own job.”
A pre-booked full day session is £15 or £18 on the day, whilst a half-day session is £8.
For more information visit lewesfc.com or call Darren Ford on 07909 904757.
The club’s all-conquering Lewes Ladies team, which is next season playing in the FA Women’s’ Premier League (Southern) for the first time, has announced it will have a new training facility be based at Newlands School.
After we went to press yesterday, Lewes confirmed another pre-season friendly: away to Worthing at Woodside Road, Worthing, on Saturday July 14, kick off 3pm.