Southwick FC directors hit back in a row that's thrown club into chaos

Southwick 1882 FC's bosses insist they have the community club's interests at heart - after the first-team manager and first-team squad quit in a row over a demand for signing-on fees.

Southwick 1882 FC on their way to winning the Mid Sussex League Championship title last season / Picture: Stephen Goodger
Southwick 1882 FC on their way to winning the Mid Sussex League Championship title last season / Picture: Stephen Goodger

Southwick's title-winning season in the Mid Sussex League Championship division has had a huge shadow cast over it as the club gear up for the 2021-22 season with manager Sammy Donnelly and his No2 Tony Gratwicke being sacked and many players leaving the club.

As reported on this website last Friday, Donnelly says it followed the club's decision to make players pay a £125 to register for the new season - which he says was a huge insult after they had stayed loyal to the club when it was forced to drop out of the Southern Combination League and leave its home ground of Old Barn Way after problems with the lease.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

But Southwick 1882 chairman Tony Kybett has hit back at Donnelly and said that all the club's bosses are trying to do is make the club financially sustainable.

A statement from the club said: "We as the board of directors from Southwick 1882 FC have always had the community club in our best interest in any decision made. The club has been reformed as a Community Interest Company and invited local enthusiastic people to come on board along with Southwick1882 FC youth in the quest to get football back to Old Barn Way.

"A director made a proposal regarding the first team to break away from the CIC and manage their own affairs both on and off the field. This proposal was rejected at a board meeting held on 08 July. The proposer and seconder resigned as directors."

The club claimed in its statement that Donnelly had attempted to undermine the club's directors via the club’s accountants. The statement added: "The chairman telephoned him on 6 July informing him that the matter would be raised at the board meeting of 8 July and that a decision would have to be taken regarding this serious matter.

"The chairman confirmed he would telephone him on conclusion of the board meeting. This was done but unfortunately Sammy Donnelly did not answer the call or respond to the voicemail message requesting that he return the call. On the morning of 9 July, the same action was repeated by the chairman again with no response.

"It was greed that the chairman would send a text and email to him confirming the decision not to re-appoint the previous first management personnel. Not an ideal way of communication but it appeared to be the only option available. All officials within the club are volunteers and are not subject to any contract."

The club's statement said last season's first team squad would need to register with the club for the new season after June 30, 2021 and added: "They have not resigned."

The statement added: "The decision made by the board was to create and sustain financial stability. The club EDI policy is quite clear on how the club should operate. It would be quite ludicrous for the 2nd XI to pay signing on and match day fees but exclude the 1st XI from this process. The board regret that it appears the players and the community have been fed with false information via social media in order that certain individuals can continue to pursue a climate of conflict and confusion. Offers were made to meet with players to discuss matters but have been rejected."