Worthing FC back at Woodside Road - and fans are loving being there

Worthing FC have been back playing in front of their fans at Woodside Road for the first time in 16 months. And after the first game on their new pitch and with refurbished facilities, Charlie Silver-Burr of the Awayboys Fanatics wrote about the experience...

Woodside Road - with fans inside / Picture: Charlie Silver-Burr
Woodside Road - with fans inside / Picture: Charlie Silver-Burr

A total of 493 days after walking into Woodside for the last time to see a match, I was back and it felt good.

The sun was shining, the stadium looked magnificent and the new pitch surface basked in a mid-summer glow.

The teamsheet was eagerly anticipated. Three Bridges were the opponents and they featured various former Worthing players, including fans’ favourite Brannon O’Neill as their captain.

The side that Adam Hinshelwood had called upon was a strong one; possibly very similar to a starting XI that we may see on the first day of the season proper.

It included new signings Dean Cox, Will Seager and ex-youth product Pat Webber alongside established first team players.

Unfortunately, Webber was injured in the warm-up but this did not seem to put the team off their stride.

Wave after wave of attack saw us go 5-0 up within 25 minutes; the pick of the goals being created by Cox’s beautiful take down on the right to release Ollie Pearce, who then very unselfishly crossed to Jessie Starkey to tap into an empty net.

The second half was a far more subdued affair with Bridges bringing some more of their first-team squad and Worthing subbing in some of our promising youngsters.

The game ended 6-1 to the Reds and talk on the terraces turned to the squad.

Those who have been going to Woodside for longer than me were pretty much unanimous in their musing that this is the best group of players that the club has ever had.

Not only do we have strength in pretty much all of the key areas, there are also established first team players to back up these roles and academy youngsters who are highly regarded.

Some spoke about the concern of keeping such a large squad happy and, people like me who played a lot of Championship Manager in their youth, will know that team harmony is always an issue!

However, I think if anyone can do this, Adam can.

Even from afar, you can tell that the squad respect him and want to play for


Further to this, with such depth, Adam can field specific players and formations adapted to the opposition we are facing.

As for the ground, the improvements through the ‘Future’s Bright’ campaign and grants have made the player and fan experience up there with the best in the league.

The pitch finally looks like the one we were promised all those years back, there’s more opportunity for refreshments across the stadium and the new lights look amazing.

Obviously, our potential as a club is no longer a secret and I would imagine the consensus among other teams is that we’ll be the ones to beat.

Despite this added pressure, I am very hopeful for the season coming. Now, we just have to hope that we can get enough games played and, if not, that the league has a clear system for sorting out any curtailments.

by Charlie Silver-Burr on behalf of the Awayboys