You’d think that Hastings United must be more than used to puns or jokes that involve them and “battle” thanks to an obvious event in history. But they don’t do themselves too many favours in that sense either; their nickname ‘The Arrows’ is clearly leaning on the demise of ol’ King Harold. But the more important matter is what that has to do with us? Will it be one in the eye for us. Or were we the conquering invaders?
And when will all these 1066 puns stop already?
Our one and only battle of Hastings United (geddit?) came in an FA Cup First Round clash during the 2002-3 campaign. It was actually the first season the Arrows called themselves ‘United’; the club changing from Town in summer 2002 to take on the name of a club that’d gone pop in 1985. When they were paired with us, it was the first time they’d ever made it through into the First Round Proper. And we went and ruined it.
Hastings United: The Facts
The Pilot Field
Elphinstone Road, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 2AX
Here we have a team that have gone through many name changes over the years. And they aren’t even the first ‘Hastings United’ either. Between 1948 and 1985, another club went under that name; ultimately going under due to huge financial problems. Now, with current United, the story isn’t the clearest. Its origins lie in a side with the beautiful name, Rock-a-Nore FC.
According to the Arrows, this lot came to life in 1893, went bust, and then returned again in 1901. And that’s where the pin marks the start of their story in their opinion. World War One causes a bit of confusion. But let’s just run with 1901 as the starting point. The Rock-a-Nore name was replaced, however, by the more austere Hastings & St Leonards FC in 1921. The reason, it seems, is because the team were now the town’s most prominent.
To add more confusion into the mix, FCHD suggests the club’s name change occurred much sooner. You can make up your own mind about that.
For much of the next 60-odd years, the Arrows competed in the Sussex County League. But now come two important milestones. In 1976, the club changed its name again; this time to Hastings Town. And, in 1985, they left county competition behind and became a member of the Southern League. Their application to join came after the previous United team folded – and was ultimately accepted.
They also moved into the old United’s ground at the Pilot Field too!
Why do we know the Arrows?
Now, the Southern League isn’t something that we’ve ever bothered ourselves with. Boro’ are very much “Isthmian 4 Eva”. So, we had no cause to meet Hastings Town as we rose up the pyramid during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1999, the Arrows came fifth in the Premier Division; their highest league finish up to that point. But they didn’t build on it.
Instead, the Arrows quit the Southern League, changed their mind, and ended up coming back in the Eastern Division. It was all a bit of a mess, to be fair. The Arrows had called in the administrators and applied to the Isthmian League. But they changed their mind. Then, the Southern League said they couldn’t withdraw their resignation. After a local lottery winner rescued them, however, the Southern League then did a U-turn and let them back in.
How to get to Hastings United – Travel Information – Distance: 103 miles
From Stevenage, take the A1 south and M25 clockwise until you come to Junction 5 for the A21. Leave the motorway; following the A21 for 38 miles towards Hastings. As you reach the edge of Hastings, turn left onto Maplehurst Road and then left again at The Harrow pub onto the B2093 The Ridge.
Go over two roundabouts, before turning right at Hastings Crematorium for Elphinstone Road. The ground is down here after around half a mile.
Finding parking at the ground is going to be a tough ask. But there are plenty of residential streets to explore. Just be sure of any restrictions that might apply.
Services to: LONDON BRIDGE
At nearly 1.5 miles, the walk from the station takes around 30 minutes on a good day. Go east out of Station Approach; turning left onto Devonshire Road and making sure Priory Meadow is to your right.
Turn left at the end onto South Terrace and then right onto Braybrooke Road after you cross the railway. If you continue straight over the roundabout, you’ll be on Elphinstone Road. The ground is nearly a mile up here.
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