Nuneaton, Hampton & Richmond, Scar… Eastbourne Borough are one of many Boro’s that we’ve been up against over the years. Hang on, we also forgot Desborough Town too. Anyway, coming across another bone fide ‘Borough’ has a unique feel to it. There are more Towns, Cities, or Uniteds than you can shake a stick at. Boroughs? That is something a bit different, innit. Even if some of them don’t even use Boro’ as a nickname. Mind you, we’re not trying to open old wounds about our decision to drop our Borough in 2010.
It was the FA Cup that first introduced us to them, before the Sports joined us in the Blue Square Premier. In their first season with us at our level, they managed to do the league double over us. But, if there’s one encounter that definitely stays with us, it’s a 6-0 away win during our 2009-10 title-winning campaign; Mitchell Cole scoring a hattrick.
One of the Boroughs that don’t call themselves Boro’ will be the focus of our attention right here (right now). Formed in 1964, Eastbourne Borough are otherwise known as The Sports. And there is a very good reason for this. It’s because, up until as recently as 2001, they were actually called Langney Sports. No foolin’. The club originally started out in the Langney district of Eastbourne, but changed names to reflect the wider town in which they played.
For the first 20 years or so, the club weren’t much to speak of; playing their football in local and district competitions. That changed in 1983 when they became founder members of the Sussex County League’s new Division Three. By the end of the decade, they had reached Division One – as far as you could go in that structure. Second in 1992 was their highest ever finish too, until an epic 1999-00 campaign saw them crowned champions for the first time.
Why do we know the Sports?
As a result of that title, the Sports took the next step and joined the Southern League’s Eastern Division. A respectable first season saw them end in ninth… and the end of the Langney Sports name. That’s when ‘Eastbourne Borough’ first appeared on the footballing map. Two years on, promotion took them into the Premier Division; edged into second place on goal difference. It was a short stay in the Southern League’s top flight, however.
That wasn’t down to promotion or relegation. Instead, the 2004-5 campaign saw them join the newly-created Conference South. In their maiden season, the Sports made it all the way to the combined North/South playoff final – only to lose to Altrincham. After a duff follow-up season, they finally made it up into the Blue Square Premier in 2008. It capped a fairly quick rise up the pyramid since changing their name. And it’d put them on equal terms with us.
How to get to Eastbourne Borough – Travel Information – Distance: 123 miles
We could be caught out by traffic here, but our chosen route for Eastbourne involves a trip around the counter-clockwise M25. We’re sure, however, the clockwise option might prove better if the traffic is being a rum chap. The bottom line is that you want to go right around and take the M23 south.
Keep on the M23 and then A23 until it meets the A27. Here, use the two left lanes and go through the first roundabout you come to. You want to join the eastbound A27 for Lewes. Stay on the A27; bypassing Polegate in the process. At the other side of the town, go right at the roundabout. This will take you onto the A22.
Stay on this for a couple of miles until you pass a Bannatyne’s Health Club on your right. At the roundabout, take the first exit for the B2191. Remain on the B2191 until you pass Langney Cemetery; it becomes the B2104 for a little bit, but you’ll barely notice that. After passing the cemetery, take a right turn onto Priory Road and the ground is down here.
There’s car parking for around 400 cars in the large River End car park and the smaller Priory Lane car park. The club asks that you don’t park in local side streets, however.
Station: PEVENSEY AND WESTHAM
Services to: LONDON VICTORIA
It’s about 15-20 mins walk from this station to the ground, which is nearer than Eastbourne Station. It’s located just up the B2191 from where cars would turn for the ground. To walk to the ground, go south out of the station away from the town of Westham. Follow the road around until you reach a roundabout after a mile. Turn left into Priory Road.
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