Rye Town manager Shane Ridgers praised the support of the local community after football made a successful return to the town.
The newly-formed club won 4-2 against The JC Tackleway on Saturday as football returned to The Salts for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
A large crowd turned out to enjoy the occasion and the common theme was very much one of how good it is to see football back in the town.
“It was a good day,” said Ridgers, who along with wife Charmaine was the driving force behind the birth of the club. “It was lovely to see lots of people down there supporting and everyone happy. From our first home game we couldn’t have expected any more.
“The support after the game in the clubhouse with people staying was beyond what we thought it would be and to top it off with a win, despite a poor performance, was nice to see.”
The turnout of spectators, which was well into three figures (Ridgers was told by someone who carried out a head count that it was 220-250), ensured the bar was well used, bringing in useful revenue for the club.
“It was nice to see so many old faces who used to go down to Rye years and years ago (when the old Rye United played at The Salts),” continued Ridgers, who thanked Michelle and Kevin Highams for their work selling teas and coffees, and running the ‘tuck shop’.
“I was massively pleased with the turnout. It was more than I expected - 222-250 people for that level of football is crazy.”
Ridgers said that Rye’s players were itching to put on a show for the spectators and although they didn’t perform to the level they’re capable of, they still managed to make it three Macron East Sussex Football League Division One wins out of three.
“They (the players) didn’t produce what they can, but we got a win,” Ridgers went on. “I think we’re going to be our own worst enemies. We’re quite a decent side in that league and we might end up causing our own issues by sometimes overplaying or taking our foot off the gas.”
Another big day lies in store for Rye tomorrow (Saturday) when they host Hollington United in round one of the ESFL President’s Challenge Cup. Kick-off is 2.30pm.
Hollington are setting the early pace in the Premier Division with three wins out of three under the management of former Rye United player and manager Scott Price.
Price was a freescoring attacking midfielder during his playing days at The Salts before spending four-and-a-half years as manager until February 2013. During that time Rye won Sussex County Football League Division Two, the Sussex RUR Charity Cup and reached the FA Vase quarter-finals.
“It’s come at a good time,” added Ridgers. “If we win, we know we can step it up. If we lose, we know that’s the level we need to get to if we want to get in that league next year.”
The one negative for the new club at present is the recent vandalism of the dugouts at The Salts. Ridgers said the club is very much aware of the problem.
Rye Town’s upcoming fixtures (league unless stated): tomorrow (Saturday) Hollington United (h) ESFL President’s Challenge Cup, October 1 Little Common II (h), October 8 Herstmonceux (a), October 15 Orington (a) Hastings & District FA Junior Cup, October 22 Bexhill Town (h).
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