Little Common to continue playing in Eastbourne but hope to one day return home

Liam Ward in the thick of the action during Little Common's 1-0 win at home to AFC Uckfield Town on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead
Liam Ward in the thick of the action during Little Common's 1-0 win at home to AFC Uckfield Town on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead

Little Common Football Club’s first team will continue to play its home matches in Eastbourne next season - but still hopes to one day return to the Recreation Ground.

The Commoners have spent the last two seasons at The Oval under a ground share arrangement with Eastbourne United AFC as their own venue doesn’t comply with the FA ground grading criteria for the level they play at.

Common have avoided relegation from the Southern Combination League Premier Division this season having won the Division One and Division One Challenge Cup double last term.

See also: * 10-man Little Common avoid relegation after 4-1 derby win
* Little Common’s crucial win in pictures
* Little Common take big step towards safety with hard-earned victory
* Bexhill United’s Easter victory in pictures

Club chairman Daniel Eldridge said: “During the past two years we have been working with Rother District Council (the landowner at Little Common Rec) to try and find a solution to bring the club back to Bexhill to play its matches.

“As a club, we are still hopeful that we will be able to return to Little Common Recreation Ground to once again compete in the Southern Combination Football League as we have most of the facilities there that we require.

“The issue remains the permanent enclosure of the pitch for the duration of the football season. We have had discussions with various people and are hopeful that we can pursue this in the coming months to see if there is any chance of us ever returning to the Rec.

“Failing this, we have also been looking at alternative solutions – one of which would mean relocating to create a new ground which would meet the step five ground grading requirements.

“Again, we have attended meetings and looked at a couple of possible sites, but this is still in the embryonic stages and it is too early to report anything further on this at the present.”

Along with Sidley United and Bexhill United, Common have also expressed an interest in playing at the now disused Gullivers ground in Sidley - if it is redeveloped for football.

Eldridge continued: “We are, of course, also involved in the Gullivers project and have been assisting as necessary, although it is unlikely that this project will be able to cater for all three of the football teams that have shown an interest.

“Our first XI will play at the Oval again next season, as agreed with our landlords Eastbourne United – once again they have looked after us extremely well this season and we are eternally grateful for their continued support.

“To travel 12 miles to play home games may not be ideal, but in many ways this highlights just how much our club has achieved over the past two seasons.

“It still remains our ambition to return home in the not too distant future and we will continue to work alongside the council in order to try and make this dream a reality.”