Fort Road Recreation Ground, Newhaven 01273 513940

Take the A259, which becomes a one way system around the town.
Turn left at the police station into South Road, which becomes Fort Road. Ground on the right just past a small parade of shops.
Nearest railway station: Newhaven Town (approx. 15 mins walk).

Description of ground

The sad decline of Newhaven’s Fort Road ground stands as a testiment to the fragile balance that exists between success and failure in County League football. The massive unfinished - and with hindsight, hugely over-ambitious - stand dominates the far touchline. Begun during in the early 1990s as the club spent heavily in a bid to improve its position in the pyramid, severe financial difficulties resulted in a halt to buiding work, and ultimately relegation down to Division Three of the County League.

The stand, which would never have won any awards for aesthetic beauty it has to be said, was to contain new dressing rooms
and various function facilities. Access can still be gained to the viewing area via steps to the side, and this commands a magnificent view of the pitch and harbour beyond. However the building as a whole is closed and regarded as a hazard, with rubble strewn in what was once the players’ tunnel.

The remainder of the ground is equally run-down, with the perimeter fencing rusting, and the clubhouse behind the near goal looking the worse for wear. On a recent visit however, it was pleasing to note that the fencing surrounding the ground had been renewed and the dugouts have received a welcome coat of paint. It can only be hoped that having narrowly survived dropping out of the County League althogether not too long ago, Newhaven will once more be able to establish themselves in the future.

Newhaven FC is one of the oldest clubs in Sussex, and was formed by the Towner family who were brewers in the town during the latter 19th century, plus some of their enthusiastic friends. A meeting took place at the Bridge Hotel in early December 1889 during which it was resolved to form the Club and 20 members signed up on the day.

Although the club joined the Sussex County League in 1920 it was not until 1948/49 that any silverware of note found its way to the Dockers’ trophy cabinet, when the club won the Sussex County FA Invitation Cup.

In 1950/51 Newhaven finished in fourth place behind champions Haywards Heath, and in 1953/54 won the League, ahead of Rye United and Cuckfield.

Although finishing fifth behind Eastbourne United the following season, success eluded the Newhaven, who were relegated to Division Two in 1964/65. The Dockers made an immediate return as runners-up to Horsham YMCA, only to be relegated again two years later.

Newhaven once again returned to the top division in 1971/72, and won the Division One championship in 1973/74,
finishing two points ahead of Littlehampton Town. Just two years later though, they found themselves relegated for a third time.

After fifteen years in Division Two, the club was promoted to Division One as champions in 1990/91, and in 1992/3 finished sixth. The following year they won the Sussex RUR Cup, only to be relegated in 1994/95. Further relegation to Division Three followed in 1998/99 and the club narrowly escaped dropping down to the East Sussex League the season afterwards.

Having consolidated their position in recent years, the rot set in once again in 2003/04. Newhaven finished the season just one place off the bottom of the table with only Upper Beeding (who managed just two points all season) below them.

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