The Village Team That Went a Long Way
When Bernard Say took over the village stores at Iden back in the 1960’s and became the chief instigator in forming a football team at Iden he could not have dreamed that 40 years on it would have amalgamated with Rye United becoming Rye & Iden United and competing in Division One of the Sussex County League.
They started in Division Four of the Hastings League at the time of the great football boom which resulted after England carried off the World Cup in 1966. They were well supported by a close knit village they quickly graduated up through the divisions and were soon fielding a second side.
Cups and trophies shortly came their way. They progressed through the seventies and eighties and by the Nineties were playing in the Kent Power League, at one time in Division One with Rye United.
Then into the new Millennium and amalgamation with United. There are three teams, Firsts and Seconds playing alternate weeks at the Salts and the Third Team which uses the Iden Park Pitch and facilities.
Rye & Iden United are a fine example of local soccer. With their two grounds they are in a position to encourage youth soccer, giving chances for players from nine to eighteen a chance to play the national game. Since the national school’s policy of turning their back on team games in favour of individual non-competitive activities came into being in the eighties there has been a drop off in interest. Rye & Iden United are doing their best to give youngsters a chance to play the “beautiful game”.
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