United Off To Flying Start


As “Rye’s Own” goes to print Rye and Iden United stand in second place in the Sussex County League Division One table. Four games without defeat have indicated they are more than equal to the task when it comes to taking on senior sides.

Rye United
Rye United

All of these early season games have been away from home, underlining the quality of the team. Results :- 16 August Chichester 1 Rye & Iden United 1 19 August Hailsham 0 Rye & Iden United 1 23 August Sidlesham 1 Rye & Iden United 1 25 August Sidley Utd. 0 Rye & Iden United 2 Top Rye goal scorers are Price and Fox with two a piece, other scorers being Loft and Baker. Ringmer head the table with just one more point than Rye & Iden but these are early days and United will know more about their true standing in Division One after a dozen or so matches.

The most easterly in the County League, Rye’s ground at The Salts, which is shared with the local cricket club, has been upgraded during the club’s rapid climb up the Sussex County League. The stand and dugouts which straddle the half-way line on the far touchline, have been repainted and improved; and there is also a perimeter rail around the pitch. The current stand provides the only cover. The most recent addition were floodlights, erected in 2002 with the aim of allowing the club to take its place in Division One, after finishing as champions of Division Two. Although erected in time, the lights were not functioning by the deadline set by the County League. This meant that Rye could not be promoted.

A similar scenario followed at the end of the 2002/03 season, when there were concerns regarding the ease of unpaid access into the ground (which in fact, is clearly visible from the pay & display car park nearby). However, it is hoped that this latest obstacle will be overcome by judicious use of tarpaulin as a temporary measure. As mentioned above, parking is available in the pay & display car park, whilst the club has use of the pavilion behind the near goal.

History of the Club

Rye United FC was formed in 1938, and Iden FC in 1965. Rye United (an amalgamation of local clubs) joined the Sussex County League Division Two in 1952, and in their first three seasons finished third, second and third again before winning the championship and promotion to Division One in 1955/6. The club finished as runners-up to Chichester City in 1959/60, and remained in the top flight until relegation in 1973/74. United duly bounced straight back as runners-up to Burgess Hill the following season but struggled thereafter, finishing bottom in 1979/80 with just seven points. United spent just three more seasons in the County League until moving into the wilderness of Intermediate football in the neighbouring Kent County League in 83/84.

Rye United returned to the Sussex County League in 2000/01, winning Division Three at the first attempt before amalgamating with Iden for their return to Senior football. Iden had been formed in 1965 for the youth of the village (a couple of miles north of Rye). The club steadily progressed through the ranks of junior football & competed in the East Sussex League and Kent County League at intermediate level, punching well above their weight for a village of that size.

The new club maintained the proud traditions of both predecessors – the first team strip including the red and black of Rye, whilst the reserves & thirds play in the tangerine of Iden. Football is maintained at Iden with the presence of the third team (who compete in the East Sussex League). Rye & Iden United took Division Two by storm, taking the championship and divisional cup double in 2001/02. Unfortunately, the floodlights couldn’t be raised in time for the league deadline, so the club couldn’t take their place back in the top flight. However, assuming further stipulations for promotion are met (see above) the club will finally take its deserved place in Division One from 2003/04, after winning the League-Cup double again.

The information about the ground and the history of Rye & Iden United is printed by kind permission of NOMAD ONLINE http://www.nomad-online.co.uk/html/rye___iden_utd.html

“Rye’s Own” September 2003

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