Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughBorough Seeking Bouncebackability - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Borough Seeking Bouncebackability - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Borough Seeking Bouncebackability

With the non-league top flight now being predominately occupied by full-time teams, part-timers are always going to struggle to compete. Eastbourne Borough found that out this season.

The Sports, as they are nicknamed, finished the season in 23rd, resigning them to relegation to the Conference South. For most clubs, relegation signals the need for change and a mass exodus of players and staff in a bid to bounce back.

That won’t be happening at Priory Lane, however.

Manager Garry Wilson has been with the south coast club since 1999, when they were known as Langney Sports. After being appointed, Wilson and his sidekick Nick Greenwood guided the Sports from the Sussex County League to the dizzy heights of the Conference National.

They achieved the same amount of promotions a Conference side would need to reach the promised land of the Premiership, all in just nine years.

Loyalty and stability have been key to Borough’s rise from ‘the parks’ to the pinnacle of non-league football. Take a look at a handful of Garry Wilson’s team sheets from the past ten years are you are likely to see some names remain in the same spot year in, year out.

Defender Darren Baker, for example, has guarded Eastbourne’s goal for over 900 games, since making his debut against Haywards Heath in 1992. It is a figure which surpasses any current English league record, and a hugely impressive one which deserves far greater recognition.

Partnering Baker at the back is Ben Austin, who transferred from Eastbourne Town in 2000. Since making the move to Priory Lane Austin has racked up over 400 appearances for the club. Two other players that have made over 400 outings for the Sports are Matt Crabb and Matt Smart. Crabb, an Eastbourne Borough fan, has donned the left wing for 11 years, whilst Smart has been at the heart of the midfield since signing in 2001.

Something in the south coast water, perhaps?

The ever-present core has brought huge success to the club over the years but as the non-league scene becomes increasingly competitive, it has cost the club its place within the elite.

Wilson now has the task of building for next term in the Blue Square South. The manager has clearly favoured sticking to what he knows in years gone by, and it seems that system will be implemented once again.

Wilson has come under his share of scrutiny after Borough’s disastrous relegation campaign, but chances of an exit from Priory Lane are extremely slim. This is a man who knows what he is doing, a man who has brought so much success to one club.

Only two players have been released from the relegated squad, and the club’s first summer signing was of former player Ollie Rowe, who only left the club in 2009.

The Conference South will be a tough league next year – much tougher than the one his team got promoted out of in 2008. It will be important to mix the experienced, older heads with young, fresh, exciting talent.

If Wilson gets the balance right, do not be surprised to see Borough mixing it with the non-league big boys once again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *