Littlehampton Town F.C.

Littlehampton Town F.C. is a football club based in Littlehampton, England. It was established in 1896 and joined the Sussex County League in 1928. In the 1990-91 season, they reached the 1st round of the FA Cup. For the 2008-09 season, they are members of the Sussex County League Division Two.

Littlehampton FC was formed in 1896, adding the Town suffix in 1938. In 1928 the club joined the Sussex County League. Despite finishing as runners-up in Division One on six occasions, they had to wait until 1990-91 before lifting the championship - the only time they have done so, having finished as runners-up to Wick the previous season - clinching the title on the last day of the season, at nearest rivals Peacehaven & Telscombe.

That season was undoubtedly the finest in the Marigolds’ history. As well as finishing as Division One champions, the club also reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup where they were beaten by Northampton Town in front of a crowd of 4,000 at The Sportsfield. A League & Cup ‘double’ was completed with a 3-0 win over Burgess Hill. If that wasn’t enough, Littlehampton also reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase, which remains the furthest that any Sussex club has ever progressed in the competition.

The following season, Littlehampton finished third behind Peacehaven and Langney Sports (now Eastbourne Borough). However, fortunes declined to the extent that they were relegated at the end of the 1994-95 season.

Two seasons later Littlehampton returned to the top division as champions of Division Two, and finished runners-up to Division One champions Burgess Hill in 1997-98. Once more however, the club suffered a sustained period of mediocrity, culminating in a miserable 2002-03 season, including a 22-1 defeat at Horsham YMCA; and relegation once again, ironically with Wick and Peacehaven... together, the three most dominant clubs in the early 1990s.

The club responded by investing heavily in the playing squad for 2003-04 and began the season as hot favourites to bounce back at the first attempt. This they duly did, finishing seven points clear of runners-up Worthing United. The two clubs also met in the League Cup final, with the Marigolds again coming out on top. Interestingly, there was no significant difference in the average attendance from the previous wretched season.

The club were the favourites of many to secure back-to-back championships, which was probably a little too ambitious. Nevertheless, they did well to finish in a creditable 4th place, a position they occupied once again at the end of 2005-06. Unfortunately, and as so often appears to be the case in West Sussex, the club lost manager Carl Stabler and most of the previous season's squad during the close season (many to Wick) and from being amongst the championship favourites the previous season, were now hotly tipped as relegation fodder. That proved to be the case and the Marigolds were always struggling throughout 2006-07, under new manager Trevor Waller, with a largely young and inexperienced squad.

Les Hotston was Captain and Goalkeeper in 1938 when he was booked for insulting the referee by leaning against his post, allowing the opposition a free penalty goal. He was incensed that, having saved the first kick, the referee ordered a retake, as he had moved before the ball was kicked. Les disagreed and showed it by making no effort to take any part in the retake!

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