Sussex club 'sack' managers after promotion win - and players leave too over signing fee row

Southwick 1882 FC boss Sammy Donnelly says he and his assistant have been sacked - and the players have quit in disgust at being asked to show their loyalty by paying a £125 fee to sign for the season.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 5:47 pm
Updated Saturday, 10th July 2021, 8:00 am
Southwick celebrate a goal on their way to the Mid Sussex Championship title - now it has all turned sour / Picture: Stephen Goodger

Two of the club's directors are also said to have resigned in a row that appears to have ruined much of the good work done in getting the back on its feet - and climbing back up the football pyramid - after they had to leave their Old Barn Way home and quit the Southern Combination League a year ago.

It has stunned many of the people who have thrown their support behind the club since their ground troubles came to light last year.

We have asked the club for a comment on the situation.

Manager Donnelly - who has been in football management for 48 years - says he was told on Friday neither he nor his right hand man Tony Gratwicke were wanted in charge at the club. That's despite them leading Southwick to the Mid Sussex League Championship division title in 2020-21 with a 100 per cent record and securing promotion tio the Mid Sussex premier - one step away from a return to the Southern Combination League.

Donnelly said they had been looking forward to challenging for promotion again to secure a return to senior football, alongside progress being made to ready Old Barn Way for their return to their spiritual home. But he said a decision by the majority of the board had led to him and his assistant being sacked, the resignation of the entire first team squad, the loss of two directors and 'totally unnecessary' and self-inflicted setback.

Donnelly said the players had stayed loyal to the club last year and had dropped down two divisions - through no fault of their own - to start the climb back up the pyramid, and yet had been asked to pay £125 each to sign on for the season. He claimed they had been told it was to show proof of their loyalty.

He said every player rejected the request and felt it was 'insultingly disrespectful'. Donnelly said Southwick was a 'community interest' club but this saga had done the exact opposite of siding with the interests of the community.

Donnelly has been manager for three years at Southwick and is well-known throughout local football after nearly half a century in management, and he said there'd be no going back to Southwick 1882 for him. "It leaves a very nasty taste and as yet they have yet to explain why we have been sacked," said Donnelly.

We will update this story if we receive a response from the chairman or any of the remaining board members.