Rye United’s Chairman Clive Taylor tells us how his club is on the mend following an arson attack.
In August 2010, an arson attack against The Salts Stadium in East Sussex almost destroyed an entire football club.
But thankfully for Rye United, the stadium was a pavilion, and the club is on the mend.
Rye United, who play in the Sussex County League, found that through donations and countless volunteers, their pavilion is now back and better than ever – and so is the club.
“Basically, we had a bit of a trauma 18 months ago when our clubhouse got burned down in an arson attack, but as we speak it’s close to completion. We’ve now got a better building than before but of course, we’ve had to raise a lot of money to get where we are at now,” said Clive Taylor, Chairman of Rye United.
“A lot of it has come out of club members’ pockets. We’ve had kind contributions from local builders and suppliers, and some volunteer labour (Jim Sutton Builders) who did a great job with the building.
“All of this has been very gratefully received.”
An attack like the one this side suffered may have crippled many a club in England’s lower leagues, with the financial implications of rebuilding an entire building proving a costly business.
“It’s taken a lot of money to really get the clubhouse back up as a good facility. Even things like toilets for example – it all adds up to a large amount of money.”
“We’re all looking forward to returning to our own clubhouse. We’ve also had a lot of decent support from the committee and it has paid dividends.”
Since the attack the club has defied the odds and enjoyed one of its most successful periods, reaching the quarter finals of the FA Vase trophy in 2011, and finishing 3rd in the Sussex County League last term. This has been helped by the integration of youth in the squad, as Mr Taylor has run a youth setup in Hastings for nearly 30 years. Many of these young players have made the step up to the Rye United first team.
And Taylor is keen to give back to a community which has helped the club through a difficult last three years, whilst also keeping an eye on Rye’s future financial security.
“We want the clubhouse to really be part of the community and become an all year round business venue. For a club at our level it is an imperative stream of income. It’s difficult to raise money these days especially in the current economic climate so we are grateful for any chance to generate some funds.”
The Quarterboys are looking to build on current successes and bring back the glory days of 2005 when the club won the League Challenge Cup, and discover similar league performances that saw them named the Sussex County League Division 2 winners in 2010.
“We’ve a great management team, and players who want to play for the club.”
“We’ll strive to continue doing well in our league every year. One of our main targets would be to win the FA Vase. Last year we reached the quarter finals which we were fairly pleased with.”
“It’s a fantastic competition, a cup where you can really win some money but the actual experience of it is great for the lads. You can make a real weekend of it and it gives the younger players in particular a professional outlook and gets us around the country.”