Our Under-18s Representative Squad have been crowned joint winners of The FA County Youth Cup, after The FA ruled that the 2019-20 competition would terminated, and the trophy shared between both finalists, Sussex and Norfolk.
The prestigious final was due to be played back in May at Millwall’s The Den, but the COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately led to the postponement and now completion of the tournament - the first time in its 75-year history that the trophy has been shared between two counties.
It is the first time we have won the trophy since our solitary victory over Liverpool in a two-legged affair back in 1951-52, having been beaten finalists on four other occasions, most recently in 2015-16 where, as fate would have it, Liverpool beat us 2-0 at Crawley Town.
After receiving a bye in the first round of the competition, a 1-0 away win to Bedfordshire in the second round setup a third round tie at home with Durham in which we romped to an 8-1 victory. The semi-final then saw us travel to a good Devon side and, in torrid conditions, came through 1-0 winners thanks to an Olly Munt volley.
The silverware caps off a fine season for the Under-18s Representative Squad who maintained a 100% record in all competitions, having finished top of the South East Counties Youth Championship (Group B) with 4 wins from 4 before the competition was declared null and void due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking back over the season Under-18s Representative Squad Manager, Jay Lovett, said: “This season has been an absolute pleasure coaching the Sussex County FA Under-18s Representative Squad.
“Not only are they a great group of players, they are a great group of individual people too. They have bonded as a team excellently, which is one of the reasons they remained unbeaten for the whole season.
“Not only did they win the regional league, I believe they were on course to win the FA County Youth Cup Final. Sussex as a county haven’t won this for 68 years and all the players, like myself and my staff, believe this was our time.
“It has been decided that we would share the title with Norfolk and the players will at least receive their medals to recognise a successful season and achievement.
“I’d like to say a big thank you Sussex County FA for all their hard work and to all my staff Dale, Gary, Dan and a special mention to Terry who has finished his last season as a physio - I’m happy to be able to sign him off on a memorable season.
“My last thanks goes to the players, some who have moved into the professional ranks, which shows what a talented group they are and I hope to work with them again!”
Unfortunately, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on grassroots football has meant we are unable to fund the running of all our Representative Squads (Under-18s, Under-16s, Womens and Disability) for the 2020-21 season.
We have also decided that our Disability Representative Squad will not compete in their final of the South East Regional 11-a-side Disability Cup, regardless of whether the competition goes ahead. We believe the safety, welfare and health of our players is paramount, and traveling to a final that is played on a tournament basis against 3 other teams, would risk the high safeguarding standards we have set for our teams.
Reflecting on this difficult decision our chairman, Mathew Major, had this to say: “I have always been a huge supporter of Representative Football, and I cannot thank our managers, coaches, and physios enough for all their hard work and fantastic success over the years.”
“But even I have to accept that we cannot fund four Representative Teams whilst at the same time making cutbacks and savings wherever we can. However, I am hopeful that we can look at this again next year or thereafter.”
For further information about Representative Football please contact:
T: 01903 753547