This year sees Mid Sussex Football League side Scaynes Hill celebrate its 100-year anniversary.
To mark the occasion the club hosted an anniversary dinner back in the summer, whereby our Chairman, Mathew Major presented them with a certificate. More recently, Club Chairman, Ian Tessier, was invited to our headquarters in Culver Road, Lancing, to be presented with a commemorative FA plaque, by our Chief Executive, Ken Benham, to mark the significant milestone (pictured).
Following the presentation, we spoke with Ian to hear more about the club.
“When me and my brother joined back in 1971, Scaynes Hill had two teams, competing in Division One and Division Three of the West Sussex Football League,” said Tessier.
“Over the years we’ve fluctuated, like all clubs, going down to one team but now we’re happy to be back up to four teams.”
With Ian and his brother, David, having celebrated 50 years of service to Scaynes Hill, they’ve certainly overseen their fair share of change at the club over those years.
Starting out as players, and then, in the case of Ian, moving into a player/manager role, and eventually being named Chairman in 1996.
“When I came into the role, I saw that in the local area, schools weren’t giving as many opportunities to young people to play.
“So, at Scaynes Hill, once we’d got a place that was more financially stable, I started putting the case forward for us to bring in a fourth team, and in doing so, give sporting opportunities to those people who perhaps wouldn’t have had the chance before.
“So, our fourth team, whilst they only win a game every now and then, that’s not the point, the point is that they’re always putting out a team of players who before wouldn’t have had that opportunity.”
Indeed, the notoriety of Scaynes Hill’s fourth team was such that it even caught the eyes of a football fan over the pond!
“Ted started following the team some years ago now, all the way from Long Island, and he would wait and check the results as they were put online,” said Tessier.
“For him it was a fascination because the team were consistently finishing bottom of the league, and yet still played every game.
“Cut to mid-2000’s and Ted has got in contact with the league, who reached out to me, and the next thing I know, we’re speaking live on BBC Radio Sussex!
“He then flew out with his wife and daughter and came down to watch one of our games, in appalling weather I might add. But he still supports us and comes over when he can, and I can’t think of many other clubs at our level who can claim they have such a far-flung fan!”
Aside from accumulating an extremely long-distance supporter, what other highlights would Tessier point to from his time at the club?
“Back in the 80’s we had ourselves a really good team,” said Tessier, “and I remember our Club Secretary at the time, who wasn’t the most gifted player, coming on and scoring our 150th of the season!
“That same season we ran away with the league, got to two cup finals and our centre-forward got 51 goals, and even the centre-backs got into the 20s.”
“And for me personally, meeting so many good friends through the club is always going to stand out, even among seasons like that.”
But just what does making it to 100 years mean to the club?
“It’s a fantastic achievement, it really is,” said Tessier, “like all clubs, we’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s thanks to the determination of the people that give up their time to volunteer here that this club is still going strong.”
Is your club approaching, or already reached, its centenary anniversary or beyond? Then information on how to commemorate the milestone can be found on our awards page.
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