Icklesham Casuals Football Club was formally founded on Saturday, 3rd April 1937 at a meeting held at 5 p.m. at Thmpson’s Tea Rooms in Rye. William Dunlop had left Rye Old Grammarians after being involved in forming them the previous year and the meeting was arranged to consider the forming of a football club whose headquarters would be at Icklesham. Those present were Percy Allen, Les Beeney, Frank Crisford, William Dunlop, Jack Munn, Geoff Smith and Robert Woolley.
The first match was played on the 11th September 1937, a friendly against Rye Old Grammarians which resulted in a 3-2 victory with 2 goals from S. Apps and a 35 yard free kick from Les Beeney. The line-up for the first game was:- Bob Huxstep, Percival Allen, Jack Munn, Robert Rich, Les Beeney, Peter Grummitt, Cyril Barden, Leslie Barden, S. Apps, Frank Crisford and Leslie Jeffery.
The first competitive fixture was on the 25th September, a league game versus Observer Athletic in Division Three of the Hastings League. This also produced a 3-2 win courtesy of a S. Apps hat-trick. The playing record for the first season was:- played 26, won 10, drew 4 and lost 12, goals scored 63, goals conceded 97 and 19 league points were gained. A creditable league position of 7th out of 11 teams was achieved. A second team also started in October, playing 17 friendly matches.
The club began in the Hastings League and transferred to the Eastbourne and Hastings League when the two leagues amalgamated in 1971. In 1987 the club moved to the East Sussex League where it plays today. During the Second World War, when local leagues were suspended, the club continued to play friendly matches, many against local service teams in the area.
The highest point in the club’s history to date was in the 1963-64 season when the first team won the Sussex Junior Cup from an original entry of 168 teams. The final against Longleys Crawley was played at the Saffrons in Eastbourne and goals from David Ades and William Burt gave the club a 2-0 victory. The team in the final was:- Jim Brunger, Mike Hills, George Potter, Derek Perkins, Jack Brown, Brian Butler, George Noakes, Colin Relf, Chris Ades, David Ades and William Burt.
The first team has won the Hastings League Division One on four occasions, Division One of the East Sussex League in their first season in the League in 1987-88 without losing a game and Division Two in 2005-06. As well as the Sussex Junior Cup success, other cup competitions won are the Eastbourne and Hastings League Division One Cup in 1986-87 and the Robertsbridge Charity Cup three times.
The second team won the Hastings F.A. Lower Divisions Cup in 1957-58 and again on exactly the same date 40 years later in 1997-98 and the Ashburnham Charity Cup in 1961-62. Between the three teams, the Hastings F.A. Sportsmanship Cup has been won on no less than 10 occasions. The first team won the East Sussex Football League Sportsmanship Trophy in both 2008-09 and 2009-10 with the 2nd team also achieving this feat in the 2014-15 season. The Veterans side won the Hastings F.A. Veterans Cup in 2002-03 and 2007-08 and were also champions of the Hastings F.A. Veterans League in 2014-15.
The club plays it’s home games on the original pitch at the Recreation Ground in Icklesham. This venue has been used throughout it’s history with the exception of a brief break during the war and a couple of more recent seasons when improvements were carried out to the pitch and the drainage when grounds at Pannel Lane in Pett and at Guestling were used. The club still continues to play in it’s original colours of green and white quartered shirts. The continuity can also be seen as the club has had only three secretaries in it’s first seventy four year history - Will Dunlop holding the position for the first fifty of those, followed by David Mayne and then Keith Swallow carried out the role for fifteen seasons. Keith relinquished the position at the end of the 2010-11 season but is now back as club secreatry. A presentation was made to Will Dunlop by the Football Association in recognition of his fifty years continuous service as club secretary.
The contribution made to the club by both Will Dunlop and his brother Andy, who managed the second team, can never be underestimated and is greatly appreciated by all those who have enjoyed playing for the club. They will both always have a special place in the history of Icklesham Casuals.
Will is still warmly remembered by those who knew him and anecdotes regarding his commitment abound. He rarely missed a first team game either home or away in his lifetime - often running the line wearing his mackintosh and waving his white handkerchief! More irreverent tales are also told not least because of the legibility of his handwriting - despite receiving postcards with match details players still had to wait for the delivery of the local paper on Friday to be sure where they were playing.
The enjoyment players have got from playing for the club during the first 70 plus years can be seen by their loyalty. Martin Tytherleigh has now played over 900 games, George Potter and Bob Baker have both made over 800 appearances and Paul Milton more than 700 with Bob Baker scoring over 500 goals. Jack Brown made 630 appearances.
The club has a history and reputation of which it can be proud and we hope this will continue for many years to come.
70th Anniversary Celebrations
The club was 70 years old in 2007 and around 150 past and present members celebrated this event on the 21st July with an afternoon football match followed by a get-together in the Icklesham Village Hall in the evening.
It was great to have so many people attending what was felt to be an enjoyable and successful occasion. Among those present, familiar names to many of you and who have contributed so much to the club’s history, were Les Beeney, who was the first captain of the club and played in the very first match on 11th September 1937, Eric Hollingsworth, former 2nd team captain and club chairman, John Archer, Albert Cane, John Dunk, Len Fuggle, Ernie Philcox, Alan Shearer and Bill Southerden.
Seven members of the Sussex Junior Cup winning team of 1963-64 plus two others who may well have played but for injury were there - Chris Ades, David Ades, Jack Brown, William Burt, Brian Butler, Mike Hills, George Potter, Brian Barden and John Parsons. We were also so pleased to have both Pam Dunlop and Doris Holdstock with us.
Colin McPhail came all the way from Scotland, Colin Gill and Colin Shearer from Devon, Mike Hills from Suffolk and Brian Barden from Northants.
There were also representatives from the Sussex County Football Association, East Sussex Football League, Hastings and District Football Association and Robertsbridge Charity Cup.
The afternoon football match resulted in a 7-2 victory for the ’Reds’ over the ‘Green and Whites’ including four goals from Bob Baker and a spectacular finish from Peter Drew.
Events then moved on to the village hall where everyone had the chance to meet up and reminisce about fond memories before a buffet was served, followed by the speeches and presentations.
Bob Baker acted as Master of Ceremonies and George Potter, as Club President, introduced our guests. Speeches were made by John Cornford, the East Sussex Football League President, who sadly passed away two months later, Andy Dunlop and Mike Hills. Our grateful thanks to them all.
Presentations were made to the players of the year for the previous season and for club appearances as well as special awards to those who had contributed so much to the running of the club in recent times.
The fact that so many were present and people were prepared to travel so far to come says a lot about the club and it’s history and reputation as well as about all those who have been involved with the club over the first 70 years. We hope everyone had a good time and had the opportunity to catch up with old friends who they may not have seen for a long time - the evening seemed to pass so quickly. Thanks also to all those who helped organise the day. We now look forward to the 75th Anniversary!!
If anyone has any photographs we would very much like to take copies of these to add to the club records.