Having formed just four years ago, Rye Town FC has already experienced the emotional highs and lows that the beautiful game so often brings. This year, though, the COVID pandemic has impacted lower league football in devastating fashion with English football clubs estimated to make losses exceeding £1bn, now more than ever it is vital to go and support your local clubs, charities and businesses.
For Rye Town FC though, the hard work, dedication and passion to keep football alive in the town have only heightened greater and CommunityAd caught up with Rye Town FC Club Secretary Charmaine Ridgers to find out more…
What was the reason behind setting up Rye Town FC?
The reason we set up Rye Town FC was because there was no adult football being played in Rye and we felt the town was really lacking it. My husband Shane played for other clubs outside of Rye but it just wasn’t the same. So, we decided that we would try and get sponsorship and if we got a good response, then we would go for it.
We were very fortunate that we received good local support. Rye Gardening Services sponsored our home kit, Rock Channel Marine sponsored our away kit, WS Wrights sponsored our tracksuits, The Handyman sponsored our training tops, Pikes Cleaning Ltd sponsored our Man of the Match. We also received sponsorship from W Tolletts, Rye Auction Galleries and B&S Flat Roofing along with many other local businesses doing match day sponsor. We played our home games at Rye Salts, having great support from Rye Cricket Club.
Over the years, what would you say have been the club’s most memorable moments?
The club had an amazing first 16/17 season where we were crowned ESFL League One Champions, Hastings FA Junior Cup Winners and Robertsbridge Intermediate Cup Winners.
After such a remarkable first season, how have the last few years been in regards to local support, players and sponsorship?
Our second season 17/18, we upgraded our kits to Macron from The Macron Store in Hastings bringing in a new Home Kit Sponsor of Rush, Witt, Wilson, Rye. We had a good season and we were the Champions of ESFL League Cup.
In the 18/19 season, we had to move from Rye Salts due to the increasing costs to use the pitch and we found our new home at Rye Rugby Club. This was not a very good season for us, and probably the lowest point of Rye Town History. Team morale wasn’t great and things started to fall apart, we scrapped through to the end of the season.
19/20 season was when the core of the club had the big discussion as to whether we had enough players to play another season. We didn’t, but they worked hard and together to get new players into the team. What an amazing job they did too. We didn’t have the greatest pre-season as we were still trying to establish a team, we didn’t have the greatest of starts to the league as the team began to gel. This was also the wettest season that I have ever known but during those wet times when we had games on, we started to show the opposition what we were able to do as a team, winning games 7-1, 6-1, 5-0 and 5-0.
Then we got hit with COVID and the season was abandoned. We also received a new Man of the Match Sponsor – Yew Tree Stone Ltd.
What are your aims for next season?
For the 20/21 season, we started training and playing pre-season friendlies as soon as it was allowed and safe to do so. We have kept all of our players from last season and gained a couple of extra players. We have an amazing squad of players not just on the pitch but off of it, too. We also welcome Steven Buss to the coaching/managing team. The club are looking forward to getting this season started and seeing what happens. We also received sponsorship from Lodestar Cleaning for new training kits for all players which we recently received.
Having started only 4 years ago, do you need any volunteers, coaches or possibly players and if so, how can people reach out to you?
Rye Town FC is a very family-oriented club, so we welcome and encourage wives, partners, children and families to come down to the game. We have some great facilities at Rye Rugby Club for everyone to enjoy. We also support Christmas in Rye every year by requesting no fixture on the date of the event so that we can support and participate in all the races they have on including the Tug of War, Christmas Pudding Race and Santa Race.
We always welcome new players to come along and train. All our club news, training dates and match information will all be updated on our Facebook page. We would also love for local people to come along and support us.
We would like to thank our Sponsors Rush Witt Wilson, Rye, Rock Channel Marine, Lodestar Cleaning and Yew Tree Stone Limited for your support for the club we really do appreciate it.
Keep up to date with Rye Town FC via their Facebook page.