I visited Eastbourne Borough in May 2007, for an England semi-pro international versus Scotland. It's right on the edge of Eastbouurne, but easy enough to get to, as a half hourly bus service, the 6A, runs from the town centre. For a club that has progressed to the top rung of English non-league football in such a short space of time, the ground is superb.
Just in front of it is a training pitch, with a small bit of cover. This is where their original pitch was, and the stand remains from that. I took these snaps at the weekend, prior to seeing a match at Eastbourne Town. Initially I couldn't find a way into the stadium, so attempted to take any snaps I could from outside, but having done so I saw someone go through a door into the ground, so I followed. The ground was hosting a reserve match, so I took pictures inside too.
Whilst the ground impressed me the less said about their club badge the better!
Here is the entrance to the ground.
This is the next match.
To the right, past this sign, is the old cover, from their original pitch.
Sadly it doubles up as a memorial to a youth player who died.
From this cover we look over to the main ground, with the clubhouse to the left.
Here we look to the social club, across the car park.
Their original name was Langney Sports, only becoming Eastbourne Borough FC in 2001.
And a long way they come since the Langney days....Eastbourne Borough club cars!
This is inside the spacious club house.
On the wall is this old poster from the 1992 Sussex Cup final against Brighton at long gone Goldstone Ground.
Back outside we looked towards the locked entrance to the ground.
These are the main turnstiles, with the changing rooms, and executive area (I think) past it.
Here is a look down the side, through the gates.
Moving around the perimeter of the ground I took these shots over the wall.
Fluttering high above was the Conference League flag.
While I tried to get as many angles as I could, it was windy & I was holding onto a narrow brick wall, trying to steady myself. As you can see I didn't do too good a job...
As I continued round the ground I passed a hardcourt area behind the other side. The gate was open, so I nipped up the telly gantry scaffold...
And this is behind the goal to the left...
The main stand opposite,
And looking toward the end where the entrance to the ground is.
This is the players' entrance, which is how I actually got inside.
There is a small club cabinet inside.
And I had a quick peek at the away changing rooms.
Then it was down the tunnel & into the stadium! I turned right, to start taking you round the ground. This end has two sections of covered terrace, split by the tunnel. Here we head to the far side, where the main stand is.
From behind the goal we get a good picture of the stand.
Before we view the open terrace down the side.
With the old Langney Sports name embedded in the brickwork.
And a hoarding for the brilliant Sussex football website.
Every ground should have a 'little something' that gives it character. Here at Priory Lane it's these 'railway sleeper' benches!
And now we've reached the main stand.
Glancing back at the tunnel end.
And across the pitch, to the covered terracing on the far side, note that gantry. I was on that!
These are the dugouts.
Looking up to the directors' area.
On past the stand & the covered terrace starts, that stetches behind the goal & down the far side.
Here we look behind the goal.
And from this corner we glance across the pitch. But I do prefer corner flags in these shots really! ;-)
Round we go, to look down the last side.
With a proper look down it.
And from here we look back at the covered end.
On the wall is another memorial to a Youth Teamer who also died young.
Now we're past the cover along the side, and heading towards the turnstiles.
But not beofre we look back down the covered terrace.
Is this ground unique for having this plant specimen inside?
Scoreboard in the corner, with the club shop caravan behind.
That's better! A flag in this snap!
A couple more pictures for the final bit of the ground before we head back down the tunnel out back to the bus stop for the 6A into town!
The last being from behind the goal with the main stand in the background.
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Although born and raised in South London, it is Eastbourne where I spent my most formative years (10-16). I played on the old Priory Lane pitch more than once while representing teams such as Eastbourne Dynamos, Ocklynge Youth and the legendary Old Town Boys. In fact, I once scored a last minute belter of a free-kick to salvage a 1-1 draw against Langney Sports U15s. Happy days!
Oh, by the way, you do realise Eastbourne Borough's badge is the Martello Tower built during Napoleonic times? I really quite like it.
My twin brother and I supported Eastbourne United in the mid 50's and early 60's when they were in their heyday and enjoyed great rivalry with Eastbourne Town who still play at The Saffrons, I believe.
As well as Ron Greenwood they were managed by Gordon Jago and Jackie Mansell around that time. I remember a young Bobby Moore playing for the West Ham under 18's at Princes' Park in the F.A. Youth Cup.
In the Metropolitan League the first team played third string teams from West Ham and other top professional outfits, and Tonbridge Reserves ( where I now live and follow Tonbridge Angels in the Ryman League ).
The rise of Langley Sports, now Eastbourne Borough, has eclipsed the other two Eastbourne teams in recent years but I still retain happy memories of United.
Favourite players in those days were goalkeeper Reg Pope and tricky winger Johnny Field.
Peter Swan, 13/5/2017
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