Sussex will have a women’s representative side again next season – providing administrators can find a manager.
The county FA has agreed to look for someone to run the side after having to scrap the team this season following the resignation of manager Emma Millington and her assistant, Carly Noakes.
A tentative attempt to find another one in time for the current campaign foundered when nobody applied for the post, but Sussex FA’s football committee chairman Gareth Flemington has revealed to Sent Her Forward that there is a determination within the organisation to rectify this in time for next season.
Mr Flemington said: “An advert went out and nobody applied for it. Not one single person… But the first thing I said when I was elected in June was that the women’s team would be resurrected.”
The member clubs in the county have backed the move and Sussex FA has advertised the post anew (see below), inviting applications from candidates with at least a Level 3 coaching certificate and the flexibility to attend evening matches all over the Home Counties.
Mr Flemington told Sent Her Forward there was a feeling among club representatives that the new appointee to what is an expenses-only position should be “an independent person, not involved with a club”.
That may narrow down the field – but with a renewed will for it to happen, both among administrators and the county’s clubs, Sussex FA hopes it will have more success this time.
‘Best bunch of girls’
Sussex’s representative side finished runners-up last season to Kent in a five-team round-robin tournament, known as the Southern Counties Cup.
The squad comprised players from all over the county, but inevitably the vast majority came from Brighton, Lewes and Chichester City, the county’s biggest women’s teams.
Mr Flemington said: “The comment in the past has been, oh, it’s only Brighton players or it’s only Lewes players, in the squad. When Emma did it, we had girls from Chichester who turned out when others dropped out. They were absolutely brilliant.
“I actually said they were the best bunch of girls we ever had playing for Sussex. We need to carry on along that sort of lines.”
He added: “Unfortunately, so many of the county associations are now dropping representative football. I have always been a strong supporter of it, and I have made sure that we are carrying on, even though other counties are dropping out.”
Despite the almost insulting lack of response to the summer ad, Mr Flemington believes Sussex FA will be more successful this time, with a longer lead-in time to next season, compared with the tight timetable for applying and appointing a successor to Millington and Noakes after they quit last May.
“Since then, people have come up and said, ‘I know somebody who would have done it’. Well, where were they?”
He also hopes to spread the word farther afield this time as he looks for a sufficiently qualified coach with the relevant associated certificates who can galvanise the best of the county’s women footballers.
Deadline for applications is 12.00 on March 6.