Name: Bognor Regis Town FC (formerly Bognor F.C.)
Stadium: Nyewood Lane
Capacity: 4,500 (350 seated)
Last season: 2nd in Isthmian League Premier Division (promoted via play-offs)
Gloucester City fans will have 21 new grounds to visit when they start their first season at National League South level on Saturday 5 August, among them is a trip to West Sussex to face Bognor Regis Town.
The Rocks, as they are known, are also newcomers to the division, having been promoted via the play-offs of the Isthmian Premier Division thanks to a 2-1 win over Dulwich Hamlet in the final.
Jubilation for the fans of Bognor Regis was promptly brought to a halt, following the news that manager Jamie Howell would leave The Rocks for fellow National League South side Eastbourne Borough.
Howell was on the management team for eight years, as well as being somewhat of a club stalwart – having made over 400 appearances as a player for the West Sussex-based side.
Formed in 1883 as Bognor F.C., the club became founding members of the West Sussex Football League in 1896, joining the Senior Division.
They won the championship of this league for five successive years in the early 1920s, after which they joined the Brighton & Hove District League in 1926.
The club became Bognor Regis F.C. in 1929 after King George V added the suffix ‘Regis’ to the seaside resort and at the end of the 1948/49 season, the club added “Town” to their name so as to not be confused with the local rugby club.
In 1972/73, they reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 6–0 at Colchester United and in 1976, Jack Pearce became manager at the age of just 26, and went on to hold the position until 2007 – a staggering 31 year tenure!
During Pearce’s reign, the club reached the first round of the FA Cup again on five separate occasions, including four trips to the Second Round where they faced opposition including the likes of Swansea City, Reading, Exeter City and Cambridge United.
Pearce’s 15th season as manager nearly saw the club relegated – in fact they finished inside the drop zone in the Isthmian League Premier Division – but they were reprieved following the merger of Dagenham and Redbridge Forest.
However, a reprieve would not save them the following season, as they finished bottom of the Premier Division and were relegated to Division One of the Isthmian League.
An 11-year stay would follow for The Rocks, before they were promoted back into the Premier Division after finishing the 2002/03 season second in Division One.
After finishing tenth the following year, the club were placed into the newly formed Conference South and, after a six season run, the club were first relegated to the Isthmian Premier Division, before suffering a second successive relegation into Division One.
They were back in the Premier Division ahead of the 2013/14 season, and in 2015/16, The Rocks missed out on the Premier Division title by one point and then lose in the play-offs to Dulwich Hamlet.
However that season was not to be seen as too much of a disappointment, as the club enjoyed their best ever run in the FA Trophy, reaching the semi-finals before their hopes of a Wembley appearance were dashed by a 3-1 aggregate loss to Grimsby Town.
The club would come back stronger the following season and, after finishing second in the league behind Havant and Waterlooville, they defeated Wingate & Finchley in the play-off semi-final, before seeing off Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 in the final.
We will meet Bognor Regis Town for the first time when we face off in the 2017/18 National League South season, and everyone at Gloucester City is looking forward to the challenge that a new division will bring.
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