Name: Eastbourne Borough FC (formerly Langney FC)
Stadium: Priory Lane
Capacity: 4,151 (600 seated)
Last season: 11th in National League South
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 East Sussex to face Eastbourne Borough.
The Sports will play in the National League South for their seventh season, having been relegated from the Conference Premier in 2010/11.
After finishing mid-table last season, Eastbourne will be hoping that good summer recruitment can enable them to move further up the league table.
Eastbourne were formed as Langney FC in 1964, naming themselves after the Langney district of Eastbourne in which the club resides. It all started when a group of friends who played for the Langney and Friday Street youth were too old to continue, so decided to form their own team so they could continue playing football.
The club entered the Eastbourne & District Football League upon forming, competing in Division 2, but didn’t affiliate themselves with the Sussex FA until 1965. The club renamed themselves Langney Sports FC prior to the 1968/69. At the end of the 1973/74 season, the club won promotion to the Premier Division of the Eastbourne & Hastings League.
In 1983, the club was elected as a founding member of Division 3 of the Sussex County League. In 1986/87 Langney Sport achieved the treble by claiming the Third Division title, League Cup and the Eastbourne Challenge Cup. The Sports followed this by a second successive promotion the following season, reaching Division 1. In 1992, Langney reached the final of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup, but lost to the Brighton & Hove Albion’s reserve team. In 2000/01, Langney finished the season as Sussex Country League Champions, and were promoted to the Eastern Division of the Southern League.
After finishing 9th in their first season in the Southern Football League Eastern Division, the club was renamed to Eastbourne Borough. The following season the club won their first Sussex Senior Cup title in front of a record crowd. They finished second in the league the season after, earning promotion but missing out on the title on goal difference. They also lost on their attempt to defend their Senior Cup title.
Although they only finished 11th in their first season in the Premier Division, the league system changes meant that the Sports would take part in the inaugural season of the Conference South for the start of the 2004/05 season. Eastbourne almost earned immediate promotion to the Conference Premier, finishing fifth and winning the play-off semi-final but losing to Altrincham in the final.
Eastbourne reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in the 2005/06 season, holding Oxford United to a draw at home before losing the replay. It was a milestone match for the Sports, being the first time the club had played a competitive match against a professional league side, the first time the club received national television coverage and the first time home and away supporters had to be segregated, due to the high attendance. Eastbourne reached the FA Cup two further times, in 2008/09 and 2016/17, losing both times to Barrow and Braintree respectively.
In 2007/08, Eastbourne went unbeaten until January 1st, where they lost to local rivals Lewes. They finished in second place, winning the play-offs to earn promotion to the Conference Premier. The club finished mid-table in their first attempt at the Conference Premier, playing their first live televised match against Stevenage, a match they won. They also beat Brighton & Hove Albion reserves in the final of the Sussex Senior Cup that same season.
The club eventually slipped back into the Conference South at the end of the 2010/11 season, enduring a 20 game winless run which would eventually leave them eight points short of safety. The end of that season saw the club play the first ever game at the now Premier League ground, Falmer Stadium, losing 2-0 to Brighton & Hove Albion reserves in the final of the Sussex Senior Cup.
The Tigers will meet Eastbourne for the first time in the league when the two sides face off in the 2017/18 National League South season. They have previously met before in the FA Trophy in 2006, with Eastbourne coming out as 5-2 victors.