The history of Saltdean United Football Club
The history of Saltdean United Football Club
Saltdean United formed in 1966 by seven founding members who were inspired by the victorious England World Cup campaign. The club started life in the local Brighton Saturday League and gradually moved up their divisional structure over the years.
Following the acquisition of their picturesque ground at Hill Park in the suburbs of Brighton, the club joined Division 3 of the Sussex County League in 1984/85, finishing third in their first season. More success followed and a promotion to Division 2 and senior football came in 1988/89 when Saltdean finished as champions. The next seven seasons were spent in this division, with the “Tigers” comfortably winning Division 2 in 1995/96 with games to spare.
Promotion to Division 1 saw the clubhouse completely revamped and floodlights installed, the first Sussex County League club to invest in the impressive Musco system from the USA. The Tigers quickly established themselves as a force in the top division, finishing 4th in their inaugural season and reaching the final of the Sussex Senior Cup only to narrowly lose out to St. Leonards by the odd goal.
In 1998/99 the club finished 2nd, and 3rd in 1999/2000 season when they also lifted the John O’Hara Cup, beating Burgess Hill Town after extra time in a thrilling match at Three Bridges.
In 2002 the club suffered its first ever relegation to Division 2 and in 2007 were relegated again back to Division 3 where they remained for several years until 2011 when the club won the Sussex County League Division 3 Challenge Cup.
A positive run in 2011/12 season saw the Tigers show their true spirit as they began the steady climb back up. As runners up in the league they were promoted back to Division 2 and lifted the Vernon Wentworth Cup.
A difficult period followed, with several years spent in the lower half of Division 2 until the 2015/16 season when a change a of circumstances, interest and investment in the club brought a new lease of life to the Tigers. Led by a celebrated ex player with the support of local businessmen the club was transformed on and off the pitch. Within a single season Saltdean Utd went from bottom to top of the league gaining promotion back to the top flight of Sussex football in 2017 and in 2018/19 the Tigers were the proud winners of the Peter Bentley League Challenge Cup.
In 2017 the Saltdean United Women’s team were formed under the management of Joe McTiffen. The Women have gone from strength to strength and have enjoyed several promotions in a short period of time. As runners up of the Sussex Women’s league in 2017/18, they were promoted to the South East Counties Premier Division. In 2018/19 as runners up in the league they were promoted to the London and South East Premier Division and were winners of the South East Counties Women’s League Cup.
Into a new decade and the Men’s First Team enjoyed a strong start to the 2020/21 season in the Southern Combination Football League Premier Division before the season was curtailed due to Covid-19. The 2021/22 season saw another strong finish for the Men’s First Team as runners up in the league and the Sussex RUR Cup, missing out narrowly on both titles. Despite finishing second in the league, Saltdean missed out on promotion to step 4 due to not meeting the FA Ground Grading requirements.
The 2022/23 season saw a new young side put together under the management of Bradley Sweetman. The Tigers made a good start and held their own in a very difficult division for an inexperienced side. After hovering above the relegation places for most of the year, a difficult decision to relieve Brad of his duties was made, with Joe Mctiffen coming in to take the reins for the last six games, assisted by Paul Stokes. The Tigers finished the season by winning three, drawing one and losing the other two. This saw us comfortably confirm our place in the Premier division for another season after finishing six points clear from relegation.
The Women’s First team had their best season to date in tier 5 after finishing joint fifth in a very competitive division. Competing against the likes of Fulham, Dartford, Millwall and Dulwich saw the Tigers only lose seven games all season. The Development Squad reached the league cup final, narrowly losing to Shoreham Ladies.
The club is still working hard on their Legacy project which was announced in 2021, led by a team of volunteers from the club. The club have been successful in their planning application for a new two-story clubhouse, 3G pitch and enclosed ground with the works starting imminently. The new ground will enable us to offer first class facilities to all of our players from the senior section, all the way down to our Tiger cubs.
This season sees us begin a new era under Kieran Ridley’s management. After a successful selection process, we felt Kieran was the right person to take the club forward both on and off the pitch. His experience in the county league alongside his passion in working with the youth was key to our decision. Kieran will be assisted by Paul Stokes who will continue his role after his short spell at the end of last season. We look forward to the season ahead and watching the Tigers progress up the league table!
Men’s First Team Honours:
2021/2022 Runners Up Southern Combination League Premier Division
2021/2022 Runners Up Sussex Principle RUR Charity Cup
2018 / 2019 Winners Peter Bentley Challenge Cup
2016 / 2017 Champions Southern Combination League Division One (promoted)
2011 / 2012 Runner up Sussex County League Division Three (promoted)
1999 / 2000 Winners John O’Hara League Cup
1998 / 1999 Runner up Sussex County League Division One (promoted)
1995 / 1996 Champions Sussex County League Division Two (promoted)
1988 / 1989 Champions Sussex County League Division Three (promoted)
1984 / 1985 Joined Sussex County League Division Three
Women’s First Team Honours:
2018 / 2019 Runner Up South East Counties Women’s League (promoted)
2017 / 2018 Runner Up Sussex Women’s League (promoted)
2017 / 2018 Runner Up Sussex Women’s League Cup