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Sadly, St. Leonards FC ceased to exist at the end of February 2004. 
For further details go to 
‘St. Leonards: An Obituary’ elsewhere on the site.

I have left this page online as a memorial to the club’s short but memorable existance.

St. Leonards FC
Sussex County League, Division One
Nickname: The Saints
2002/03 season: 22nd, Dr Martens League (Eastern Division)
                       (Resigned)
2002/03 average League attendance: 140

1st choice kit
2002/03

2nd choice kit
2002/03

2002/03
Programme

The club shop, main stand, and Directors’ Lounge at St. Leonards’ unique ground at The Firs

Enlarged photographs on page two

“The Firs”, Elphinstone Road, Hastings, TN34 2AX
01424 434755

Map

From A21 turn right into Junction Road. At T junction turn right into The Ridge.
Go straight over two mini roundabouts, passing the Conquest hospital on the right. After 2 miles, turn right into Elphinstone Road, opposite cemetary.
Ground is approximately 600 yards on the left, just before Hastings FC

Nearest railway station: Hastings (1.5 miles).


Description of ground
In 1971 St Leonards FC began life as STAMCO FC, the works team of the Sussex Turnery And Moulding Company, and began playing at Pannel Lane, Pett (in between Hastings and Rye) in 1976. In 1993 promotion to Division One of the Sussex County League meant that the club could no longer play at Pannel Lane, as planning restrictions meant that the ground could not be upgraded to the standard necessary. However, the then Chairman Leon Shepperdson purchased a long term lease on "The Firs", previously the home of Hastings Town FC (now
Hastings United) before they moved to the Pilot Field next door in 1985.

During the Summer of 1993 many hours and much expense was devoted to re-developing the ground in the space of three months when the pitch was re-profiled, floodlights installed and the amenities upgraded to enable the club to take their place in Division One for season 1993/94. Facilities, including the main stand, were further improved to enable to club to take its place in the Southern League in 1996, having failed to be elected the previous season. Despite all the work however, the pitch has remained a considerable problem for the club, albeit better than in the past when it was a quagmire for much of the time.

The club’s past is clearly evident in the ground, which as the former works team of a timber company, is predominantly constructed from wood. However, whilst this looked splendid at the time, with hindsight it was hardly the best material to use and the ground is now in need of costly and time-consuming remedial work, made more difficult by the fact that the STAMCO company is no longer involved.

Nevertheless, The Firs is undeniably a ground of considerable character, with imaginative use of the natural banking on two sides of the pitch, with paths and terracing created for spectator viewing and access. The stand provides a good view of the action, whilst there is a wonderful covered area behind the far goal (with access from the car park) which reminds one of something out of “The Swiss Family Robinson”.

The “Saints” (formerly “STAMCO”) covered shelter on the opposite side of the pitch originally stood behind the far goal, whilst the near goal is has no cover, and protective net to prevent balls flying into the Pilot Field. There is comfortable clubhouse just inside the main entrance, and a snack bar with a good reputation for its food.

Definately a “must see” for any ground-hopper.

Nomadometer rating

St. Leonards FC - brief history
St. Leonards FC originated as a works team in 1971 when the employees of the Sussex Turnery And Moulding Company started playing friendlies, under the company name of STAMCO. In season 1971/72 they were admitted to the Eastbourne & Hastings Football League, the side progressing from Division 5 (East) to gain Intermediate status in 1976 and reaching the Premier Division the following year.

Following ten years of success at local level, in 1982 STAMCO joined the Southern Counties Combination, winning Division Two in their first season. After accelerated promotion and a season of consolidation in the Premier Division, two Championships came in the next three seasons. As a result of their 1988 success promotion was gained into Division Three of the Sussex County League and senior status was secured when they progressed into Division Two after finishing as Runners-Up in both the League and Cup.

In 1992 STAMCO narrowly missed promotion to Division One, finishing in third place, however, a year later they achieved their goal of entry into the top division ending the season as runners-up only missing out on the championship on the final day of the season.

A side boasting several well known ex-Football League players finished the first season in ninth place but reached the semi-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup, winning the trophy in 1997. The following season (1994/95) the club finished as runners-up to champions
Peacehaven. Attracting large crowds wherever they played, STAMCO justified their position as one of the favourites to take the championship in season 1995/96 when they amassed more points than the previous season's County League winners, however, they again finished as runners-up to Peacehaven who suffered their only defeat of the campaign when they visited "The Firs" before a crowd of 1,033. Having been turned down for promotion the previous season, this time the club was accepted into the Southern League from 1996/97.

Southern League football required a change of name to reflect the club’s geographical location, and the names of its then two main sponsors (STAMCO Timber and Croft Glass) were incorporated into the revised style St.Leonards Stamcroft. The club's first season in the Southern Division started with an away win and success gradually built alongside cup progress which added twenty-five games to the league programme, to finish as runners-up, and gain promotion to the Premier Division at the first attempt.

However, it was too much too soon, and having risen fourteen divisions in twenty-six years without a set back, relegation became almost inevitable when the side went eight matches before picking up a point and did not record their first Premier Division win until their seventeenth match.

After seventeen years in the post he inherited from his father, Leon Shepperdson stepped down as Chairman and became Patron. Although his company STAMCO Timber remained the Club's major sponsors, the club again under went another name change to become St. Leonards FC.

Sadly the club never recovered from its relegation and, as finances dwindled so did the crowds as St. Leonards struggled to maintain its place in the Southern League. In 2002/03, after numerous management changes, the club made the decision to resign from the Southern League in December 2002, and drop back down into the County League for the 2003/04 season, from where they hope to re-group for the future.

Is this information correct? Please email me with any amendments