Club History

Club History

Founded in 1901, Three Bridges joined the Mid Sussex Football League in 1902 and were Champions of that League for the first time in the 1907/08 season. Their first major success came in 1933/34, when they won the Sussex Junior Cup, and sundry other minor honours came their way before they joined the Sussex County Football League in 1952/53, and two years later were crowned Second Division Champions.

In 1962/63 they won the Division Two Invitation Cup and in 1968/69, 1973/74 and 1979/80 were Second Division Runners Up.
1970/71 produced an 'against the odds' triumph when winning the League’s Invitation Cup against Southwick (3-2).

The 1980’s heralded a run of successes, starting with reaching the last 16 of the FA Vase for the first time in 1981/82 before losing at Molesey (1-2). A season later they made it to the last 32 but also won the Sussex RUR Charity Cup for the first time, beating Hastings Town 3-2. Another year on saw them finish runners up in the Thorn EMI National six-a-side tournament, winning a set of floodlights.

1985/86 saw them finish as County League Division One runners up, a feat they repeated in both 1987/88 (when they also won the RUR Cup again) and 1988/89.

A fire destroyed their clubhouse in 1993 which re-focused their priorities and ultimately resulted in relegation in 1996/97. They won the Division 2 League Cup a season later and then finished runners up in Division 2 to regain Division 1 status.

They were RUR Cup runners up in 2003/04 and then winners of that same prestigious trophy in 2007/08.

In season 2010/11 hopes were high when they started by winning their first nine League games, but eventually finished the season in 5th place. However, they did win the John O’Hara League Challenge Cup for the first time that season, beating Rye United 2-1, a tremendous feat that they achieved again in 2011/12, this time AFC Uckfield being defeated 2-1. It looked like being another tough League campaign when they lost four of the first nine matches, but then lost only one of the remaining 29 games, which was concluded by beating Championship rivals Rye United 1-0 at home on the final day of the season! This tremendous run meant the club had achieved its ambition and become Sussex County Football League Champions. With a superb run in the FA Vase too, losing in the last 32 on a penalty shoot out with Derbyshire side, Gresley FC, the 2011/12 ‘Double’ season had undoubtedly been the best in Three Bridges’ history.

Their first season in the Ryman Isthmian Football League South Division saw them struggle for much of the time. However, having been 10 points adrift at the bottom of the table in mid-February, they went on a run of 11 matches that produced 7 victories, 2 draws and just 2 defeats, earning them Team of the Month Awards in both March and April as a result. It meant that they survived the drop, but their second season in the Ryman League saw them struggle at times again but some key signings midway through the season helped them to 19th place.

The 2014/15 season saw an even greater improvement with a healthy mixture of youth and experience guiding them into 7th position and, whilst they were happy to score 94 League goals, they were less than happy about the 95 they conceded!

They improved their defensive record in conceding 67 goals in season 2015/16 but only scored 59, hardly helped by long-term injuries to strike partners Allan Tait and Tony Garrod. With 66 points, they slumped to 14th position, although they only accumulated 6 points fewer than in the previous campaign!

Bridges maintained most of that season's squad for the 2016/17 campaign. However, with at least 11 first team players out injured by September, they had to use a lot of the U21s, Academy and U18s players and by November had lost 12 games in a row, drew three and won just one game. Towards the end of the season, they strengthened the squad but it was too late to avoid relegation.

For the 2017/18 season, Bridges kept a few of the best of the players from the previous season and strengthened the team with more experienced players in the hope of promotion once again. Having dispensed with the services of Simon Wormull, Paul Hammond and Danny Lee from the coaching team and folding the Academy team, Bridges also strengthened the management team with the additions of the experienced ex-Bridges player, Martin Dynan, as Assistant Manager and UEFA ‘A’ licensed Coach, Marc Wardley.

That season turned out to be an extremely tough one with every team wanting to beat us. However, Bridges accomplished what they set out to do by gaining promotion back to the Isthmian League having finished second place in the Southern Combination League Premier Division, just one point behind the winners, Haywards Heath Town, and despite having only lost 3 games all season.

After serving 25 years with the Club as a manager, Paul Faili stood down as First Team Manager for the 2018/19 season in order to concentrate on his role as Club Chairman, and handed the management reins over to Martin Dynan, assisted by Liam Collins alongside Keith George. He also recruited a new U23s manager in Oliver Saunders, another UEFA ‘A’ licensed coach, to work closely with the First Team in developing both the U23s and U18s.

After losing 8 out of 12 League games by the end of November, as well as being knocked out of all four cup competitions (FA Cup, FA Trophy, League Cup and Sussex Senior Cup), the future looked bleak for Martin Dynan. However, the team then went on an unbeaten run in December, earning Martin the League’s Manager of the Month Award. Unfortunately, that didn’t last and Martin’s demise was inevitable by the end of February, having lost 8 of the last nine games with relegation looming. Paul Faili stepped in for the remaining 9 games of the season attaining 4 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses – enough for a 14th place finish and 14 points clear of relegation.

Paul will remain as Manager for the 2019/20 season, ably assisted by Jamie Crellin, Nathan Koo-Boothe and Keith George. Oliver Saunders will remain as U23s Manager, assisted by Tom Hayward who has been involved with the U18s as both Assistant Manager and Manager over the last four years, whilst the U18s will be newly-managed by First Team player, Brannon O’Neill, assisted by Darren Cooke.