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This is where we'll bring you a light-hearted, and not at all bitter, look at some of our rivals. For now, let's start with a look at our fellow Sussex Ryman sides - more teams will follow in due course.

Disclaimer: Any opposition fans likely to be offended - please go away and don't come back to this page. There - that's that sorted then!

Bognor Regis Town ("The Rocks")

Recent history: Our traditional arch-rivals moved a division ahead of us last season, after a lengthy spell in the same league. Famous for playing seasons of two halves - they'd either start really strongly, then fade, or be nailed on for relegation, then pull away after Christmas. Despite their most valiant efforts last season (drawing their last game, almost handing promotion to Lewes) they misjudged it and ended up promoted. Portsmouth Newsagent Jack Pearce has a reputation as a bit of a dictator, however his sides do have a reputation for playing good football - something their fans seek solace in whenever they lose (which hasn't been too often this season).

Habitat: Home is Nyewood Lane, a very low-rise ground with a severe shortage of seats. There is a decent amount of cover (two-and-a-half sides), and a big clubhouse behind the uncovered home end. The bread pudding is deservedly popular, but watch out for the Little Green Bag at the door.

Crowds: Disappointingly low for a Ryman Premier side, and notoriously quiet. The promotion run did see a few come out of the woodwork, and their numbers can be swollen by passing Pompey fans. No matter how attractive their passing game is, they just can't attract the crowds.

Why don't we like them? History, basically. They seem to hate us more than we hate them, probably due to living in our shadow for so long. Bognor is a much smaller place than Worthing, and often looks west to Pompey rather than east to the rest of Sussex for identity, giving them a skewed view of the rest of the county. Finally, all their pubs are rubbish - the bottle bar? Come on - it's an off-licence with seats!


Horsham ("The Hornets")

Recent history: Languished in Ryman Division Two for a while, then came good when they didn't have to (the season before the restructure), finishing second behind Lewes. The momentum carried them forward for a while, before fading last season. John "Jazz" Maggs had a shaky start to this season, before enforced team re-jigging produced an impressive run of form.

Habitat: Antiquated and crumbling Queen Street is home to the Hornets. There you'll find a small main stand, a large, new-ish "cowshed" terrace and slippery (and possibly condemned) railway sleepers behind one goal. The toilets are a fair trek, at the far end of the often cramped clubhouse. Horsham have been due to move for years now, however rumours abound that a lot of the cash from a ground sale deal, supposed to go towards a new home, has been spent on the playing side over the past few years.

Crowds: Horsham have a small but very loyal and vocal hardcore, known as the "Lardies". They have a very good reputation for humour and banter around the league, but did get a wee excitable (with the ref) at the end of our 3-3 draw last seasons. There is a nice atmosphere around the place, with the players' wives and families very friendly to each other (compare Uxbridge!).

Why don't we like them? Err, we do actually, I suppose. Although there is a history of rivalry in the olden days, and a Senior Cup game a few years ago ruffled a few feathers, the two sets of fans seem to get on okay with each other.


Lewes ("The Rooks")

Recent history: Lewes were suffering badly in the 1990's, playing in a shabby ground in front of one man and a dog. Enter ex-Worthing midfield stalwart Jimmy Quinn as manager, and cue a mercurial transformation. After a couple of seasons of consolidation, forming a hard-tackling, no-compromise side (much like Quinn the player), the Rook's won Ryman Div Three, Div Two and the Sussex Senior Cup (against Bognor, which made us chuckle!) in quick succession. Despite all this, it was a defeat that was Lewes' crowning achievement: to Stoke in the FA Cup First Round. This led to cup fever gripping Lewes, and a whole tranche of new fans discovering the Club, many of whom stayed on board the bandwagon.

Habitat: The "P*ssing Pan" was once a very scenic and unique ground with a unique character, until someone decided to build a bloody big lego brick stand behind one goal (think 25% Tooting), without a thought to extra facilities. As a result, the ground is surrounded by a decaying ancient brick wall, topped in places with broken glass, and has a shabby wooden stand with few seats (and poor sightlines), a very steep slope (that does give great views), and a strange, narrow clubhouse building. The bar is tiny and on the ground floor - the toilets (the only ones in the entire ground) are round the back of the building on the first floor.

Crowds: For years, crowd congestion was not a problem. Crowds that would have shamed Banstead Athletic were the norm, and could comfortably be accommodated in the wooden stand, and consisted of a handful of players' guests and old men. Lewes played a Senior Cup tie at Woodside Road in 1999, and the away support was measured in single figures! The cup run brought a (relatively) huge influx of new supporters, taking the crowds up to the 250+ plus mark, and continued success in the league has seen them rise to regular gates not far off what we get at Woodside (impressive given the small size of the town). Far and away the worst aspect of Lewes' new support is their failure to understand elementary non-league etiquette - whilst other fans change ends at half-time, many of them stay put in their new stand.

Why don't we like them? There's quite a few reasons here, as Lewes have rocketed towards the top of the list, seriously threatening Bognor's position as the club we love to hate. Aside from the lack of respect to the non-league tradition of changing ends (above), there is a high degree of arrogance surrounding the club, from the board itself through to the comments heard on the terraces at our last meeting, through to the self-satisfied tone of their internet presence (one site and two forums at last count). Lewes fans appear to struggle to win, lose or draw with any grace (although there are signs this could be changing). At the time, the high amount of money Lewes received for their cup run (as opposed to ourselves two years previously, before the huge AXA sponsorship deal) annoyed us - this has since been compounded by constant digs at our own "moneybags" status whilst refusing to accept that their own side hasn't come cheap! There is an over-reliance on players from London, which ties in nicely with their supporters' lack of any sense of history. Finally, there is an ultra-arrogant feeling amongst their supporters, propagated at every opportunity, that they are the unquestioned "best supporters in the league", and are thus acclaimed by all other fans to be in this position (surely the true best supporters would have the good grace to not claim it at every opportunity). Err, that's about it - and to think, I haven't even resorted to making "just one big family" jibes of any sort.

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