How a muck-spreading farmer almost caused a football match to be postponed

Sidlesham, posing for their 19-20 team photo on a day when they didn't need to hold their noses / Picture by Chris Hatton
Sidlesham, posing for their 19-20 team photo on a day when they didn't need to hold their noses / Picture by Chris Hatton

Non-league football matches get called off for a variety of reasons - waterlogged pitches, inury crises, you name it. But the reason for Sidlesham's home game against Littlehampton in division one of the Southern Combination League almost being called off is surely a new one.

It was in doubt because of a nasty smell - a very nasty smell. But thankfully it was one that didn't last.

A Sidlesham spokesman said: "On matchday, as preparations were being made, a neighbouring farmer had started muck spreading in an adjacent field and the smell was so pungent at one point that the game was temporarily in doubt.

"But by the time the referee arrived the wind had changed direction and although the smell was far from pleasant the game was able to go ahead."

It was part of an eventful week for Sidlesham FC - more so off the field than on it.

Last Tuesday night Sids won an FA Vase replay 3-1 away to Stansfield but in the midst of the celebrations the team received news that vandals had destroyed seats in the stand at Sidlesham, taking a little of the shine off the superb victory.

Repairs were made to the vandalised area in preparation for the visit of early league leaders Littlehampton Town on Saturday -not knowing then that a different kind of outside influence could put that game in doubt!

For the record it finished 1-1 and it was a result that neither side could really kick up a stink about. But will Sids come up smelling of roses in the next round of the Vase? We'll find out on Saturday when they host another Kent side, Kennington, hoping that local farmers leave their end-of-summer duties til Sunday...