Barnham and Wick join forces to make Sussex League progress

Barnham and Wick’s proposed merger will go ahead this summer in readiness for the 2013-14 season.

The newly-formed club will be known as Wick & Barnham Utd FC with Crabtree Park the venue for all first-team fixtures.

Mill Road in Slindon, Barnham’s former home, will be kept to county-league standard for use by the reserves should Crabtree Park be unavailable.

Both club committees ratified the merger at a meeting with an aim to make the club ready for the new season and a new constitution is being written.

Both clubs were in need of help in different directions. Wick have struggled both on and off the pitch since relegation from the Sussex League division one three years ago because of ground-grading issues, and while those problems were rectified, support off the pitch has generally been lacking for the current committee.

Barnham, on the other hand, have been told they cannot progress should they remain in Slindon, and with no suitable area in Barnham to house the club, they would have remained at county division-three level and stagnated.

Some roles within the club have already been decided with other decisions being made as the club moves forward in the close season.

Current Wick chairman Keith Croft will be the new club’s chairman, while current Barnham chairman Nigel Smith will be vice-chairman.

Current Wick first-team manager Jon Tucker will remain in charge in the new set-up, with current Barnham first-team manager Lee Tilliyer as his assistant. Barnham’s Lee Trent and Wick’s Scott Farrell and Ash Finch complete the coaching and physio set-up, assisted by Terry Gaunt.

The reserves will compete in the county reserve section (west) with Chris Waller as manager and Dan Wright as his assistant.

The merger also includes the successful Barnham Trojans youth section, whose two under-18 sides will also use Crabtree Park and Mill Road. It will give their players the opportunity to move into senior football once they reach the older age groups.

The new few months will be a stern challenge for all involved as the transformation begins to take place to make Wick and Barnham Utd a force in county football.

Pre-season training dates and details of pre-season friendlies will be anounced via the club website and Twitter account, which will undergo an change of name in the next two weeks as the new club branding takes effect.

Any players wishing to join up for pre-season training can contact Jon Tucker on 07887 828089.