A Brief History of Hayling United Football Club


Nothing can be definitively found to indicate the exact date when Hayling United F.C came into existence, however, we do know that there was a team playing under the Hayling Island name in 1884.

Two fixtures are evidenced in the Hampshire football annals both played and reported upon in 1884.

The second was reported upon in the Hampshire Independent newspaper of the 28th November 1884.

This mentioned a match under "Association Rules" played at St. Georges recreation ground Portsmouth between Hayling Island and The North Lancashire Regiment, the northern opponents took the honours on that day with an emphatic 8-0 win.

The first match known to have been played by a Hayling Island team was against the team or club that eventually went on to become Portsmouth F.C.

Records indicate that this match was played on 15/11/1884.

Despite being on the wrong end of a 5-1 drubbing to our near neighbours, who played at the time under the name of AFC Portsmouth, the fixture threw up an even more interesting fact in that appearing for Portsmouth that day was a struggling Southsea doctor who played under the name of A. C. Smith. Arthur Conan Smith has become better known as the creator and author of Sherlock Holmes.

Teams under the Hayling Island F.C name continued to play through until 1952 in the Waterlooville and District League at which time they entered the stronger Portsmouth League.

They remained in this League until joining the Hampshire League in 1990-91 season when an away fixture at Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber backed Ecchinswell gave Hayling it's introduction to County League football.

The end of the 1960's was also memorable for the football club as they wrote themselves into the record books on 29th December 1968 when two teams made up of Hayling Island F.C players played non-stop for six hours.

This feat took the world record for the longest game away from South American sides Panoral and Santos.

The early 1970's saw the club change it's name from Hayling Island F.C to the current of Hayling United F.C.

With the restructuring of the National football pyramid system Hayling United joined The Wessex League for the season 2004-05, making their debut away at Ordinance Survey of Southampton.

A debut season runners-up spot and the promise of improved facilities ensured promotion to the second division.

The 2005-06 season again saw an outstanding on the field effort to again finish runners-up, however the slow progress in moving to the new ground with the required facilities for the higher division meant promotion was not awarded on this occasion. However, promotion was gained after finishing top of Wessex Div One in the season that followed, and sees the club playing at the highest level in its history.

Through the years the football club under whatever name has played at various sites across Hayling Island. Switching several times between Hayling and Mengham parks before overcoming planning and educational issues to hopefully settle at the new ground at the Hayling College where the potential is available to improve the facilities still farther and allow the club to progress beyond it's current league standing.

Hayling Uniteds most famous "son" has to be Bobby Tambling who not only played youth football for the club in the early 1950's but also briefly returned to manage the first eleven in the 1990's where he managed a couple of games as outside left despite being 50 years old.

In between his youth football days and his managerial ones for Hayling United Bobby went off to play professional football for Chelsea, for whom he scored what is still a club record of 202 goals, and in doing so also made 3 appearances for England scoring one goal against France.

Currently Hayling United has two mens teams, playing in the Wessex League Premier Division and Wyvern Combination League Div One East, a ladies team, a youth team and numerous childrens teams across the many age groups.

Courtesy of Nick Bettesworth's book;

"Around the Fields........the history of Hayling United Football Club"


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