A chance meeting between two former Uckfield Town team mates later proved to be of historical significance for young football players in Uckfield. From that meeting an idea was born to form a boy’s football club for nine year olds.
Following publicity in the press the response was amazing, so much so that instead of running just an under 10′s side it was decided to also run an under 11′s team. A Formation Meeting was held and the Uckfield Grasshoppers ’81 came into being on the 12th July 1981.With no financial backing a sponsored walk was held to raise money to purchase kit and equipment. Parents and players walked along the old railway track that ran between Uckfield and Isfield, and the princely sum of £600 was raised.
Next we were accepted into the Crowborough & District Junior League for the 1981/82 season and have been happy to remain members ever since. The first two games we played were friendlys and in the second game we received an 18-1 beating. However, by the end of the season both teams had won their respective Tournament Shields while the Under 10′s had also won the League Indoor 5-a-side competition. In our relatively short history we have nevertheless accumulated well over a hundred honours i.e. League Championship titles, Cup and Tournament Shield winners and have been league runners up and cup finalists.We have also won many Mini-Soccer tournaments and League Sportsmanship awards.
The club has had several homes including Victoria Park and a field behind the Halfway House public house, which was also used by a sheep farmer. The field is best remembered for the bill the club received from the farmer for the loss of a sheep that got caught up in the goal nets – after the game of course! Now well established at both West Park and St. Philip’s school, the Grasshoppers have grown to providing football for both boys and girls from the age of 5 years up to and including 15 year olds. In the older age groups where league competitive football is played – in some we have two teams in the same age group one being called Uckfield Grasshoppers and the other Uckfield United Grasshoppers.
At the end of each season we hold a Presentation of Awards event whereby presentations are made to the winners of the“Managers player of the season”, “Players player of the season” and “Most improved player” in the older age groups above the under 9′s age group. A barbeque is also held to make it a great family occasion. A Dinner Dance is held annually at Barnsgate Manor and is always well attended. Incidentally it is for adults only – not players! Financially the club has been very fortunate to have been sponsored by so many companies and individuals but support is always necessary as costs continue to increase.
Over the years we have done the usual fund raising activities such as jumblesales, car boots, sponsored walks raffles and quizzes but in 1992 we did a fund raiser with a difference. Four of our then managers visited every Football League ground (including what is now the Premiership) in a week. They drove several thousand miles driving very nearly non-stop. On one stage after being stopped by the police for speeding they were cautioned then escorted on the rest of that day’s journey! A large sum of money was raised and we gained a great deal of publicity. Finally, it is the goal of this club to provide football for as many youngsters as we are able to and to hopefully teach them how to improve their skills and to enjoy this great game of ours. Our club motto “Sint ut sunt aut non sint" means"Let them be as they are" – happy go lucky young boys and girls.