Local business amarti to sponsor the Wasps

We’re delighted to announce that East Grinstead-based data & cloud consultancy amarti will be sponsoring our first team home and away shirts this season.

In a joint statement, co-founders of amarti Ben Alexander and James Peachey said: “As a business, we believe in the power of community. So, we’re thrilled that amarti is able to sponsor our local team. As regular visitors to the stadium, we can’t wait to see how this season turns out. We look forward to cheering on Drew and the boys! Come on The Wasps!.”

East Grinstead Town chairman Richard Tramontin said: “amarti sponsored our away shirts two years ago and we are delighted that they have agreed to back us again this season.

“Ex Wasps player Ben and his team have always been great supporters of the club and we’re looking forward to proudly showing the amarti name on our shirts around the south-east this season.”

In Memoriam: Mark “Arnie” Arnold

The club was saddened to hear of that our former manager and player Mark Arnold passed away on Friday at the age of 64.

Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago and wasn’t strong enough to undergo the bypass surgery he needed. He died at home on Friday.

No one who knew Mark called him by his first name. He was always ‘Arnie’ and during the 1980s was very much the heartbeat of the football club.

Arnie was a promising schools and youth footballer, a midfielder with an eye for goal and a good range of passing. Good enough, in fact, to be on Brighton’s books before they released him. “Their loss!” he always used to say. But he had a soft spot for the Seagulls and was a season-ticket holder at the Amex in recent years, although he was a Tottenham fan as well. I never worked out which club he supported more but this picture supplied by Mark’s niece Nadine probably gives the game away.

Mark’s dad Colin ran a fencing business in East Grinstead for many years. Arnold Fencing was based where Sainsbury’s is now and not only was the back office the hub of the business it became the hub of the football club too.

When he wasn’t selling fence panels and posts he would hold court in there with any number of daily visitors – his players, committee members, prospective signings and, for many years, our long-serving secretary George Tizzard who used to live a few hundred yards away and would pop in on an almost daily basis to tell Arnie about the latest booking and to buy a Wasps’ lottery card which Arnie sold on the counter to help raise funds, often to people who’d only come in to buy a bit of post and rail.

I didn’t see Arnie play for Grinstead, but many people told me that he was a cultured presence in our midfield in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The standard of the Sussex County League 30-40 years ago was very good, certainly the equivalent of the level we play at these days. There was only one sub as well so you had to be decent to get in the team, even in the second division which is where we found ourselves when Arnie took over as manager in 1984.

There was no budget for players, but we had a decent youth team and Arnie built a good side around youngsters like Steve Norris with a sprinkling of experience and slowly our fortunes started to improve and in we eventually won promotion back to Division One. There wasn’t much money around and when we did start paying players a lot of the time it was from Arnie’s own pocket. He was always generous to friends and strangers.

But playing and managing wasn’t the extent to his involvement. He also had a spell as chairman and he was involved in all aspects of the club, from running the bar to running the line for the reserves. The epitome of a club man and a real football connoisseur.

I first got to know him in 1984 when some mates and I used to hire the old ball court on a Friday night to play five-a-side and he would come to open up. Eager to get into journalism, I asked Arnie who wrote the match reports in the East Grinstead Courier because I didn’t think they were very good! In turns out the author was Arnie, but he didn’t take offence. In fact, within a few weeks I was writing the reports and editing the programme (another job he did), photocopying it in his office on Saturday mornings between delivering fence panels around the town. A few years later I was sports editor of the Courier and speaking to Arnie on a sort-of professional basis and a lifelong friendship began. As well as his passion for football, Arnie was a keen golfer who at one stage played off a single-figure handicap. I remember being with him when he got his first hole in one. I was always surprised it took him that long, he was a good golfer.

When he retired from football management golf became his passion and he was a key member of the ‘Hook & Hack’ society with a lot of former Grinstead players, who played all over the world together.

When Sainsbury’s moved in and the fencing business closed Arnie became a driver based at Gatwick, and eventually moved to Brighton. A lot of his old Grinstead friends didn’t seem him much in recent years but whenever I saw him, more often than not at the Amex, he always asked how the Wasps were getting on. The club was a big part of his life.

Arnie was part of the fabric of the club for many years and will be sadly missed by so many of his contemporaries. I’m sure all of his contemporaries have a funny story about him. We send our condolences to his partner Lea, sisters Nikki and Karen and the rest of the family.

RIP Arnie.

Bruce Talbot (Committee Member)

Forest Row FC 1st Team Groundshare

The club has agreed a groundsharing agreement with Forest Row FC which will see them play their first-team home matches for 2024/25 at the Vistavis Community Stadium.

Chairman Richard Tramontin said: “Forest Row have been using Oakwood FC since joining the Southern Combination Football League and were looking for a ground nearer to Forest Row and we are pleased to have come to an agreement with them.

“The improvement work to the pitch drainage we have undertaken since the end of the season will help cope with the extra games.

“We look forward to a long and productive mutual relationship with Forest Row FC and look forward to staging their matches next season.”

Under 23s Discontinued

The club has decided not to run an Under-23s team in the 2024/25 season.

We would like to thank joint managers Steven Coveney and Howard Wrate and the players for their hard work and dedication during our only season in the Suburban League Central Division.

We finished fourth and lost the fewest matches but were hampered by the weather and numerous postponements.

New Stadium Sponsor – Introducing the Vistavis Community Stadium

East Grinstead Town are delighted to announce a new three-year stadium naming rights agreement with Vistavis.

The Wasps’ home will be officially renamed as the Vistavis Community Stadium from 1st July 2024.

Vistavis is one of the UK’s leading specialist subcontracted cleaning businesses. Based in Copthorne, between East Grinstead and Gatwick Airport, Vistavis operate across a diverse range of sectors and provide a comprehensive portfolio of services and solutions.

Vistavis directors, Andy Willis and Tony Dorey, said: “Vistavis are honoured and proud to be associated with and to support East Grinstead Town FC and we wish the Wasps every success in the coming seasons.”

Wasps’ chairman Richard Tramontin said: “We’re delighted to welcome Vistavis as our new stadium sponsor and are extremely grateful that they have made a commitment for an initial three seasons which will help the club both on and off the pitch.”

Adam Dabell Annual Memorial Football Match – 19/10/2023

I’m delighted to be able to tell you that, we shall once again be celebrating this terrific event for our young people, in memory of my dear son.

As I’m sure most of you will now well know, on the 10th March 2004 our wonderful son Adam, tragically and without any warning, collapsed and died whilst playing in a local five-a-side tournament with his friends.

He was 26.

At that time, working on a suggestion made originally by Steve Hill (Sussex School Sports Coordinator) and Simon Bunn, one of Adam’s close friends, plus his peers and friends from schooldays, we, with his extended family and his many good friends, decided that the best memorial to a young, fit man, so full of life, would be a living memorial.

Therefore contributions were made that provided for a Memorial Cup and Trophy in Adam’s name which are presented to the winning team from an annual football match between the two Schools/Sixth Form Colleges in East Grinstead; Sackville, which Adam attended, and Imberhorne which many of his friends attended.

Both teams receive commemorative medals, normally presented by our Town Mayor and also, hopefully as last year, by our own local MP Mims Davies.

The event is increasingly heavily supported, particularly by the young people of the Town. All are very welcome.

It is a very joyous celebration!

This is to say a personal thank you to those who contributed to this living memorial, who continue to make it happen each year and to let you know that the 19th annual match will take place on Thursday 19th October at the East Grinstead Town F.C. ground.

Once again, at the match we shall be looking to promote and seek, entirely voluntary, contributions to CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young.

CRY was founded in 1995 to raise awareness of conditions that can lead to Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD); Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS, SADS), in the young and I would encourage you to visit their website:- https://www.c-r-y.org.uk/

We still lose far too many of our lovely young people, every year, to undiagnosed heart conditions!

Those of you that can make it, I would like to warmly invite you to join us there to cheer on the two young teams, as we remember Adam and those other young people that have fallen victim.

For more information, please refer to Adam’s website:- http://adamdabell.net/ and that of EGTFC to whom we continue to be hugely grateful for their support of this match:- https://www.egtfc.co.uk/

I would reiterate, All are most welcome to come along.

Very kind regards,

John Dabell