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Team In Focus - Worthing FC

Publish Date:05/02/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland

Situated 37.8 miles east of Portsmouth and 12.5 miles west of Brighton, lies the South Coast town of Worthing. Despite it being only their second ever season in the National League South, the Rebels have made quite the impact in the seventh tier. After a playoff semi-final defeat last year, Worthing are looking to go one better this year.

National League South Journey

While Yeovil are the runaway leaders, Worthing currently take the crown of 'best of the rest' sitting second. After comfortably winning the Isthmian Premier League, Worthing impressed in their first season in the National League South finishing fourth.

Adam Hinshelwood's side unfortunately got beat by eventual playoff winners Oxford City. However, that did not deter the Rebels who have started this season tremendously. This season, there is real belief that the Rebels can reach the National League.

With 66 goals already in 31 matches, Worthing boast one of the most potent attacks in non-league, with Ollie Pearce in particular impressing, scoring 25 goals already. Former Brighton forward Danny Cashman has also impressed since arriving on a free transfer.

George Dowell

However, their ascent through the leagues is no coincidence. Worthing are where they deserve to be and it comes from clear and concise planning off the pitch by chairman George Dowell.

A promising footballer, Dowell's football career was ended in 2010, after being involved in a serious car crash which left him confined to a wheelchair and paralysed from the waist down.

After taking over in 2014, Dowell set about making serious improvements on and off the pitch. He invested heavily into the club, paying off all the club debt, as well as installing a 3G pitch and upgrading Woodside Road.

George used his compensation money to set up Worthing Football Centre to help create a community hub at Woodside Road, with the new artificial surface available for hire to all teams and age groups seven days a week.

Since Dowell took over the club, the Rebels have gone from strength to strength and are sure to only improve year on year.

Adam Hinshelwood

In 2013, former Brighton defender Adam Hinshelwood was appointed as manager of the Rebels, before leaving a couple years later to pursue a coaching role at Brighton and Hove Albion.

He then returned in 2017 and has led Worthing to an Isthmian Premier Division title and a Sussex Senior Challenge Cup. The 40-year-old is a manger with a growing reputation, and has been touted for jobs higher up the pyramid.

Worthing play attacking, possession football, entertaining the masses at Woodside Road. It is only a matter of time before Hinshelwood is managing in the Football League - with or without Worthing.

Trust In The Youth

A lot of the clubs success has been owed to their trust in the youth. Many players have departed the South Coast to join teams higher in the pyramid.

This summer, goalkeeper Harrison Male was sold to Dorking. The season before Marvin Armstrong and Jasper Pattenden departed for Barnet and Wycombe respectively. Ricky Aguiar departed to Swindon in 2021/22 season, with Brentford signing Fin Stevens in the 2020/21 season. Kwame Poku and David Ajiboye left to Peterborough and Sutton respectively the season and are making a name for themselves in the Football League.

This season, Joe Rye, Rueben Livesey-Austin and Finlay Chadwick have been afforded chances in the first team, with Hinshelwood further demonstrating his faith in young players. It wouldn't be a surprise for one of the trio to be next to join a club in the Football League.

What Next?

With an owner who is a fan of the club, an exciting manager, good infrastructure off the pitch and fantastic youth prospects, the only way is up for The Rebels. Do not be shocked to see Worthing cement themselves as a professional outfit in years to come.

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