The 1066 Specials Football Club has come a long way in just a few short years. Founded in the spring of 2003 the club was the brainchild of Harold Lawrence who was influenced by his nephew, Martin Forsdyke, who played for Brighton and Hove Albion’s ‘Special Seagulls’ team.
Recognising the need for children and adults with disabilities to have the opportunity to play football, the 1066 Specials were set up with support from the Rotary Club and Rother District Council’s sports development officer, Adrian Gaylon. Since its formation the club has received support from a wide range of organisations, businesses and volunteers. The club has grown steadily in size and now has a programme of training its own coaches to FA standards. The Specials now accept players of all ages and its membership now totals over 100.
In 2006 the Specials achieved Sussex Sports Partnership Approved Club status, the first club in the county to do so. The Rother Safe Sport Initiative Certificate of Achievement was also awarded in 2006. In early 2007 The Specials were awarded Football Association Charter Standard Club status. Charitable status followed in April 2007. Then, in late 2008, the club received a most welcome boost when ex-Beatle and Sussex resident Sir Paul McCartney agreed to become patron of the charity.
In 2013 the Specials celebrated their 10th anniversary and were honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is the MBE for groups. The award was presented by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, on behalf of Her Majesty.
The club were founder members of the Kent Disability League and in 2014 became founder members of the Sussex FA Disability League.
Since its foundation in 2002, the 1066 Specials Football Club have provided football training to 250 young people.