Football is returning to an abandoned stadium thanks to a multimillion-pound investment.

Old Barn Way, the former home of Southwick FC, fell into disrepair in 2020 but has been used for junior football since work to refurbish it in 2021.

The Russell Martin Foundation, a football charity set up by the former Albion player, made the announcement of the ground's development last Thursday.

The plans will see the site transformed into a new £2.5 million football and community hub, including a new clubhouse building and floodlit 4G pitch.

The Argus: Illustration of Old Barn Way after refurbishmentIllustration of Old Barn Way after refurbishment (Image: RMF)

Current Swansea manager Russell Martin, who attended Varndean School in Brighton, said: “I have fond memories of playing at Old Barn Way as a young player growing up in Sussex, so it was really sad to see the state it had got into.

“We’ve put in a lot of work to bring it back into use for junior football but what we are really excited about is the next stage of our plans which would enable us to deliver our football and education programmes at Old Barn Way.

“It’s important that it is used not just for football on Saturday but across the week and for a range of uses that benefit the community, but of course it will also be great to bring senior football back here with the new 4G facility.”


The project is being supported by charity Football Foundation and plans are expected to be submitted to Adur District Council shortly.

It is hoped that the new facility could be open and up and running by 2025. 

The Russell Martin Foundation was given a 25-year lease on the ground in February 2021.

The Argus: Junior players at Old Barn WayJunior players at Old Barn Way (Image: RMF)

Neil Parkin, leader of Adur District Council, said: “It’s great to see Old Barn Way being used by the local community again for sport after being derelict for some time.

“Football and sport can bring so many wider benefits in terms of health and wellbeing, so we look forward to working together with the Russell Martin Foundation on the longer-term plans for the site and realising its full potential for the local community.”