Whitehawk FC would like to clarify its position with Brighton and Hove Albion FC (BHAFC) following an interview with Whitehawk FC chairman John Summers, which was posted on whitehawkfc.com, on Wednesday evening.
As a club, we wish to make it clear that we have absolutely no issue with BHAFC as a club, similarly we have absolutely no issue with the fans of BHAFC – some of which attend our home matches when BHAFC are not playing a home game and we very much value that support. We are certainly not looking for a ‘bitter’ rivalry with them either, and any suggestion that we are is wide of the mark, with the club looking considering it as a ‘friendly’ rivalry rather than anything malicious.
What we do take issue with however is how BHAFC treat us as a club. Firstly, attempting to dictate to us what our club can and cannot be called. As mentioned in the interview with John Summers, BHAFC have vetoed EVERY suggestion we had for a name change if it started with “Brighton”, during conversation with their club officials. This further frustrates us as BHAFC do not have ownership of the word “Brighton”, which evidently they seem to believe they do. Many other cities within the country share the name of their city, yet BHAFC refuse to let us do the same. We also wish to point out that our suggestion of “Brighton and Hove City FC” was rejected by the FA due to the similarity with the name of BHAFC, something which as a club we understand and accept.
Whitehawk FC also wish to make it known that BHAFC has threatened us with legal action simply because on our website header, it says “Whitehawk FC, of Brighton and Hove City”, something which is clearly true as we are based in this city. Despite this, BHAFC have felt the need to threaten legal action against us because of this “fact” on our header, again seemingly under the impression they believe they have taken ownership of the words “Brighton and Hove”.
We are not looking for competition with BHAFC and we cannot understand their viewpoint. Our intentions are to also represent our city by being named after it, hopefully in the near future also on a National level, yet this is being blocked by BHAFC. We respect they have existed since 1901, though most of their history they were based in Hove, rather than Brighton. As it is well known, they were forced from their home and forced to play 70 miles away in Gillingham, eventually being homeless for 14 years, something no club should ever have to experience. We do not believe it is a “low blow” to state they have been based for most of their existence in Hove at all.
Whitehawk FC welcome more dialogue with BHAFC in the future, however we wish this dialogue not to be threats of legal action, or refusal to let us use the word(s) “Brighton and Hove”.