Whitehawk abandon Brighton City name change after fan opposition

Whitehawk fans
A section of Whitehawk fans, known as the Hawks Ultras, provide a vocal presence at the Enclosed Ground

National League South side Whitehawk have abandoned plans to change their name to Brighton City following discussions with supporters.

Chairman John Summers said it had been "impossible" to notify fans before they submitted an application to the Football Association in December.

However, the Hawks have withdrawn their application after Summers spoke to fans during Saturday's defeat at Chelmsford.

"We have listened to fans," Summers told the club website.

Whitehawk, who are based in a suburb in the east of Brighton, are currently ninth in National League South and reached the second round of the FA Cup this season before being knocked out by Dagenham & Redbridge.

Summers said in a statement on the club website that it had previously been "unanimously agreed" that a name change would be required "in order to widen the club's appeal and to embrace the city as a whole".

However, after notifying fans last week that they had submitted an application to change name to the FA, a section of Whitehawk supporters set up an online petition opposing the move.

"We were aware that sentiments may have changed, especially since the raising of the club's profile during the recent cup run," Summers added.

"I made a point of standing on the terraces at Chelmsford to engage with fans and they made it abundantly clear to me that although they understood the need to embrace the city, they dismissed the name Brighton City as their preferred choice.

"It was good to be amongst them and listen to their views and I thank them all for their input.

"They have made it very clear to us that if we are changing our name they prefer other options such as Brighton Whitehawk or Brighton East End."