The Sussex Thunder are an American football team from England based in Brighton, Sussex. The club entered the league for the first time in 1997 when the Crawley Raiders merged with local rivals the Brighton B52s to form a new club – Sussex Thunder under inaugural Head Coach Jim Jasicki. The Thunder reached the BritBowl Final in their second year led by current Head Coach Ian Ellis, narrowly losing to the London Olympians. Success continued to allude the club afterwards, but on 20 September 2008, led by Head Coach Len Scott, the Thunder won the Division 1 national championship in an overtime win against the Redditch Arrows.
Promotion to the BAFL Premier Division in 2009 saw the Thunder struggle to a losing season and the departure of two Head Coaches during that season (Len Scott and then Jim Roberson).
In November 2009, the Sussex Thunder appointed ex-San Francisco 49ers trialist Tony Stitt as Head Coach and under his guidance won promotion back to the Premier Division of the BAFA National Leagues. After two seasons in the Premier Division, the club returned to the BAFA National Leagues Division 1 South, and re-hired Ian Ellis. A Play-off run followed in 2011 (where they lost to the Birmingham Bulls 14-13) before the club once again claimed the Division 1 National Championship in 2012.
Due to a large amount of senior player retirements, the Thunder withdrew from the league for the 2014 season and then entered the associate process to re-join the league in the 2015 season. Membership was approved by the league and in 2015 the team re-entered the Division 2 South East Conference. After a successful season in 2015 ending in a Semi Final defeat in Triple Overtime to eventual Division 2 Champions the Thunder were awarded promotion to Division 1 SFC South for 2016.
In 2017 and 2018 under the Offensive Guidance of Tyrone Lindsey The Club reached the Quarter final stage both years but both times lost to a strong Kent Exiles team in some of the best games of the British Season. In 2018 the Quarter Final game when into double Overtime but the Thunder lost again narrowly.
Its safe to say that the start of every season fills all those at the Thunder with a feeling that this is going to be THE year. 2019 was again one of those years with Tony Stitt re-joining the team as Offensive Coordinator there was real focus on building an exciting Offense but at mid-season the team had seen some mixed results. The turning point came at an away game at Hertfordshire Cheetahs when the Thunder came out on top of a tough game that later proved to be the game that determined the Thunder would again reach the playoffs, however a Quarterfinal game against the Cambridgeshire Cats saw the Thunder fail to make the Semi final game again for the 3rd year in succession.
The 2020 Season was the Season that never was due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Practice started well in January and it looked like things were coming together to be another solid year. A February Joint Practice with the East Essex Sabres showed good things. However, in March the Government closed down all sport when the COVID lockdown was implemented.
2021 is the Sussex Thunders 25th Anniversary Silver Season and we hope will be one of our most successful seasons on the field to date. The Roster is looking stacked and the opportunity to get back on the field is eagerly awaited…………………..
American football is the ultimate team sport with a role for everyone regardless of size. We can help you find a passion for the game either on the field or off it!
Head Coaches Welcome
At the Sussex Thunder we look to provide an environment to learn, develop as an athlete and a person. Come and talk to us about how you can join our program and help us become the champions of today and tomorrow. Come and be part of our Thunder family
– Ian Ellis, Head Coach