Fuming Bosham have vowed to fight a shock decision by the Sussex League to deny them promotion to division two.
The Reds won the county division-three title a fortnight and say they had been told quite clearly they could claim promotion provided they
finished high enough.
But now, they have stunned to be told by league officials their facilities are not good enough.
Bosham say that conflicts directly with statements made to them by the league during the season.
The decision has been made by the league's management committee and Bosham can appeal to the FA, which they look likely to do.
It is understood the committee are blocking Bosham's promotion not
because of work that needs to be done to make Walton Lane meet division-two standards but because it still does not entirely meet division three standards.
The size of the away dressing room is thought to be a problem area.
Vice-chairman Alan Price promised to fight the decision all the way on behalf of the fans, players and staff who had worked so hard to make the 2009-10 season – in which they also won the Division 3 Cup – so successful.
Price said: "It is with great sadness that I have to report the Sussex League have done a U-turn and denied the Reds the fully-deserved opportunity to allow our very successful team to tackle the tough challenge of division two next term.
"Bosham dominated division three this season and fully deserved, in my opinion, to be offered the move up the league ladder having won the league and cup double for the first time in the club's history.
"All the representatives from other teams who I met in the closing stages of the season said we deserved our shot at senior football again, having dropped out of those heady heights more than a decade ago.
"The united opinion from these people was that Bosham showed how to grow – spectacularly – on the field of play with a young squad and that they fully merited their chance to move back to senior football.
"Bosham's young squad have epitomised the need to strengthen the grassroots area of our great game.
"To deny, in flagrantly going back on one's word, the right to promotion is a denial of players' rights to progress within the game."
Price said Paul Beard, the county league's secretary, said in a recent letter to Bosham chairman Ian Sumnall: "Consideration could not be given to future plans of a move or merger. We are only able to judge on your current facilities."
Price added: "This is a very harsh and unjust decision."
Bosham say they're greatly saddened and unimpressed with the league's failure to allow a side to rightly take its place at a higher level,
claiming the league have little regard for the problems teams have in getting grounds up to standard.
Frank Antony, joint manager of Bosham, was downbeat and said: "I'm
saddened by the blow that the club have received and am disappointed many sources knew of our alleged fate before we did.
"Processes need to be tightened to prevent unnecessary leaks of damaging information. The players will be devastated to learn of the news but, I hope, will rally around to do what's right for such a lovely club."
The committee at Bosham will meet this week to discuss the issue and may well launch a vigorous appeal.
Price said: "Let's hope fortune favours the brave and that Bosham can take their rightful place amongst the elite."
League secretary Beard said the management committee had made decisions on all clubs on Monday and any not happy could appeal to the FA. He said it was the FA who insisted on grounds being graded, not local league bosses.