Nothing can be definitively found to indicate the exact date when Hayling United F.C came into existence. However, there is a written record of two matches played by a Hayling Island team in 1884.
The first match known to have been played was against A.F.C. Portsmouth, who eventually went on to become Portsmouth F.C.. Records indicate that this match was played on 15 November 1884. Hayling lost 5–1. Appearing for Portsmouth that day was a struggling Southsea doctor who played under the name of A. C. Smith. Arthur Conan Smith has become better known as Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator and author of Sherlock Holmes.
The second such match was reported upon in the Hampshire Independent newspaper of the 28th November 1884. This mentioned a match under "Association Rules" played at St. Georges recreation ground Portsmouth between Hayling Island and The North Lancashire Regiment. The northern opponents took the honours on that day with an emphatic 8–0 win.
Teams under the name of Hayling Island F.C continued to play in the Waterlooville and District League until 1952, when they entered the stronger Portsmouth League.
On 29 December 1968, two teams, made up of Hayling Island F.C players, played non-stop for six hours. This feat took the world record for the longest game away from South American sides Peñarol and Santos.
The early 1970s saw the club change its name from Hayling Island F.C to the current of Hayling United F.C. They remained in the Portsmouth League until joining the Hampshire League in 1990–91 season when an away fixture at Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber-backed Ecchinswell (who became the now defunct A.F.C. Newbury) gave Hayling its introduction to county league football.
With the restructuring of the National football pyramid system, Hayling United joined the Wessex League for the 2004–05 season, making their debut away to Ordnance Survey of Southampton. A debut season runners-up spot and the promise of improved facilities ensured promotion to the second division.
The 2005–06 season again saw the club finish runners-up again, but the slow progress in moving to the new ground with the required facilities for the higher division meant promotion was not awarded on this occasion. However, promotion was gained after finishing top of the Wessex League Division One in the season that followed, and sees the club playing at the highest level in its history.
Through the years the football club under whatever name has played at various sites across Hayling Island. Switching several times between Hayling and Mengham parks before overcoming planning and educational issues to settle at the new ground at the Hayling College where the potential is available to improve the facilities still farther and allow the club to progress beyond its current league standing.
Hayling Uniteds most famous “son” has to be Bobby Tambling, who not only played youth football for the club in the early 1950s, but also briefly returned to manage the first eleven in the 1990s. He also played a couple of games as outside left, despite being 50 years old. In between his youth football days and his managerial ones for Hayling United Bobby went off to play professional football for Chelsea, for whom he scored what is still a club record of 202 goals, and in doing so also made 3 appearances for England scoring one goal against France.
Currently Hayling United has two men's teams, playing in the Wessex League Premier Division and Wyvern Combination League Div 1 East, a ladies team, a youth team and numerous children's teams across the many age groups.
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