And as officials at the MKM Arena welcomed players from many of the 35 teams — with more than 500 players in total — who play under the club’s banner, news emerged of a bid to install a state-of-the-art synthetic pitch at Nyewood Lane.

The gathering of the players, staff and coaches came about before the Rocks drew 1-1 with Cheshunt in the Isthmian premier division last week. And it coincided with a visit from a representative from Arun District Council as the club look for input from the authority on how collaborative efforts might benefit the community at large with the multi-weather surface.

Now the Rocks have produced a commemorative picture to recognise the valuable financial help provided by the club’s main sponsors (see picture), including Specsavers, MKM Building Supplies, Barfoots, Robins Row Insurance and Reynolds.

Russ Chandler, who along with Bognor grandee Jack Pearce and a group of committee members are spearheading the 3G pitch initiative, says the decision to install a new surface was a difficult one given how revered the Nyewood Lane lawn is throughout non-league football.

He said: “Jack must take massive credit for insisting that the pitch has been a priority given the way the club has played its football over the years. Changing to an artificial pitch was a difficult decision because it’s been a big part of the club’s identity for so long. However, the long-term benefits to the club and the wider community make it a compelling next step forward for the whole club and future projects on and off the field.”

And Chandler added that the occasion wasn’t lost on those in attendance. He added: “In many ways this was a very symbolic photo shoot as ultimately the community will benefit massively if we are able to go ahead with the pitch installation. We hope we can have the pitch in place next summer but of course finance and logistics come in to that and that is why it’s so valuable to be speaking to Arun District Council and other potential partners on how to best facilitate our aims.”

Louise Lawson, who works alongside Roger Nash as part of Bognor Rocks in the Community, said the mass gathering of players was organised as a “thank you” to show the club’s support for every player who pulls on a shirt — and their coaches and volunteers.

She added: “From the under sixes to the Boulders walking football team, boys and girls, men and women, they are all part of the Rocks family. As Jack has said many times, essentially this is a community club. Special thanks go to Carole Taylor Brett and photographer Lyn Phillips for their incredible organisation and hard work that made this picture possible.”

*Thanks to Lyn Phillips and Trev Staff for their work on the image.