Title success is all down to the players – Bennett

Golds boss Mark Bennett lifts the County League title
Golds boss Mark Bennett lifts the County League title
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LITTLEHAMPTON Football Club boss Mark Bennett was full of praise for his side after they clinched the County League title on Saturday.

Bennett, who was part of the Littlehampton side who won the title in 1991, said: “If I’m honest, I think that over the course of the season we were the best team. The only time we weren’t was when the pressure was on, as you saw today.

“What the team have got is unbelievable character. I’ve now won it as a player and as a manager here, so I’m immensely proud because I love this club.

“However, at this level, the manager should take no credit and I take no credit because I’ve got a squad of fantastic players and this success is all down to them.”

Bennett spoke about each player’s contribution to the title-winning season.

Jon Hendrick

Goalkeeper

Apps: 30

“He is the best keeper I’ve seen at this level and is probably worth 15 points a season. I can say no more than that.”

Matt Morrish

Goalkeeper

Apps: 6

“Matt’s a young goalkeeper, who came in when Jon was injured. He’s got the potential to play at a higher level.”

Shay Wiggans

Defender

Apps: 27 (2). Goals 2.

“In my opinion, he’s the best right back in the league and he’s only going to get better.”

Josh Bates

Defender

Apps: 36. Goals 1.

“If you went to war, you’d want Josh on your side. What he lacks in football talent, he makes up for in heart.

“His dad, Steve, was captain when we won the league in 1991 and he’s a very similar player. When you need a soldier, you’d call on them.”

Mitchell Hand

Defender

Apps: 27 (2). Goals 2.

“Mitchell has been with me since I ran the youth team at Rustington and we have a father/son relationship.

“He’s a very talented footballer. Things didn’t work out when he went to play at Hastings but I’d never stand in the way of someone who wants to play higher and we were pleased to welcome him back.”

Ross McKay

Defender

Apps: 19. Goals 2.

“Ross has been at Littlehampton through the highs and the lows.

“He’s been loyal to the club and I know how much this means to him because he’s been here through thick and thin.”

Mark Zydonik

Defender

Apps: 18.

“He came to us from East Grinstead and gave us what we needed, in a ball-playing centre-half and also a leader.”

Gary Peters

Defender

Apps: 8 (1).

“Gary is a soldier and will give you everything he’s got.

“He’d been with us for the last two seasons, so I didn’t want him to leave for Rustington in the summer but could understand why as he wanted to play but he came back when Shay got injured.”

Joe Shelley

Midfielder

Apps: 21. Goals 10.

“He’s probably the best player in the County League and, if he hadn’t come in, I don’t know if we’d have won the league.

“He’s been top drawer. He struggled a bit at first to get used to how we play but I don’t think there is a better player at this level.”

Dan Swain

Midfielder

Apps: 28 (3). Goals 4.

“I’d been trying to sign him for four years because he’s such a good player and he’s been brilliant this year.”

Liam

Humphreys

Midfielder

Apps: 19 (3). Goals 5.

“Someone like Liam is what makes managing so enjoyable.

“When he signed from Storrington, he wasn’t sure if he was good enough for Division 1.

“He’s improved so much in the last two seasons and was immense this season.”

Lee Garnham

Midfielder

Apps: 8 (8). Goals 3.

“He’s such a big character in the changing room and he’s one of those players who you always want in your team.”

Michael

Hendrick

Midfielder

Apps: 12. Goals 2.

“On his day, there isn’t a better player in the league who does what he does. He had family commitments this season, which was unfortunate for the team because he’s such a good player.”

Scott Packer

Midfielder

Apps: 14 (12). Goals 7.

“He will always give you 110 per cent and can play in a number of positions. He’s a pleasure to manage.”

Jamie

Thompson

Midfielder

Apps: 5 (2). Goals 1.

“If Jamie had been fit all season, I’m confident we would have won it a lot easier as he brings so much energy to the team.”

Darren

Boswell

Midfielder

Apps: 18 (2). Goals 4.

“On his day, there’s not anyone better in the County League. He brought so much quality to the side when he joined.”

Kieron

Pamment

Striker

Apps: 20. Goals 14.

“We wanted to sign him four years ago when he tore us to bits in a game. He went to Worthing and then East Grinstead but when I phoned him, he said he wasn’t enjoying his football.

“He came in and was like a breath of fresh air. He’s a real talent who should be playing in the Ryman League.”

George

Gaskin

Striker

Apps: 14 (13). Goals 14.

“He’s been with me on and off throughout my time here.

“He lives in the town and loves his football. He broke his ankle against Maidstone just when he and George Landais had an unplayable partnership.

“I’m delighted for him as I know how much it means to him.”

George

Landais

Striker

Apps: 31 (3). Goals 30.

“I knew what a good player he is but, because of his university commitments, he wasn’t sure if he could commit every week.

“He has been superb every game and it’s not just his goals but his work-rate as well and he can play in a number of positions.”

David

Herbert

Striker

Apps: 11 (9). Goals 5.

“I’d been trying to sign him for a couple of years and he scored some important goals. He’s another youngster who could play at a higher level.”

Dan

Simmonds

Striker

Apps: 3 (10). Goals 1.

“He went to Worthing in pre-season and, if he had the right attitude, he could easily play at that level.”

Josh Clack

Midfielder (now at Chichester)

Apps: 9 (6). Goals 5.

“He probably regrets leaving when he did. He made an unbelievable start here but when Kieron Pamment came in and played so well, we couldn’t leave him out.”

Alex Kew (now at Pagham)

Midfielder

Apps: 5 (2). Goals 2.

“I was heartbroken when he left as he’s played for me since the youth team but he just wanted to play more.”

Ben Gray

Midfielder (now at East Preston)

Apps: 4 (8). Goals 2.

“I’ve got such a lot of time for Ben. He just wanted to play football and he didn’t think he was going to play much with the likes of George Landais, George Gaskin and David Herbert here.”

Richie

Hellen

Assistant

manager

“I couldn’t have done this without Richie. I played with him and have now done this with him. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”