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.
“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’s a young goalkeeper, who came in when Jon was injured. He’s got the potential to play at a higher level.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
“He came to us from East Grinstead and gave us what we needed, in a ball-playing centre-half and also a leader.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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)
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.”
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.”
“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.”