Captain fantastic Shelley seals his title hat-trick

Southern Combination League, Premier Division: Horsham v Hailsham. Pic Steve Robards SR1610987 SUS-160418-100201001
Southern Combination League, Premier Division: Horsham v Hailsham. Pic Steve Robards SR1610987 SUS-160418-100201001

Captain fantastic Joe Shelley says he has never been at a club like Horsham as he celebrates a staggering hat-trick of Premier Division titles.

The 34-year-old has now won the Southern Combination League and the same title under its previous 
guise of the Sussex County League three years on the bounce.

The midfielder is widely heralded as one of the best players in the league and has added a third winner’s medal to last year’s success at Littlehampton and a previous triumph at East Preston.

Shelley also secured the supporters’ player of the year award having scored 20 goals in 50 appearances.

He said: “It’s an amazing achievement and it’s been a hard season to be fair – there are some good teams in this league. We have done well to win it. It’s amazing. It’s good for the boys and everyone, I am made up.

“It’s been great to captain the side. Dom has a lot of faith in me so it’s nice. Whenever I have been with him he has made me captain. I try to lead by example, sometimes it’s hard, but I love it and it’s such an amazing achievement.

“I have won it three times on the bounce now so it’s quite nice. Bozzy (Darren Boswell), has done it three times in a row now as he was with me last year. We have been best mates for years, so it’s good to do it for him as well, great for the boys and the fans.

“They are great fans here, they’re unbelievable. I have never had anything like this before, not anywhere.

“As a team we have been together for years and as the management team have been together for years, they have a lot of faith in us.

“It’s great because we all know each others’ games so it’s really good for us. I don’t have to ask them anything. The players do it for themselves, they love it, love playing.”

On whether he would step up into the Ryman League, Shelley said he will need some convincing. He added: “I am 35 this year and I don’t know if I have it in me, but we will see. I don’t know if I can commit to it as I have a young family.

“I will have a word with Dom and I am sure he will try and pester me into it. It’s been a good year and I have loved it.

“If it was anywhere else, I’d knock it on the head straight away, but because it’s here and it’s been so great, it’s different. I guess I’m 90 per cent there, but ten per cent in my head is telling me no, we will see.”

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