Ongoing wait is becoming a frustration – Donnelly

Shoreham boss Sammy Donnelly has held talks with Tom Burton and is hopeful he will remain at the club next season. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Shoreham boss Sammy Donnelly has held talks with Tom Burton and is hopeful he will remain at the club next season. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Shoreham Football Club manager Sammy Donnelly says an ongoing wait for clarification on which division his team will be playing in next season is becoming an increasing frustration.

Donnelly, who took over from Bryan O’Toole last month, is still unsure whether he will be in charge of an Isthmian League or Southern Combination League team next season.

O’Toole guided Mussels to a second-placed SCFL Premier Division finish in his one and only term in charge.

Shoreham ended the campaign four points behind table-toppers Haywards Heath Town. However, Heath were charged and handed a nine-point deduction for fielding a player while under a ‘sine die’ suspension during the campaign.

Since being handed the points deduction Haywards Heath have lodged an appeal, but a hearing date is still to be confirmed, so the ongoing issue of whether Shoreham or Haywards Heath are handed the title – plus promotion to the Ryman League with it – wrangles on.

It is an issue that is becoming an increasing frustration for Donnelly, who said: “I think both ourselves and Haywards Heath just want a final decision to be reached.

“They’ve obviously taken the decision to appeal, so the issue will still go on with

an appeal hearing still to come.

“It’s really not a great situation for either ourselves or Haywards Heath.

“There are all sorts of things to sort out with regards to recruitment and other areas should we make the step up into the Ryman League.

“As things stand, it looks as though it will be us who go up into that division for the first time in the club’s history but it’s a case of waiting for a final decision from the hearing to come.”

Donnelly revealed last week that he had held positive discussions with four of last season’s squad.

Lee Denyer, Scott Packer, Jamie Cradock and Lee Denyer have all agreed in principle to stay, while Mussels also look set to sign Ross Myers from Southwick.

Donnelly also held talks with striker Tom Burton earlier this week and hopes the striker will stay at Middle Road.

With the transfer window not open until next month, no deals can be confirmed until then.

Donnelly now feels the ongoing wait with regards to which division his team will be in is having a negative impact of player recruitment.

He said: “I’m speaking to a few players at present but the current situation is making things quite tricky.

“I’ve got some young, hungry players lined up who want to test themselves in the Ryman League.

“At this moment I can’t actually give any assurances that is where we will be playing next season.

“The SCFL Premier Division is going to be so competitive next season and if we are back in that league then these players may well get better offers. At least I’ll have the carrot of Ryman League football for these boys if we are promoted.”

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