Shoreham Football Club chairman Stuart Slaney is confident all involved at Middle Road will come back stronger after Bostik League South relegation was confirmed on Saturday.
Mussels’ first ever campaign at Isthmian League standard in their 126-year history has been a turbulent one and a 1-0 defeat at Hastings United sent them straight back down to the Southern Combination League.
A 34th loss in 42 league matches this season has left Shoreham 15 points adrift at the foot of the table with just four games left to play this campaign.
Mussels chairman Slaney admits it has been tough going right from pre-season for everyone at the club.
Confusion over whether Haywards Heath Town or Shoreham would be promoted to the Bostik League South was prolonged over the summer, which left manager Sammy Donnelly little time to put a team together going into the unknown.
Mussels were also handed a six-point deduction back in November for a ‘registration irregularity’, while a number of players have been on the books at Middle Road across the campaign.
Slaney cited a failure to find stability and to adapt to life in the Bostik League as the main reasons behind relegation.
He said: “I set out with a five-year plan to reach the Bostik League, which we managed to achieve within three seasons.
“It’s been a long, hard season but maybe relegation won’t be the worst thing for us. The step up has been a massive one and we haven’t been helped with various situations over the season.
“We’re back in the SCFL now, a league that we know and hopefully we’ll be better for this experience.
“Sammy and his backroom team have been superb this season. For Sammy to have stuck with us despite everything that’s happened, he deserves great credit.
“We’re looking to end this season on a high and come back fighting next season.”
Shoreham boss Donnelly shared a similar view to Slaney after relegation was confirmed following defeat at Hastings United.
Donnelly, who will be staying on as manager next season, is placing an emphasis on youth as he looks to bring some cheer to Shoreham.
“The under-18’s have had a great season, which has resulted in some of them getting their first team chance in the past few weeks,” Donnelly said.
“We’re not the first team to be relegated and bigger clubs than us have dropped out of the Isthmian League in the past.
“Going into this season I knew how much of a tough task staying up would be, maybe it’s been even harder than I was expecting.
“We don’t want to go down with a whimper and will be doing all we can to ensure we finish this season by picking up some positive results.
“A solid finish this season is crucial, it will give us a chance to build some much-needed momentum going in pre-season. I’m hoping to keep as many players here as I can and build from there.”