Mussels confident they’ll beat the drop

SHOREHAM Football Club are confident they have secured their place in County League Division 1 next season – beating the drop for the second successive year.

Mussels were relegated on the final day of the season without playing as Horsham YMCA leap-frogged them in the table and condemned the Middle Road outfit to the bottom three.

But, at a Sussex County Football League meeting on Monday night, Mussels chairman Mathew Major believed what was being said suggested they would again remain in the top flight of the league.

The SCFL, however, remained tight-lipped who will be playing in what division next season, and have confirmed nothing as yet, as they are awaiting more news after an FA league committee meeting on May 25.

But, it seems that with Division 1 champions Three Bridges achieving promotion into Ryman League Division 1 South, and, it assumed that only two teams can go up from Division 2, East Preston and Hailsham, only one team will be relegated from Division 1.

This would hand both Shoreham and St Francis a reprieve and leave just Chichester, who finished rock bottom, dropping down into Division 2.

When contacted by the Herald, Major said: “My understanding is we’ll remain in Division 1 from the information in front of me at the meeting, I cannot give more details yet, but I am satisfied our Division 1 place is safe.

“It’s really big for the club to remain in the division and a good opportunity to make good the last two seasons, and an opportunity to put things right.

“There is more news to come on the changes taking place at the club and people will be quite excited about them, but, again, I can’t say too much.”

If this is the case, it will be the second time in as many years Mussels have finished in the bottom three and been saved, the previous season owing to ground grading issues.

The Herald understands that no official decision has been announced yet due to the possibility of taking the league up two teams to 22 for next season.

This would be to bring leagues up to date and in line with The FA’s plans to increase the Ryman League relegations to three teams from each division to tidy up the pyramid, as a result of the scrapping for plans or a total reorganisation.

SCFL vice-chairman Steve Nealgrove said: “There was nothing to report from the meeting as we are waiting for The FA league committee meeting, which is due to take place on May 25.”

Major also confirmed the club have been talking to a new joint manager to partner Mark Burt after Kevin Keehan stepped down at the end of last season, and the Mussels chairman is hoping it will spell an exciting new time at the club.