Shaun Saunders on his successor, his best achievement at Haywards Heath Town and what's next

Shaun Saunders believes his leaving Haywards Heath Town in a very good state.

Shaun Saunders
Shaun Saunders

The manager announced today (Friday) he was stepping down after five successful years at the club. And he believes Lloyd Cotton and the club will continue that success.

Saunders enjoyed numerous cup wins as well as guiding them up the leagues to the Isthmian League South East Division.

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But what was his greatest achievement at the club? Saunders told us: "Making the play-offs in the first year in this division [Isthmian League South East]. We came in as favourites to go down and making the play-offs after being so heavily tipped to go straight back down was a massive achievement."

But on a par with that, he also sees winning the County League for a second time as a notable achievement. Heath were denied promotion after they were deducted points for fielding an illegible player and Shoreham were promoted in their place. The following year they won the league again and secured their place in the Isthmian League

Saunders said: "Winning the County League the second time round after having a points deduction the first time and having to go again.

"We all had it in our mindset we are going up and then all of a sudden at the last minute we were told after appeal that it had failed and we were definitely going to be back in the County League. So back-to-back winning that league is on a par with the making the play-offs.

"There’s been a few cups along the way as well so it’s been a brilliant journey."

And Saunders is full of confidence that the side will still be competitive with Lloyd Cotton - who was announced as Saunders' joint manager in the summer - at the reins.

Saunders said: "It’s just time for some newness, some more energy. Lloyd has come in and been really enthusiastic and aggressive in what he’s doing. I am just floating around at the end of the phone, advising and helping him with his transition.

"I still plan to be around helping out. I am really excited for the future of the club, Lloyd’s putting together a really good set of players together and I feel they will be very competitive next year."

And the former Peacehaven boss was full of praise for everyone at the club. He said: "I want to thank everybody at the club for their support along the way. I have had total backing from everyone at the football club. They welcomed me with open arms and supported me 110 per cent right through the journey.

"I am hoping for the club to maintain it’s status at this level and put another five year plan together and go again.

"It’s a great club. It’s infectious. It really gets under your skin until you get to a place where you fall in love with it. It’s a brilliant club."

But what next for Saunders. He said: "Never say never, I may return somewhere down the line, watch this space. Just at this moment in time I need a break to invest some time into myself and my family."