Heath striker Saunders celebrates fifth consecutive league title

Callum Saunders takes on a defender. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj SUS-151214-082130001

Callum Saunders takes on a defender. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj SUS-151214-082130001

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Haywards Heath Town striker Callum Saunders had a very familiar feeling on Easter Monday.

When the final whistle went at Mile Oak, Saunders and his Haywards Heath Town teammates celebrated winning the Southern Combination Football League Division 1 title.

Incredibly, this was the fifth year in a row Saunders has lifted a league title - one more than his teammate Rob O’Toole.

O’Toole spoke to the Middy this week about his achievement but Saunders was quick to cheekily tweet ‘*cough cough past 5 seasons cough cough*.☕️

Before this season’s triumph, the striker won league titles with Burgess Hill (alongside O’Toole), Peacehaven and Telscombe twice and Whitehawk.

Saunders, who is the son of Haywards Heath Town manager Shaun, said: “This one is not really any more special than the others. But winning a league is always special not matter who I’m playing for.”

Goalscorers  Rob O'Toole, Callum Saunders and Freddie Barker. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-151229-145615001

Goalscorers Rob O'Toole, Callum Saunders and Freddie Barker. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-151229-145615001

The 28 year-old started this season with Ian Chapman and Burgess Hill Town in the Ryman Premier League, but soon moved to join his dad at Hanbury Park.

He said: “Yeah I started the season at Burgess Hill and I just fell out of love with football a bit and just wanted to take a break. But it didn’t take long to get back into it when your old man is in my ear.

“To be honest I knew the squad my old man was putting together in the summer and I watched a few of their friendlies and I knew that squad would win the league.

“Team spirit has been really good that’s one thing my old man works on. The togetherness of the teams he’s managing and to make sure we’re a tight group is very important. We’re all good friends it helps that most of us have known each other for years so it’s been really enjoyable.”

Callum Saunders shoots past the keeper. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj SUS-160328-124102001

Callum Saunders shoots past the keeper. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj SUS-160328-124102001

And Saunders, who has scored 13 goals and has 14 assists in 20 appearances, praised his ‘old man’ for what he has achieved in Sussex football.

He said: “What my old man has achieved in Sussex football and what he’s won over the years is nothing short of remarkable, “He’s got a top black book of players to call upon and players love playing for him. There isn’t nothin he wouldn’t do or supply for the team he’s the gaffer of.

“I look up to man on and off the field!”

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Haywards Heath Town boss Shaun Saunders celebrates. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Haywards Heath Town boss Shaun Saunders celebrates. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

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Haywards Heath Town players celebrate winning the league title at Mile Oak. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Haywards Heath Town players celebrate winning the league title at Mile Oak. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj