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Henley bosses relieved to shake off “bottlers” tag after winning title

PUBLISHED: 19:44 07 May 2017 | UPDATED: 19:44 07 May 2017

Henley captain Mark Storey heads towards goal

Henley captain Mark Storey heads towards goal

Archant

Joint Henley Athletic bosses Sean Brown and Chris Rogers were glad to shake off the club’s reputation as ‘bottlers’ on Saturday.

Cranes keeper Ryan Bedingfield saves Bruce Clark's shot Cranes keeper Ryan Bedingfield saves Bruce Clark's shot

Athletic created history by becoming the only team to win the SIL Senior Division after winning promotion the previous season, defeating visitors, Crane Sports 2-0.

And the club’s journey to this point has been a rollercoaster, as the managers explained.

“Henley have always been known as the team who bottle it and fall at the final hurdle,” said the management team, who have been in charge for two-and-a-half years.

“We missed out on promotion a few times (in Division One) so to finally get here and then achieve this is unbelievable.”

Athletic finished on 78 points, two points above Achilles, and could have sealed the title last week, only to lose 2-1 to Bramford United.

“Last week was a bit disappointing,” continued the managers amid handshakes from joyful fans.

“But we had faith in the boys to get over the line, and we can’t describe how we’re feeling, it’s just absolutely fantastic.

“When we first took charge here, things weren’t going great, so to get this stage is unbelievable and we’re so proud.”

The pair continued: “Credit to Cranes – there was no way they were going to come over here and roll over, they won this league the previous two seasons.

“We had to be at our best, and we’ve been that all season to be fair, apart from the odd game.

“Questions were asked of us, especially after last week, and we responded.

“This is a unbelievable achievement for the people of the club.

“We rode out luck at times, but we deserved our luck and deserve to be champions.

“This is our first time in this league and we jokingly said, when the fixtures came out that this game would be the title decider, but it was very tongue-in-cheek!”

Now with a taste of success, Henley are determined for more next season.

“We want to enjoy the next few weeks and then build again for next season, we want to be challenging every single year like Crane and Achilles do,” said Brown and Rogers.

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