This is something I’ve given considerable thought to. My main concern was not missing anyone out or forgetting anyone obvious!
I went to my first Burgess Hill Town match the year we went up, and my first game was the first one we lost in the league all season, a 1-0 home defeat by Whyteleafe! Obviously we had many outstanding players that season- Greg Luer, Darren Budd, Rob O’Toole, just to name a few- but I barely saw any of them play for us unfortunately, so this list is very much from the last 3/4 years.
My formation is a 4-3-3. We’ve played this formation most often in the years I’ve been watching.
Goalkeeper- Josh James. Josh was part of the title winning season and has played over 200 games for the club. A lot of our success has been down to vital saves from him; still one of the best in the league without a doubt.
Right back- Ibs Diallo. The definition of underrated. An absolute fan’s favourite in Mid Sussex, cemented his place for a number of seasons when we first got promoted and when we stayed up at Harrow Borough, he gave me his match-worn shirt! Did that sway me? Quite possibly.
Centre Back- James Richmond. Another tremendously underrated footballer in my humble opinion. Signed by Ian Chapman when we went up and he was rock solid. Centre back has been a bit of a problem position in recent years for us, and I think it has a lot to do with no James! Glad to see he’s now captain of Merstham, one of the nicest guys around as well, which always helps.
Centre Back- Tom Cadman. A left back naturally, he won’t thank me for chucking him in at CB, but a man I simply couldn’t miss out. Easily the best full back in the Isthmian League for a number of seasons, and yes it does pain me he is now playing his football down the road!
Left Back- Sam Fisk. It’s very easy to put Sam in just for keeping us in the division with his last second goal but that was the icing on top of a superb season for him. A title winner with the club where he made 299 appearances. His only flaw is that he didn’t make one more! Loved by absolutely everyone at Burgess Hill.
Centre Midfield- Jordi Ndozid. I have never in my hundreds of games watching the Hillians seen a debut as impressive from anyone as Jordi’s was away at Herne Bay in 2020. He’s only been at Burgess Hill for a season and a half but he is the first name on Jay Lovetts team sheet, week in, week out. I will never know why it didn’t work out for him at Met Police because he has the talent and ability to play considerably higher than the Isthmian.
Centre Midfield- Dan Beck. The moment it was announced that we had signed Dan Beck from Bognor, we knew we had signed a great player. He had a spell with us 10 or so years ago, (I wasn’t aware of a Burgess Hill back then!) but in his second spell he absolutely shone. The scorer of vital goals, notably away at Folkestone to snatch a point and in the Sussex Senior Cup against Eastbourne Borough to send us into the semi-final. The man for the big occasions. For someone in his 30s, he was the most complete box to box midfielder!
Centre Midfield- Jack Brivio. My first ever favourite Hillian was Jack Brivio but I assure you this isn’t why he’s in the best XI. A tenacious CM who absolutely loves a goal, he worked his socks off week in, week out for the green and black. He made the move to Horsham and they love him just as much as we did. Outstanding player.
Forward- Connor Tighe. The biggest shame of the suspension of football currently is we can’t see Connor Tighe scoring goals at Leylands Park again as he has recently rejoined us from Whitehawk. In his first spell he was absolutely electric, managed better than a goal every 3 games, and most of the goals were out of this world. Personal favourite was a volley away at Faversham in the Velocity trophy. The best goal I’ve ever seen live, from any level of football. Thwack!
Forward- Tommy Wood. For a man to play only a handful of games for a club and strut into the best XI sums up how great he was for us. 7 goals in 6 games, he single-handedly almost saved us from relegation and had it not been for injury in the final 2 games of the season... then who knows? Great to see him playing and scoring regularly for NLS Tonbridge Angels.
Forward- Pat Harding. You didn’t think I was going to leave out the King of Mid Sussex, did you? I could tell anyone who cared enough how good this man is at kicking balls into goals. It’s just a shame his tenth season with the club is plagued by these bizarre circumstances currently. Any man who has made over 400 appearances and scored over 100 goals for the football club deserves every bit of recognition. Pat Harding is an all-time Burgess Hill great.
This was very hard narrowing down to just 11 players so here is some Honourable mentions!
Right, let’s have your First XI! Email your squad to Ian at email@example.com and you’ll see it appear here.