Long-serving captain Shane Sutton reflects on his time at Latham Park
Shane Sutton spent a decade at Latham Park with Newtown, but this summer the fan favourite departed the to link up with Telford United in the National League North, bringing an end to a fantastic spell in the Welsh system.
Sutton originally joined Newtown from Shrewsbury in 2007, and would go onto become one of the club’s best players in its recent era.
For many he will be best remembered for not only captaining the Robins into Europe, but tasting victory in a first round qualifier in Malta. For Sutton himself, this is also his stand out memory.
“My most memorable home fixture for Newtown was in the first leg of the Europa League against Valleta. Getting that win in front of a big crowd was a great moment.
The away fixture has to be leading Newtown out against a top team like Copenhagen. Playing in front of 40,000 people and against top class players was a very proud moment.”
Sutton was soon a key part of Newtown’s first eleven, and tells YCPD he felt the captaincy would one day be his with help from the leadership of another Robin’s captain.
“I kind of felt I would become the captain of Newtown one day. The captain when I signed, was Glenn Tolley. I used to drive him to a lot of games and trainings, I learnt so much off him and saw what it takes. I knew from that moment that it was something I wanted to achieve.”
Newtown may have finished 7th and failed to secure Europe last season, but the club remains a Welsh Premier stalwart and constant threat to the league’s ‘big’ sides. Part of the club’s success is seen from its impressive operating in the transfer market, with production and transfer of the likes of Jason Oswell, Tom Goodwin and indeed Sutton.
Whilst quality players do not always yield a quality side, Sutton feels fortunate to have had some impressive coaching which has left a lasting impression on the 28 year old.
I’ve been quite lucky in the managers and coaches that have taught me. Darren Ryan, Bernard McNally, Andy Cale and Chris Hughes have all done a lot in the game, I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot off them all and I still remember it to this day.
This summer Sutton agreed a switch to Telford after nine years with the Welsh outfit, but says it was not an easy decision to make.
“When I first got approached by Telford I was fully focused on the season ahead with Newtown, but then after a few days of thinking, I went to The Bucks Head and started to get very excited by the opportunity that was being offered to me.”
Sutton believes the project at the club is intriguing and that the formation and style being adopted at the club will suit him down to the ground as he joins the club in the middle of a major rebuilding time.
“The formation is perfect for me, middle of the back three. I know that a lot relies on me to organise everyone around me. I feel I’ve settled in really well. But, we are currently going through a rebuilding process so it’s the same for everyone I guess.”
“The fans are so welcoming. We had 200 travel away to York last weekend, they didn’t stop singing which helped us to win.”
Telford’s start to the season is a tough one with 2 games a week, and newly named Captain Sutton is looking to get as many points on the board by October as possible.
“I’m only setting little targets for this season, one of which I have already met and that is becoming the Captain of Telford AFC.
“Playing Saturdays and Tuesdays picking up as many points as possible before October and see where we are and go from there”.
After a distinguished spell at Newtown, Sutton’s class and experience looks to set to guide him through exciting career of which there is plenty to come.
Shane Sutton’s Five-a-side line up
Goalkeeper – Dave Jones
Dave is going into his third season as the Robins number one after returning from Caersws.
He has established himself as one of the leading goalkeepers in the Welsh Premier League, played in all four of Robins European games last summer, and was key in the club’s run to the play-offs last season.
Former Cheltenham Town schoolboy and Birmingham City trainee who had experience with Gloucester City, Tamworth and Worcester City before joining Newtown in January 2011.
Price has represented Wales at Under-17 and Under-19 levels and is a Welsh Under-23 semi-professional cap. He returned to the Robins in July 2014 after an absence from football.
Goodwin joined the Robins in 2013 from Llanidloes Town, and has gone on to be one of the best local transfers in recent times.
Formerly of Rhayader, Presteigne and Llandrindod Wells, Tom has come a long way under the management set up, and is a mainstay in the side.
Goodwin has bagged vital goals in the last two years to secure European football, and was named player of the season in 2015.
Mr Versatile has played in every position since signing from Newbridge On Wye back in 2011.
He has always been an asset to the side in his days as a striker, now as a midfielder.
Regarded as one of the best headers of a ball in the WPL, Boundford always chips in with his fair share of goals.
Oswell returned to Wales in September 2013 with brief spells at Rhyl and Airbus UK Broughton before joining Newtown in 2014.
He finished as the club’s top scorer in the 2014–15 and 2016–17 seasons, winning the Welsh Premier League golden boot during the latter with a total of 22 league goals.
Featured Image: Newtown AFC