Sammy HERO

50 Year Service Award: Brian ‘Sammy’ Donnelly

The FA Long Service Award

At our Annual Awards Evening last month, we were proud to present Sammy Donnelly with his FA Long Service Award celebrating 50 years in football.

For Sammy, there are few clubs in Sussex that haven’t had the pleasure of having him in the dugout.

Starting at Brighton Ramblers in 1972 at just 25-years-old as the reserve’s manager, a move to Wigmore United (now Worthing United) mid-season to try and save them from relegation followed.

Whilst he would be unsuccessful in saving them from the drop, Whitehawk took notice and took a chance on him.

Sammy would go on to lead the club to a Southern Counties Combination Division 1 title in his first season, and two years later, he guided them to a Premier Division win.

Eastbourne United then followed for a couple seasons before a move across to Eastbourne Town.

Yet, when Whitehawk came calling once again, Sammy couldn’t say no, returning to the club for another three years. 

Through his seven seasons with the Hawks, he won the club a total of 14 trophies.

Lewes was next, with Sammy leading the club to promotion in his first season at the club, before heading back to the coast to manage Shoreham, where, in typical style, he won them promotion and two cups in his first season.

Arguably his biggest challenge was yet to come though, as in 1996, Worthing approached him to take the manager job, with the club 17 points off safety.

It took a dramatic win in the last game of the season to ensure the teams survival. Yet those heroics provided a springboard for the club to go onto thrive in the subsequent years, winning the Sussex Senior Cup the very next season.

Sammy’s love of a cup run extended even as far as The FA Cup, as in 1999 he led Worthing to a First-Round tie against Rotherham, a highlight of his career.

After leaving Worthing in November 2001 Sammy would go onto manage Lancing, Southwick and Three Bridges before joining our late chairman, Mathew Major, in becoming co-owners of Shoreham.

Yet the lure of coaching was always too strong, and stints at Horsham YMCA, East Preston, Ringmer, Shoreham and Southwick followed, whilst also taking charge of our Men’s Representative Squad for a number of seasons.

Now, 50 years on from his first coaching job, Sammy is currently lending his vast coaching experience to Mile Oak.

If you, or someone you know would like to be recognised for a significant milestone, simply fill out the form below, and we’ll be in touch.

To find out more about Long Service Awards please contact:


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