As part of our celebrations to commemorate the Club’s 25th anniversary this summer, we are inviting fans to select their all-time Shots XI from 1992-2017.
The team will be announced on Tuesday 1 August, exactly 25 years to the day since The Shots played their first ever game, in the Simpsonair Trophy tournament at Camberley Town’s Krooner Park.
This week we pay tribute to the mavericks and magicians who have graced the left-wing position over a quarter of a century. Please choose two names from these stellar candidates – or make your own nomination – and email firstname.lastname@example.org with SHOTS XI in the subject line. Alternatively, send a tweet to @OfficialShots using #ShotsXI.
Gary Abbott (1998-2001, 120 goals, 156 apps): George Borg’s decision to pay £8000 for a 33 year-old was entirely and immediately vindicated with a club-record 48 goal haul in his first season. Abbott was top scorer in each of his three season with The Shots, including another 45 goals in 1999-200, for which he was named Non-League Player of the Year. He scored ten hat-tricks in his Shots career and scored in 11 consecutive games between January and April 2000.
Stafford Browne (2000-03, 105 apps, 53 goals): Averaging more than one goal every other game, Stafford was the first player to score a hat-trick at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium – in the 2002 Hampshire Cup Final – in a season in which he notched a total of 30 goals. He was then a part of the squad which won the Ryman Premier Division title in 2003.
Mark Butler (1992-98, 303 apps, 155 goals): The Club’s all-time record goalscorer, with a strikerate of better than 1-in-2 over six seasons. Scored The Shots’ first-ever goal, in the 4-2 victory against Clapton in August 1992, and notched 30 goals in our first season. He was the first Shots player to score a hat-trick – going on to notch another seven in red and blue – and was top scorer in three of his six seasons at The Rec. We’re still drinking to toast Butler the King!
Jonny Dixon (2004-08, 74 apps, 32 goals): The archetypal fox-in-the-box, and the first signing financed by the Shots PlayerShare Fund. An initial loan spell yielded nine goals in 13 games and Jonny’s reputation at The Rec was cemented. Even though he was sold to Brighton and Hove Albion for a then-Club record fee of £56,000 in January 2008, he still received a Blue Square Premier title winners-medal, to add to his 2007 Hampshire Senior Cup Final victory.
Roscoe Dsane (2002-04, 110 apps, 48 goals): Top scorer in each of his two full seasons, Roscoe helped fire The Shots to the Ryman Premier Division championship, Hampshire Senior Cup and Conference Play-Off Final. Scored a brilliant free-kick in front of the East Bank in our first-ever Conference game, in August 2003, and two months later became the first Shots player to captain the England National Game XI.
John Grant (2006-10, 150 apps, 57 goals): The 25-goal top scorer in our 2008 Blue Square Premier-title-winning season, John had scored twice on his debut, against Gravesend and Northfleet, been part of the team which made the FA Cup third round for the first time, been top scorer and named Player of the Year, all in his first season with The Shots. An England C international, his televised hat-trick against Salisbury City in February 2008 was one of the highlights of that season on his way to being named in the Conference Premier Team of the Year.
Danny Hylton (2006-13, 226 apps, 53 goals): A shaggy-haired vision of perpetual motion, Danny rose from The Shots’ youth team – for whom he scored 34 goals in 39 games – to become our leading Football League goalscorer. Scored the ‘other’ goal on that legendary night down in Torquay in March 2008 and the winning goal against West Ham United in our Carling Cup victory at Upton Park, and with eight goals won the FA Cup Golden Boot in 2012-13.
Aaron McLean (2003-05, 94 apps, 26 goals): An ebullient striker whose career took him to the Premier League with Hull City, the man nicknamed ‘Springs’ – in recognition of his amazing aerial prowess – was part of our Ryman Premier Division title-winning squad and scored in both the 2003 Hampshire Cup Final and 2004 Conference Play-Off Final against Shrewsbury Town.
Tim Sills (2003-11, 145 apps, 53 goals): Feed The Sills and he will indeed score! Joint-fifth in our all-time scorers list and scorer of our first ever goal in the Conference, in August 2003, he was part of the team which reached the 2004 Play-Off Final and FA Trophy semi-final. He was then 18-goal top scorer in 2004-05 as we reached the Play-Off semi-final and, following Football League appearances for the Uniteds of Oxford, Hereford and Torquay, returned to The Shots on a short-term deal in 2011.
Steve Stairs (1992-95, 126 apps, 75 goals): Joint-third in our all-time scorers list and 32-goal top scorer in our first season, Stairs was a prolific targetman who formed a lethal partnership with Mark Butler. A further 29 goals helped bring promotion to Diadora Division One in 1993-94, as he became the first player to score four goals in a single game, against Gosport Borough in our run to the FA Vase quarter-final.
Brett Williams (2013-15, 102 apps, 43 goals): A pivotal figure in The Shots’ first two seasons back in the National League, Brett scored 28 goals in 2013-14 to help us overcome a 10-point deduction, and then another 15 in 2014-15. Able to create a chance from nothing, he could win a game with a single touch. Scored a crucial injury-time equaliser at Macclesfield Town as we staved off relegation, and again against former side Woking on Easter Monday 2014.
Roy Young (1995-99, 174 apps, 75 goals): Steve Wigley’s first signing in February 1995, Roy was twice The Shots’ top scorer, including 27 in our Isthmian Division One title-winning season in 1997-98 under George Borg. That tally included one against Staines Town in the game which clinched the title, and he notched another against Boreham Wood as we won the 1999 Isthmian League Cup Final.