It means the world to me but it means more to the people that have been here for numerous amounts of years and have finally got the success that they deserve, says Beckenham Town championship-winning captain Danny Waldren
DANNY WALDREN says he has loved bringing the greatest ever season to Beckenham Town.
Jason Huntley’s men won the Combined Counties League Premier Division South title at the first attempt, following their 3-0 win over Camberley Town in front of 820 fans at Eden Park Avenue.
Captain Waldren and Jamie Humphris shared a special moment by lifting up the silverware at the end of the game, which sparked celebrations as the club won their second ever league title, the first one since 1928.
Waldren, 33, has now won the Isthmian League Division South title as an 18-year-old at Croydon Athletic back in 2010, the Conference South title with Bromley in 2015 and three years’ later he won the Isthmian League Premier Division title with treble-winning side Billericay Town and this is his first Step Five title of his glittering non-league career.
After beating Guildford City 3-0 last Saturday, Beckenham Town went down to a 2-0 defeat at third-placed finishers Raynes Park Vale on Easter Monday and Walton & Hersham reclaimed top spot.
However, Beckenham Town had to win today to claim the title and goals from Tunde Aderonmu, 34, just before half-time set them on their way, before winger Freddie Nyhus, 17, cut inside and hit a left-footed screamer into the top right-hand corner from 25-yards, before centre-half Rob Carter smashed in a third.
“It was always going to be tough to be fair,” said holding midfielder Waldren.
“There was a lot of pressure on the game so it was always going to be a difficult game but we knew that throughout the season, especially at home, we’ve been nothing less than fantastic.
"We haven’t lost a game at home all season, that speaks for itself, so coming here we knew we had to be patient, take our time, do the right things and eventually if we got that goal then brilliant. We knew we’d kick on and that’s exactly what happened.”
Waldren has maintained high standards throughout the season and ensured this Beckenham Town team would finish a point clear of fellow promoted side Walton & Hersham.
“You can ask the boys I’m always on their case. It was all or nothing. I said it in the group chat as well. You’d go a long way in any sport around the world to see a game defining on one game to be a champion, you really would, so it was all or nothing, there’s no doubt about that.
“We knew that and every single player left it out there and it was all or nothing and we got the all!”
Waldren was asked how he felt when Aderonmu headed in his 23rd goal of the season on the stroke of half-time to give dominant Beckenham a deserved lead.
“Relief, relief because the longer the game stays 0-0 the more tension builds and the tougher it can be, so when Tunde got that goal it was a relief,” said Waldren.
“We knew after that, Camberley have got to have to make a decision, either come out or come up against us and that will create spaces and we could go on and get the second and get the third and that’s exactly what we did.”
You will not see a better goal at Eden Park Avenue than the one that Nyhus scored to ease the nerves and put the champagne on ice in the 69th minute.
The 17-year-old controlled Nick Curran’s pass, cut inside Camberley left-back Callum Wiltshire and cracked a left-footed 25-yarder into the top right-hand corner.
“Me and Freddie don’t play in the same position but he reminds me of a young me, with so much energy, he’s just here, there and everywhere and what I would give to get that energy back. I see a lot of me in Freddie with his tenacity and his heart, his will, drive and determination.
“The kid is fantastic. He has been since he’s come in. He scored at a pivotal stage of the game. He took a touch, brought the ball out of the air, cut inside and hit a strike that you couldn’t believe – top corner, 2-0 and you know from then we can go and go and finish this now and that’s exactly what happened.”
Reflecting on Carter’s strike, Waldren added: “I’m buzzing for Carter. Our defenders haven’t got too many goals for us this year. That’s not a problem, as long as the boys are getting the goals that we need to get.
“He’s been at the club for two years now or something like that and he’s been a warrior, an absolute warrior at the back. He’s done his job fantastically for us and when he scored you could see the passion and the desire in his face in the celebration. Apart from Jamie Humphris, I couldn’t be prouder for him to get the third goal.”
Beckenham Town stalwart Humphris, meanwhile, came off the bench for the final seven minutes and had a couple of late chances to score but rifled his shots over the bar.
Waldren explained why he shared lifting the trophy up with the club’s longest serving player.
“I love Jamie. The problem with Jamie he tries too hard sometimes and he showed a little bit of desperation (to score). He could’ve taken his time and had a clearer chance to score the goal but he wanted it so bad and it probably cost him in the end.
“But Jamie’s been amazing as well. He’s been patient, he hasn’t got too many games under his belt this season but the eight goals that he’s got in the games that he’s played speaks for itself. Jamie has been brilliant to have in our squad, he’s been absolutely superb. He’s funny as anything and he’s been a pleasure to be around.
“We go way back, it’s scary. We’ve actually known each other for 20 years, we went to school together. Obviously this is the first time I’ve actually played with him at a level. He gives me a lift so we’ve been travelling to games together. We’ve spent a lot of time together.
“We’ve united our friendship from all those years and we’ve always been messaging each other about the games and things and whatever. Jamie is a top lad.
“When you win a couple of titles you get a taste for it and honestly since I joined these boys at the start of the season we’ve become a family. I’ve fallen in love with these boys and this is why we’re champions because you don’t become champions if you don’t fall in love with each other.
“It means the world to me but it means more to the people that have been here for numerous amounts of years and have finally got the success that they deserve. It’s been a very long time and I’m just buzzing that the club has finally got across the line. We’ve got the job done.
“It’s a wonderful little club, it really is, a brilliant little family club. My family come all of the time, they love it, they enjoy it and it’s brought me such special, special moments personally and as a group of lads.”
When asked about his plans for next season, Waldren revealed he is available to make his Cray Valley (Paper Mills) debut and help them win promotion via the Isthmian League South East Division play-offs in the coming days.
Kevin Watson’s side finished in fifth-place and travel to runners-up Ashford United in the play-off semi-finals, with the winners facing Herne Bay or Haywards Heath Town in the final.
Waldren said: “My plans at this moment in time is to enjoy this moment, celebrate, rest. I say rest, I’m at Cray Valley in the play-offs. I’m dual-registered with them so I’ll keep going for now, take it easy after that so hopefully I can have a double promotion in one season, how’s that? That will be absolutely brilliant.
“After that, I’ll spend a bit of time with the family and relax, it’s been a long hard season, asses a few options for whatever reason and just take it from there really.”