Hadleigh facing financial woe

WIN, draw or lose, Hadleigh United's players will be rewarded for their efforts in Monday's game at home to Felixstowe and Walton United with their usual pint of lager.

By Elvin King

WIN, draw or lose, Hadleigh United's players will be rewarded for their efforts in Monday's game at home to Felixstowe and Walton United with their usual pint of lager.

Not that Scrooge is running the Ridgeons League First Division outfit, but it all that the club can afford.

And being unable to compete on a level playing field financially with other teams in the division will take the gloss off manager Dean Skinner's Christmas.

“To be honest we are all feeling a bit sorry for ourselves at the moment,” said Skinner. “We are down in the doldrums.

“Felixstowe, like all our opponents, are in a different position and can afford to bring in players. They have recently acquired Gavin Crane and Glenn Snell and have five excellent strikers on their books.

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“With Robert Ford and Jason Curtis long term injury victims I have to bring in Martin Lindon, who is assistant reserve team manager, to fill-in up front for me at the moment.”

Hadleigh are two points ahead of bottom-placed Thetford Town, and they have won only three times in 21 matches in the league as well as going out of all five cup competitions at the first hurdle.

Skinner, a former Hadleigh player, managed the reserve team before taking over from Paul Tietjen last summer. He is Hadleigh through and through, and looks ahead to better times.

“But this might not be for a few seasons yet,” he said. “All the money the club raises is going towards improving our facilities. At the moment our clubhouse is just about liveable.

“My players do not even receive petrol money for attending training or playing games - and the only reward they get is a pint of lager.

“My only way of increasing my squad is by bringing in players from the Metaltec SIL - like Dean and Sean Dale from Brantham - and hoping they can progress.

“We brought in Marlon North from Lawford, he scored five goals in no time - and was then signed by Stanway Rovers who could offer him more than a pint of lager.

“I do the National Lottery twice a week, and look upon this as the best bet for the club to introduce a budget.

“As things stand we face the prospect of playing in the Metaltec SIL in 2006/07 if there is relegation from the Ridgeons League.

“It is all so frustrating as I want to give the club something back for the all the good times I have enjoyed at Millfield.”

Hadleigh have received grants and planning permission to erect new toilets and this will be the next phase of their ground improvements, with a refurbished clubhouse also high on the agenda.

The club has to watch every penny after overstretching themselves financially in the mid-nineties when they reached the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League and enjoyed one of the proudest moments in the club's history when they reached the last 16 of the FA Vase in 1994/95 before losing 4-1 away to Metropolitan Police.

Louis Newman took over the managerial reins soon afterwards and steered the club through some difficult times - doing remarkably well to win the Suffolk Senior Cup in 2003/04.

Skinner added: “It can be tough, but I have my fingers crossed the money situation will improve in a couple of years or so.

“This is better than running the second team, but it will need plenty of hard work to avoid a bottom two finish.

“If we go a goal down we are unable to get back into matches because we have a lack of confidence.

“But what I can guarantee Hadleigh officials and supporters is that my players will give 110 per centevery game.”

Hadleigh's Bank Holiday game starts at 11am, and there are two derbies in the Premier Division on Monday with leaders Needham Market at home to Ipswich Wanderers (noon) and Leiston versus Woodbridge Town (11am).

There are also Ridgeons League games on Tuesday, with those who fancy taking some air in the afternoon having Debenham Leisure Centre versus fellow newcomers Fulbourn Institute to watch (1.30pm).

The home team, who will have their floodlights erected by April, do not expect to have former Norwich City and Rotherham player Glynn Roberts fit to return.

On Wednesday, the holiday season action continues with Stowmarket Town looking to complete a quick-fire double over Whitton United when they meet in the First Division at Greens Meadow (7.45pm). Stowmarket beat their Ipswich-based opponents 4-2 in the Division One Cup on Tuesday.

There are no Metaltec SIL fixtures between now and the third round of the Omnico Cup on December 31.

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