Hadleigh hit the right notes
SOCCER: They say that the best things in life are free. And Hadleigh United are certainly enjoying proving that theory correct.Manager Louis Newman and his first team squad buck the trend in Jewson League football – they receive no payment.
By Elvin King
THEY say that the best things in life are free. And Hadleigh United are certainly enjoying proving that theory correct.
Manager Louis Newman and his first team squad buck the trend in Jewson League football – they receive no payment.
Yet they have won all four First Division matches this season, and go into tomorrow's home encounter with another side with a 100 per cent record confident of extending their run.
Newman has been in charge for six years at a club that caught a financial cold winging its way to the last 16 of the FA Vase and into the Premier Division in the early 1990s.
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By necessity the financial belt has been tightened since, but Newman has still slowly but surely won a battle to improve results on the park.
"The players are now fulfilling their potential," said Newman, whose team can expect to be cheered on by a big crowd at Millfield tomorrow.
"For the first time I have a big squad with 18 to select from. If the players do not perform and work hard they will not get a shirt. They have not been under this pressure before.
"Every player has worked his socks off and we deserve to be where we are. I had high hopes last season, but was slapped in the face when we had a disappointing time.
"I have always had belief, and long may this success continue. My players are good enough to compete with any other team in the First Division. We do not fear anybody and as long as I can lead them along we can fulfil our huge potential."
Chris Smith and Archie Arnold are two players who are benefiting from a full pre-season training, while goalkeeper Wayne Donovan has returned after 12 months out with a combination of knee trouble and studies.
He is joined at Millfield by his brothers Miles and Kieron. Newman expects to have a full squad to select from tomorrow, although former Ipswich Town apprentice Peter Grant has been carrying a knock.
"There are no brown envelopes to be seen in our dressing room after games," said Newman. "We do have a players' fund and this is distributed at the end of the season to those who are still with us.
"But much of the money comes from the players themselves as they participate fully in the after-match draw we hold to feed the fund.
"No names, but I have had players telephone and ask to sign for us this month. And they are currently with clubs who pay out around £30 a match.
"It shows that money is not everything although there are plenty of mercenary players around. Thankfully we do not have any of them."
Off the field, Hadleigh have just received a cash bonanza with the provision of grants that will enable them substantially improve the clubhouse.
Hadleigh have contributed some of the money themselves, and planning permission has been obtained. Building work should begin soon.
With second-placed Essex Senior League side Southend Manor in the FA Vase next week and fancied Kirkley to play in the Suffolk Senior Cup, Hadleigh have not been presented with easy cup draws. "We are in a position where we look forward to these games," added Newman.
Also in the First Division, Felixstowe and Walton United travel to Downham with hopes high that their efforts to get an extended lease at Dellwood Avenue will bear fruit before too long.
Needham Market are at Suffolk Senior Cup winners Haverhill Rovers, while Whitton, who regularly have former mayor of Ipswich Don Edwards manning their King George V turnstile, are at Thetford.
Stowmarket Town will want to put their midweek defeat at Clacton behind them when they play at Ely and Woodbridge Town will be looking to build on a good draw at Dereham last Saturday when they entertain Lowestoft.
Wanderers won at Harwich on Tuesday and will be in good heart for a tough game at Histon Reserves.