Hadleigh not ready

HADLEIGH United are in the top six of the Ridgeons League First Division, but they are not looking to gain promotion this season.So says joint manager Steve Jay, who joined forces with Dean Skinner to run the Millfield-based club's first team last summer.

By Elvin King

HADLEIGH United are in the top six of the Ridgeons League First Division, but they are not looking to gain promotion this season.

So says joint manager Steve Jay, who joined forces with Dean Skinner to run the Millfield-based club's first team last summer.

“We are not ready to go up as a club, or as a team,” said Jay.


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“We will take what comes this season and enjoy the good times that come our way.”

Despite their players still playing for pints rather than pounds, Hadleigh have turned things round after a number of seasons at the wrong end of the First Division table.

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After overspending when playing in the Premier Division and reaching the last 16 of the FA Vase in 1995, Hadleigh still have to be careful with their pennies.

Their players receive a brown envelope the same as most others in the Ridgeons League, but instead of containing a bunch of fivers it contains a voucher for one free pint behind the bar.

Just three defeats in 19 league games have seen Hadleigh rise from the ashes, with a 1-0 win at seventh-placed Tiptree on Boxing Day another excellent Hadleigh result.

Jay puts the credit down to his players.

“We have a terrific team spirit, and this is giving us an advantage,” he said. “Our original target was to finish around half-way, but once we moved up into the top six we changed our thinking.

“We now want to stay where we are, but in truth we are not ready to move up yet.”

Pat Fleming has proved a good signing from Needham Market and bolstered midfield, while Ross Challis has arrived from Kirkley.

“We have one or two other irons in the fire,” said Jay, who expects Walsham-le-Willows and Debenham Leisure Centre to feature in the top three promotion positions with Tiptree dark horses.

The postponement of last Saturday's Ryman League match between AFC Sudbury and Wivenhoe provided a surprise cash windfall for Hadleigh.

The lack of action at Kings Marsh meant a large number of Sudbury fans made their way to the Millfield for the Ridgeons League reserve game between the second strings of Hadleigh and AFC.

The fixture attracted a crowd of 107, which was three times larger than normal.

However, the decision to play in torrential rain took its toll on the pitch forcing Tuesday's Ridgeons League, Division One match between Hadleigh and Walsham to be postponed.

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