Hubbick: We must show heart
SOCCER: Dave Hubbick knows what Woodbridge Town will need plenty of this season – heart.The boss of the Jewson League Premier Division side has never been shy to let his players know his feelings.
By Elvin King
DAVE Hubbick knows what Woodbridge Town will need plenty of this season – heart.
The boss of the Jewson League Premier Division side has never been shy to let his players know his feelings.
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His voice could sometimes be heard in Woodbridge town centre – when his team was playing away!
And when Hubbick strode to the touchline to issue yet another command, with his team 5-0 down against a youthful Bury Town on Tuesday night, his sign language told it all.
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Hubbick, manager for over five years of a mainly successful Town side, puffed out his chest and thumped his heart.
"Come on," he was bellowing. "If we cannot match the opposition for skill, we can still show heart."
After enjoying a number of excellent runs in the FA Carlsberg Vase, and winning the Jewson League Cup in 1998, Woodbridge have been the most admired club in this immediate area.
Always capable of beating the best, Town were one of the five or six teams who could win the Premier Division in each of Hubbick's previous seasons.
So why has the picture changed so dramatically? Why have players who are likely to struggle to control even the most ordinary Premier Division striker replaced quality central defenders like Ian Williams and Sean Bell?
On the face of it little has changed at Notcutt's Park. Sponsors are still in place and the club's envied programme is still full of advertising.
But it does not take a genius to work out that Hubbick's budget must have dropped considerably. In a league where the 'haves' will always win honours over the 'havenots', Woodbridge have now turned into the latter.
Felixstowe and Walton United have now gone from decent non-league football, while Ipswich Wanderers will do well in their circumstances to finish half-way in the Premier.
It looks as though it will be left to Stowmarket Town to provide some hope for this area, although to finish in the top six again will be a remarkable achievement for Mel Aldis' side.
Whether Woodbridge Town are now paying a heavy price for bad husbandry over the last few years is debatable, but whatever the reason Hubbick has been left with a bunch of talented and willing kids, bolstered by a few old heads.
The likes of Carl David, Dean Garnham, Craig Oldfield and Steve Dearsley will have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders each game.
To show the scale of Woodbridge's current situation, players who have left Notcutt's Park since the end of last season are: Sean Bell, Andy Coote, Simon Gray, Simon Head, Damian Gilbert, Mark Burgess and Ian Williams. Danny Cattermole, Mark Bailey and Aren Howell were all expected to sign but then moved elsewhere.
Players will always go where the money is, and you cannot really blame them. And you can not blame Woodbridge for refusing to stretch themselves financially, after reducing their budget last season.
It is such a shame no club in the Ipswich area is now able to attract the income necessary to provide serious opposition for the top sides.
Hubbick, appointed in 1997, will ensure that Woodbridge remain as competitive as they can be. But it will take plenty of heart.