Long-term planning is the key to success

WOODBRIDGE Town look poised to build on their highly satisfactory Ridgeons League Premier Division season.And the Notcutt's Park-based club should feel pleased with the way affairs are being run.

By Elvin King

WOODBRIDGE Town look poised to build on their highly satisfactory Ridgeons League Premier Division season.

And the Notcutt's Park-based club should feel pleased with the way affairs are being run.

Instead of the hit and miss 'throw money at players' approach of many, Woodbridge are building for long-term success and security.


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Thirteen players from their

section-winning Under-18 side have appeared in manager Mick Stockwell's first team this term.

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“Winning the central division of the Ridgeons Youth League has merely been the icing on the cake,” says Under-18 manager Sean Thacker.

“I get most satisfaction seeing the youths doing well in the first team.

“Nothing has yet beat watching schoolboy Luke Read grab a last minute equaliser at Ipswich Wanderers this season.”

Woodbridge have an important link with the SETEC programme that is developing a succession of talented players at Copleston Sports College, Ipswich.

“The new batch joining the scheme next September is arguably better than the one that was taken on last autumn,” added Thacker, who has been heading the SETEC scheme since December 2005.

“My main objective has been to supply the club's two senior teams with young players of quality,

potential and enthusiasm.

“And also integrating our better Under-16's into the youth team at an early stage in order to prepare them for SETEC and Woodbridge Town football.”

In 18 Youth League games a total of 46 players have been used, of which Tom Ross, Arran Sheppard, Ross Beech, Grant Monaghan, Tom Fryatt, Kye Hunter, Ben Garnham, Matt Oxbrow, Luke Read, Ben Seaman, Dale Munson, Liam Hillyard and Jon Davies have all played in the Woodbridge Town first team.

And 17 schoolboys (Under-16) have featured in the Woodbridge Under-18 side as they seek a place on the two-year SETEC scheme.

Stockwell has been a regular spectator at Under-18 matches running his eye over the lads on show.

He has never been afraid to pack his Premier Division side with youngsters, with strikers Joe Francis, Allicion Blake and Paul Berry gaining most goals and most plaudits.

Reserve coach Glenn Read and youth coaches Andy Lawrence and John Beecroft are playing their part to the full, with Thacker adding: “Our Under-14's are recognised as the most talented group of youngsters Woodbridge Town have had for years.

“I am sure exciting and promising times lie ahead.”

Woodbridge Under-18's are due to visit Buntingford in a one-off Ridgeons Youth League semi-final play-off next week.

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