Managers on the brink

SOCCER: Two managers with precious little to show after many years of good service are looking to win their first silverware in this season's Metaltec SIL Omnico Cup.

By Elvin King

TWO managers with precious little to show after many years of good service are looking to win their first silverware in this season's Metaltec SIL Omnico Cup.

Trevor Wardlaw's Old Newton meet Stanton at Framlingham while Jimmy Marjoram's Ipswich Athletic take on Walsham-le-Willows in tomorrow's semi-finals.

Wardlaw had many years at Stowmarket Town, firstly with the reserves and then with the first XI in the Premier Division of the Jewson League.

"We reached the Suffolk Premier Cup final in 1997 but lost 1-0 to Newmarket Town in a replay after a 0-0 draw," said Wardlaw, who took over at Old Newton a couple of years ago.

"That is the closest I have come to winning anything.

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"My view is that there is more important things than winning cups. But if I had worked with budgets of clubs who finished in the top three of my leagues I would have had lifted several trophies by now.

"It is not difficult to win championships and cups when it is easy to attract players. The best ones mainly go where the money is. Honours are normally associated with money."

Wardlaw's Newton have not lost since mid-December, and since that time they have won every match apart from one draw. They will start favourites to beat a Stanton side who won this coveted trophy as a junior side in 1995.

Stanton have had a mixed season, beginning well but then suffering a succession of defeats. They then picked up again to become the second SIL form team behind Newton before losing to Bramford United last week.

"Having a good reputation is more important to me than having a cabinet full of silverware," added Wardlaw. "It will be nice for my players, and the club deserves some success.

"I am too long in the tooth to worry about winning things. Our matches against Stanton are normally very tight and fiercely competitive.

"We are on an exceptional roll and are confident we can reach the final. But if we lose we will probably be out celebrating later than if we win."

As usual Newton will travel by coach to their game – and typically Wardlaw has already arranged a number of stops on the way home.

"We always try and make a night of it if we can," he said. "The nice thing is that half a dozen old age pensioners will be on the trip. It is right that the whole club has a good time."

With keepers Steve Lambert and Simon Connick both unavailable, former Suffolk custodian Steve Wade steps in. He played in last Saturday's win over Ransomes and kept a clean sheet.

Ian Coxall is cup tied and Jason Cantwell and Arron Shave are injured. But otherwise Wardlaw has a full squad to select from.

Marjoram has been in charge of Athletic for eight years – and has come so close to cup success.

He guided his side to the final of the Suffolk Senior Cup last season before losing to Kirkley, and two years ago Athletic were 3-0 up against East Bergholt in the Omnico Cup semi before losing 5-3.

"That match was played at Grundisburgh as well," said Marjoram. "We are in good heart having knocked out holders Grundisburgh and we are playing well.

"Walsham are favourites to win the league and they will start favourites to beat us, but we are sure we can give them a run for their money.

"They will have one eye on the league as they have a number of games to make up on the leaders."

Athletic were beaten 5-3 at Walsham in a league game when they were missing six regulars. They are scheduled to meet them at home on the last Saturday of the season – when Walsham might need a win to take the title.

"This will add interest tomorrow," added Marjoram, who is without cup-tied 19-year-old Kosta Karantizis while Dane Harold is suspended because of a Sunday misdemeanour.

Otherwise he has a full squad to select from with striker Ismael Etti bound to be a threat to Walsham. In the league, Haughley can make up ground on both Grundisburgh and Walsham with a win at bottom club Ransomes.