Marj still going strong

THE lifespan of a manager in the Senior Division of the Metaltec SIL may be longer than the average 15 months in the Coca-Cola Championship, but it is still a pretty precarious occupation.

By Elvin King

THE lifespan of a manager in the Senior Division of the Metaltec SIL may be longer than the average 15 months in the Coca-Cola Championship, but it is still a pretty precarious occupation.

This makes Jimmy Marjoram's 12 years in charge at Ipswich Athletic a remarkable achievement.

The 48-year-old admits to wanting to let go of the reins.

“I have been looking to hand over for a while now,” said Marjoram, who is surrounded by his family at Bourne Vale Social Club-based Athletic.

“But I am not going to jack it in without having the right person to pass on to.

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“I thought I might have had that in Peter Gorham, but he recently moved to Ransomes to become first team manager.”

Marjoram now has Dale Fellingham as his right-hand man, and is hoping that the former assistant to Steve Potts at Grundisburgh will turn out to be his successor.

“Dale knows players, and after many years in this job you exhaust yourself when it comes to finding new players.

“It needs a freshen up, and Dale can do that.”

When he does call it a day Marjoram says that he will stay involved with Athletic, a club he first joined when they were called Smock as a busy midfielder when he was 21.

He ran the reserves for six years before taking over the senior side and leading them into the top flight.

“Previous managers Derek Henry, then the Chunky Howell and Paul Ambrose partnership and Tony Lees, who I assisted before replacing, had been unable to get the team promoted from Division One.

“I stuck to the players I used in the reserves and they were good enough to mature into senior players.”

Athletic have enjoyed some good times in the top flight, but this season they are currently in the bottom two.

Marjoram has no fears, however. He added: “I am confident we will come good and finish in the top half.”

Having three points deducted for fielding an ineligible player against East Bergholt on August 19 has not helped their cause.

Athletic is a true family club with Marjoram's sons, Scott and Leon, playing, along with son-in-law Mark Howard and nephew James Keeble.

His daughter Amy Howard is secretary and his brother-in-law David Keeble chairman.

Sisters Rowena Marjoram and Colleen Keeble are committee members, while wife Julie helps out and mother-in-law Miriam Miller washes the kit and used to make the tea.

With such a strong family base his reluctance to hand over casually is understandable.

Pat Tynan, with five years service at Capel Plough, is believed to be the next longest-serving Senior Division manager.

“I am proud to have led Athletic to senior football and to have reached the Suffolk Senior Cup final in 2001 when we lost 3-1 to Kirkley at Portman Road,” said Marjoram.

“We play Ransomes in the next round of the Senior Cup, and it would be a dream to lead the team out at Portman Road one more time before standing down.”

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