Stockwell can be proud of achievements

MICK Stockwell can be justly proud of his achievements with Woodbridge Town.After 15 years as an Ipswich Town player who appeared in more than 600 games for the Blues, the gritty utility player then went on to serve Colchester United with equal distinction.

By Elvin King

MICK Stockwell can be justly proud of his achievements with Woodbridge Town.

After 15 years as an Ipswich Town player who appeared in more than 600 games for the Blues, the gritty utility player then went on to serve Colchester United with equal distinction.

While there, he played


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nearly 150 matches for the Layer Road club - and the 42-year-old Chelmsford-born kitchen fitter is still making a name for himself in the game.

Since joining Ridgeons League Premier Division side Woodbridge, Stockwell is proving himself a more than capable manager.

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Despite having little money with which to work, he has produced a young team - with the help of the Copleston Sports College SETEC scheme - that is more than holding its own.

They are in ninth place with recent away wins at Kirkley and Clacton and a 2-2 draw last Saturday with high-fliers Leiston.

Originally a player when he first joined the Woodpeckers, Stockwell has answered critics who felt his inexperienced side would struggle to survive at their current level.

“We are not a rich club, but we have managed to get some of our youngsters on contracts and this bodes well for the future,” said Stockwell.

“There are few more we would like to get on contracts and that is something we are working towards.”

Joe Francis has made a name for himself this season earning an extended trial with Ipswich Town and impressing Blues' boss Jim Magilton.

“I did not take Joe on, but I feel he is good enough to make a living in the game,” said Magilton.

Francis has scored a total of 26 goals this season with Allicion Blake on 23 and Paul Berry on 17.

These three, who all have good footballing futures ahead of them, have netted the bulk of the goals with the next highest scorer, Jon Bickers, on four.

“Joe is a fine player and is more than capable of playing much higher,” Stockwell said.

“Our academy system is working well, we have good coaches and there are plenty of good youngsters coming through who could rival Joe.”

Three years ago, Wood-bridge needed a result against Newmarket Town on the final day of the season to avoid relegation - and under Stockwell's guidance they have come a long way since then.

“Between now and the end of the season we have a lot of the top teams to play, so we will take it steady, but it has been a good year,” said Stockwell.

Woodbridge are at home to Wisbech Town tomorrow, while third-placed Needham Market are also at home against Norwich United.

Ipswich Wanderers appear to have recovered well after losing three squad players in quick succession and they will start favourites to beat Soham at Humber Doucy Lane.

Felixstowe and Walton United have struggled to

contain teams at times after promotion last season and Steve Potts' side face a stiff task at Lowestoft.

In the First Division, leaders Walsham-le-Willows visit a Hadleigh side that have done exceptionally well but now appears to be on the slide.

Paul Smith's Walsham know they cannot afford any slip-ups with a strong chasing pack close behind.

Debenham Leisure Centre are in the promotion race and they travel to Chris Symes' Cornard.

Whitton United are motoring at present and can't be ruled out of a top-three finish if they continue to collect wins, but Ronnie Mauge's side cannot afford to slip-up at second-placed Swaffham.

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