Departing player-boss Marc Abbott has left good foundations in place at Haverhill Rovers, says chairman Ali Shulver
Haverhill Rovers chairman Ali Shulver says departing player-boss Marc Abbott has left good foundations in place at the club, writes Alex Moss.
The 32-year-old announced on Tuesday night that he had agreed to take over as manager at higher-league St Neots Town, the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central club who are two rungs higher than Rovers on the non-league ladder.
The move brings an end to the Haverhill stalwart’s lengthy association with the club, which saw him make more than 350 appearances for the first team and help guide Rovers to promotion back to the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division in 2006/07.
Abbott was appointed player-manager back in November 2017 and leaves the club in 11th place in the Premier Division table, and on course for their highest finish in five years.
“Obviously we were disappointed when we heard the news but we’re thinking as positively as we can,” Shulver said. “We’ve been respectful to Marc while he’s been making his decision and Marc has been respectful to the club as well.
“Ultimately, we wish him all the best and he leaves on good terms.
“Marc has left really good foundations in place at Haverhill Rovers and we move on as a club.
“Marc’s been here as a player for a good number of years and had his ups and downs and been through different managers.
“He’s a Haverhill lad and he wasn’t just first-team manager, I saw him as club manager. Marc’s bought into what we’re trying to do here right from the top all the way to the bottom.”
Abbott caught the town’s imagination earlier this season with Rovers’ run to the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup, and he was also involved in the club’s best-ever run in the famous cup competition, when they lost to Aldershot Town in the fourth qualifying round, in front of a record crowd of 1,730 at the old Hamlet Croft.
In a statement on Twitter, Abbott wrote: “Having been involved within the football club at Haverhill Rovers for the past 14 years, and the connection that has been built within my time here, meant that the decision has been one of the toughest I have ever experienced since my time in football.
“I would like to thank everyone connected at HRFC for all the support given to me not only as a player but having the trust in myself to take on a responsibility of making Haverhill Rovers FC a better place from the top.
“I am proud that I have repaid that faith and will be leaving the club in a fantastic shape on and off the pitch with the club doing some excellent work in the background.”
Rovers, who saw last weekend’s game with Woodbridge Town postponed, visit FC Clacton this Saturday (3pm), with Shulver confirming Abbott’s replacement is not expected to be announced until after the weekend.
“Nothing is set in stone but I’ve got a meeting with Marc later today (yesterday) to identify what we can do in the short term,” Shulver said.
“We’ve got enough coaches at the club to get through on Saturday, and we’re lucky that the reserves have no fixture, so there’s just one senior game to focus on.
“We’ve drawn up a list of potential options already, so we’ll get through the weekend and then be in a better position by then.”