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Age no barrier for new Haverhill Rovers boss James Bloomfield

James Bloomfield is well aware that his tender age will have raised a few eyebrows, but he believes that it will be no barrier in his bid to be a successful Haverhill Rovers manager.

It was revealed on Tuesday that the 26-year-old had stepped up from his role of assistant to replace outgoing boss Fergus O’Callaghan, who parted company with the club by mutual consent after he had expressed a desire to discuss the managerial vacancy at Walsham-le-Willows.

There will be few younger managers in the country than Bloomfield, yet having spent the last four months as part of the coaching set-up at The New Croft, he feels ready to make the step up.

Football - Suffolk Premier Cup - Haverhill Rovers 1-4 Needham Market. Pictured - (L to R) Ali Shulver & James BloomfieldPicture - Paul Tebbutt. (18898421)
Football - Suffolk Premier Cup - Haverhill Rovers 1-4 Needham Market. Pictured - (L to R) Ali Shulver & James BloomfieldPicture - Paul Tebbutt. (18898421)

“I know I am ready. I have managed previously, even at senior level, but I accept coming in at Step 5 at my age is a surprise,” said Bloomfield, whose first game in charge ended in a 4-1 defeat at the hands of higher-league Needham Market on Tuesday (report on page 47).

“People can ask questions but having been here since the start of the summer, a lot of people have watched what I have done in terms of coaching and recruitment.

“I think the players may have been questioned in terms of their opinion as well and that hopefully shows the belief is there.

“The belief is key – if you have that from the dressing room and from the people above you, it does not matter about age. It was an opportunity I could not really turn down and now feels like the right time.

“As an assistant you are not totally in control and are not totally to blame, but I would rather have that type of responsibility.

“I want to be making the tough decisions and putting my neck on the line. I will take responsibility when we lose games but also know that I have been a part of us being successful, which I think we will be.”

As well as dealing with all the things that come with being a non-league manager, Bloomfield will also have to negotiate his way through the transition from being an assistant to the top job.

The role of a number two is traditionally seen as a go-between where the players and manager are concerned.

However, Bloomfield is not planning on changing his demeanour too much and is looking to implement an open door policy.

“The transition will only work if everyone around me is doing the correct jobs,” added Bloomfield, who will take his side to Newmarket Town on Saturday (3pm).

“The players know where the line is, they always have done.

“I do not need to change the way I was too much. I want them to question me and to talk to me.

“I am fine with them questioning me – that is probably where I am different to more old school managers who do not want that. That is not me – part of the way I coach is about having an open dialogue. That is how I coach – I want to be approachable.

“I am probably going to have players that are older than me and they will have played the game a long time. They will have really valued opinions that you need to take note of going forward.

“It will never be a friendship or anything like that but they can turn to me.”

Bloomfield is in the process of appointing an assistant, with Ali Shulver, who stepped down as chairman last week, lending support in the dugout in the meantime.

Former professional forward Leroy Lita will assume the first-team coach position, while Ian Ford has taken over as chairman.

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