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Haverhill Rovers player-manager Marc Abbott keen to see attendances continue rising




Attendances are on the up at Haverhill Rovers – and once football is able to get back under way in front of a crowd, player-manager Marc Abbott is keen to continue that upward trajectory.

During the curtailed 2019/20 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign, only four clubs could better Rovers’ average gate of 151 – an increase of almost 20 people on the previous campaign.

Haverhill’s tally is particularly impressive when considering the other sides in the top four – Stowmarket Town, Newmarket Town, Woodbridge Town and Mildenhall – all occupied positions within the top eight of the table.

FOOTBALL - Haverhill Rovers (H) v Long Melford (L) in the FA Cup..Pictured: Crowds at the New Croft....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... .. (34532831)
FOOTBALL - Haverhill Rovers (H) v Long Melford (L) in the FA Cup..Pictured: Crowds at the New Croft....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... .. (34532831)

Rovers, in contrast, were down in 14th following a largely inconsistent campaign that had seen Fergus O’Callaghan and James Bloomfield both take charge of the side before home favourite Abbott returned from St Neots Town in December.

The crowds have been particularly eye catching since Abbott came back to the club, and he is now targeting a move towards the 200-mark during the coming campaigns.

“When you factor in we didn’t win as many games as the rest of the teams in that top five, that shows the size of the club,” said the midfielder.

FOOTBALL - Haverhill Rovers v Walsham Le Willows...Pictured: Marc Abbott (H)...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (34640197)
FOOTBALL - Haverhill Rovers v Walsham Le Willows...Pictured: Marc Abbott (H)...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (34640197)

“We also have a lot of teams around us. The likes of Cambridge United and Ipswich Town, but then also AFC Sudbury and Bury Town at a higher level.

“The crowds have been good but we want to break 200, and I think that is achievable in the long term.

“We will put some initiatives in place, like we already have with getting our youth-team players into first-team games. It is crucial we have that link.

“We have also got back some of the local players. The likes of Ben Bradley and Luke Haines – these are popular faces, likeable characters around the town but also, importantly, good footballers.

“It is a good average, but now we have to build on that.”

While Rovers intend to roll out their plans once the health crisis eases, Abbott is also fully aware that results on the pitch will be a big determining factor on the size of The New Croft crowds.

“The initiatives will help boost numbers, but football is all about winning games,” he added.

“I was part of the great FA Cup run we had, and the season before I left for St Neots we also had a decent run. It created a brilliant atmosphere. You obviously cannot guarantee a cup run every season, but if you are winning important games, crowds will come. That is our challenge as a squad.”


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