Colchester United legend and departing Needham Market captain Kem Izzet will be gracing the Thurlow Nunn League next season after he was announced as Stanway Rovers’ new manager today (May 11).
The Bury Free Press was first to reveal the 36-year-old was set to leave Needham after four years at the end of the current season.
His swansong was Monday's 3-2 Suffolk FA Premier Cup final victory over Lowesotft Town at Colchester United's Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Izzet was previously a manager of Needham's Brantham Academy site, but it was decided he would not be given the chance to carry on that work this season, instead moving back into a player-only role.
It will mark the first managerial job of the 36-year-old's career, which saw him make 420 playing appearances for Colchester between 2001-2013 and more than 100 for Ryman League Needham Market.
Izzet will link up with former Colchester United team-mate Karl Duguid at Essex side Stanway, who had taken over as caretaker manager during the course of the season, and has now been named as the former Needham man's assistant.
The midfield maestro led the Marketmen to only their second Suffolk FA Premier Cup triumph — the county’s top level cup competition — in the club’s history at his former long-term employers’ ground on Monday evening.
In what was also boss Mark Morsley’s last game of his managerial career — with the Needham chief, who still refuses to speak to the Bury Free Press, set to assume a football-matters only chairman role with current assistant Richard Wilkins taking over his post — the Marketmen prevented Lowestoft etching their name on the trophy for the fourth straight year with a 3-2 victory.
Asked if he would carry on playing when interviewed on the pitch on Monday, he responded: “Yes, something will be announced this week. I can’t really say at the moment, but something is in the pipeline.”
Reflecting on his time at Needham, he continued: “It’s nice to finish with a win because our end to the season wasn’t great.
“But it is another game and we have won a cup, so it is good and it has been a good four years.
“We were a bit sloppy in our defensive play, especially with the two goals we gave away, but I thought we controlled the second half.
“In the first half we looked like we hadn’t played in two weeks.
“But we grew into it and the second half was quite comfortable.”
Having been part of the side that took the Marketmen to their highest-ever level, with promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division — just three levels from the Football League — as champions of Division One North in 2014/15, he added: “It has been a good four years and I have enjoyed every minute of it.”