Dream start for new chief

PERFECT START: New player-manager Marc Abbott (Picture: Mark Westley)
PERFECT START: New player-manager Marc Abbott (Picture: Mark Westley)

Haverhill Rovers’ new player-manager Marc Abbott has hailed his team’s 1-0 victory over Haverhill Borough on Friday as the ‘perfect start’ to his senior managerial career.

The 31-year-old was named as the replacement to Ben Cowling last week — just 48 hours before the much-anticipated Haverhill derby and hours after the club announced it had parted ways with Cowling.

But the lack of preparation time for the new boss did not prevent the Reds from recording their first ever triumph over their New Croft neighbours in a league fixture.

Abbott said: “Nothing tops a victory in a derby for a first game in charge.

“I thought we were dominant from the start and really earned the win.

“I didn’t feel any pressure as the new manager though — the club made it clear they were aware it was not ideal to be taking over mid-season. And the derby is a big game to take on as your first.

“But, of course, it also makes the win that much more exciting and gets Rovers off to a great new start.

“It’s ended up as the perfect way to kick-start my time as manager of a club as big as Rovers.

“I was delighted to be asked by the club to take on a player-manager role and be given the opportunity to manage a team of the quality and standard of Haverhill Rovers.”

The midfielder returned to the club last year to play for the first-team, but to also join the coaching set-up.

He returned after a spell at Saffron Walden Town, as well as previous stints at Newmarket Town and Cambridge City. He has primarily coached the U18s and takes on his first role as manager of a senior football club — particularly one ‘as big as Rovers’.

He said: “Longer term, I’m aiming to boost the relationship between the youth squads and the senior team.

“With Jemel (Fox) coming in for the U18s I think we can work together well and boost the opportunities for the younger players.

“It will take time, we’re looking at a longer strategy but also a whole change to the philosophy of the club. I’m building a great coaching team behind me as we look to install a new system at the club.”

He has today announced that he will be joined in the dugout by Paul Miles as assistant manager, a former player at Haverhill, Mildenhall and Newmarket, and Dario Seminerio from Cambridge United as first-team head coach.

Abbott said: “Paul currently coaches within our fantastic youth set-up and is looking to develop himself and add to the players’ knowledge. He’s a great addition to the squad.

“Dario prides himself on work ethic, is tactically very knowledgeable and will draw out finer details in the squad. He’s very professional in all things on and off the pitch.

“Overall, we have a fantastic mix of coaches who, I’m positive, will have a very influential role at the club.”