After nine seasons as an almost ever-present in Haverhill Rovers’ midfield, Marc Abbott is moving on to pastures new.
The 29-year-old joined Rovers from Newmarket Town in the summer of 2006 and quickly established himself as a first-choice player, going on to play 256 league matches, in which he found the net 29 times (records in other competitions were not available at the time the Echo went to print).
Abbott said the time has come to seek out a new challenge — one that could take him to Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division newcomers, Saffron Walden Town and a reunion with his former Rovers’ team-mate, Stuart Wardley.
“I just wanted to freshen things up really. Freshen myself up and have a new challenge,” he explained.
“I have met with (manager) Stuart Wardley and had a chat with him and he’s a great guy and he has played at a very good level and done really well with Saffron Walden.
“There’s no decision yet, but I will be making a decision very shortly.”
Abbott’s nadir at Rovers came during the 2011/12 season, when he broke his right leg at Wisbech Town on September 13.
The stand-out highs, he said, arrived during the 2006/07 season when Rovers produced their remarkable FA Cup run and won promotion.
As a Ridgeons (now Thurlow Nunn) League First Division side, they knocked out five higher ranked teams, including Conference South team Eastbourne Borough.
The run ended just one round before the FA Cup main draw with a 4-0 home defeat to Conference outfit Aldershot Town in front of 1,730 people at Hamlet Croft — a record attendance.
Abbott said: “I had lots of good times. The FA Cup run we went on in that first year I was there; that will never be beaten.
“The atmosphere around Haverhill was incredible and we got promoted that year as well with a good squad.”
In the last few seasons Abbott has also taken on coaching duties with Rovers’ youth section, helping out with the Saturday Soccer School and the Sunday Mini Kickers, roles he wants to continue.
He leaves Rovers with nothing but glowing words of praise for the club and those he has worked with, both on and off the pitch.
He said: “I would like to thank Haverhill Rovers for a great nine seasons and the people at the club, for example Jules Ankers (club secretary), Peter Betts and Dan Pilcher, especially Jules, who does loads of things behind the scenes.”
nHaverhill Rovers are set to hold their youth section Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Sunday at The New Croft with a 6pm start. The senior section AGM has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 17, also at the club’s ground, with a 7pm start.