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New 1st Team Coach

Written by Mark Morsley on .

I am pleased to announce that Arron Hall has agreed to join the Needham Market FC Management Team as Coach following a successful application. Arron works at the Ipswich Town Academy as well as being a Coach with Anglia Sports Management (ASM). I was pleasantly surprised by the number of applicants for the post and the quality of all those who submitted their CV's. However the ambition and enthusiasm shown convinced me that Arron was right for our club.

Welcome to to the Marketmen Arron!!

I always felt that it could be a rollercoaster ride!!!

Written by Mark Morsley on .

At the end of my last Musings I stated that we had hit rock bottom and had to start again, that first step was in the game against Harrow Borough. The start of some changes saw my ‘surrogate son’ Michael Brothers re-join the team (my thanks goes to Skins and Brantham Ath for helping with this) plus young Will Crisell was called back from his loan and both started.

Bruvs getting ready for the Lewes Defence!!

6th Place Harrow Borough would be a tough game but we were initially looking for a positive reaction to the FA Cup defeat and a performance that would show some signs of being good enough for this division. Well the 4-2 defeat did not really tell the whole story but the biggest plus was that we looked like a team that could compete and build some momentum.

This was shown in how we came back from being 3-0 down to score two excellent goals from Kem and News which pushed Borough onto the back foot. At 3-2 the game could have gone either way and as it transpired it didn’t go our way but a very much different post match team talk was given by the staff. Changes were afoot!!

Next up were Heybridge Swifts in the League Cup, Custodian Shaun Phillips was off to Maldon & Tiptree (replaced by James Bradbrooke who had an excellent game) and in the line up was new signing from Biggleswade Town Jay Davies (again my thanks got to Chris Nunn the Waders’ Manager who acted in the right way, a lesson many clubs could learn from. Chris is a top man, he has worked wonders at the Carlsberg Stadium and he deserves all the plaudits he gets).

The Swifts have also had a tough start to their season but they had a real go up until Bruvs opened his account with a cross cum shot that went into the top corner. From then on the result wasn’t in much doubt with Jay’s debut goal the highlight of the 5-0 victory, it was a 30 yard screamer!!

Jay Davies

A League Cup victory was welcome but we need points and a challenging visit to Burgess Hill was next on the horizon. For this game a well known figure came into our building that being Danny Gay to take over the No 1 shirt. Danny was a part of the Needham team that won the then Ridgeons Premier Division and bring a wealth of experience as well as no shortage of ‘one liners’!!

The game against the Hillians started evenly until Bruvs put us ahead midway through the first half, unfortunately an equaliser soon came but we were in the game and that was better than it had been for a while. Our hosts put us under pressure and probably deservedly went into the lead but what followed gave the staff and supporters great heart. That was a real onslaught of our own and Adam Mills’ fine header gave us a deserved point.

Next up was the other team promoted from Division One North last season that being Brentwood. A much changed team and management greeted us and midway through the half we were poor at a corner allowing a free header to put us behind. There was worse to come when we lost Jay Davies (knee) to a very poor challenge and Will Crisell (hip) so at half time we had to make some changes.

However that steely determination we are developing came to the fore and we battered the Blues but we just could not find that goal. Although as it happened we did!?! We had an own goal disallowed by the referee which summed up his performance which was one of the worse I have ever encountered. It wasn’t why we lost because he was poor for both teams but then again maybe it was!!

The Brentwood keeper collided with his defender who nodded the ball into his own net with not Needham player even close but he somehow made a decision that it was a foul!! Bizarre! If that had stood we would have gone on and won the game of that I am certain. The standard of officials this season has been exceptional but the man in black for this game was totally out of his depth.

Disappointed but not broken we looked forward to Saturdays visit of Lewes, a team also struggling. I always felt we would win this game, it was our 13th match and my birthday!! Kieran Morphew was fully fit but Danny Smith replaced the injured Sam Newson, he would have a decent game showing all the potential we know he has. The star of the show however was Bruvs, he gave the Lewes defence hell, scored the goal, led the line and left the building with the Champagne!! It was 1-0 and could have been more although we were pleased with the Danny Gay safe hands in the dying minutes when he plucked a dangerous corner out of the air.

So with a win on the board we now need to build on this and tomorrow we have a tough game at Met Police to really test this new resolve.

At this stage I really want to pay tribute to our supporters, some off whom I have criticised in recent weeks. However, in line with the positive signs in the team the vocal support has increased to the extent where the backing we got against Lewes was as good as I ever known it. This gives us all a great lift especially the players who will always benefit from a loud boisterous crowd.

At the end of the day dropping so many points as we did tells us that we have just not been good enough. We have lacked experience and numbers so in addition to Messrs Brothers, Crisell, Davies and Gay I have made 3 additional signings this week.

Ian 'Dusty' Miller

Ian Miller is a player well known to the Suffolk folk after achieving a move from Bury to Ipswich Town some years ago. From then has had a fine professional career with Boston United, Darlington, Grimsby Town and Cambridge United making over 250 appearances during that time. A powerful centre half who leadership qualities are clear from the number of times he has been made team captain at his various clubs.

Simon Thomas - "many more like this please Thommo!!"

Also coming in to provide experience and presence is striker Simon Thomas who joins us from Conference South team St Albans. Simon spent 2 years at Crystal Palace earlier in his career and has spent many years at this level. He will give us a different option and dynamic in both boxes as well as in open play.

Callum Harrison

The third player to join us is one of Colchester United brightest youngsters Callum Harrison. Callum in a centre midfielder with real quality and a great engine. My thanks goes to U’s manager Tony Humes for arranging this loan which is open ended if both parties are happy with how things go.

All three players are in the squad for tomorrows trip where we are looking for more good things to try and get us up the league.

My finishing point is one that is slightly sad for both the club and me personally, that being the end of Kevin Horlock’s time with our Academy. The huge trek for Kev from his Kent home has taken his toll but his legacy will be remembered for many many years. What he has brought to the club in terms of playing and as Academy Head Coach cannot not be overstated. For me to work with and become mates with someone who I have cheered from the Manchester City stands in years gone by has been one of the high points of my life.

Kevin Horlock - Legend

We have an Academy that we can be proud of and there have been a number of people to thank for that but non more than Kev. He has had a positive impact on all that he has coached non more, I would suggest, than one of our young stars Kieran Morphew; without Kev there would be no Morphs and I am sure he would agree with that.

The one good news story to come out of this is a bitter sweet moment for me that being the appointment of 1st Team player/Coach Karl Duguid to fill this role. Although I will miss him from my team I am not sure we could have found a better replacement. I believe this transition will be a smooth one and Karl will bring many skills to this role as well as continuing in a playing capacity in our Academy/2nd team.

The way to determine how good a football club is cannot be found during periods of success. You learn about your club when times are tough and although this will be a hard season for us the action over the past 3 weeks show we are not lying down.

All the best



Written by Mark Morsley on .

Needham Market FC have a vacancy in their 1st XI Management team for a Coach.  The position incorporates working with Head Coach Steve Foley in the coaching and training of the 1st team squad. It will also include being at all matches as part of the Management set up to support Mark Morsley as 1st Team Manager.  The applicant would need to show an aptitude to developing his/her abilities in a progressive club and would need to be working towards the UEFA 'B' Licence.  All applications including CV to be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


When the going gets tough……………

Written by Mark Morsley on .

Apologises firstly for the delay in updating my Musings, the time does seem to drift by when there is so much going on.

What I will not be doing today is giving you in depth overviews of the game that have been played this season. That information has been made available in many other areas of the media and as is the way with the British obsession with knocking the winners, has made pretty grim reading.

However, lets not kid ourselves because the start to our inaugural season in the Ryman Premier Division has not been what a lot of people thought.

We created history for our club last season, 100+ points and 100+ goals, league champions and then a very successful and impressive preseason had expectation levels off the chart!

But the reality is that being involved with a winning team is easy and fun as is managing it. Things just seem to fall into place, injuries are not so bad, you get the ‘rub of the green’ from both the officials and the mistakes that are so often made at this level go your way.

Pre-season, well there’s another one of my bug bears. Too many people look at those performances and either think their team will be champions or they expect relegation with little opinions in between. After outplaying Colchester U21’s and Chelmsford City many of our supporters had us down as potential Champions and the press spoke about ‘back to back’ promotions. What a load of hogwash!!

There was no preseason that would have fully prepared us for what Step 3 football has to offer. I knew, I have been here before. This is a level that is really tough and a million miles away from Division One North. It is where many players choose to ply their trade when they are more than capable of playing Conference Premier football or higher.

Here’s the rub; If you play football at Ryman Prem level you get into your own bed every night. You probably only have to commit to a Saturday (late morning to early evening), a Tuesday evening (match or training) and a Thursday evening (training) meaning you can have a full time job and take your football wages as a (in many cases very lucrative) top up.

The alternative is play ‘full time’ at a level where the income is somewhat less that the above and the commitment in terms of time is huge. I think I know what decision I would make and that is the same for many players and why this is such a bloody tough league to play in.

So far this season we have not done well enough, we have made mistakes that have been punished. Our offensive play has lacked imagination and direction, we have not yet really gone into battle for the cause. It would be easy to find an excuse but thats not my style. I signed these players, I believed in and in many case still believe in them but we are getting very close to having to wave goodbye to some of them. We are not there yet and they should be given the chance to get us back on track but there will be new players coming in and the players that really want to keep that shirt will have to damn well fight hard to keep it. There were not many at the Hawthorns last night however.

So where do we go from here? Well firstly let me tell you this; as I sit her at my desk I am more motivated than I have been for a long time! In fact, not since I was Leiston manager when it took 17 games to get out of the relegation zone have I felt the same way. I believe that experience will stand me in good stead for the challenge that lies ahead.

There was also one other thing that helped me and my staff at that time and that was the total and complete level of support from the Chairman, Vice Chairman, committee and supporters. We all stuck together and saw the tough times out, you would have to say that based on where Leiston are now they were right.

At Needham the support I have from the senior officials is total and should be applauded but there are sections of shall we say ‘the support base’ who are too quick to pick fault and in some cases too keen to resort to social media to slate what is going on. Well I would like to say this to this ‘minority’ PACK IT UP!! If you cannot be proper supporters that take the rough with the smooth and back the team 100% then maybe you need another hobby.

Never underestimate the importance that the 12th man gives our team but at the moment I really believe that some players would rather play away from home. That is because there seems to be an issue with getting a real backing from the stands. Things are really tough at the moment but the way to stop the moaners from being heard is for those of you who really want us to succeed to shout louder, drown them out!! If you think the person next to you is being over negative tell them! Surely what everyone wants is to see us survive our first season at this level and then ‘kick on’.

This Saturday we have another challenge with Harrow Borough coming to Bloomfields and for me I can’t wait. Losing last night at Stanway in the way we did means we have hit rock bottom so we start again. First challenge is to get a clean sheet, once we achieve that on a regular basis we have a foundation to build on but it needs everyone pulling in the same direction – you’re either with us or against us!!


Written by Mark Morsley on .

So after a reasonably relaxed summer break Saturday 8th August arrived and with it the Ryman League Division One South champions Burgess Hill Town.  I have to say Bloomfields looked like a ‘new pin’ and thanks go to all those who have worked tirelessly through the close season break.

As has been reported we start the season without Ian Westlake, Michael Brothers and Ryan Crisp as they have either left for pastures new or (for Westy) retired.  Through the ‘in’ door we welcomed Karl Duguid, Jordan Patrick and Danny Smith plus academy scholars Adam Mills and Regan ‘Reggie’ Pelling added to the group.  The preseason programme had been relatively relaxed which allowed us to play some ‘easy on the eye’ football but that, as we knew, would all change once the real stuff started!

Without the injured Kieran Morphew and holidaymaker Sam Newson we set up with Reggie and Duigy up top and Joe Whight slotting into Morphs No.4 shirt in midfield.  The Hillians had cruised their league and that confidence was evident in the first half when they knocked the ball about with ease and a lot of our lads looked like ‘rabbits in a headlight’!!

Despite this Shaun Phillips in goal was not over tested until a cross from the right ‘hit’ Luke Ingram on the arm with a penalty ensuing.  This was successfully dispatched and we were 1 behind, which was the half-time score.  Burgess Hill were good for the lead and they certainly had dominated possession but this was not in anyway insurmountable.

The second period had started well for us but an early mix up between Messrs’ Whight and Phillips gifted them a second goal.  This is where the game changed as we relaxed, got on the ball and it was soon apparent that we were making a game of it.

The arrears were reduced when Ingers shot low into the corner and then we had a game on our hands.  The Hillians used plenty of time wasting tactics as we pushed for the equaliser we deserved but to no avail.  As you can see from the stats in Sundays Non League paper (as below) we had probably done enough other than one of those shots on target ending up in the net!

We moved onto what is one of the great tests at this level that being a Tuesday night fixture at Billericay Town.  We welcomed News back from his US jaunt and thanks to receiving fitness updates from his lovely finance Faye (see below) I was happy to start him.

Knowing there would be an aerial test and a need to deal with the physical side that the Blues are renown for I brought Sam Nunn into central defence and started Ollie Fenn at right back.  Again we did not start as well as I would have liked and it was important that our rear guard were ‘at it’ in the match.

To be fair they were and dealt with pretty much everything apart from a back post free kick where a bit of confusion reigned allowing Ricay to take the lead.  Saying that we knew what to expect and how we could deal with this but it took a change of tactics at half time to put this into practise.  This we did really well and I have to say I really enjoyed the second period.  We kept our hosts on the back foot and slowly we got better and better.  Even a News miss when one v one didn’t stop us and following a spell of corners Chris Hogg guided the ball home.

With Reggie and News playing together up front and Ingers and Millsy down the flanks we pushed for a winner but it would just not come.  The referee’s whistle brought the curtain down but I just knew if we had played for another 15 minutes we could have taken all 3 points.  However I suspect that if I was offered a draw at a tough challenging place to go as Billericay I would have probably been happy.

So we have played our first 2 Ryman Prem games and from these I will take the positives as well as the lessons we need to learn.  Two of the three goals conceded were very much avoidable but that shows the level we are now operating at.  If we can minimise that part of our game and continue to gain confidence in possession we could have a decent season.  I truly believe that we will.

Next up Tonbridge Angels away.




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