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Great Start...........

Written by Mark Morsley on .

18 points from 21, an FA Cup win, 17 goals scored not bad, not bad at all, so to the very very small minority who felt the need to give my team a bit of stick for the under par performance against Brentwood on Tuesday I say this – ‘PACK IT UP!!!’

This season is about the team moving forward in terms of performance, being settled and entertaining the excellent crowds that have supported us during the first few weeks of this season.

I could not have asked more from my team than the start we have had; 2 points better than the same stage last season, wins at really tough away venues (Sudbury and Thurrock) and next Saturday a really exciting test as we take on Gary Robert’s Cambridge City.  I understand Gary was at Tuesday’s game and I suspect he did not learn a great deal about our team on that night.

There have also been other things that have pleased me so far.  We seem to have learned to score from set pieces, we have better movement and better delivery again credit goes to the coaching staff for that as well as the way we are so comfortable on the ball.

Not all plus points however because there was parts of the Brentwood defeat that disappointed me.  There are 3 ways to get through the opposition to score; go through them, go over them, go round them.  Successful teams have all three in their ‘locker’ and on reflection I believe we did not do enough to test Brentwood down the flanks; an area that we will be working on.

I am also pleased to report that long-term injury victim Ollie ‘Cafu’ Brown is close to a return.  He has suffered from a muscle tear deep in the groin/hip flexor area, which has a very slow recovery process.  Ollie had an outstanding start to our season last year and he is another young lad who I have real belief in, to the extent that he was offered a new 2 yr contract in the summer, which he duly agreed and signed. 

Age is no barrier at Bloomfields and if you’re good enough you’re old enough!  Another example of that was Ace Howells who made his full 1st team debut against Tilbury a fortnight ago.  A second year scholar and just 17 years of age his performance was one that had no fear and led the Dockers defence a merry dance.


Non-League day tomorrow and a tough trip to Thamesmead followed by Monday Night Football in Ilford against Barkingside.  Two real tests in two days and I have not doubt we will bounce back and give a good account of ourselves in both fixtures.

All the best

Mark M

And they're off!!!"

Written by Mark Morsley on .

So last Saturday the 2014-15 season kicked off with the visit to Bloomfields of Great Wakering Rovers.  I have to say that the ground looked very impressive and my thanks must go to all the staff who have worked so hard throughout the summer.

The pitch is also back to its pristine condition with the drainage all re-done so we are confident we will not suffer the problems of last year with the weather.  When I look back at where our season went wrong 10 weeks without a home game does somewhat stand out.

The GWR game was a tough one and certainly they gave us a tough match.  Coming into the game as Essex Senior League champions we knew they’d be half tidy and I was impressed with the fitness levels plus they did, at time, get the ball down and try and play.  

I was pleased with our fitness levels however and we got the goal we deserved from a Luke Ingram corner.  The delivery from both sides is something that has been worked on in the summer and with Danny Cunningham whipping the ball in from the other side hopeful we can be more successful from set pieces.

Chris Hogg (in his Hibs days) who opened his goal scoring account on Tuesday

Interestingly enough we won our first away game at Ware on Tuesday evening by 2 goals to 1 and both these came from set pieces.  Chris Hogg volleyed home from and Ingers corner to put us ahead and George Clarke came of the bench to get his head on a wicked delivery again from Dev.

Again Ware gave us a decent game and they seem to have continued with the improvements they showed following the wholesale change in management and personnel towards the end of last season.

Tomorrow we have one of the toughest fixtures of the season as we travel to Ship Lane to play Thurrock.  After VCD the Rocks were, without doubt, they best team we played last year.  The first 25 minutes of the home match will stay with me for a long while when they ripped us to shreds and scored 3 goals – it could have been 10!! With Sudbury and Harlow they must be considered the favourites for this years champions mantle and anything we can take from the game will be hard earned.

I suspect the events of the last Saturday of last seasons league programme will be mentioned in certain quarters and that will be an additional incentive for our hosts (as if they needed one).

Unfortunately George Clarke picked up a knock playing for the Academy on Wednesday evening so will be doing a bit of rehab works with the Physio staff but we welcome Ollie Fenn back into the fold which is a boost and will allow me a bit more scope in team selection and the pattern of our play.

All the best

Mark M

So another season begins - bring it on!

Written by Mark Morsley on .

It must be because I am getting older but these football seasons do seem to come round quicker every year.  I made a conscious decision to not come back until July the 1st this season and also to only have 5 pre-season friendlies.  The players knew that it was their responsibility to not go on a 2-month ‘bender’ and they all returned in good shape.  Probably the best of all was Sam Nunn who looked like a new man!  The problem is he’s on holiday now so lets see how he copes on Tuesday for the Bishops Stortford game.


As has been well documented we have not made many new signings for this term.  My rational was that last season was all about the ‘new broom’ effect and bringing in 17 new players over the season was done to get the building blocks in place to take us forward.  The good part of that is we will have at least 9 players who start the game on August 9th who was a part of the run in last year.

You cannot underestimate the important of having a settled squad that are all used to playing together.  That takes time and I have said many times that in an ideal world it takes 3 seasons to get the right blend, however I could not be happier with my squad that are back for another season.

We continued the aim to bring players through from our Academy by signing Brendan Heath on a 2-year deal.  Like others before him he will have a challenging 1st year with us but I believe he will make the relevant improvements to be a Needham player for many years to come.  I have today tied up the formalities of another promising youngster as James Crisell has also penned a 2-year deal. 

A product of the Colne Academy and played last year for Sudbury, James knows a few lads at Bloomfields following him being a part of Suffolk’s excellent U18’s from last year.  In fact he and Brendan formed the centre of midfield partnership that was key for the success of that team.

Danny Cunningham is the other new face to join us, although for me it is more of a reunion.  Dev is a player who, by his own admission, has under achieved during his non-league career but that changed last year when he was excellent for Bury Town helping Richard Wilkins pull of some amazing results as the squad crumbled around them.  He was a main target for me and I was delighted when he agreed to sign committing for 2 years also.

Last Saturday we travelled up to Lowestoft for our first friendly and I would like to send my thanks to Gary Keyzaw as well as Messrs’ Chapman, Gallagher and Fleming for their hospitality.  It was a decent game that both teams got plenty out of with the Trawlerboys winning by 2 goals both coming in the second half.

Tomorrow we face a team from Colchester United that will be a mix of U21’s and 1st team squad players for what will be an excellent run out for us.  As ever the pitch is in fine condition and the Bloomfields Stadium has never looked better.

With the fixtures coming out on Thursday it threw up some interesting matches with us pleased to be starting at home at reigning Essex Senior League Champions Great Wakering Rovers.  However what is a bit alarming is that the number of games that we have been given in August and September. 

I am aware that I was quite outspoken last season that the league did not extend the finish due to the number of games that were postponed due to the heavy rain so I hope that is not reflected in playing 1/3 of our league season in those 2 months?!

Anyway I hope that we get a decent turn out from our excellent fans tomorrow for what will be a really entertaining game.  As much as it is nice to have the full time pros in preseason I really do not think that the team get anything from it.  I mean chasing shadows for 90+ minutes might be seen as useful for some managers but not for me.  Preseason is all about get reacquainted with your best friend, the ball, because if you cant get that to do the right things then it will be a long, hard and fruitless season.

All the best



Needham - Ryman League Team of the Season

Written by Mark Morsley on .

On Saturday night at the Wembley Hilton the Ryman League held their Annual End of Season Banquet and Ball. It was a decent night although having the England match in the middle possibly didn't help the running order. However it's was great to be presented with the Team of the Year award (see above) which, so I'm told, is for a number of criteria. FA Cup run, the infamous Chatham victory, comments from the officials on the conduct of the bench during matches and votes from other teams seem to have added up to receiving this.  Nice touch but now we need to aim for a more important trophy starting on August 9th. 


Time to look forward to the new season

Written by Mark Morsley on .

Firstly my apologises for the delay in my Musings. I felt it was right to have a bit of a break following our defeat at Witham and in fact I have covered that game and my thoughts on the season in Alan Jopling's excellent monthly news letter which can be accessed HERE

Thoughts now move towards the new season and I for one am really excited about it. This is the time of year that as a manager I have to make some decisions about changes I want to make in my squad. That often means that I have to make that phone call to inform that player of my decision which is not something I enjoy.

The players that I have not offered new terms to are Ryan Charles, Luke Hammond, Russell Malton and Sheridan Driver. My thanks go to all players and I wish them all the best in their next move. I would like to pay special tribute to our Skipper Sherri who has been a loyal servant to me and a key part in many big games over the years.

There are conversations ongoing with potential new players but first business is to secure the players I want to keep. As previously reported Kieron Morphew penned a new 3 year deal towards the end of the season and in addition I am pleased to announce that Players Player of the Year Ollie Fenn has agreed a new 2 year deal. Ollie had a great season and will be a key part of our team going forward.

After a number of impressive performances Luke Ingram has agreed an extension to his deal taking him to the end of 2015/2016 season. Sam Newson has penned a new 2 year deal as well as Suffolk U18's Player of the Year Brendan Heath who has progressed from our Academy and done the same.

I am also really pleased to announce that Chris Hogg has agreed a new 2 year deal. Hoggy really enjoyed his short time with us last season, as his match fitness improved so did his performances. With a decent preseason under his belt I feel he will have a huge influence on the team.

Added to this news I can also confirm that Ian Westlake has also agreed a further year at Bloomfields. He is recovering from his knee injury and I am sure he will again be an important part of my squad.

Off the pitch all my management team have agreed to stay which again is a huge attraction in my conversations with potential new signings. The coaching and physio support our lads get is of a far higher standard than what we play and will be a key part to any success we achieve.

We have a selection of decent looking preseason friendlies lined up with Colchester United, Chelmsford City and Bishops Stortford all coming to Bloomfields plus we have been invited to play Hadleigh United in the Hadleigh Charity Cup on Saturday August 2nd 2014.

We will also be wearing a new kit for new season as the generous sponsorship from Barry Hegley and The Windscreen Company continues for another year. It will be making its debut on August 9th 2014 (subject to any colour class off course!). It'll please a few of our lads are it comes with short sleeves.  As I have said to them 'you cannot do a Dennis Law celebration without a long sleeve!'.  I suppose that I am just getting a bit old!!

I know that many hours of hard work have been put in and continue to do so at Bloomfields. A lick of paint, a tidy up and some extensive work to the pitch as well means that the high standards our club has always had remain.

That just about wraps it up for the time being. Any additions to the squad will be announced as they happen but for now enjoy the summer and preseason starts on Tuesday 1st July at 7pm - it'll soon come around!!

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