THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION
Stowmarket Town 3
AFC Sudbury Reserves 0
Stowmarket Town are champions
Rick Andrews says he has his business partner to thank for helping him bounce back from his lowest point as manager of Stowmarket Town 12 months ago, to guide the club to its first league title in 66 years.
Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of Stow’s 5-0 defeat against Haverhill Borough in the final of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division Knockout Cup.
It was a loss which left Andrews considering his future as manager of the Old Gold and Blacks, but fast forward almost 12 months and things could not be brighter.
Close to 300 people were in attendance at Greens Meadow on Saturday to see Stow beat AFC Sudbury Reserves 3-0, a result which saw them crowned Thurlow Nunn League First Division champions for the first time.
And Stow boss Andrews highlighted a meeting the day after his side’s cup final defeat last season which helped light the fuse on an historic season.
“I tell you who I’ve got to thank: my business partner, who has got no interest in football whatsoever,” he explains.
“Having lost the cup final 5-0 last year, I thought ‘do you know what? I’ve taken them as far as I can, maybe I’m not up to it’, and I sat down with him and he put it in perspective for me.
“He said ‘you’re missing the point’. This is a coffee the very next day. He said ‘you’ve got to a final and you’ve proven you can get to a final and you’ll probably go on to get to lots of other finals. But if you think you can win every one, that’s not the case’.
“When he said those words and I thought ‘he talks a lot of sense’. I think it was more, I felt I’d let the club down on that particular night.
“Whilst I still don’t think it was a 5-0 game, the records show we lost 5-0 in a cup final and you can’t take that away, but that was probably my lowest point if I’m honest.”
A crowd of 274 packed in to Greens Meadow at the weekend in the hope of seeing history and Stow win their first league title, since being crowned Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division champions back in 1951.
Duane Wright’s opener inside the first 10 minutes put the title chasers in front, before top goalscorer George Bugg’s 19th goal of the campaign gave Andrews’ side a firm grip on the trophy.
Lewis Higgins preserved Stow’s two-goal cushion going into the break with a fine save to keep out Ollie Peters’ penalty, and when Wright curled the ball home for his second, and his side’s third, goal of the afternoon midway through the second half, the celebrations were well under way.
“When I first joined I came into a club that had no soul, it was drifting with nowhere to go,” Andrews said. “Now I think that Stow has had its pride restored, and we’re going to see where it takes us.”
Stowmarket Town: Higgins, Licence (Howell 76), A Clarke (c) (L Clarke 73), Holmes, Marjoram, Carver, Baker, Moore, Wright, Bugg (Holder 67), Garrett. Subs not used: Graham, Bradlaugh. Attendance: 274. MOTM: Wright.