Brave Ben's the Gaffer

ALDEBURGH-based Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane can take heart from the success the manager of the seaside town's football club is currently enjoying.

Elvin King

Remarkable Ben now running with Aldeburgh

ALDEBURGH-based Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane can take heart from the success the manager of the seaside town's football club is currently enjoying.

Ben Blades' story is a remarkable one having spent 13 months in hospital suffering from a broken neck.


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He must have felt his sporting days were over, but 10 years after a car accident that led to so much pain, he can look back on three seasons of successful football management.

Now 26, Ben is running the Aldeburgh Town first team who play in Division Four of the Kingsley Healthcare SIL.

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They are currently unbeaten having won promotion from Divisions Six and then Five in the two previous campaigns.

A self confessed fringe player until his accident, Ben has come back from adversity to achieve success as a boss that the likes of Keane can only dream about.

“At one point I was told I would not walk again,” recalled Ben. “I had to remain bedridden and still for the first few months, but I kept positive.

“And when I was moved to a special spinal unit at Stanmore the doctors and nurses worked wonders and because of their unbelievable work I am where I am now.”

Unable to participate in sport any more, Ben still insists on personally taking training sessions, and he admits that he loves what he is doing.

He holds two coaching badges and began his involvement when his father David managed Leiston reserves and he was named as his assistant.

“Glen Driver and Jason Dozzell were first team managers at Leiston at the time,” said Ben. “And I learned a great deal from them.

“It is never easy being in charge of a second team because of first team calls etc, but we built up a great team spirit.

“And the same can be said at Aldeburgh right now.”

Aldeburgh previously fielded a Saturday side, but they merged with Sizewell with that club eventually becoming Sizewell Associates and currently playing in Division Three.

In 2007 with the building of a new community centre next to the Kings Field pitch it was decided to re-form a Saturday Aldeburgh Town team.

“As an Aldeburgh lad this is where I wanted to be so I moved across from Leiston to take over as manager,” said Ben, whose uncle Nicky served Leiston and Lowestoft Town well as a player.

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