Achilles manager Alan Middle finds consolation in cup final defeat

LIFELONG West Ham United fan Alan Middle was able to find consolation following his side’s cup final defeat in being able to swap managing Achilles for watching the Hammers in the Barclays Premier League next season.

Middle’s final match in charge of SIL Senior Division side after eight years in charge ended in a 3-1 loss to Haughley United in the newly-named Bob Coleman Cup final at Woodbridge Town FC on Saturday.

An he revealed afterwards that the rearranged date – the original match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch on May 9 – meant he missed West Ham’s 2-1 Championship play-off final victory over Blackpool.

Middle, who was born in Colchester and also lived in Coggeshall and Brightlingsea before moving to Ipswich, said: “I should have been at Wembley today watching the Hammers. I had two tickets for the play-off final and would have gone with my wife Judy.

“I used to go and watch West Ham play at Upton Park as a young boy with my uncle. I have only seen them play a couple of times a season because of my commitment to Achilles, but at least I will be able to watch them play in the Premier League next season!”

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Ironically, former Suffolk golf captain Middle also had to give up two tickets to the England versus West Indies Test match at Lord’s as he was playing for Seckford in the Hambro Cup at Aldeburgh yesterday.

After seeing his side take an early lead and then miss chances as they dominated the opening 25 minutes Middle conceded:

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“If you don’t taking your chances you don’ win, and that is unfortunately what happened.

“When they got it back to 1-1 everything seemed to be drained from us, and I thought they shaded it in the second half.

“It was not to be a fairytale ending for me. At least we got to the final, but winning it was always going to be a bonus.”

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