Don’s memories of Sudbury Town

WHOEVER will forget Sudbury Town from 30 years ago?

Managed by Martin Head and Don James they won a Ridgeons League, Ridgeons League Cup and Suffolk Premier Cup treble two years running – with a Wembley visit in the FA Vase final in 1989 to boot.

Martin dropped out of the spotlight at the end of last month after managing a number of clubs after Sudbury and then taking over as chief executive at Suffolk Football Association.

So what has happened to Don, no mean defender with Stowmarket Town, Harwich and Parkeston and Suffolk in his playing days?

He became assistant manager to first Peter Bailey and then Paul Smith as Walsham-le-Willows moved up the ranks from SIL junior football to the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League.

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But for the last two and a half years his football activities have tailed off following the loss of his wife Prim.

“I lost my enthusiasm,” explained Don, who takes great delight these days watching his 12-year-old grandson Callum playing for Needham Phoenix.

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“He’s a centre back and does well. And I’m also playing a bit of golf at Stowmarket and sometimes watching Old Newton in action in the SIL.”

Don picks out reaching Wembley and a 1-1 draw with Tamworth as the pinnacle of his football life.

“It was a terrific Sudbury side with some terrific players,” added Don.

“You talk about coaching these days, but 30 years ago we just let them play.

“Our job was to find players, and the ones we accrued knew how to play without any help from Martin or myself.

“It was a wonderful five years and a lot was to do with having a wonderful chairman in Ron Ashdown.”

And Don paid tribute to Martin with the pair complementing each other in the managers’ chair.

“We worked well and gelled from the start,” said Don. “Martin went on to serve Suffolk football so well at the FA, and he’ll be missed.

“He was always there to help and achieved a great deal.”

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