Former pro Peter Grant enjoying his rugby

FORMER Hadleigh United manager Peter Grant wishes he had returned to playing rugby ten years earlier!

Grant, who will be 44 in April, played schoolboy rugby for the West of Scotland Under-15s, but stopped a year later as his football career took off.

After he was signed by Alex Ferguson while he was manager of Aberdeen at the age of 14, Grant subsequently had trials with both Leeds and Manchester United before joining Ipswich Town in 1984.

He left two years later and signed for Stockport County, making just one senior appearance, before a pelvic injury saw him drop out of the professional game and return to Suffolk, where he turned out for several clubs in the Eastern Counties League.

He played for Harwich & Parkeston at the same time as Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie, broke his ankle at the age of 30 and then broke the other ankle at the age of 38 during a comeback for Hadleigh United Reserves.

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It was then that he joined Debenham LC as assistant manager to Mel Aldis before taking over as Hadleigh’s manager upon their return to the Ridgeons League Premier Division just before the 2009/10 campaign following Steve Jay’s departure from the club.

But after just one season in charge he parted company with Hadleigh and has spent the past one-and-a-half seasons playing as a second row for Hadleigh Rugby Club in Greene King IPA Eastern Counties 2.

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Grant, who still lives in Hadleigh and is a self-employed plasterer and decorator, said: “I really enjoy it, and wish I had taken up playing again 10 years ago.

“They are a great bunch of blokes and there is a great atmosphere at the club. We are top of the league at the moment and hopefully we will push on and gain promotion this season.

“I loved my football and enjoyed it until I finished, but now I have a new lease of life and am really enjoying my rugby again.

“When I joined Hadleigh United my objective was to keep the club in the Premier Division, and I achieved that. I was disappointed with the way we parted company, but it was a joint agreement to do so.”

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