Grundisburgh’s Mickey Squirrell looking forward to facing former club
GRUNDISBURGH and Whitton United go head-to-head in a what promises to be a titanic Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final tie on Saturday.
And few non-league followers, apart from those directly involved with either Felixstowe United or Long Melford, who contest the other semi-final tie, would argue that it is a shame they have been drawn against each other in the last four of the competition.
Grundisburgh joint manager Mickey Squirrell, who used to play for Whitton, echoed the sentiments of many fans when he said: “Most neutrals wanted this tie to be the final. We are both good footballing sides and it would have made for a good game at Portman Road.”
Grundisburgh enter the tie on the back of 13 straight league wins, and on Saturday dislodged long-time leaders Woodbridge Athletic at the top of the Kingsley Healthcare SIL Senior Division.
Squirrell is looking forward to squaring up against their Ridgeons League Division One opponents.
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“We are playing well and in good fettle, but we will go into the game as underdogs, whereas normally we are favourites.
“Whitton are the holders and have been doing well in Ridgeons League Division One, and after finishing second last season would have been in the Premier Division this season under normal circumstances.
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“We are expecting a very hard game but hopefully we will go through.”
Squirrell joined Grundisburgh in 1987 – the season they won the Suffolk Senior Cup, which was the club’s first major trophy since 1964.
After five successful years he then joined Whitton in the 1992/93 season before returning to Grundisburgh in 1997.
He said: “I played at Whitton for five years, winning the SIL title a couple of times, and ironically lost in the Suffolk Senior Cup final 2-0 to Grundisburgh at Portman Road in 1995.”
Joint manager Kevin Cunningham also has strong ties to the King George V club, where he used to be manager while his son Matt, now with Grundisburgh, has previously played for Whitton.
Luke Reid, who is suspended for Saturday’s semi-final, which kicks-off at 2.15pm, and Tom Childs are also ex-Whitton players.
The draw does mean that there is still the possibility of two SIL sides reaching the final for the first time in 14 years.
Felixstowe United’s joint manager Ian Watson expressed his delight at facing Long Melford within minutes of the draw taking place.
Squirrell said that, given a choice, he also would have preferred to face Long Melford, who sit fifth bottom in Ridgeons League Division One.
“We have beaten Felixstowe United comfortably three times already this season, and while I am sure our players would not have been complacent, you always wonder if they may think it is going to be easier.
“If we had played Long Melford, who are a Ridgeons League Division One side, then the pressure would have been on them and we would have been the underdogs.”