Leiston’s David Head wishes he was ten years younger

Leiston skipper David Head

Leiston skipper David Head - Credit: James Ager

DAVID Head’s only regret at playing in the Ryman League Premier Division is that he wishes he was ten years younger.

The 33-year-old Leiston skipper is enjoying his first season at Step 3 level, after winning back-to-back promotions with the Victory Road club.

Head, who was a triple FA Vase finalist with AFC Sudbury earlier in his career, came close to winning promotion to the Ryman Premier with them only to twice lose in the end-of-season play-offs.

He said: “It was disappointing that we never made the step up when I was at Sudbury, which is what I was aiming for.

“When I first joined Sudbury the timing was not right; we were winning the league each year but were waiting for the old ground to be sold.”

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After seven seasons at King’s Marsh Stadium Head made the switch to Leiston, who were then in the Ridgeons League Premier Division.

“We didn’t expect to win back-to-back league titles and also we had that good FA Cup run.

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“But we are an ambitious club and have now moved up to the Ryman Premier. My only regret is that I am now 33 – it is a shame it didn’t happen when I was 23!”

Head played in a variety of positions at AFC Sudbury – as a right-back, one of three centre halves and a right-wing back.

He said: “In the earlier part of my career I often played right back or right wing-back and then settled into playing at centre half.”

That was under Mark Morsley, who has overseen Leiston’s successive promotions, and has this season switched Head back to right-back.

“It is now working well playing at right back, although it took me a couple of matches to get used to it again,” admitted Head.

“I actually quite like it because you can get forward a bit more, although my legs didn’t like it at first and it took me a couple of games to get used to the extra running involved!”

Despite his vast experience even Head initially struggled to come to terms with the step up in standard, and was actually substituted at half time in Leiston’s second match of the season, a 2-2 draw at Canvey Island.

He recalled: “We were 2-0 down at half-time away to Canvey Island and I was having a poor game. It was the first time I have been subbed at half-time as a result of my performance. It did give me a kick up the bum.”

After a slow start saw Leiston propping up the table, a nine-match undefeated run has seen the Suffolk side climb to 15th place.

Head said: “There are no bad teams in the league and the lesser teams are more than capable of beating you.

“Every time you go over the white line you are up against good teams, but we are now holding our own after finally finding our feet.”

Head, who spent half-a-season as assistant to former manager Carl Chenery, is enjoying the experience too much to even contemplate when he may call it a day.

“In my second season here I was assistant manager, but I found it difficult and it was affecting my performances so I stood down.

“I want to play whilst I still can, but I would not rule out going into management one day,” said Head.

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