No-one gave us a prayer of staying up, says Hadleigh United boss

Hadleigh United manager Stuart Alston

Hadleigh United manager Stuart Alston - Credit: Archant

Hadleigh United boss Stuart Alston has praised his young team after the Brettsiders defied the odds to stay in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.

Appointed in the summer, Alston lost virtually all of last season’s first-team squad and had to rely on the club’s reserves and one or two shrewd signings to stay in contention.

However, their Premier Division status was confirmed on Wednesday after Wivenhoe failed to beat Haverhill, meaning Hadleigh’s game at home to Great Yarmouth tomorrow is a dead-rubber.

“All season I have kept the newspaper articles written about us and no-one gave us a prayer of staying up,” he said.

“I took charge in the summer and only one young player that had played for the first-team last season, Damon Artiss, stayed – most left.

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“We did not have any budget to keep anyone.

“The reserves stepped up though and I managed to sign a couple of players with first-team experience.”

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Hadleigh have stayed up, despite only winning 10 games and losing 21 and there have been clear deficiencies in the Brettsiders’ make-up this season, according to Alston.

“We have matched other teams with ability this season, we have not been physically strong enough and if you are not winning the battle, you do not deserve to stay up,” he explained.

“But we have survived and I will be sitting down the with committee to discuss what we want to achieve as a club.

He added: “I’d like to keep the squad together as they will have learned from this experience, but we need to increase the revenue at the club and get a club sponsor on board so we can bring in a goalscorer.

“All the teams in the division with a goalscorer have been good enough to move away from the relegation zone, look at Walsham with Andrew Wood.”

Signing players, however, is easier said than done.

“When I have tried to sign players from Division One or the SIL, some have gone elsewhere for more money, some have even dropped a division to do that,” he said.

“What’s been refreshing is that I have a group of players that don’t care about money, they just want to play football for the club.”

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