Promotion is an emotional day for Stowmarket Town boss Rick Andrews

Stowmarket Town celebrate winning the Thurlow Nunn First Division title. Picture: BEN POOLEY

Stowmarket Town celebrate winning the Thurlow Nunn First Division title. Picture: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

When Rick Andrews turned up at Greens Meadow one night in March 2013 to be put in interim charge at Stowmarket Town, only eight people turned up to his meet the manager meeting.

Fast forward four years and close to 300 fans were in attendance on Saturday as Stow beat AFC Sudbury Reserves 3-0 to win the Thurlow Nunn League First Divison title.

It has been an historic season for the Old Gold and Blacks who, along with claiming their first league title since 1951, have won the first promotion in their 134-year history.

Andrews’ side lost just twice during their 40-game league season and finished three points clear of Coggeshall Town to finish top of the table.

“We were expecting a large crowd and I can’t believe 270-odd people have come through the gate, that’s phenomenal,” Andrews said.

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“I’m so pleased for the club. Sharpy’s (Neil Sharp, director of adult football) got emotional, tear in his eye, and that’s worth every day of the last four years for me.

“I’ve got an affinity with Geoff (Squirrell, supporter). He was there for the first team meeting I had with the players, to meet the manager and eight people turned up.

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“We’ve restored some credibility and pride to the club.”

Goals from Duane Wright and top goalscorer George Bugg gave Stow a 2-0 lead at half time, before Wright’s second strike after the restart wrapped up a 3-0 win for the Old Gold and Blacks at the weekend and stretched Stow’s unbeaten run to 13 games, having picked up 33 points from a possible 39 in their final 13 outings of the season.

“It’s tremendous,” Andrews said. “While I sort of tried to play it down (the 2-1 win against Coggeshall on March 28), deep down we knew if we beat them it gave us a big incentive.

“I think the magnitude of the victory, how we played, it was huge and from there we’ve sort of stuttered our way cross the line, but it doesn’t matter. We’ve picked up the points and I can’t ask any more out of the players.”

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