Halesworth legend Ling quits

HALESWORTH Town FC have reached the end of an era after Stephen Ling decided to step down after 25 years as a player.

The club’s 700-plus appearance record-breaker has handed over the managerial reins to Joe Allen as Halesworth look to bounce back from last season’s Suffolk and Ipswich League Division One relegation disappointment.

They will have to do it without the midfield skills of Ling who was player/boss last term, and has been one of the most familiar faces on the Suffolk scene for a generation. “We are hoping to bounce back. There has been a lot of effort put into pre-season. They are training twice a week and we are hoping that with a young manager we might be able to get some more young players involved,”said Stephen’s father Arthur, the current Halesworth FC secretary.

He said his son would carry on with the club committee and might play the odd game or two but added: “It’s the end of an era. He has achieved a lot in local football.”

Stephen, 44, added: “It was a tough decision to make and I will probably miss it once the season gets under way but my legs were beginning to ache more and more each week so it was my body telling me what to do.

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“I’ll still be involved with the club because my son Hayden (9) and daughter Georgia (10) both play.”

One of Stephen’s final duties was presenting the First Team Manager’s Trophy to Joe Allen, who also received the Players Player.

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Nick Jermy, the Reserves Team manager awarded his trophy to goalkeeper Dan Oaks. Darren Mann received the Players Player Trophy. Nick has handed over the reserves reins to Tim Clack.

Arthur Ling presented the Young Player of the Year Trophy to Kyle Albrow. The Chairman’s Trophy was presented to Michael Stevens, first team linesman, who does a great job in all weathers.

The Fred Fenn club person of the year trophy was awarded to Anne Atta for her hard work with teas and her work behind the bar after the matches. The club’s honorary life vice president Gerald Ellis presented club treasurer and minutes secretary Caroline Mortlock with gift vouchers for washing the kits and looking after the club’s finances. Club chairman Adrian Waters presented Stephen Ling with a This Is Your Life album to great applause during the event at the golf club. Training is in full swing at The Dairy Hill Ground, Halesworth on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (7). Players old and new are welcomed. Friendlies arranged so far are on Saturday, August 6 v BT Trimley at home ( k.o 2.30) and Tuesday, August 16 Beccles Town Res at home (6.30).

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