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Needham Market captain Keiran Morphew reflects on lifting Pitching In Southern League Premier Central title at Bloomfields and promotion





After coming through Needham Market’s academy, and spending over a decade in the club’s colours, captain Keiran Morphew described the feeling of lifting the league title in front of the Bloomfields crowd as something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

Fresh from their fourth straight Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup win against Felixstowe & Walton United on Tuesday, the Marketmen were able to lift the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central title and celebrate with a crowd of over 600 fans this afternoon.

Although it followed a 2-0 defeat to visiting Mickleover, who could not keep up with the pace of Kevin Horlock’s side after going toe-to-toe with them for promotion for most of the season, Bloomfields was again the focal point of celebration in Suffolk.

Needham Market trophy celebrations. Picture: Mark Westley
Needham Market trophy celebrations. Picture: Mark Westley

The players were ushered up to the clubhouse’s balcony for a Wembley-esque trophy lift, and were then beckoned back onto the pitch to lift the league and cup trophies, as well as taking pictures with family and friends. Memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.

“It was superb. That was what I hoped it would be. They surprised us with it being on the balcony, with the supporters on the grass, it was really, really good,” said Morphew.

“We loved it, the players loved it up there.

“To do it with Luke (Ingram), to be here for over 10 years, nearly on 500 appearances, it’s unreal. To play so many games with your best mate and you finally go from Step 4 to Step 3, then (Step) 3 to (Step) 2, with cups along the away, it’s unreal.

“The last few years have been unbelievable.

“It’s so good. It’s something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and probably I’ll think more of the older I get. It’s brilliant.

The defeat to Mickleover was never going to overshadow the achievement that Needham Market have accomplished this season, but Morphew said: “I am annoyingly competitive, and it does drive me up the wall that we’ve lost the last couple of games.

Keiran Morphew retrieves possession against Mickleover. Picture: Mark Westley
Keiran Morphew retrieves possession against Mickleover. Picture: Mark Westley

“To stay motivated after you’ve won the league, being honest, I don’t know how teams do it.

“The motivation does dwindle, and it’s horrible to say really. We’ve won the league, so it is what it is.”

Step 2 awaits the Marketmen, although it is still uncertain as to whether they will be playing in the National League North or South next season. Whichever league hosts them, changes will need to be made at Bloomfields and Morphew hopes promotion will drive a larger crowd to the ground.

Needham Market lift the league trophy in front of over 600 fans at Bloomfields. Picture: Mark Westley
Needham Market lift the league trophy in front of over 600 fans at Bloomfields. Picture: Mark Westley

“We just need to get supporters in the door, to come support the club,” he said.

“We had over 600 today, I’d love to say we could get over 600 every game at home game, and that would just drive the club up even further.

“We’ve got to do ground improvements for the league above, get a new stand, more turnstiles, new dugouts, and if we can get fans through the door, it just boosts the atmosphere, the money coming in and it gives you more of a chance to fight.

Keiran Morphew is handed the Suffolk Premier Cup trophy. Picture: Mark Westley
Keiran Morphew is handed the Suffolk Premier Cup trophy. Picture: Mark Westley

“Knowing Kev (Horlock) and Tom (Rothery), especially Tom, they would have been thinking of players (for next year) weeks ago, probably when we were 10 points clear before we’d won it.

“I think once the last games over, you can have a couple weeks but then you have to stay fit, get fitter than this year, to compete in the league above. The first year’s obviously survival. Can we do it? Then we go from there.”