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Rise in support convinced Stowmarket boss to stay

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STAYING PUT: Stowmarket boss Rick Andrews
STAYING PUT: Stowmarket boss Rick Andrews

Stowmarket Town manager Rick Andrews says the rise in attendances at Greens Meadow this season was behind his decision to commit to the club for another three years.

Andrews was put in interim charge, along with Ricky Licence, following the departure of former boss Shane Austin in March 2013, with The Old Gold and Blacks languishing near the bottom of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division table.

Fast forward four years and Andrews’ Stow side head into their final game of the 2016/17 season on the cusp of winning the club its first league title since 1951.

A bumper crowd is expected at Greens Meadow when they host AFC Sudbury Reserves tomorrow (3pm), with the club operating a ‘pay what you want’ initiative and free admission for children, with already-promoted Stow requiring a point to guarantee being crowned champions.

On his decision to stay as manager until 2020, Andrews said: “I had a chat with the family and I’ve seen the level of support (at the club) grow over the last 12 months.

“I’ve seen fans turn up at our away games, which I’ve never had before, and seeing people’s faces in the clubhouse after we secured promotion.

“The club haven’t had much success of late and I just felt now wasn’t the time to be looking to change direction.

“I think we’re on a bit of a crest of a wave and we’ve got to ride it for as long as possible.”

Stow’s promotion, which now hinges on completing the necessary improvements to their floodlights, would be the first in their 134-year history, and Andrews is hoping Mid Suffolk District Council will approve a £10,000 grant, recommended by Stowmarket Town Council, to help boost their funds towards making the changes.

“We’re still waiting on the council as far as I know,” he said. “If the council comes through with the money then I think we’re there.

“What would be really nice is to hear some time before the game and not have that uncertainty, but I’m sure we’ll find a way of doing it.

“I’m sure the town won’t let us down if we get there and achieve what we’ve done.”