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Haverhill Borough's new manager Darryl Tate has plenty of hard work ahead after chaotic pre-season



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He may have inherited a chaotic situation, yet Darryl Tate is looking forward to getting his teeth stuck into the manager’s job at Haverhill Borough.

Twelve months on from having to contend with the departure of then boss Guy Habbin with a new season fast approaching, history repeated itself for Borough on July 22 when it was announced Mark Pleasants had stepped down.

Pleasants was confirmed as Borough’s new boss – taking over from caretaker Peter Betts – in March, although he did not take full control until the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

Darryl Tate has been appointed the new manager of Haverhill Borough. Picture: Mark Westley
Darryl Tate has been appointed the new manager of Haverhill Borough. Picture: Mark Westley

However, it was a tenure that lasted a matter of weeks, with Pleasants having since been named the new assistant of lower-league Cambridge University Press.

With very few players signed on and a far from conventional pre-season behind them, it has left Borough facing a race against time just to be able to field a team for Tuesday night’s Thurlow Nunn League First Division North season opener at AFC Sudbury Reserves (7.45pm).

It is a situation most managers would have given a wide berth, but Tate is looking at the bigger picture.

“There’s been no pre-season, there is hardly any players and so it’s going to take a lot of work,” said Tate, who assisted Betts last term.

“We need to get those first few fixtures fulfilled and while we need to add players, I don’t just want to sign players for the sake of it.

“It’s difficult because most lads are now signed up at other clubs but myself and the club will be working hard this week.

“If we have to use a group of young lads then I’m more than happy to do it. If you look at Sudbury, who we play on Tuesday, they play 16 and 17 year olds every week. But this is about the long term ethos at the club. They want to give local lads the chance to play Step 6 football alongside those with experience.

“There has been a lot of comings and goings at The New Croft in recent years but I want to build something where players know they’ll get good training, good education and good facilities.

“It’s going to take time but I’ve been pretty good at building companies away from sport and I don’t see it being that different.

“Firstly you have to get a structure in place and make it appealing, then you need to start winning games and that’s when people will come.

“That’s what we are aiming to build here, it’s a long-term plan.”

Like the manager he has replaced, Tate himself has left a club he only took over earlier this summer.

Tate was named the new Hundon boss in May, but felt he could not turn down the chance to work at a higher level of football.

“I didn’t just become manager at Hundon I sponsored the club as well,” he added.

“I was told the club was in real danger of folding but I put some finances in and helped to raise the profile on social media and with some sponsors.

“It’s just one of those things. Opportunities don’t tell you when they are going to come, they just come.

“I’ve got the chance to make a difference at a higher level and it’s something that really appealed to me.”

Meanwhile, Betts, who is the facilities and football development manager at The New Croft, was involved in the process that resulted in Tate’s appointment.

And he has revealed the new manager will be given plenty of patience as he bids to negotiate his way through what appears to be a tricky first few months at the helm.

“The situation of the previous manager leaving – and the timing – left us with a massive headache,” said Betts. “It’s a tough position and big job. We had five or six people show an interest but in terms of location we ruled them out. Darryl is exactly what we need. He’s hard working, understands the league and has good qualities.

“We won’t be judging him straight away. There’s a lot of recruitment to be done and we’ll be working hard behind the scenes to support him.”