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Long Melford appoint former AFC Sudbury and Braintree Town coach Liam Joyce as new manager

Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division club Long Melford have appointed experienced higher-league coach Liam Joyce as their new manager.

The former Braintree Town and AFC Sudbury first-team coach succeeds David Hennessey who stepped down after their final game at Hadleigh United on April 24 following two seasons in charge of The Villagers.

It is a first manager role for Joyce who spent the 2021/22 season with Sudbury working under Rick Andrews and Angelo Harrop before following the latter to Braintree where he helped The Iron into the National League South play-offs last term.

Long Melford's new manager Liam Joyce (right) with chairman Geoff Thomas Picture: Long Melford FC
Long Melford's new manager Liam Joyce (right) with chairman Geoff Thomas Picture: Long Melford FC

In his season at Sudbury he helped the club reach the first round proper of the FA Cup where they hosted Colchester United in a BBC televised tie.

Joyce inherits a squad that had a strong end to the season, following a long winless start, to finish 15th whilst also reaching the semi-final of the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup.

Long Melford chairman Geoff Thomas said he was the standout candidate from three they ended up interviewing for a number of reasons.

He said: “Although we did not advertise the role we were inundated with applicants wanting to fill the position.

“We interviewed three potential managers and by unanimous decision the interviewing panel selected Liam as their number one choice.

“His experience coaching at a higher level, with the likes of Braintree Town and AFC Sudbury, his player connections, his development plans, involving player progress from the Under18/23s to the first team, were key features in his appointment.”

Joyce said he cannot wait to get started in the role at the Skyline Networks Stadium.

“I feel very excited and so pleased to be the new Long Melford first-team manager,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting the players and holding individual and a whole team meeting to introduce myself, get to know them a little bit and outlined the plan going forward.”

He added: “It’s the start of a new exciting era at the club and I want to thank the chairman, the president and the whole of the committee in believing in me to take this club forward.

“I’m looking forward for all the hard work to begin and meeting the fans and all the people behind the scenes of the football club.”