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Rookie Hadleigh United manager Steve Holder determined to prove any doubters wrong as he takes on the journey from Christian Appleford at the Millfield




Just like in his playing career, new Hadleigh United boss Steve Holder says he will be looking to prove any doubters wrong.

The 34-year-old revealed he had no hesitation in stepping up from his player-assistant role to take over from Christian Appleford at the Millfield once the latter’s outside commitments forced him to relinquish the role.

And after making some eye-catching signings in his first few weeks in the post, he is looking for his side to show the club’s relegation worries of 2018/19 and 19/20 are now firmly behind them.

Hadleigh United's new player-manager Steve Holder (right) with one of his new recruits, Marcel Kiwomya
Hadleigh United's new player-manager Steve Holder (right) with one of his new recruits, Marcel Kiwomya

He said: “Christian has put the foundations in and I’m hopefully going to continue the journey that he started on.

“I know they are all good players for this level. Everyone who has played for me in the last couple of games have been brilliant.”

Holder’s side have certainly raised a few eyebrows already in their pre-season games, with Saturday’s 4-1 home victory against higher-league Coggeshall Town (Ivatt 2, Glover, Hammett) following a 1-0 victory at ambitious Ipswich Wanderers (Ransome) last Wednesday.

Former Bury Town winger Dan Hammett has signed for Hadleigh United and is pictured with manager Steve Holder
Former Bury Town winger Dan Hammett has signed for Hadleigh United and is pictured with manager Steve Holder

He already has four new signings in the squad in released Ipswich Town Academy striker Marcel Kiwomya, former Bury Town youngsters Harry Brown (forward), Dan Hammett (winger) and Ryan Taylor (centre-back).

Holder said: “I think we’ve got a very good side here and when people saw I had taken over they were thinking ‘oh Stevie Holder, he’s not going to do anything’.

“At every level I played – Step 3, 4 and 5 – I scored everywhere I’ve been. And every time someone wrote me off it gave me more fire in my belly.

“And I’ve told the boys this. I’ve said people have already written me off about this job but I’ve said we’ll prove them wrong.

Former Bury Town youngster Ryan Taylor has signed for Hadleigh United from Mundford
Former Bury Town youngster Ryan Taylor has signed for Hadleigh United from Mundford

“I know it’s only pre-season but I think we’ve already put out a bit of a statement. Hopefully we can carry this on as there’s a real good buzz here.”

Holder, who includes Bury Town, Mildenhall Town and Ely City among his former clubs, had lost two-and-a-half stone in a bid for one last season on the pitch before he realised he was set to be handed the reigns. He will still be registered to play but will be happy if he does not have to start naming himself in the side.

New Hadleigh United signing Harry Brown with manager Steve Holder
New Hadleigh United signing Harry Brown with manager Steve Holder

“Maybe if they are not doing it and we need a bit of experience I will play myself but they will get a chance first,” he said.

His latest addition is pacey striker Kiwomya, son of former Arsenal and Ipswich player Chris.

“Marcel is a bit different, he is quick strong and has only just turned 18,” he said.

“He is another one like Harry Brown that just needs a chance somewhere.”

And he feels winger Hammett can be a firm favourite at the Millfield.

“I’ve said he can be a bit of a fans’ favourite and he’s already scored a bit of a worldy, so people have seen what I mean,” he said.

“He is a good lad. He has played Step 3 and Step 4 before going away to university.

“He will be a good player for us this season.”

Hadleigh are set to open up their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign at March Town United on Saturday, July 31 (3pm). They will host Desborough Town in the Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on August 7 and travel to Walthamstow in the Buildbase FA Vase First Round Qualifying on September 11.

Their pre-season friendlies continue tonight with Holder’s former club Bury Town visiting (7.45pm) but Saturday’s trip to Holland FC has been cancelled.

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