Jules Mumford, Long Melford’s most successful ever manager, believes he has departed at the right time — saying he can ‘think of nothing worse’ than the extra six games in the Thurlow Nunn League’s top division next season.
Three more teams will make up the step five league in 2017/18 — Wroxham and Histon coming down, with Stowmarket Town, Coggeshall Town and Haverhill Borough promoted while FC Clacton and Wivenhoe Town have been granted reprieves.
It comes ahead of the national football pyramid restructure from 2018/19 where there will be a new step four league — intended to cut down on travelling costs — in the Isthmian area that covers East Anglia, meaning a 46 instead of 40-game season for clubs such as Long Melford and Hadliegh United.
Mumford’s decision to step down from The Villager’s hotseat was announced a week ago with the 46-year-old having taken them from second-from-bottom of the First Division in February 2013 to champions in 2014/15 and an historic first promotion to the Eastern Counties top tier.
But he has relinquished the role to concentrate on family life, and admits he is glad he will not be having to plan for an expanded season this summer.
“For me that puts a lot of strain on a lot of clubs,” he said.
“There are no more Saturdays in the season, so that is another six mid-week games on top of what you have already got.
“You need a bigger squad for a longer season.
“I could not think of anything worse than a 46-game season.”
He added: “To be honest, I have lost a little bit of hunger for it. And it was not fair for the club, the supporters or myself (for me to carry on).”
Mumford’s affection for the club runs deep and he is set to help out at Stoneylands as a volunteer, as well as focusing on watching his son, left-back Dan Mumford, who he was also managing in the Thurlow Nunn League Midweek League with Long Melford Under-17s. The club do not have an under-18s, so his son is currently training with neighbours Great Cornard.
The former Sudbury Athletic manager, who guided them to promotion to the Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division as well as a Suffolk FA Junior Cup final appearance at Ipswich’s Town’s Portman Road, will also be helping with the recruitment of his successor.
Reflecting on his time in management, he said: “I have been lucky enough to win the league, which was a massive achievement for the club and for me personally.
“Even last season, to be honest, I found the relegation battle really exciting.”
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