JEZ Hall and Warren Everdell will celebrate their 500th match in charge of St Ives Town Football Club at Westwood Road on Saturday.
And Everdell, who was also the manager for three of the four years before the arrival of Hall, says that stability has been the key to the club’s recent successes.
Manager on his own before taking the 2001-02 season off following the death of his father, Everdell was re-offered the job with the club floundering – and his first thought was to call on his mate Hall for some assistance.
“And it has been Jez and Wozzer ever since,” said Hall.
“It has gone really well – the club was second from bottom of Division One of the UCL when we took the job.
“Three seasons later we won promotion to the Premier Division.”
There are many highlights for the managers, but Hall says the main ones are the obvious: promotion to the Premier Division, the succession of fourth and fifth round FA Vase forays – and the season that they won three big cup finals in just five days.
“To complete that treble: The Hunts Senior Cup, Hunts Premier Cup and Hinchingbrooke Cup, all in such a short space of time, was a real feat,” said Hall.
And this season St Ives are in the fourth round of the FA Vase again, having beaten Telscombe & Peacehaven in the third round in December to set up another big away game at Tonbridge Wells on January 20.
Add to that, the UCL has just confirmed that St Ives are one of only four teams – along with AFC Kempston Rovers, King’s Lynn Town and Long Buckby – to have applied for promotion to the Southern League, should they finish in a ‘qualifying position’ – and their Westwood Raod ground be deemed up to scratch by the League’s inspectors.
However, Hall and Everdell both insist these successes are not entirely down to them. “The supporters we have at the club right now are fantastic – they make each game a real day out,” said Hall, while Everdell paid tribute to the coaches, Errol McCammon and Richard Philps. “Every club needs stability and we have that here,” he said. “We are a great team and Jez and I complement each other. But we are also good mates too and that’s important.
“I wouldn’t do it anymore if I wasn’t able to do it with Jez!”
Club secretary Simon Clark says he has seen St Ives grow under the duo’s guidance – both on and off the field. “They are a phenomenon,” he said. “They are respected in the town and very well liked. Each season they pull something special out of the bag – there are many chairmen who would like them at their club – but they can’t have them. They’re ours!”
Hall does admit there have been offers. “Yes, but we have ignored them” he told The Hunts Post. “We are happy at St Ives.”
And will they still be on the touchline in another 10 years? “I shouldn’t think so,” said Hall. “I’ll be 50 and Wozzer will nearly be 60.
“I can’t see that happening – but you never know!”
St Ives will face Blackstones after all the pre-match back-slapping. Blackstones are in fifth, one point and one place above Saints – but they have played six games more.
With an injury depleted side last Saturday, Ives drew 1-1 at Irchester United with Stuart Cobb grabbing an early goal – before the home side got back on terms with 15 minutes remaining.
That was a bit of a blow for a side who had just won 18 out of 20 games. Still, they will be looking to get back on track with a win on Saturday. And with Hall and Everdell in charge – a tilt at promotion to the Southern League is certainly not out of the question yet…