New Management in place for The Under 18s

You may be aware that a few things have changed at management / coaching levels recently at the club affecting both the Reserves and Under 18s.

At the start of the season Aren Howell and Alex Egelton were in charge of both sides. This was a demanding role, particularly with the Reserves being promoted to The Thurlow Nunn Division One at step 6 in the Football Pyramid. That promotion was always going to be difficult and some poor results led to a number of changes at the end of October and beginning of November.

Aren Howell stepped down as Reserve team manager and later left his role as Under 18s manager as well. Alex Egelton remained in place, concentrating on assisting incoming Reserve boss Luke Hillyard, who joined the club from Achilles FC. This meant some changes affecting the Under 18s, which sees Dean Porter and Kevin Baker coming in as joint manager-coaches.

More on Dean and Kevin in a moment, but first let’s take a look at how the Under 18s are doing at present. Last Thursday (22ndNovember) the team was minutes away from being top of the Thurlow Nunn League. Only a late equalizer from Leiston put paid to that aspiration.

For those of you who may not know, the Under 18s play on a Thursday night and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed watching them play. The energy levels are high and I’ve yet to witness any rolling around on the floor or mimicking top flight football. What I have seen is the ball played on the ground and a total lack of cynicism.

Dean, you may be aware, is Rory Porter’s dad and has been at the club a very long time, starting as a junior coach, bringing his team all the way from under 6s through to Under 16s before joining the senior set up. 

Kevin joined the senior coaching staff at the start of this season but his first involvement at Felixstowe and Walton was when he was 16 years old and Ray Stanbridge (club stalwart) was still young! For the last 7 years Kevin has been manager at Ipswich Wanderers U18s where he progressed players through to Thurlow Nunn 1stteam premier football.

Since taking over together, Kevin and Dean have seen their young side chalk up two wins over Stowmarket (3-1 away and 7-0 at home) and a 2-2 draw with a tough Leiston FC.

According to Kevin, a number of Under 18 players have been promoted to The Reserves and a few are bordering on 1stteam duties. A new development recently has seen all the squads training together with some youngsters being integrated and invited to train with the first team squad. Already this season a few Under 16 players have joined the squad and played a few games.

Recent games have seen the Under 18s attracting around 75 spectators with this being higher, in some cases, than teams playing in The Bostik North. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the team on a Thursday evening yet, give it a try. For £3, and a hot chocolate or a pint, it’s well worth a try.

To see a short interview with Kevin after last week’s match against Leiston FC, go to