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Harleston Town manager Nicky Howell steps down after play-off final victory

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Not even promotion could tempt Nicky Howell to reverse his decision to step down as Harleston Town manager.

Howell oversaw today's 3-1 play-off final victory over Downham Town – a result that means Harleston will be playing Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division (Step 5) football for the first time in their history next season.

But Howell, who was appointed boss in 2019, had already decided he was going to take a break from football before the victory. And while the result did has made it harder to walk away, he still feels the time is right to part ways.

Nicky Howell has stepped down as Harleston manager. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Nicky Howell has stepped down as Harleston manager. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Howell said: "I came here as a player, I was lucky enough to captain for a while and then stepped up to manager.

"I feel like I've done my bit. We've got the club up to as high as its ever been and so it's mission done for me.

"I feel like I've earned myself a little break. I've played Saturday football since I was six so that's 30 years. I want to have a little bit of time at home with the kids and the family.

"I've said to the chairman I'll always be about and do what I can to help the club if I'm needed, but I just need some time away to be with the family.

"It's tempting (to stay after winning today). It's a new league, the highest the club has been and next season there might be a hint of sadness that they're doing it without me but I need the break and I've promised the family."

Meanwhile, chairman Adam Mullin paid tribute to the departing Howell, saying: "Nicky is massive and just an amazing human being. He's a bit of a hero to me if I'm being brutally honest – he's been fantastic.

"When I took over as manager when Adam Gusterson left, I put Nick straight in the team because he's a fantastic footballer and he's turned out to be a fantastic manager.

"We're pleased for him on the one hand but pretty devastated that one of our own is leaving us.

"But he's just been amazing, unbelievable for us. His family are wonderful people as well and it's great they'll be spending a bit more time together now."

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