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Walsham-le-Willows lay down marker as bosses Chay Budd and Ian Hubbard extend stays as does former Stowmarket Town, Needham Market and Bury Town defender Town Sam Nunn





Walsham-le-Willows joint boss Chay Budd believes they are ‘one step ahead’ of their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division rivals after Ian Hubbard, Trevor Newman and himself agreed to continue to lead the Willows next season - with key player Sam Nunn also extending his stay.

Joint managers Budd and Hubbard, who stepped up to replace the departed Trevor Collins during the 2022/23 season, led The Morrish Stadium outfit to an eighth-placed finish last campaign, with former boss Newman continuing to assist them in the dugout. It came after they lost seven of their opening 10 matches, finishing the season with an emphatic 11-game unbeaten run.

As well as success domestically, where they comfortably secured their pre-season target of a top-half finish, Walsham also enjoyed a historic cup run in the Isuzu FA Vase which saw them bow out in the last-32 stage.

Chay Budd and Ian Hubbard have committed their future to Walsham-le-Willows Picture: Mark Bullimore
Chay Budd and Ian Hubbard have committed their future to Walsham-le-Willows Picture: Mark Bullimore

It meant the club were keen to tie down the trio as soon as possible, and they were more than happy to agree.

Budd said: “We know where we’re going, we know what direction we’re taking the team, in a way that we want to play, and if we do keep the players we’ve got we’ll be one step ahead of everyone else already.

“We’re not introducing anybody different, we’re not going to change the way that we play, so I think we’ll be a long way further ahead at the start of this season than we were last season.”

Defender Sam Nunn has extended his stay at Walsham-le-Willows. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Defender Sam Nunn has extended his stay at Walsham-le-Willows. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Hubbard said: “It’s all worked out well for the club. The club wanted us, we’ve agreed to stay so we’ve got a good forward plan for next year.

“Football’s a really tough job through the season when you get the pressure week in, week out, and the close season is really tough for managers.

“Players have had a hard season, they want a bit of a break and we have to back off a bit, but it’s quite key that they go into the cooldown period, when they can have a break and switch off, knowing that we’re all in place.

“These are markers that for a successful club people need to see.”

The Walsham-le-Willows management team of (from left) Chay Budd, Ian Hubbard and Trevor Newman
The Walsham-le-Willows management team of (from left) Chay Budd, Ian Hubbard and Trevor Newman

A key cog to the Walsham side that shone last term was centre-back Sam Nunn, who joined in September with an abundance of experience of Step 3 and 4 football. Like the management staff, the defender has signed a contract extension, keeping him at the club next season.

“There’s not many sides in that league that wouldn’t take Sam into their squad,” admitted Hubbard.

“We know that he’s had offers from higher clubs at Step 4 but he’s obviously really liked and is on board with what we’re doing as a club.

“It was a good bit of business to get that done early to warn other clubs that he’s with us for another year. These are all little things that as a management team we look at and say ‘right, let’s put a marker down’.”

Budd believes Nunn will be far from the only member of their squad to resign, and hopes the retention of the defender will stress to the rest of the players that they are ‘serious about keeping the side together’.



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