Melton Town’s ‘Mister Football’ steps down as co-manager

Steve Hendey joined Melton Town as co-manager in January and orchestrated a strong end to the season EMN-170111-114546002
Steve Hendey joined Melton Town as co-manager in January and orchestrated a strong end to the season EMN-170111-114546002
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Health issues have forced Melton Town co-manager Steve Hendey to end his long and successful career in football.

Hendey had hoped to see out the season to help co-manager Shane Jarram who joined Melton in the close season.

With co-manager Shane Jarram in pre-season EMN-170111-131307002

With co-manager Shane Jarram in pre-season EMN-170111-131307002

But a recurring throat problem persuaded the popular manager to step down after several decades as a player and in management.

“I just can’t do the job properly,” he said. “When you can’t use your voice, you are semi-redundant as a manager.

“It’s been going on for a long time. It got a little better before the season, but recently I thought it’s not getting any better and I didn’t want to make it worse.

“Sam (Ellis - chairman) has said they don’t want to kick me out the door, but I won’t be there poking my nose in; it’s Shame’s domain now.”

Jarram has also lost the midfield services of another Hendey, Steve’s son Mike, who played his final game on Saturday before heading for China to work.

Phil Baker remains as assistant manager, while senior player Tom Cooper has also stepped temporarily into the dugout with Jarram while he recovers from long-term injury.

Jarram said: “Steve is Mr Football. He has been around a long time and achieved a lot, and all of the lads respect him.

“He is a very nice guy and so passionate about the game. He is very focussed on what he wants to do and I’m sure he will come back in some role.”

Hendey played all of his football in the town, mainly as a full-back with the successful Melton Town side of the 1980s before injury forced him to hang up his boots when he was just 28.

But he moved almost immediately from pitch to dugout, accepting an invitation from Jeff Gibbon to join him at Holwell Sports during the club’s title-winning era.

His honours as manager include league titles with Holwell Sports’ youth team and most recently a Senior League crown with Sileby Town.

“It’s been a long a pretty successful career right back to when I first played for Brent Horobin,” he said.

“I learned a lot from both Brent and Jeff. They managed in the style that I do; the coaching rather than the shouting.

“We all believe in playing football in what we term ‘the correct way’.”

One of the managerial manners he shared with both men, along with the desire to improve players, was how he got his messages across

Ironically given his medical complaint, that did not involve the hairdryer treatment.

“I have never kicked off at half-time or after the game; it’s just not my style,” he added.

“I wouldn’t sign someone who would improve the side if he wasn’t the right type. A happy dressing room is important and I think they have got that now at Melton.

“I will miss the changing rooms and banter the most; it’s always been a big part of the appeal for me.

“It’s a shame I can’t be there to finish the job; if they get everyone back and everyone fit they can only go forward.

“We ended up with a good side at the end of last season, but a lot of them were tempted away and we had to practically rebuild it.”

While management will free up more time for other things, Saturday afternoons are still likely to be spent at football grounds.

He said: “It’s not as if I can retire and spend more time with the family because my wife watches more football than me. I will have to go to games to see Sarah!

“Football just takes over people like me. I will still be around; they won’t get rid of me that easily.”

Despite good performances and positive results, a tough run of fixtures has seen Melton drop to 15th in United Counties league Division One. But they remain within 10 points of the top five, and Jarram insists they are still in good shape to chase their targets.

“We have taken four points out of the top side Raunds, but one point at the moment isn’t good enough,” he added.

“The aim is still the same; we wanted promotion, but the minimum requirement is FA Cup qualification and that’s still what we are aiming for.”