FOOTBALL: 'Hoops and Sooty' aim to keep pushing Town together - The Worcester Observer

FOOTBALL: 'Hoops and Sooty' aim to keep pushing Town together

Worcester Editorial 20th May, 2023   0

PROMOTION-WINNING Malvern Town co-managers Lee Hooper and Stephen Cleal will be at the helm of the Hillsiders when they embark on their Southern League Division One South campaign.

The bosses signed on for the 2023/24 season in the week Town discovered their opponents for the new campaign after the FA confirmed the non-League allocations.

Local trips to Evesham United and Bishops Cleeve will be mixed with longer journeys next season such as to Mousehole – two and a half miles south of Penzance.

Town will also renew their clash with champions Cribbs after the two sides’ enthralling Hellenic League Premier title race this season.

Club chiefs revealed their delight at getting Hooper and Cleal back for what will be the Hillsiders first foray into Step Four of the non-League pyramid since 2009.

“Stability, continuity and having the right people in place is so important,” said chair Chris Pinder.

“They have both spearheaded the football aspect of our project superbly well and seeing them both commit for the next phase of the journey is great for the club.

“It keeps us on the front foot and I know they are both relishing the challenge before them. Their passion, know-how and understanding of the club and where we want to be will stand us in good stead.”

For Hooper it has been a lifelong association with his local club, which began as a supporter during his childhood before quickly progressing to playing for the first-team aged just 15.

He was part of the playing squad the last time we competed in the Southern League before taking over at the helm, initially alongside Dene Whittal-Williams, in 2018.

“I am really excited by what next season holds in store for us,” he said. “Having Sooty (Cleal) commit alongside me is fantastic news and the hard work and planning can now really begin.

“We complement each other well and whilst it’s going to be a tough challenge ahead at a higher level, we will both face it head on and continue to give our all to moving this club forward.

Cleal has a wealth of playing and managerial experience at Step 4 to draw upon.

“I am really pleased to continue managing this fantastic club,” he said.

“To work alongside such a top man as Hoops and with the tremendous players, backroom staff and supporters we have here made it an easy decision for me.

“It will be great personally to be back trading blows with some top managers at Step 4 and working hard to establish Malvern Town at this higher level.

“These are exciting times for all involved with the club and I am so happy to be part of it.”


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