David Batch has today (Tuesday) announced that he has left AFC Sudbury with immediate effect after accepting an offer to become manager of Southern League Premier Division outfit St Neots Town.
Batch leaves the Yellows at a crucial point of the current Ryman League Division One North campaign with the club sitting just three points adrift of the play-off places ahead of a busy schedule that will see them travel to table-topping Needham Market on Thursday before difficult ties at home against Ware on Saturday and Soham Town Rangers on Tuesday.
Steve Eastaugh and Darren Plowman will also be leaving the Yellows to join Batch at St Neots, meaning Danny Laws will step up to take caretaker charge while remaining in charge of the club’s youth development.
In a statement sent to the Free Press this morning (Tuesday) Batch revealed the reasons behind his decision.
“I have decided to accept the offer of becoming Manager at a higher level with St Neots Town FC and therefore resign my position at AFC Sudbury with immediate effect,” he said. “Firstly, I can honestly say that I would not have even entered into discussion with any other club other than St Neots, let alone consider a move to one.
“I was very happy delivering the plan I was asked to produce at AFC, to build and improve a playing infrastructure to match the magnificent facilities that exist, delivering success for many years to come at what I believe to be one of the best non league clubs around.
“I am proud that during my first season we improved the league position by 31 points, were League Cup runners-up in the first cup final the club had reached for several years and enjoyed excellent runs in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy.
“Behind the scenes, we revamped the player pathway, changing the focus of the Reserves to enable us to produce our own players.
“This is now bearing fruit with seven ‘home grown’ teenagers featuring this season, many of which are regulars in first team squads after years of very little talent being developed.
“This year, we further enhanced that pathway by adding the excellent Danny Laws and Dave Cannon to the team and created a new under-18 team, including the excellent under-18 manager Craig Power, who is recruiting some of the best talent in the area into and on through the club.
“Concurrently the first team playing squad have done exactly what has been asked of them so far and have continued to improve on last season.
“They remain in every competition they are capable of progressing in, by sitting just outside the league play-off positions, are in the semi-finals of the Suffolk Premier Cup as well as still being in the latter stages of the League Cup.
“This is on top of a fine FA Trophy run which saw them beat three teams from the tier above and narrowly exit at a National Conference side.
“I am convinced that with the return of key striking options, coupled with the fact that the majority of the group are on contract with the club, they have every chance of pushing hard to the end of the season and achieving at least one of those aims.
“Despite my personal excitement at this time, I feel terrible for leaving this excellent group of men who have a superb spirit and ethic and I will certainly be willing them to progress further on all fronts. I thank them for all of their efforts.”
He added: “I would like to thank all the people behind the scenes.
“AFC is full of good people with more supportive, hard working, professional and genuine people than I have known at other clubs.
“Dave Webb in particular is the most conscientious club secretary I have ever come across, Danny Crosbie and Richard Instance work diligently to deliver a long term vision and like many others are a credit to the club. But the list could go on, including the superb away support that the club continues to have.
“I would like to thank every one for their support and help over the last 18 months and wish AFC every success in the future.”