EXCLUSIVE: Maxwell’s AFC Sudbury future hangs in the balance

UNDER INVESTIGATION: Ryan Maxwell, who took pre-season fitness sessions for the club in his role of player/strength and conditioning coach
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Ryan Maxwell, who took pre-season fitness sessions for the club in his role of player/strength and conditioning coach

Ryan Maxwell was set to go before an AFC Sudbury 
disciplinary panel last night, who are investigating if he 
has breached his contract.

The Free Press understands the player-coach, who joined from Heybridge Swifts in the summer, is said to have sparked an internal club investigation after an incident involving supporters at half-time during a recent home match.

Ahead of a hearing last night, which was set to be overseen by an independent non-club member, AFC chairman Phil Turner said the club will take any breach of discipline from any of their players seriously.

“There was an incident during half-time at one of the games and it is being investigated by the board,” he confirmed, with Chigwell-based boxing club owner Maxwell having been absent from match-day squads for the past fortnight. “I believe there is a disciplinary hearing at the club, which Mr Maxwell has been invited to and following whatever happens at that meeting, action will be taken.”

He added: “We take discipline very seriously at AFC Sudbury and we will take the appropriate action.”

On signing the 31-year-old, manager, David Batch had said he was the right character for their promotion push as he ‘takes no prisoners, even in his own dressing room’ in pursuit of winning.

Of the former Northern Ireland Under-21 international’s absence, he said: “He has not been involved in the last couple of games, and in fairness we have been playing well.

“I know the football club are speaking to him about an incident and I am sure they will get to the bottom of it.”

Maxwell, who was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, had told the Free Press after signing in July he felt he could address a perceived mental weakness in the AFC squad, and would consider winning the play-offs a personal failure.

“I think maybe in the past Sudbury had players with the technical ability to get there or thereabouts, but lacked a bit of a determined streak — I will not let that happen again,” he said.

The former Chelsea trainnee, who was player/assistant-manager at Grays Athletic before joining Swifts, had 
said he had been hoping to 
settle down at his 20th club in 10 years, with seven of those having come in the last five years.

The club added another experienced midfielder, 34-year-old fitness trainer Ollie Berquez from Maldon and Tiptree, ahead of Saturday’s impressive 3-1 FA Trophy win at Whitstable Town, in which he scored.

“He was excellent on Saturday, he has good qualities and hopefully he will bring something to the party,” said Batch, who praised the whole team for their ‘excellent’ display in Kent.

But AFC’s seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions was ended by Cheshunt in a 3-1 home defeat on Tuesday, which left the Yellows ninth, two points from the play-off places.

Batch said no-one inside the club had been getting carried away with the run though and added both a trip to strugglers Romford (19th) on Saturday (3pm), before hosting play-off rivals Brentwood Town (fourth) on Tuesday (7.45pm), would both be equally tough challenges.

n The club this week issued a new share capital of previously unsold shares in AFC Sudbury Ltd, totalling just more than 12,000, priced at £1 each, after taking receipt of new certificates.

Anyone interested in purchasing any, with a minimum holding of 100 shares and maximum of 3,000, should see director Brian Tatum at the club on match days.

There were £400 sold in the first few days.

* See this week’s Suffolk Free Press for an interview with new signing Ollie Berquez and player ratings from Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat.