When Mark Morsley takes charge of AFC Sudbury training for the first time this evening since his shock return to the dugout was announced, he will have one clear message for the players: ‘Let’s make history together’.
Morsley, who guided AFC to two Isthmian League Division One North play-off finals during his previous spell at the helm between 2006 and 2008, had seemingly walked away from management in the summer following a five-year stint as Needham Market boss.
He took up the role as chairman of Needham Market’s new limited company, but soon realised a watching brief was not for him.
And following conversations with the AFC board — via an initial discussion with the club’s academy chief and interim boss Danny Laws — Morsley is now back in situ at the King’s Marsh Stadium on a three-and-a-half-year contract, taking over the reins from the sacked Jamie Godbold.
He inherits a team very much in transition following last season’s relegation from the Bostik League Premier Division, with Tuesday night’s 1-1 home draw against Maldon & Tiptree leaving them 16th in the Division One North standings.
The positive feeling of yesteryear, when Sudbury made great strides under Morsley, dominated the Eastern Counties League and were regular FA Vase finalists, currently feels a far cry away, but Morsley is focused on bringing back the good times.
“There will be a bedding in process and some teething problems during the early stages, people need to be aware of that,” said Morsley, who will be assisted by former AFC midfielder Lee Norfolk.
“We have a great academy here and that was one of the major attractions about rejoining the club.
“But the key to a successful club is having a first team that is strong and that can lead the way. When I meet with the players, I will talk about the famous Vase runs and the trophies that have been won.
“They see pictures of legends like Chris Tracey on the walls, but it is time for them to make their own history and own headlines.
“With the exception of the promotion a couple of years ago, the club has underachieved for a while now and I want to put that right.”
Each member of the current squad — as well as those within the academy — will be given the opportunity to prove their worth, starting with Saturday’s home Buildbase FA Vase tie against Aylesbury United (3pm) and Tuesday’s Suffolk Senior Cup clash at home versus Haverhill Borough (7.45pm).
That includes leading goalscorer Adam Mills, whose fall out with Morsley during their time together at Needham resulted in the attacker joining Maldon & Tiptree in January 2016.
On Mills, Morsley said: “I will sit down with Adam and have a chat with him.
“I will let him know that I want him to hang around for longer than his current contract runs. Adam has the footballing ability to play in the pro game.”
And as far as incomings are concerned, Morsley conceded he would like to add one or two more experienced heads over the coming weeks.
“My track record shows I do not waste my money on journeymen footballers,” he added.
“I have been able to bring in some great ex pros like Kem Izzet and Ian Westlake — lads that offered a lot on and off the pitch.
“We do not have much of that type at the moment and that needs addressing. There will be players coming in over time, but the lads that are already in the squad will be given an opportunity.”