Jamie Godbold’s rebuilding job at AFC Sudbury remains a work in progress, but the manager is excited by the calibre of player he has already been able to attract to the club.
After their relegation from the Isthmian League Premier Division last term, it promises to be a new-look Sudbury side that opens up the 2017/18 season in the freshly-branded Bostick League Division One North.
As reported by The Free Press over recent weeks, many of the previous campaign’s squad — including King’s Lynn Town-bound Craig Parker — have opted to head for pastures new.
However, the raft of departures has been somewhat off-set by recent arrivals, with seven new players and four academy graduates signing on the dotted line.
Among the additions are Adam Mills, Joe Claridge and Rhys Henry — all of whom helped Maldon & Tiptree to finish runners-up in Division One North last season — while Jake Turner played a key role in Brightlingsea Regent’s surge to the title.
And, coupled with the youngsters that helped AFC’s academy win an unprecedented quadruple, Godbold believes a major ‘winning mentality’ is once again being developed at the Wardale Williams Stadium.
“After last season and then a lot of the players moving on, there was lots of doom and gloom initially,” said Godbold, who is looking to recruit two more defenders.
“But hopefully the new signings coming in has helped to lift spirits.”
“The level of player we have been able to attract is pleasing and each of them brings a winning mentality.
“If you look at their teams last year, most of them were challenging for trophies, as were the young lads.
“Each of the new signings see Sudbury as a big club and they want to be part of us pushing on again.
“It is pretty much going to be a new squad with a clean slate, which is exciting for Andy (Reynolds, assistant) and myself.”
Godbold had initially been keen to keep his squad together, indicating he felt stability would provide the club with the best chance of securing a return to Step Three at the first time of asking.
Deals were offered to a number of players, but those that headed for the exit door felt they could not wait another 12 months to prove themselves a level higher.
“I am disappointed to see so many go, but they have done it for the right reasons,” added Godbold.
“They all want to challenge themselves and feel they have unfinished business at that level.
“Each of them wants to prove they can do it, so good luck to them.”
AFC Sudbury’s busy summer so far:
Rhys Henry (Maldon & Tiptree)
Paul Walker (Haverhill Borough)
Dave Cowley (Thurrock)
Joe Claridge (Maldon & Tiptree)
Adam Mills (Maldon & Tiptree)
Lheureux Menga (Harrow Borough)
Jake Turner (Brightlingsea Regent)
Rob Eagle (Leiston)
Marcus Garnham (Leiston)
Jack Wilkinson (Harlow Town)
Erkan Okay (Soham Town Rangers)
Ryan Henshaw (Heybridge Swifts)
James Baker (Harlow Town)
Craig Parker (King’s Lynn Town)
AFC Gold winners week: 1st £100 (180) Mr D Webb, Melford Road, Sudbury. 2nd £10 (292) Miss M Andrews, Bay Horse, Melford Road, Sudbury, 3rd £10 (259) Mr S Gates, Chilton Office Supplies, Sudbury.