Quadruple winners AFC have set a high standard

PRESENTATION DAY: AFC Sudbury Academy held their presentation day on Saturday, which started with a team photograph involving all the players and staff from the teams, posing with their collection of trophies won during the season
PRESENTATION DAY: AFC Sudbury Academy held their presentation day on Saturday, which started with a team photograph involving all the players and staff from the teams, posing with their collection of trophies won during the season

Danny Laws says AFC Sudbury Under-18s have set the standard for the club’s academy players after completing the quadruple on Friday night.

The Yellows’ youngsters picked up their fourth trophy of the 2016/17 season at Diss Town’s Brewers Green Lane last week, after they thrashed their Swaffham Town counterparts 4-0 in the Thurlow Nunn Youth League Championship Play-Off final.

The victory in Norfolk followed triumphs in the Thurlow Nunn Youth League Cup and Suffolk FA Under-18 Midweek Cup earlier this month, and was their fourth piece of silverware this season, having already won the Thurlow Nunn Youth League South Division title in April.

Laws, the club’s director of football and youth development, believes the team’s achievements this season have now set the standard for years to come.

“It’s brilliant,” he said. “We’re really happy to have won all three of the finals.

“It has capped off a remarkable season and I said to the boys (after Friday’s third cup final win of the season) ‘this is a day you will never forget and what you’ve achieved you will cherish through your whole football careers’.

“They’ve set the standard and we expect that here. We’ve got a strong cohort of players coming in this year, as we do coming in every year, and this is the benchmark. They’ve been a wonderful year group.”

AFC’s Under-18s went into their trio of end-of-season cup finals this month in red-hot form, having lost just one game on their way to winning the South Division title and with an active 17-match winning run in all competitions.

Laws’ boys got the ball rolling with a penalty-shootout win against Dereham Town in the final of the Youth Cup on May 12, before making it a hat-trick of titles just three days later.

A 5-2 victory over Walsham-le-Willows at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium handed them the Midweek Cup, before last Friday they wrapped up an historic quadruple.

Goals from Mekhi McKenzie (two), Ollie Dunlop and Callum Fuller sealed a 4-0 win against Swaffham in the Play-Off final and meant AFC finished the season unbeaten in their last 20 matches.

“This is mine and Dave Cannon (head of academy, recruitment and education) and Craig Power’s (academy coach) second season running the academy,” Laws added.

“Me and Dave had a year before with the AFC Sudbury Reserves and we won the Thurlow Nunn League First Division Knockout Cup.

“We revamped it all and started again in 2015.

“The Under-18s were Suffolk champions in the Thurlow Nunn Under-18s league (in 2015/16) and the reserves finished on 52 points in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division.

“And this year we’ve gone on again. The reputation of the academy goes by itself now.

“We’ve got the full backing of the football club, and what happens here at the academy on a daily basis I take a lot of pride in.”