Shock as plug pulled on club link-up deal

THE Ridgeons League has seen its first managerial casualty before a ball has even been kicked with Chris Symes suddenly pulling the plug on a link-up between Braintree Town and Cornard United.

Braintree Reserves manager Mark Sansom had been told he would also be the Cornard manager for at least the next 12 months following an agreement to strike up a dual-registration player agreement between the clubs.

But under 24 hours before he was due to lead his first training session at Blackhouse Lane, he received an unexpected call from former Braintree manager and now Cornard owner Symes, telling him the deal was suddenly off.

Symes, who the Suffolk Free Press has reported is in negotiations with two bidders to sell the club, was not available for comment this week, but Sansom was left reeling with the situation.

“We were due to have a friendly with Braintree Town on the 11th and Chris Symes rang me and said he was pulling the plug on the deal,” he said.

Sansom was left to take training at Braintree, instead of Cornard, the next evening and left to tell the players he has worked with for the last three years there will now no longer be any Saturday football on offer for them in the forthcoming season. He claims half of the squad have now left to find other clubs as a result of hearing the unexpected news, which came after Sansom’s players won the Cornard five-a-side competition the Saturday before.

“Words cannot explain how disappointed I am,” said Sansom. “From my own developmental point of view I was looking forward to taking that step and bringing my successful squad that I have put a lot of hard work into building over three years.”

He added: “I was lost for words when he (Symes) told me, I could not believe it.

“It was the day before we were due to start training and I was absolutely gutted.”

Sansom has been told he can continue back at Braintree Town, but the friendly between the two clubs is now almost certainly off, with the reserves manager adding the situation has done a lot of damage for any potential future dealings between the clubs.