Fans' favourite Paul Walker pens new three-year deal at AFC Sudbury to Mark Morsley's delight
Manager Mark Morsley believes getting goalkeeper Paul Walker to commit to AFC Sudbury for another two years is his most crucial piece of close-season transfer business already done and dusted.
The player who has Football League experience, having played four games for Northampton Town between 2009 and 2012, still had another 12 months to run on a three-year contract at King’s Marsh.
But the recently-turned 28-year-old, who has represented Wales at under-17s level, has put any speculation about his immediate future to bed by signing an improved three-year deal.
It will be music to the ears of AFC Sudbury’s squad and fans after he was voted Supporters’ and Players’ Player of the Season at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, which was his second campaign with the club. He had picked up the Players’ award in his first season as well.
Walker is also a front runner for May 16’s Facebook Live presentation for 2019/20 after a string of standout displays between the posts.
“We are looking at the longer term, as we always have been, and he is probably the best goalkeeper I have worked with,” said Morsley.
“Paul is very comfortable here. His mum never misses a game and his girlfriend and baby come along too.
“We opened up talks before the end of the season about an improved deal and those talks were still ongoing.
“Now we know where we are with finances and budgets it was a no-brainer.
“He is enjoying himself and has built a relationship with our new goalkeeping coach (Kevin Holland).
“He likes the way we play and he is one of our best players, so why not commit to another three years?”
He added: “Let’s not kid ourselves, he could have gone to any club in the land.”
Morsley sees the commitment from the player signed after a short spell with Haverhill Borough, following being on the books at Corby Town and Kettering Town, as key to unlocking other transfer targets.
“I do need cover in defence and as a defender, the first thing you want to know is how good is the guy in the number one shirt?
“Walks is known for being a very good goalkeeper and in many ways will be the biggest signing for the preparation of the season starting.
“It is a great indication of what the football club is doing.”
It comes after last week’s revelation that England Colleges international striker Freddie King has penned his first senior contract, a two-year deal, with the club.
Meanwhile, despite the rumours there has been no confirmation of a delayed start to Sudbury’s Isthmian League season, set to start in early August.
Morsley believes that date is very unlikely but says ‘we have to plan for it’ and then ‘make adjustments if we need to’.
* AFC Gold Week 52: £100 (134) R Farrance, Tye Green, Glemsford; £10 (141) K Earthroll, Baldry Close, Ipswich; £10 (224) Mrs G Scott, Constitution Hill, Sudbury.
More by this authorRussell Claydon