AFC Sudbury’s new manager David Batch is preparing to repeat his winning formula at Wroxham by linking the Yellows from top to bottom.
The south Norfolk-based 40-year-old made his first meeting since being appointed as Chris Tracey’s successor on Monday a trip to the Colne Football Academy in Brightlingsea, where full-time apprentices are linked to AFC.
He hopes to implement the same blueprint he used to take Wroxham to their highest ever level of football when they competed alongside AFC last season by having players from every side filtering through.
Batch sees the Colne Academy and AFC Sudbury Grassroots youth football set-up as a potential gold mine of talent that can be cultivated to eventually help sustain the club in the riches of higher leagues.
“I could have stayed and enjoyed the fruits of my labour at Wroxham, but I know that the foundations and infrastructure at Sudbury are already in place and there is an opportunity to link everything in with youth development,” he said. “I am coming to the club with the best facilities, fanbase and pitch in the league and it is a great honour.”
Batch, who played professionally for Cambridge United, became the youngest Football Association (FA) license holder in the country to become a senior manager at 20 with Cambridge City.
His impressive CV includes rescuing City from relegation from the old Southern Premier League in half a season in 2002 and the four years at Wroxham were he took the Yatchsmen from the Thurlow Nunn Premier to the Ryman League as well as leading the club to Wembley in the FA Vase final in his first season in charge in 2009/10.
As well as aiming to embed the highest level of non-League professionalism in the county throughout the club, he also revealed hard work will be the bedrock of any success.
“Our first criteria is to be the hardest working team in the league and there is nothing stopping us doing that,” he said.
Former Norwich City Academy coach and Wroxham director of football Steve Eastaugh is now head of coaching and player development under Batch, with the club having not revealed the length of the new boss’ contract.
n AFC are consulting with the FA on further investment in their AFC Grassroots Community Pavilion, which would include building a full size 3G artificial all-weather pitch for community use.