It took one training session for Phil Kelly to know he had made the right decision in joining AFC Sudbury, writes Liam Apicella.
Barring a brief stint at Hadleigh United, the striker spent eight years with Brightlingsea Regent, helping them rise from the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division to the Bostik League Premier Division.
But last month he opted to become a part of manager Mark Morsley’s rebuilding job at the King’s Marsh Stadium, signing a deal through to the end of the 2018/19 season.
He is one of a handful of experienced players recruited by Morsley since his return to the AFC dugout in October, with members of the club’s successful academy making up the rest of the squad.
And it is those young players who have caught the eye of Kelly, who believes the future is bright for those of a Sudbury persuasion.
“Coming here and providing that little bit of experience is one of the things that really appealed to me,” said the frontman, who scored match-winning goals in recent trips to Maldon & Tiptree and Heybridge Swifts.
“These are young players but the confidence is growing game by game. It is a nice feeling to be part of team that is growing.
“I remember the first training session — I could not believe the quality the young players have.
“The ball was being popped about at a fast pace and that is what I am all about.
“Plan A is to get the ball down and play decent football — you can see it is ingrained in them.
“It is infectious and makes me want to join in — it is the sort of football I like playing.
“These boys are the future of Sudbury, the potential they have is massive.
“Mark and the club are building such a good thing here and more clubs should follow their lead.”
• AFC Sudbury Reserves took revenge for their 4-0 home defeat to neighbouring Cornard United in November, with a 3-1 success at Blackhouse Lane on Friday evening with goals coming from Adam Hanson, Nathan Read and substitute Liam Bennett.
Danny Laws’ 10th-placed side hosta team two places above them, Debenham LC, on Saturday (3pm).
• AFC Sudbury Ladies lost 4-0 at home to Acle United and will look to get back on track at home to Bedford this Sunday (2pm).
• AFC Gold week 40 winners: £100 (134) R Farrance, Tye Green, Glemsford; £10 (116) P Gant, Cats Lane, Sudbury; £10 (225) N Booth, Walnutree Lane, Sudbury.