Tracey knew work pattern would end time as manager

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Chris Tracey said even after beating the runaway league leaders he knew he would not make it to the end of the season as AFC Sudbury manager.

A new job as a warehouse manager for a haulage company in Earls Colne has seen the time Tracey could devote to the Ryman League club rapidly erode more and more.

Unable to answer calls to the Free Press to give his views in the paper became the least of his problems as he tried to juggle family life with AFC Sudbury and his day job.

And even after a rare night of unbridled joy at King’s Marsh on Feburary 26, when the Yellows’ inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Maldon and Tiptree, Tracey knew something, the football, had to give.

“If I do something I have to give it 110 per cent,” he said. “After beating Maldon and Tiptree it was on my mind — and we had just beaten the side who were top of the league.

“The time you have to give to run a football club at this level is 24/7 and I was going straight from work to the football and there was no time at home, so it was affecting that side of my life as well.

“However, as much as I love Sudbury — and I have been involved with the club and Sudbury Town for 20 of the 22 years — sometimes you have to make these difficult decisions.”

Tracey has immediately sought solace away from King’s Marsh by returning to the pitch as an unlikely solution to long-time friend Kevin Grainger’s selection problems at strugglers Cornard United.

The 43-year-old, who officially hung up his boots under Nicky Smith’s management in 2010/11, was a surprise name in the Thurlow Nunn League side’s line-up in their 2-1 home defeat to strugglers Debenham LC, the home side’s 40th consecutive league defeat.

“On Tuesday night I knew I was going to play for Cornard (again) and I was not able to get to the ground until 7.10pm and they are a couple of leagues below at that level,” said Tracey, to demonstrate how the AFC job had become too much. “At the end of the day it is my work which pays the bills.”

But while looking to carry on seeking Cornard’s elusive win as the father figure of the team, Tracey has not ruled out a return to the dugout further down the line, and will be back at The MEL Group Stadium as a fan when Cornard’s season has concluded.

“When I have learned this (day) job and when I may have more time on my hands, I would like to take some sort of management level role, whether a coach or assistant manager,” he said.

James Baker (work commitments) and defender Ashley Sloots (new-born baby) should both be back for AFC for Saturday’s home game with Tilbury (3pm), while Robbie Martin begins a two-match suspension for his straight red card against Ilford.

n Week 46 winners in the AFC Gold fundraiser are: £100 R Reed (475), Waltham Road, Boreham; £10 Miss M Andrews (347), Melford Road, Sudbury; £10 Mrs M Littlewood (461), Badleys Close, Great Waldingfield.