AFC Sudbury Academy chief Danny Laws and Dave Cannon move up to first team roles to assist manager Mark Morsley after coaching staff fired while board gave manager backing
Betvictor Isthmian League North Division club AFC Sudbury have announced their academy director Danny Laws and academy coach Dave Cannon will begin dual roles with the first team to replace manager Mark Morsley taking the decision to fire his entire coaching staff yesterday.
Assistant Lee Norfolk, head coach Paul Skingley and goalkeeping coach Darren Gould were all contacted by telephone by Morsley yesterday - who did consider his own position before the board gave his continue their full backing to continue - to receive the news that they were now seen as surplus to requirements following the team's poor start to the campaign.
AFC Sudbury, who finished eighth in the North Division last term, are currently down in 15th place in the table with just nine points from nine matches and having lost four of their last five league games. They are currently eight points adrift of their top five play-off target.
The club this morning released an update with manager Morsley himself saying: "Making the decision that I did was unbelievably tough as was breaking the news to the guys.
"This was not a decision taken lightly as Skins and Norfs were not just my coaches, they were mates, in fact Skins is my son’s Godfather. However, the performances this season and the basic errors we were making became too regular so I felt this was a decision that had to be taken.
"I am the manager and I appointed these guys so it was right that I made this decision."
Of the appointments he has been swift to make, including academy director of football and youth development Laws, who was interim first-team manager before Morsley joined in October 2017, he said: “10 years ago I worked with Danny and in that single season not only did we achieve great things for Needham Market FC we create a bond that has remained.
"He was the reason I came back to the club and him rejoining me with the first team is the right move for our football club.
"Danny and Dave have been integral in making our academy possibly the most successful one in English non-league football.
"In my years as a manager I have worked with some incredible inspiring coaches and Danny is possibly the best.
"For my team to achieve what I and AFC want over the medium to long term and beyond we have to get key parts of our performances right and I believe this change in direction will be the catalyst to achieving that.”
Laws confirmed his first team role will be a permanent stay this time around, but under Morsley's management.
He said: “These changes have come about quite suddenly, however the three of us now just need to get on with the job and look forward from here, starting with a big FA Trophy match at home this Saturday (against higher-league Harrow Borough).
"This is a permanent position for me and something I haven't taken lightly in making my decision. I had to consider the impact on the AFC Sudbury Academy as this is a project that still, after five years, is growing and we have a big responsibility to maintain the high standards set by the staff over the years.
"I feel very confident that this appointment will only enhance the whole AFC Sudbury football offer including the academy and am really looking forward to it.”
After questions were asked on social media about financial issues perhaps being a motivating factor for the trio leaving, chairman Andrew Long told the Free Press: "This is categorically nothing to do with cost cutting. It is purely results and performance driven.
"There have been certain comments from supporters that we appear to be running the club more as a business than a football club, but whether you like it or not, it is a business.
"We made an operating profit for the first time in 17 years from decisions that had to be made from the position found ourselves in.
"If we have not got it, quite simply we won't spend it."
He said the club hope to announce further appointments to the academy staff but that Laws and Cannon will continue in their current full-time roles on the programme.
He also said the decision to dispense with the first-team coaching staff was something that was approved by the board and that they gave Morsley their full backing to continue in his position.
"Mark had a conversation with Mark as he is his own biggest critic and the board were unanimous in thinking Mark is the right person to carry the first team forward from a position as first-team manager and director of the club," he said.
"But we felt he needs more help implementing the style of play for him to achieve the results he wants to achieve."
In the statement released by the club Long said he felt it was right for the club to promote from within to attempt to rectify the issues.
"I would like to place on record my thanks to Paul, Lee and Darren for all they have done for the the club. But sometimes hard decisions have to be taken for the good of that club.
"Bringing Danny into the first team picture is part of a natural progression for AFC Sudbury. We promote from within. It is what we do. With Dave Cannon and now Danny working with the first team I have absolute confidence that both the results and the consistent style of play that says 'we are AFC Sudbury' will soon be there for all to see.”
More by this authorRussell Claydon