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Mark Morsley returns to the helm as manager of AFC Sudbury to complete unfinished business




Five weeks after he vacated the post to help the club negotiate their way through the coronavirus pandemic, we can reveal Mark Morsley has been re-appointed manager of AFC Sudbury with immediate effect.

Chairman Andrew Long said that having taken a series of measures to get the club into a healthier financial position, they did speak to a number of other ‘highly-qualified candidates’ before returning back to their former boss.

“The more we thought about it the outstanding candidate remained the one who resigned because he understands the club,” he said.

Andrew Long of AFC Sudbury presenting manager Mark Morsley with a monthly awardPicture: Clive Pearson (33872139)
Andrew Long of AFC Sudbury presenting manager Mark Morsley with a monthly awardPicture: Clive Pearson (33872139)

“One of the principle drivers behind the model is to ensure that the academy is the cornerstone of the club, that we promote from within and we fill our first team with a majority of either current academy players or academy graduates.

“And that is not something, from the conversations we had with some of the other candidates, that they were keen to do.

“They felt we needed more than half of experienced professionals and that is not the model we are trying to promote.”

Sudbury, Suffolk. AFC Sudbury's new manager Mark Morsley's first game in charge...Picture: MARK BULLIMORE PHOTOGRAPHY. (33872323)
Sudbury, Suffolk. AFC Sudbury's new manager Mark Morsley's first game in charge...Picture: MARK BULLIMORE PHOTOGRAPHY. (33872323)

He added he was happy to report they had managed to strike a non-contract return for former Needham Market and Leiston promotion winner Morsley, for what will effectively be his third spell at the club.

He will not be resuming his commercial position on the board of directors though, having asked to ‘concentrate on football’.

Long said: “We agreed no contract because we would rather work on a basis of trust. It was a virtual handshake because I genuinely believe he has the interests of the club at heart.”

Morsley himself said: “My decision to go was the right one from a financial and ethical point of view.

AFC Sudbury 2019/20 Season.Manager Mark Morsley Pic - Richard Marsham. (33872333)
AFC Sudbury 2019/20 Season.Manager Mark Morsley Pic - Richard Marsham. (33872333)

“I left for those reasons, I didn’t leave because I wanted to leave.”

Danny Laws, who had been acting manager in case the 2019/20 season was to be completed, before it was declared null and void, will return to being Morsley’s number two, while still also leading the full-time academy.

Morsley, who revealed he had also spoken to other clubs who had been in contact, said going back to Sudbury was always what he wanted to do, as soon as he received one assurance.

AFC Sudbury v Norwich Utd - Mark Morsley and Lee NorfolkPicture: Clive Pearson. (33872320)
AFC Sudbury v Norwich Utd - Mark Morsley and Lee NorfolkPicture: Clive Pearson. (33872320)

“If I had been offered the job but the key proviso was I had to wind the clock back three years and start again with developing young lads from the academy I think it would have been a difficult job to do,” he admitted.

“It has been a hugely enjoyable three years but it has been difficult as I have took a bit of stick.

“When I bowl into a club and get rid of the whole first team and within weeks get rid of the fans’ favourite player you are going to take stick for it.

“So it was important I knew there was going to be some position financially to be able to maintain what we were building on and I have been assured that is the case.”

AFC Sudbury v Kingstonian - Lewis O'MalleyPicture: Clive Pearson (22680548)
AFC Sudbury v Kingstonian - Lewis O'MalleyPicture: Clive Pearson (22680548)

Experienced centre-half Adam Bailey-Dennis, who suffered with a series of injuries in his first season at the club, has not had an option taken up to extend his stay. But Morsley revealed Lewis O’Malley and Joe Grimwood, who had just completed their first seasons since graduating from the club’s academy, have had options to extend their contracts activated.

The returning manager thanked Bailey-Dennis for his contribution to helping develop such players, notably Baris Altintop.

Meanwhile, the club is looking for a new head for their girls football academy due to the first incumbent of the role, Jamie Souza, emigrating to the USA.

AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Joe Grimwood.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20698174)
AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Joe Grimwood.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20698174)

* AFC Gold draw, week 50: £100 (120) I Gammage, Old Station Close, Lavenham; £10 (217) R Marsh, New St, Sudbury; £10 (247) Mrs K Ford, Queens Rd, Sudbury.


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