Ipswich academy chief Klug hits back at AFC Sudbury boss Morsley’s claims

Bryan Klug has hit back at claims made by Sudbury manager Mark Morsley. Picture: ARCHANT

Bryan Klug has hit back at claims made by Sudbury manager Mark Morsley. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town academy chief Bryan Klug has hit back at AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley’s claims that there is a ‘one-way’ relationship between the clubs.

Ipswich Town academy chief Bryan Klug. Photo: Pagepix

Ipswich Town academy chief Bryan Klug. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Morsley said he had been 'hugely let down' by Ipswich after teenager Tommy Smith decided to sign for Bury Town on loan, joining two other young Blues players at Ram Meadow in Alex Henderson and Colin Oppong.

Morsley felt Sudbury should have been at the front of the queue for Ipswich players given that the two clubs announced an official partnership in 2016.

That arrangement allows Ipswich to send academy players out to Sudbury to continue their development in the Eastern Junior Alliance (U13-16) before deciding whether to take them back or not.

"The first thing I want to say is that we've got nothing but respect for all the non-league teams," said Klug.

AFC Sudbury boss Mark Morsley. Picture: PAUL VOLLER

AFC Sudbury boss Mark Morsley. Picture: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

"I played for Sudbury at Wembley (in an FA Vase Final), so it's a special club for me, but I feel that this criticism of our club is way off the mark.

"We work with their youth teams, financially put into that and provide coaches, so that the players on the edges of our scheme go with them. I think both parties have done well from that.

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"They have some really good young players and are sending a couple out to West Ham and Fulham (on trial), so there's the 'special relationship'…"

Klug continued: "He's got to understand how the loans system works. We've made it clear that if any club in this region is looking for a particular type of player then they can come to us. It works best when they know who they want.

Tommy Smith (right) is at Bury Town on loan having recently made his Ipswich Town debut in the EFL T

Tommy Smith (right) is at Bury Town on loan having recently made his Ipswich Town debut in the EFL Trophy recently. Photo: Ross Halls - Credit: Archant

"Then we have a decision to make as we try and pitch people at the appropriate levels. That's a difficult thing to do. It's worked really well at times, having Brett (McGavin) and Jack Lankester at Bury was fantastic for them, and we've had some disasters; we sent poor old Tristan (Nydam) up to Scotland (St Johnstone) and that didn't really work out.

"Ultimately it becomes the player's decision because we're not in a slave trade."

Klug added: "I've never spoken to Mr Morsley to be perfectly honest, but when anybody enquires about a loan it comes across me, and as far as I'm aware there are only two players he has shown any interest in over the last couple of years.

"One of them, we thought, needed to play at a higher level, which he has done subsequently. The other one was Tommy Smith who, for his own very, very good reasons, chose to go to another club.

"I'd be quite happy to send any players to Sudbury, but the players make their own choices with their representatives. We can't push somebody where they don't want to go."

Speaking to the Suffolk Free Press, Morsley - whose team are 11th in the Isthmian League North Division (Step Four), 11 points behind Bury - had said: "I have been told by Ipswich Town, and I am not going to name names, that we would be the first stop for loan players and in three seasons I have not had one loan player. And I have seen them go to Bury, Leiston and Lowestoft.

"For me it is like saying Britain have got a special relationship with Russia, rather than America; there is nothing coming our way.

"Why are three loan players going to Bury Town? Why is a football club who get players from our football club through our youth set-up and use our facility not giving us loan players?

"I think it tells you the sort of football club Ipswich Town are. It is a huge disappointment."

Smith had told the Bury Free Press that there was 'no chance' he would have joined Sudbury over his hometown club.

Morsley said: "I have to say if young Tommy Smith has got a career in the pro game then don't go in the press and start making comments about other local football teams, like he did about not coming to Sudbury and going to Bury."

Klug said: "What he (Morsley) shouldn't have done is mention a young man, 18 years old, and criticise him. I don't think that's professional. That might be, actually, why players won't go there, because they will look at things like this.

"If players are not happy to go to your club then maybe you should look at your club first."

Klug added: "We get on well with all the local clubs and I spend a lot of time watching them.

"We've had Dylan (Ruffles) at Lowestoft, Colin Oppong, Tommy (Smith) and Alex (Henderson) at Bury Town, then we've got Toby (Egan) at Haverhill.

"Colin Oppong is a great example of placing players appropriately. He has got a long way to go to be a centre forward, but he's got all the tools and at Bury he's got Alan Lee mentoring him. That works for us."

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