Rowe puts his side of the story

JAMES Rowe today stressed that he will always look back on his time with AFC Sudbury fondly despite the circumstances surrounding his protracted move to Leiston.

Elvin King

JAMES Rowe today stressed that he will always look back on his time with AFC Sudbury fondly despite the circumstances surrounding his protracted move to Leiston.

He starts a new era in his career with Ridgeons League Leiston this weekend, and said: “I am eagerly looking forward to playing a

gain with a smile on my face within a team that has achievable targets.

“Sudbury finally agreed realistic terms with Leiston whose chairman Andy Crisp has been fantastic throughout.

“I hope to repay his faith by now concentrating on doing the business on the pitch.”

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Despite the acrimony that built-up between himself and Southern League Midlands Division One Sudbury over the last six weeks, Rowe has no axe to grind with the west Suffolk club.

He went on: “I will always look back with fond memories and wish AFC Sudbury luck in the future - in particular their brilliant fans and the friends I made there.

“My father Colwyn and uncles Gary and Paul Barker both played for Sudbury and it was always an honour to turn out for the club.

“I always tried my very best, and this was evident in my achievements, none more so than winning the 'Golden Boot', reaching the play-offs two years on the bounce, representing the team as captain, and the one I will most treasure - being voted 'Supporters player of the year' last season.

“These things you do not achieve unless you are happy with your surroundings, playing in a team with a great team ethos and spirit.

“It is hard to leave a club with supporters who even during this difficult period continued to send me messages of support.

“I would like to thank them all for that.”

Explaining how things came to a head, which led to Rowe being put on the transfer list, he said: “During pre-season a lot of players left but I stayed loyal - taking a huge wage cut and turning down many offers to play at a higher level.

“This was simply because of my affection for the club - thinking Sudbury would still have an ambitious future having just missed out on promotion on two consecutive seasons.

“I genuinely believed we could perhaps do it this year. However, it soon became apparent with the large turnover of players that the same spirit I had known in my previous seasons had disappeared.

“It became very difficult to sustain any kind of rapport with the team as it changed every week, and I became somewhat disillusioned. I was no longer enjoying my game.

“I signed a contract under a gentleman's agreement that should I become unsettled Sudbury would release me with no fee involved.

“Over the last six weeks I have been out in the cold training on my own and turning out for the reserves, which has been difficult to understand considering the first team form.”

Rowe has been on the transfer list since having his performances questioned by some with manager Nicky Smith saying: “It is disappointing that it came to this. We were asking a fee because we did not want James to go for nothing.”

Rowe joined Sudbury from Needham Market at the start of the 2006/07 season moving with manager Mark Morsley.

Prior to Needham he was with Histon where he had previously played before going to Heybridge Swifts, Stamford and Grantham Town. He suffered a number of injuries that hampered him throughout season 2006/07, but a good 2007/08 pre-season saw him back at his best and he was top Sudbury scorer with 34 goals in all competitions.

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