UPDATED. Statement: Non-league boss David Batch leaves AFC Sudbury to join St Neots Town
- Credit: James Ager
David Batch has left his managerial position at AFC Sudbury to join Southern Premier Division side St Neots Town.
Alongside assistants Steve Eastaugh and Darren Plowman, Batch leaves the Wardale Williams Stadium with the Suffolk club sitting just short of the Ryman North Division play-off places.
Ironically, Sudbury defeated Batch’s new club St Neots in the FA Trophy earlier this season.
Sudbury Reserves/Under 21’s boss Danny Laws will take over as caretaker manager of the Yellows who travel to Needham Market in an eagerly anticipated all-Suffolk derby on New Year’s Day.
David Batch statement on leaving AFC Sudbury to join St Neots Town
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I have decided to accept the offer of becoming Manager at a higher level with St Neots Town FC and therefore resign my position at AFC Sudbury with immediate effect.
Firstly, I can honestly say that I would not have even entered into discussion with any other club other than St Neots, let alone consider a move to one. I was very happy delivering the plan I was asked to produce at AFC, to build and improve a playing infrastructure to match the magnificent facilities that exist, delivering success for many years to come at what I believe to be one of the best non league clubs around.
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I am proud that during my first season we improved the league position by 31 points, were League Cup Runners Up in the first cup final the club had reached for several years and enjoyed excellent runs in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy.
Behind the scenes, we revamped the player pathway, changing the focus of the Reserves to enable us to produce our own players. This is now bearing fruit with 7 ‘home grown’ teenagers featuring this season, many of which are regulars in first team squads after years of very little talent being developed.
This year, we further enhanced that pathway by adding the excellent Danny Laws and Dave Cannon to the team and created a new Under 18 team, including the excellent Under 18 Manager Craig Power, who is recruiting some of the best talent in the area into and on through the club.
Concurrently the first team playing squad have done exactly what has been asked of them so far and have continued to improve on last season.
They remain in every competition they are capable of progressing in, by sitting just outside the league play-off positions, are in the semi-final of the Suffolk Premier Cup as well as still being in the latter stages of the League Cup. This is on top of a fine FA Trophy run which saw them beat 3 teams from the tier above and narrowly exit at a National Conference side.
I am convinced that with the return of key striking options, coupled with the fact that the majority of the group are on contract with the club, they have every chance of pushing hard to the end of the season and achieving at least one of those aims. Despite my personal excitement at this time, I feel terrible for leaving this excellent group of men who have a superb spirit and ethic and I will certainly be willing them to progress further on all fronts. I thank them for all of their efforts.
I have encouraged the club to speak to the management team that are in place as I believe they are more than capable of delivering the next stage of our plan, with the talent and experience of Steve Eastaugh, Darren Plowman and Danny Laws as natural successors should they and the club wish to go down that route. I also believe that they, or even another candidate if that doesn’t work out, can continue the development of the team and deliver success this season.
Finally, I would like to thank all the people behind the scenes. AFC is full of good people with more supportive, hard working, professional and genuine people than I have known at other clubs.
Dave Webb in particular is the most conscientious club secretary I have ever come across, Danny Crosbie & Richard Instance work diligently to deliver a long term vision and like many others are a credit to the club. But the list could go on, including the superb away support that the club continues to have.
I would like to thank every one for their support and help over the last 18 months and wish AFC every success in the future.
More to follow in tomorrow’s EADT.