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AFC Sudbury chairman Andrew Long set to deliver Mark Morsley a cautious budget in light of impact of Covid-19 on club's operations




When AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley is given his playing budget for 2021/22 next week there will certainly be some challenges to face up to.

Chairman Andrew Long has told the Suffolk Free Press and Suffolk News the impact of the pandemic means he is having to take a ‘cautious approach’ when it comes to the first team.

Tomorrow is his deadline for the heads of the various sections under the AFC Sudbury umbrella to deliver him their financial spreadsheets for the next 12 months.

AFC Sudbury chairman Andrew Long is having to take some tough decisions over next season’s budget Picture: Richard Marsham
AFC Sudbury chairman Andrew Long is having to take some tough decisions over next season’s budget Picture: Richard Marsham

The board will then virtually meet during next week to sign off on what people will be working with for the 2021/22 campaign.

“We are putting them all together to get an overall budget as clearly that has an impact on the first-team budget as to what we are going to do next season,” he said.

“I am going to err on the cautious side because who knows what the world is going to look like? What I don’t want to do is to commit the club to a significant budget where the risk is still real, I feel, that we could still be in the same situation this time next year.”

AFC Sudbury captain Joe Whight is one of five players at the club whose contracts are due to expire at the end of the season Picture: Mark Westley
AFC Sudbury captain Joe Whight is one of five players at the club whose contracts are due to expire at the end of the season Picture: Mark Westley

It comes as the clubs at their level were left digesting the news last night that their Pitching In Isthmian League for 2020/21 is over.

No matches had been played since before the country went into a second national lockdown in November. A majority of clubs across Steps 3-6 of the National League System (NLS) voted to continue the pause when tougher Covid-19 combating regional tier restrictions were brought in.

The Yellows were sitting second in the North Division table after eight matches but with Cambridge City and Bury Town having only played half of that amount.

While movement of clubs for a delayed national restructure of the pyramid is still be looked at, there is set to be no promotion in or out of Step 2 of the NLS after clubs in the National League North and South voted to immediately null and void their campaign. Like the season curtailment at Steps 3-6, it is subject to the FA Council ratifying the decision.

Long had been frustrated about the delay in the FA delivering news on their season and said his club had already concluded it was null and void in order to work towards a restart for 2021/22 on August 14.

On the financial aspect, he added: “The caveat to our budget is we normally raise a significant amount of funds to sustain the club throughout the season during the close season from events that we hold. But we are not sure to what extent we can hold any events until we get a bit more clarity around the national situation.

“For every business up and down the country, it does make it extremely difficult to plan with some degree of sense so we have got to be, I think, on the conservative side and if it goes better than expected then so be it.

“What I’m not going to commit the club to is being overly ambitious and then regret it later.”

Five current AFC Sudbury players from Morsley’s squad are set to be out of contract in the summer, including club captain Joe Whight and fellow higher-league experienced player Billy Holland. Academy graduates Ben Hunter, Joe Grimwood and Tom Maycock are the others.

Long said the club would be interested in looking at playing in a locally-organised competition for the April and May period, but it would be dependent on if crowds can return.

Meanwhile, the academy players are set to return to the club to continue at the King’s Marsh site from March 8, following this week’s Road out of Lockdown announcements, having been remote learning since after Christmas.

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