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Aldershot Town sign AFC Sudbury Academy captain Billy Walsh





AFC Sudbury’s national cup-winning captain Billy Walsh has earned a move to professional outfit Aldershot Town – and has been backed to follow in the footsteps of Josh Stokes.

The ambitious Vanarama National League club have snapped up the central midfielder on a development contract after he recently graduated from the Yellows’ academy programme.

It sees Walsh, who became AFC’s first boy’s academy captain to lift a national trophy when skippering Craig Power’s under-19s team to glory in the England College FA Men’s Knockout Trophy Final at Accrington Stanley’s Wham Stadium in May, follow the path of fellow academy star Josh Stokes.

AFC Sudbury Academy captain Billy Walsh lifts the England College's FA Men's Knockout Trophy at Accrington Stanley FC after a 3-0 victory against Thomas Telford Picture: Steve Screech/AFC Sudbury
AFC Sudbury Academy captain Billy Walsh lifts the England College's FA Men's Knockout Trophy at Accrington Stanley FC after a 3-0 victory against Thomas Telford Picture: Steve Screech/AFC Sudbury

The latter was loaned back to The Shots for the second half of the 2023/24 season after signing for Sky Bet Championship outfit Bristol City in January.

Walsh’s move comes hot on the heels of Sudbury’s coaches having celebrated gaining a move into the professional game for Reuben Swann after he signed for Portsmouth.

The club’s latest success story leaves AFC having made a handful of first-team appearances having been released by Colchester United prior to joining Sudbury’s youth development programme as an under-16.

As well as the national cup victory, Walsh, who hails from Halstead, was the captain of the AFC Sudbury side that reached the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup, losing out 2-1 to a last-gasp goal at Leyton Orient in October.

AFC Sudbury Academy manager Craig Power believes his move into the professional ranks is richly deserved.

He told SuffolkNews: “Billy has earned his move through a relentless drive to improve his all-round game.

“He has been narrow focused on achieving his season goal of being signed.

“If he continues this drive and focus I’m sure he will follow in the footsteps of Josh Stokes at Aldershot and beyond.”

Walsh looks set to play in the Shots’ new B team which the club has just announced as replacing their under-21s side.

Tommy Widdrington’s first team just missed out on a play-off place in their bid to reclaim their Football League status during the 2023/24 campaign, coming eighth.