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AFC Sudbury manager Rick Andrews promotes Dale Brooks following Stowmarket Town boss Paul Musgrove rejecting joint boss offer



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After seeing Angelo Harrop depart and his former assistant turn down an offer of a reunion in the dugout, Rick Andrews says he has ‘zero issues’ going forward as AFC Sudbury’s sole manager.

Despite it being just over a month since the balls were put away from last season, it has been a whirlwind week of news coming out of The MEL Group Stadium – including two eye-catching first signings in Nnamdi Nwachuku and Joshua Pollard.

Harrop, who had linked up with his former Stowmarket boss to fill the first-team hot-seat vacancy after Mark Morsley’s surprise resignation a year ago, was presenting season awards at the club last Friday.

Rick Andrews (left) will no longer be flanked by Angelo Harrop (right) on the touchline at AFC Sudbury after the latter made the switch to Braintree Town Picture: Mecha Morton
Rick Andrews (left) will no longer be flanked by Angelo Harrop (right) on the touchline at AFC Sudbury after the latter made the switch to Braintree Town Picture: Mecha Morton

But on Sunday it was announced he had stepped down as joint manager of the Yellows to replace former AFC player Ryan Maxwell as the manager of Braintree Town in the Vanarama National League South.

It can be revealed Andrews was also approached by The Iron – who ply their trade two levels higher in the pyramid – but he opted to stay in Suffolk.

Paul Musgrove, who succeeded Andrews when he left Stowmarket Town in late 2020 due to his mother’s terminal cancer, was approached to replace Harrop but decided to stay with their divisional rivals, having only lost out on successive promotions via the play-offs.

But there is no desperation to find someone else, with Andrews having promoted his former technical director of football at his previous club, Dale Brooks, to be his assistant manager.

Rick Andrews (left) had hoped to bring Paul Musgrove (right) over to be joint manager with him at AFC Sudbury, following their time together at Stowmarket Town Picture: Mecha Morton
Rick Andrews (left) had hoped to bring Paul Musgrove (right) over to be joint manager with him at AFC Sudbury, following their time together at Stowmarket Town Picture: Mecha Morton

The latter had been Musgrove’s initial assistant but following the Covid interrupted campaigns ended up going up to Scotland where he finished the 2020/21 campaign as assistant manager at Falkirk.

The UEFA A Licence holder subsequently returned to his home in Thetford and was appointed as Sudbury’s head coach in early February.

Of Musgrove turning a reunion down, Andrews said: “When Angelo decided to go the existing management team (Brooks, Liam Joyce and Danny Potter) decided to ask if Muzzy would be interested again as obviously we have worked together for a number of years.

Stowmarket Town's Paul Musgrove has decided he does not want to leave the club that gave him his first manager's position Picture: Ben Pooley
Stowmarket Town's Paul Musgrove has decided he does not want to leave the club that gave him his first manager's position Picture: Ben Pooley

“He wanted time to think about it. He is at a very good club and decided to carry on where he is and we wish him all the best with that.

“I have decided after speaking with Dale he will step up as assistant manager and first-team coach and it will remain just the four of us. I have zero issues with that.”

Dale Brooks has been appointed assistant manager at AFC Sudbury following Angelo Harrop leaving the club Picture: Richard Marsham
Dale Brooks has been appointed assistant manager at AFC Sudbury following Angelo Harrop leaving the club Picture: Richard Marsham

He said he could ‘totally understand’ why Harrop decided to take the jump up the pyramid with Braintree after the chairman initially approached them as a pair, but felt he did not want to leave the job he had started.

“Braintree have expressed an interest in me before, probably two years ago when I was at Stow, but I said I was happy at Stow and never went,” he revealed. “Then out of the blue I got a phone call from the chairman saying Braintree wanted to speak to Angelo and myself.

“I spoke to Angelo and I said ‘look, it’s not for me’ he’s a lot younger than me and very ambitious and I think he would like to go into full-time management at some point.

“I just looked at it and said well I’m at a very good club who have been very supportive and we’ve only just started. But I can totally see from his angle, it’s two levels higher.

“As much as we would like to get there as quick as possible it may take a while or never happen as nothing’s a guarantee. I totally get where Ang is coming from and I think he will do well and wish him all the best.”

While Harrop thanked AFC for the opportunity of a memorable season – having reached the Emirates FA Cup First Round Proper and finished seventh in the league – he also ruled out of coming back in for any players next season ‘as a mark of respect’.

Andrews said he hopes Harrop being at Braintree can benefit the club with players that may need minutes when they come back from injuries.