Klug: Morsley Criticism of Town Way Off the Mark
Friday, 13th Dec 2019 11:14
Academy head of coaching and player development Bryan Klug has hit back at AFC Sudbury boss Mark Morsley's criticism of the Blues for sending young players on loan to other local non-league sides rather than to his club despite Town and the Yellows having an established link-up at youth level.
Blues youngsters Tommy Smith and Alex Henderson joined fellow academy scholar Colin Oppong on loan at Bury Town a fortnight ago, which was a frustration to Morsley, who felt his club isn’t getting what it should from its relationship with the Blues’ academy.
The arrangement, established in May 2016, sees Town schoolboys not quite up to the level of the Blues’ academy sides continue their progress in Sudbury’s U13-U16 teams with a view to potentially returning to Playford Road.
“We are improving their players. They use the facility here as well,” Morsley told the Suffolk Free Press.
“I have been told by Ipswich Town, and I am not going to name names, that we would be the first stop for loan players and in three seasons I have not had one loan player. And I have seen them go to Bury, Leiston and Lowestoft.
“For me it is like saying Britain have got a special relationship with Russia, rather than America; there is nothing coming our way.”
He added: “Why are three loan players going to Bury Town? Why is a football club who get players from our football club through our youth set-up and use our facility not giving us loan players? I think it tells you the sort of football club Ipswich Town are. It is a huge disappointment.”
Morsley was also critical of Smith, 18, for comments he made when joining Bury, his hometown club, when Sudbury was an alternative option.
“I got offers from Sudbury as well but there is no chance I am picking them over Bury!” the youngster said following his Bury debut.
Morsley added: “I have to say if young Tommy Smith has got a career in the pro game then don’t go in the press and start making comments about other local football teams, like he did about not coming to Sudbury and going to Bury.
“That relationship with Ipswich could have helped us out and it was there to do that, and they haven’t done that again.”
Replying to Morsley’s comments, Klug says no one at Town has a problem with Sudbury, least of all himself.
“We’ve got nothing but respect for all the non-league teams, and we’ve got a good relationship with Sudbury, I played for Sudbury at Wembley [in the 1989 FA Vase final], so it’s a special club for me,” he said.
“I feel that any criticism of our club is way off the mark. Two things we have with the relationship with Sudbury, we work with youth teams and financially we put into that, so we provide coaches and the players who are just on the edge of our scheme are with them, and I think they’ve benefited from that.
“They have a really good youth scheme. They’ve got some really good players, they’re sending a couple to West Ham and Fulham, which is, you know, the ‘special relationship’ obviously.
“They’ve got a good set-up. There’s a good pathway for all the players there, we know that. That’s worked alright, that’s been pretty good over two and a half years, both parties have done well from that.”
Specifically regarding the matter of loans, Klug added: “I think the big problem is that he’s got to understand how the loan system works.
“There’s absolutely no issue between us and any club. I think we get on well with all the local clubs.
“I spend a lot of time watching them, we’ve had Dylan Ruffles at Lowestoft, Colin Oppong, Tommy Smith and Alex Henderson have played at Bury, and we’ve got Toby Egan at Haverhill.
“Any club in this region, if any of them are looking for a young player, have got a problem, then they should come [and see us], but it works best when they come and they know who they want and we have a decision to make and pitch people at various levels.
“It’s worked really well, Brett McGavin and Jack Lankester [at Bury Town] was fantastic for them, so it worked well there.
“From our point of view it’s difficult to put people at the right level but obviously we can’t really control that.
“We’ve had some disasters, I sent poor old Tristan Nydam up to Scotland [to St Johnstone] and it didn’t work out. It’s a difficult thing to do in the first place.
“Ultimately, it becomes the player’s decision because we’re not in the slave trade. I’ve not talked to Mr Morsley to be perfectly honest, but when anybody enquires about a loan it comes across my desk.
“There have only been two players that I know he’s shown any interest in in the last couple of years and one of them we thought he needed to play at a higher level, which he has done subsequently, and the other one was Tommy Smith.
“We then go to Tommy Smith and for his own very, very good reasons he chose to go to another club.
“I’d be quite happy to send any of the players to Sudbury, but they make their choice at the end of the day with their representative. We can’t push somebody where they don’t want to go.
“From that point of view he needs to understand that ultimately Tommy Smith has his own very good reasons to do what he did.”
Klug was unhappy that Morsley singled out the young left-back, who made his senior debut for the Blues at Peterborough in the Leasing.com Trophy last week.
He added: “What he shouldn’t do, and he should never, ever have done that, is mention a young man, an 18-year-old, and criticise him for it because I don’t think that’s professional.
“And that actually might be one of the reasons why players won’t go there because they will look at things like that.
“Colin Oppong is a great example of that. He’s got a long way to be a centre-forward, he’s got all the tools and at Bury he’s got Alan Lee helping him, mentoring him. That works for us. I think if players are not happy to go to your club you should look at your club first.
“I know a lot of people at Sudbury, it’s a really good club but I can’t help it players don’t want to go there.”
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