Highly-rated Sam Sutton has stepped down as academy manager at Emley AFC and will be replaced by current U18 boss Dom Webster.
Sutton, who has been at the club for two-and-a-half years, has played a vital role but says the time is right to move on.
Sutton has stepped down to concentrate on a new academy role at Barnsley FC. During his time at Emley he’s helped bring through young players, notably striker George Doyle, who has established himself in the first team.
Sutton said: “I’m sad to be leaving but I know it’s the right time. Dom Webster will take things on stronger and I’ll definitely be down for a game or two throughout the season. I will keep a close eye on the club and the academy’s progress.
“I have a new role working with the U12-U14s in the academy at Barnsley FC. This ties in closely with my day job already at Barnsley and with both, I won’t be able to give Emley the time and commitment it deserves next season.
“I’ve managed to navigate both in the short term as I wanted to honour my commitment to the club and complete the season, and have been grateful for the support around me that has helped me do this.
READ MORE: George Doyle’s unusual footballing journey
“When I joined the club two-and-a-half years ago, there was no junior or academy set up, only a link to Kirklees College, but in the last two-and-a-half years we’ve managed to establish both an U23 and U18 team.
“Emley previously had a strong academy set up going back a few years now, so it was important to bring that back for the club and for talented local youngsters.
“We have also been able to secure an official partner in Yorkshire Regional Talent Centre and the academy has built a strong reputation for having good teams and players who play entertaining football and are difficult to beat.”
Emley launched the academy in 2020 and had a successful first campaign. Sutton will always look back with pride on what he was able to build at the Pewits, helping to progress the careers of several young players.
He said: “One of my personal highlights is seeing a number of players progressing well. George Doyle has performed so well for the first team, scoring some important goals this season.
“That will always be the measure of any successful academy set up, how many players can you produce and move across to the first team.
“Jack Bennett, Lennon O’Grady, Hayden Webster, Sandy Masuku and Josh Calvert – to name but a few – have also had multiple first team appearances which is pleasing, particularly so early on.
“A stand out moment over the last two years was our cup success last season, when we secured the West Riding U23 Cup. What it meant to the group of players, the commitment they showed, especially coming out of the last stretch of the pandemic it signalled a bright future for individuals and the club and really put us on the map.
“This was a great achievement from everyone involved and one I’m sure they’ll remember for years to come.
“I know some of the biggest successes are still to come, with some excellent players in the system, they will kick on and rise up the ladder over the next couple of years.”
If you want to apply for the Emley AFC u18s managers position click here.
Registration is now open for the Emley AFC academy trials, apply here.