by Sam Murley
NEEDHAM Market new-boy Nathan Clarke revealed he chose the Marketmen because they were willing to go the ‘extra mile’ with regards to his required surgery, something former employers AFC Sudbury were not.
The Yellows supporters’ and players’ player of the season, who notched an impressive 11 goals from centre half, was tangled in a dispute centred around the urgency of a hernia operation, with AFC wanting their player to have an immediate operation privately.
However, with that option costing in the region of £2,000, an amount the 23-year-old felt he could not afford, he instead chose to seal a move across Suffolk to Ryman League Division One North rivals Needham, revealing manager Danny Laws was more understanding of his situation.
“Basically it came down to Sudbury not being prepared to wait for me to get my operation through the NHS,” he said.
“They told me I had to pay to get it done privately by Monday or I would miss the beginning of the season, which I wasn’t prepared to do because I couldn’t afford to do that.
“I was very disappointed to leave Sudbury, I didn’t want to leave because it is a great club and I loved to bits but when you look at the situation, I felt I had no option.
“However after speaking to Danny Laws he was prepared to go that extra mile to help my situation and after I knew I had to leave Sudbury, Needham market was the only club I wanted to be at.
“Waiting for my operation isn’t an issue for them, they just want me to get it sorted as soon as possible, which I hope will be in the next three or four weeks because that will give me enough time to be fit for the start of the season.”
The powerful centre half is now aiming to match his new managers ambition of winning the league, something he feels is certainly achievable.
“Needham are trying to create a squad with the aim of winning the league outright, instead of having to gamble with the play-offs, which matches my ambition exactly,” he added.
“I definitely believe automatic promotion is achievable, Needham, are a great with a very professional set up and I am delighted to have signed for them.”
Meanwhile speaking about his latest addition, Laws brushed off concerns of the severity of Clarke’s injury, instead highlighting the strength he will bring to his squad.
“I don’t think waiting for his operation as a major issue because he is a player that fits the criteria we are looking for,” he said.
“Neil Reader has worked with him before and identified him as a player with the power we needed, he is a strong boy and has had two fantastic seasons at this level.
“He is a centre half with presence, scores goals and importantly he brings competition for places.”