EXCLUSIVE: Coach hits back as Thetford Reserves fold

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The former interim manager of Thetford Town Reserves has defended the players after they were blamed for why the team has folded.

Thetford Town announced at the end of last week that their second string side had been withdrawn from the Almary Green Anglian Combination League in a decision made by the club’s chairman, Nigel Armes, who cited ‘a lack of player commitment’ as the dominating factor.

Frank Mckenzie, who was both a coach and a player during his time involved with the club’s reserves, contacted the Free Press after reading our website story and believes Armes was ‘out of order’ in his comments made about the team’s demise.

“The club should foster player commitment, in my opinion,” Mckenzie said.

“When you don’t feel wanted by the football club you leave.

“It’s why Chris (Tarsey, Thetford Town Reserves manager at the start of the season) left.

“I left because of work and there was some football reasons too. When Chris and I left the players then all got up and left.

“If you’re an employer and 20 of your employees get up and leave, as a club you’ve got to look at what you’re doing.

“The boys were doing so well and we were top of the league at one point. If me and Chris went somewhere else now we’d get all 20 of the boys to join, without hesitation.”

Thetford Town Reserves were 10th in Division Five South of the Almary Green Anglian Combination League before being withdrawn from the league last week, winning five, drawing two and losing seven of their 14 league fixtures.

Following the departures of Tarsey, Mckenzie and the players, the club’s director of football Dave Skipp stepped in to help out with the team.

After calling off two games, at a cost of £50 each, and with no other alternative available, Armes took the difficult decision to fold the team and withdraw them from the league, which incurred a cost of £100 to do so.

“It really hurts me that we had to pull the team out of the league,” the Thetford chairman said.

“It was simply because of a lack of player commitment.

“It will be reviewed at the end of the season and I believe the club should have a reserves side, whatever league it’s in, I really do.

“I want to see a reserves side giving local lads the opportunity to play football, but we need a manager to come in and run the team in a professional manner and work with (the first team).”

The news comes as a blow to The Brecklanders, who away from their reserves folding are enjoying one of their best seasons for quite some time.

Thetford’s first team, who play in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, are on course for their highest league finish in almost 30 years, while the club’s Veterans side have just reached the semi-finals of the Norfolk Veterans Cup.

Of the Reserves’ withdrawal, Danny White, first team manager at Mundford Road, said: “I’m obviously disappointed. I feel it is essential to have a reserves side because it can help bring players through.

“The big gap (in leagues) wasn’t ideal for putting in players coming back from injury or looking for game time.

“The club need to get someone in with good local knowledge who can help get the foundations right.”