Needham Market boss Mark Morsley believes departing striker Sam Newson will go down in history as a legend at the club, writes Alex Moss.
The Marketmen’s all-time leading goalscorer was put on the transfer list last week, bringing an end to the forward’s five-year spell at Bloomfields.
A recent change in Needham’s style of play has seen Newson’s game time decrease, with the striker starting on the bench for the Marketmen’s last seven games.
And with Michael Brothers, and now new signing Ollie Mann, ahead of Newson in the pecking order, Morsley made the difficult decision to end the popular striker’s stay.
“We’ve changed our style of play to one which is not to his strengths,” said the Needham boss, who takes his in-form side to Dulwich Hamlet tomorrow (3pm) and then Staines Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).
“Sam wasn’t happy being on the bench and we had a man-to-man conversation about it after the Farnborough game. There was no animosity and I told him then you will go down as a legend at this club.
“Not many players have their own song sung in the crowd, but he has one because of the amount of goals he scored.
“I appreciate that some supporters will not be happy with the decision I’ve made.
“My job is to keep us up in this league and then to carry on progressing up the pyramid, so I have to think with my head and not my heart.”
Needham boosted their chances of survival in the Ryman League Premier Division with a 4-0 thrashing of Brentwood Town at the weekend.
The win moved the Marketmen (20th) four points clear of the drop, with Morsley labelling it as ‘the best performance since I’ve been at the club.’
Despite Newson’s imminent departure, Needham will take a strong squad to Premier Division leaders Dulwich this weekend.
Attacking duo Brothers (hamstring) and Adam Mills (ankle) are both likely to shake off recent injuries in time for the trip, while promotion winner Sam Nunn returns to the squad after completing a move back to the club from higher league Lowestoft Town.
The central defender left in September to join the Trawlerboys, but has struggled to nail down a place in the National League North side’s defence.
“The paperwork was completed on Saturday to bring him back,” Morsley said. “I’ve always kept the door open for him here.
“I said to Sam when he left that you are always welcome back if it doesn’t work out at Lowestoft.
“He was one of the big signings I made from Bury Town a few years ago, and he played a vital part in helping us get promotion last season.”
With full back Ollie Brown (work) unavailable tomorrow, Nunn and fit-again Ian Miller will be vying for a starting place in Morsley’s line-up.
n Follow @lalmoss20 on Twitter for live updates from Needham Market’s game at Dulwich Hamlet tomorrow.