Stowmarket Town remain as ambitious as ever following quartet's departure
Despite four player departures in the last week – including former professional Dean Bowdtich – manager Rick Andrews has outlined how Stowmarket Town’s immediate ambition to take the club to higher levels has not waned.
Former Ipswich Town, Yeovil and MK Dons promotion winner Bowditch will not be with the club next season, along with striker Matt Blake, former Leiston title-winner Leon Ottley-Gooch and goalkeeper Callum Robinson.
It comes in the wake of the club being denied promotion having gone unbeaten for three quarters of their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division fixtures in 2019/20 before the FA decided to expunge all results due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But manager Andrews has revealed the rest of the squad, including leading marksman Josh Mayhew, have verbally agreed terms to continue unfinished business in 2020/21.
“Josh has committed his future to Stow which the vast majority of others have as well,” he said.
“I would say 95 per cent of the squad are being retained from last season. The ambition is as high as it always has been.
“Budget-wise, of course we have looked at things and addressed areas we felt need addressing, so we are in it for the long run. We are no different to any other club in that it has got to work for everyone.
“For June (marking when players can move), 95 per cent of the squad have been retained. So I think that demonstrates the club’s ambition.”
Former professional Bowditch, who arrived aged 33 in late November, went on to make 15 appearances in the Old Gold & Blacks’ midfield.
He scored his only goal in the 4–0 win against Stansted in the FA Vase.
Andrews revealed it was actually the club’s decision to not retain his services, and it was a financially motivated one.
He said: “When we signed Dean it was always with, to be perfectly frank, the Vase in mind. That was the main reason we sought to get him on board.
“And obviously when that went, we were doing well in the league before he came (15 points clear) so it wasn’t for that intention. And the fact we hadn’t gone up was a reason why we just thought ok, we don’t need that at the moment.
“That doesn’t mean we might not revisit that at a later date, who knows? Everything has been left on good terms.”
He added: “It was the club’s decision. He is worth two players cost-wise so you have to look at that.
“It is like any business, your main expense are your employees and sometimes you might have to sacrifice one to save two.”
Bowditch living and working in Milton Keynes had not been an issue, he said.
Meanwhile, striker Matt Blake took to Twitter to announce his stay at Stow had come to an abrupt end over miscommunication on his contract but also alleging he was offered significantly reduced terms to stay, which he refused to sign. Several days later, after more comments hitting out at the club, he removed the tweets.
The former Leiston, Norwich United and Thetford Town hotshot signed for Stow from Leiston aged 31 in late September and scored 12 goals in 22 appearances.
Andrews did not wish to comment on Blake’s comments, but he confirmed he had left the club and said they wished to “thank him for his contribution and wish him well for the future”.
Andrews also revealed the club have agreed a set of friendly matches as part of their pre-season preparations, despite the ongoing uncertainty having over when their 2020/21 campaign will begin.
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side are set to test themselves at home to higher-league opponents in King’s Lynn Town, who could still be promoted to the National League, and Felixstowe & Walton United.
A trip to lower-league Great Yarmouth Town, under a promise made by Andrews on breaking their attendance record, will also take place. All three fixtures are on unreleased provisional dates.
More by this authorRussell Claydon