Chelmsford City Football Club can now provide an update on Chelmsford City FC Reserves and Manager Marc Stephan

Following the end of the 2022/23 Season we can confirm that CCFC Reserves Manager, Marc Stephan, has decided to step down from his duties. In addition, following a review of the existing Clarets Pathway, we can now confirm that we have taken the decision to withdraw Chelmsford City FC Reserves from the Essex and Suffolk Border League.

First Team Manager, Robbie Simpson, shared his thoughts on the review of the Pathway and also expressed his gratitude to Marc Stephan for his work during his time at the club. “When we first set up the Reserves, it was a key step in the pathway from the Academy through to the First Team and we then had a bit of a partnership with Hullbridge a few leagues higher, closer to the first team, as another vital step.

The plan when we first set up the Reserves was for them to get promoted really quickly and barring some very minor details in that first season it almost happened. This season we’ve kind of taken a step back. Not getting promoted in that first season hit us a bit, in terms of the Reserves. Marc [Stephan] has done a fantastic job but he’s certainly felt the extra strain this season and it’s been a lot more difficult for him. I can totally understand why Marc has decided to take a step away.”

“When we were reviewing the Pathway at the end of the season, we were thinking of ways to improve or revamp it to make it better and more suitable for the need and desire to bring through our own players from the Academy. If the reserves had been promoted and carried on that momentum and got promoted again, we would have a Step 5 Reserves side but that isn’t the case. Having a Step 7 Reserves side going into next year, we feel isn’t fit for purpose. Especially if Marc is taking a step away, we feel that the Reserves side at Step 7 isn’t fulfilling what we need it to do. We’ve had a long and hard think about it and we have decided to withdraw the Reserves from the Essex and Suffolk Border League.”

“We hope to announce in the next couple of days an exciting new Step to our pathway and I won’t say too much but it fits the purpose of what we want and it’ll enhance the Pathway and hopefully speed up the Pathway in terms of bringing players through from the Academy into the First Team or enabling us to make decisions on those players and whether we feel like they will progress into the first team or not. It’ll give us a much clearer picture and we hope to announce that in the coming days.”

“I just want to make it clear that us withdrawing the Reserves isn’t us having a rethink of what we want to be as a club, the vision of bringing through our own players is still very much there and withdrawing the Reserves is just improving that Pathway and revamping it to make sure that it is fit for purpose. We feel like we have a great solution that we’re hoping to announce and we’re excited to start that ball rolling and see whether it’ll work. Only time will tell but we will give it our all and we truly believe it will, so watch this space in the next few days”

We are very grateful to the Essex & Suffolk Border League for allowing us to play in that league and the teams we played. We are sorry that we cannot continue but we need to focus on the needs of our developing players and so have reluctantly taken the decision to withdraw.

“I would just like to say personally, a huge thank you to Marc Stephan. He’s gone above and beyond his role as Reserves Manager. His effort and time that he’s spent not only on the Reserves but helping Mickey with Academy recruitment for example, championing what the club is all about wherever he goes. His networking in the Essex area is second to none and he will always be welcome to help out. We’d love to try and keep him around and help us out in some respect in our revamp of that pathway. He needs some time away with his family where he doesn’t think about football, maybe re-energise and come back and feel like he still wants to be involved. We need to give him that time and we’re going to progress with what we feel is right. I want to thank him so much and whether he comes back or not he will remain a friend and a true Claret.”

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Marc Stephan for his time and efforts during his time at the club, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that the young men in his side have had the very best and whether his future lies with the club after some time away or if he chooses to take a different path, we wish him the very best for what that may hold.

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