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Fakenham Town announce Andy Cunningham as their new manager

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Fakenham Town have announced the appointment of Andy Cunningham as their new manager.

Cunningham, who replaces caretaker boss Alex Walpole in the dugout, arrives at Clipbush Park after enhancing his reputation in the game with Attleborough Town and Hellesdon.

Ghosts chairman Simon Barnes said: “Andy came across very well in his interview.

“He is a young manager, and some may say not experienced at this level.

“I disagree and his passion, knowledge and awareness of what is needed for a club like ours was very impressive.

“He is exactly the manager we were looking for, forward-thinking, not just for the first team but the whole club.”

Barnes added: “I have spoken to a couple of my contacts in the local football scene and all have spoken very highly of him.

“We are delighted he has chosen Fakenham Town as his next step on the management ladder and I am sure he will do a fantastic job for the club.

“I look forward to working with him over the next few seasons as we endeavour to put Fakenham Town FC back to being one of the foremost clubs in the county again.

On his appointment, Cunningham said: “The opportunity to be first team manager at Fakenham Town FC is exactly the opportunity that I wanted.

“Fakenham Town FC are one of Norfolk’s foremost clubs and deservedly so. I am very much a believer that youth is the way forward at all clubs.

“Too much money is spent trying to attract what is believed to be the top players locally, but what happens is that players are attracted by the financial rewards and not what being part of a fantastic club can earn them’

‘Some may describe my managerial experience as limited, and I would probably have to agree.

“However I’m confident in my ability and the success both on and off the pitch that I have helped achieve at Hellesdon in the short time I was first team manager is evidence of the impact that I can have at any club.

“I am passionate, driven and have the attributes to ensure Fakenham Town FC achieves success in the future, not just the first team but the whole club.”

After going through an extensive list of applicants and interviews, all who had excellent credentials, it was felt that Cunningham was the right man to lead Fakenham forward.

The Ghosts set out to find the almost impossible manager, someone who would not only bring success to the first team but also to put in place a structure for the whole club and all this within the confirms of a budget set out by the committee.

Fakenham feel that in Cunningham they now have that person.

As a youngster in Scotland, Cunningham represented both Inverness and Aberdeen FC at youth level before heading down to Norfolk where he represented St Andrews.

He then moved to Dereham Town for a couple of seasons before joining Attleborough Town, where he spent four years as a player and stepped into manage for half a season as the club was in a transition.

A spell with Hellesdon FC as a senior player followed to help add experience to a side looking to get back into senior football.

Soon after he was asked to become first team manager with the job of building the club up from top to bottom.

He had a number of objectives which included, promotion to the Anglian Combination Premier Division, to merge the youth and adult teams, to manage the clubs coaching development and to create a club which the community could be proud off.

All of this he achieved with Hellesdon, who are now a stable club in the Anglian Combination Premier Division where both senior and youth work hand-in-hand, all with fully trained coaches.

He recently left his position as first team boss at Hellesdon FC for a number of personal reasons, including a new job and building a house for his family.

Once these issues were sorted he had several phone calls from clubs around Norfolk and Suffolk offering him a variety of roles, a number of which were with Thurlow Nunn League clubs.

Cunningham stated that none of the offers, however enticing, ticked all the boxes of what he was looking for in his next step in management other than the hot seat with Fakenham Town.

The Fakenham chairman ended by paying tribute to the work of former caretaker boss Walpole.

Barnes said: “I would also just like to put on record my personal thanks and the club’s to Alex Walpole who has held the post as manager in the interim since we became involved in October.

“Alex has done a fantastic job in somewhat difficult circumstances.

“I’m sure he will return to the management side of the club once he has finished playing.

“He should be very proud of his achievements and rest assured we will always be indebted to him for steadying the ship.

‘We are delighted he is staying within the club as coach of one of the youth teams, as well as helping out with our mini-kickers.

“Once fit, we look forward to seeing him back in the amber and black.”

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