Whittlesey determined to make a success of step six football this time
Whittlesey Athletic are confident their second stint as a United Counties League club will be far more successful than their first.
That wouldn’t actually be that difficult as the local side lasted just 10 games in Division One in the 2016-17 season before financial problems and a subsequent failure to meet step six ground regulation rules forced the club to pull out to safeguard their future.
And it’s mission accomplished just three years later as far as that’s concerned with a £32k grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund now guaranteeing Whittlesey’s participation at the higher level.
And Whittlesey open their campaign this Sunday with a ‘gournd hop’ fixture at Feldale Field against Huntingdon (5.15pm kick off).
First-team manager Ricky Hailstone said: “It’s an exciting time for the club. We’ve got the funding through for the floodlights and it’s now all systems go.
“Some people may see it as a big step up after we only finished fifth in the Peterborough League last season, but we had to take the opportunity of promotion when it was available to us.
“I don’t actually think there will be that big a gulf in quality between our old league and the new one, but I guess we’ll find out whether or not that’s right as the season progresses.
“Sunday should be a good occasion for the club. Starting the season so early is probably not ideal for me as a manager, but it will generate a lot of revenue all being well.
“Hopefully the people of Whittlesey come along and get behind us as well as the people taking part in the groundhop.
I don’t know a lot about Huntingdon, but they have a manager in Jimmy Brattan who is capable of putting a good side together.
“However, we’ll just focus on ourselves and try to produce the right performance for such a big day.”
Goalkeeper Lea Jordan (Chatteris Town), midfielder Scott Carter (Blackstones) and striker Jamie Darlow (Warboys) have all departed Whittlesey this summer as has assistant manager Simon Flanz.
Midfielder Matt Ilsley and winger Aaron Warrener are new signings with previous United Counties League experience. Lee Davision is the new assistant manager.
Admission on Sunday is £4 for adults, £2 for concessions and free for children under 16. There is a range of hot and cold refreshments available.