FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW: Fresh expectations for the Fenmen
By ADAM LAZZARI IT S been arguably the most turbulent period in the history of Wisbech Town Football Club, but with a new manager, a fresh crop of new players and new expectations, hopes are high of a successful season ahead. Steve Taylor made his seven
By ADAM LAZZARI
IT'S been arguably the most turbulent period in the history of Wisbech Town Football Club, but with a new manager, a fresh crop of new players and new expectations, hopes are high of a successful season ahead.
Steve Taylor made his seventh signing as Wisbech manager when he added 18-year-old Danny Jazeph to his squad.
The player, who can play as a centre-forward or winger, made an immediate impact when he scored in the first few minutes of Wisbech's last pre-season friendly - a 3-3 draw with Deeping Rangers.
Jazeph played for Spalding last season and had been training with King's Lynn before he signed for Wisbech.
Taylor said: "This lad's got bags of potential. He's full of tricks and has lots of pace and cause havoc for defences."
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The Wisbech board moved quickly to appoint Chatteris-based Taylor after fan favourite Roy McManus resigned in June.
Taylor came with a good reputation after taking Haverhill Rovers on the best FA Cup run in their history and transforming them from a mid-table Ridgeons First Division side to a strong Ridgeons Premier Division club.
He is known from his time at Haverhill and Ely City for adopting an attacking brand of football.
Taylor said: "I always try to get my players to play an attractive passing game.
"Wisbech Town is a great club with a proud history and I want to get them in the papers for the right reasons."
Months of speculation over Wisbech's home for this season ended last month when it was announced that the Fenmen would play their home matches at Outwell.
To clear debts of around £300,000 the club's board decided to sell Fenland Park to Purple Properties Ltd, who plan to build 83 houses on the stadium site, and move to a new £1.2 million stadium at a site off Lynn Road.
The club needed to find a home until that stadium is built.
Moves to ground-share with March, Downham, Chatteris and Holbeach all fell through and with Purple Properties Ltd charging rents, believed to be in the region of £1,500 per game, there were genuine fears that the club may go into administration.
But the floodlights from Fenland Park will be moved to Outwell's ground and a 100-seatter stand will be erected and Wisbech will be charged about one 10th of that fee.
Wisbech will play their last game at Fenland Park against Swaffham Town in the FA Vase on September 6.
It is hoped that Wisbech's new stadium will be ready for the start of 2009-2010 season.
Performances on the pitch took many fans' minds off the behind the scenes troubles, when McManus guided the team from a potential relegation scrap to a comfortable mid-table finish, but McManus and his assistant Steve Appleby both quit the Fenmen after a breakdown in communication with the board.
Wisbech striker Tom Gosling was banned from attending football stadiums in England and Wales for three years after pleading guilty in court to racially abusing an opposing player during a game at Felixstowe last season, and last season's Player of the Year and vice captain Paul Cousins quit the club to join Ridgeons Premier Division rivals Dereham.
Taylor's side play Tiptree at home on Saturday and then Cousins will line up against his old club when the Fenmen travel to Dereham Town on Tuesday.
Taylor said: "These are both top-six sides so it will be a challenging start for us.
"Tom English scored 35 goals for Tiptree last year and Dereham also play good, attacking football."
He added: "I've not set myself a target, the board will do that. I'm just going to try to win as many games as possible. The board has backed me for the long-term.