NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Securing Step 4 survival has been tough and tiring for Wisbech Town chief

PUBLISHED: 08:56 03 May 2019

Wisbech Town were pipped 1-0 by Morpeth on the final day of the season. Picture: IAN CARTER

Wisbech Town were pipped 1-0 by Morpeth on the final day of the season. Picture: IAN CARTER

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Wisbech Town boss Gary Setchell has reached the end of one of the most tiring seasons of his career.

Wisbech Town boss Gary Setchell with player-coach Luke Hipwell. Picture: IAN CARTERWisbech Town boss Gary Setchell with player-coach Luke Hipwell. Picture: IAN CARTER

That's how the Fenmen chief described the club's debut Northern Premier League Division One East campaign.

It came to an end last Saturday when the Fenmen, who finished fourth-bottom, were pipped 1-0 by champions Morpeth at the Elgoods Fenland Stadium.

Setchell believes further progress can be made next season, but he and assistant Daz Edey are yet to discuss their futures with chairman Paul Brenchley.

“It's been one of the most tiring seasons I've had in 10 years as a manager,” said Setchell. “But we finished outside of the relegation zone and that was the aim. Of the teams who finished below us, I know Spalding are spending loads more money that us, Carlton have been a strong Step 3 or Step 4 club for years and Gresley have been at Step 2.

Wisbech Town were pipped 1-0 by Morpeth on the final day of the season. Picture: IAN CARTERWisbech Town were pipped 1-0 by Morpeth on the final day of the season. Picture: IAN CARTER

“We've shown we're capable of beating some of the top teams at this level and the foundations are set for a bit more progress if this young side can be kept together by whoever is in charge next season.

“It's impossible in my mind to be able to push for promotion with the budget – I don't think Pep Guardiola could get in the play-offs on the budget we have! – but we need to improve year on year.

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“The people at the club are doing everything they can, but the truth is there has been a shortfall this season, even though we've had a small budget.

Action from Wisbech Town's clash with champions Morpeth. Picture: IAN CARTERAction from Wisbech Town's clash with champions Morpeth. Picture: IAN CARTER

“We would really struggle to compete if it were to get any longer so hopefully we find some backing to allow us to run sustainably. Pretty much every one of our players could get more money elsewhere and have an easier life than playing under me!

“They have worked very hard which is something we knew we needed to do to succeed in staying at this level.”

Setchell was impressed with many aspects of his side's display in their final outing.

They were undone just before half-time as Liam Henderson pounced when the Fenmen lost possession inside their own box.

Setchell added: “We wouldn't have wanted to have to get a result against the champions on the final day, so it was great we'd already managed to secure our safety.

“I felt we started the game very well and played with plenty of intensity but we're disappointed with the manner of the goal.

“We had possession of the ball, but gave it away in our own box and were punished as always happens against good teams.”

Wisbech could stay in Division One East next season but there is a chance of a switch into Southern League Division One Central.

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