NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Chairman admits promotion will put a strain on Wisbech Town's resources as they get ready to rack up the miles

PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 May 2018

Wisbech Town chairman Paul Brenchley addresses a fans' forum last weekend as manager Gary Setchell (left) and assistant boss Darren Edey (right) look on. Picture: IAN CARTER

Wisbech Town chairman Paul Brenchley addresses a fans' forum last weekend as manager Gary Setchell (left) and assistant boss Darren Edey (right) look on. Picture: IAN CARTER

AdGarry Samuels

Wisbech Town will rack up more than 4,000 miles as they go in search of more success next season.

The Fenmen have been placed into the North Premier League East Division for 2018/19 following their promotion from the United Counties League Premier Division.

It is not only a rise in class that awaits Gary Setchell’s side next term – there is also a huge hike in their travelling distances and times.

They will face nine one-way journeys in excess of 100 miles with a monster 224-mile trek to Morpeth Town being the longest trip of all.

Their shortest journey is of 24 miles to Spalding United while Wisbech have seen two other local fixtures taken away.

Yaxley, the team who tipped them to the title last season, and Peterborough Sports were also initially included in their division, but they have now been switched into the Southern League East Division.

Their Northern Premier League East Division places are being taken by Brighouse Town (134 miles from Wisbech) and AFC Mansfield (a 79-mile journey).

The total mileage Wisbech will cover next season is 4,004. They travelled 728 miles last season.

Chairman Paul Brenchley said: “It’s going to be a big challenge for the club financially, but it’s one we’re ready to take on.

“There is no way I could stomach not taking promotion and being demoted to Step 6. That is not an option we were prepared to consider.

“We’re earned our place at Step 4, but as chairman I’m obviously concerned it could put a huge strain on our resources.

“There is so much money at the top level with things like parachute payments worth millions for clubs relegated from the Premier League.

“Surely some of that money - just a few thousand pounds - could be used to help little clubs like us who have been forced into promotion in non-league.

“It would have been more bearable with Yaxley and Peterborough Sports, but sadly we’ve lost two local derbies and gained two more long trips instead.

“The trips to places like Morpeth and Marske really push our mileage up, but I don’t really know an alternative. We’d still have lots of travelling in the Southern League.

“It’s not ideal, but we’re looking ahead to new season with optimism.”

Brenchley and manager Setchell addressed around 70 supporters at a fans’ forum, held at the Elgoods Fenland Stadium, last Saturday.

A rise in admission prices for home fixtures to £9 (adults) and £6 (concessions) was confirmed following a vote involving those present.

Brenchley also spoke of the need to cover the cost of coach or minibus travel to a large number of away games.

Brenchley has appointed Colin Payne as the club’s new commercial manager to bring in more revenue.

Manager Setchell told those gathered at the forum that he expects to retain the nucleus of his promotion-winning squad. He is also keen to strengthen with new signings in a bid to ensure Wisbech don’t find themselves in a relegation battle.

Northern Premier League East Division 2018/19 (and each club’s distance from Wisbech): AFC Mansfield (79), Belper Tn (96), Brighouse Tn (134), Carlton Tn (79), Cleethorpes Tn (76), Frickley Ath (104), Gresley (88), Lincoln Utd (59), Loughborough Dynamo (73), Marske Utd (185), Morpeth Tn (224), Ossett Utd (128), Pickering Town (162), Pontefract Colleries (113), Sheffield FC (99), Spalding Utd (24), Stamford (37), Stocksbridge Park Steels (117), Tadcaster Albion (125), Wisbech Tn.

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