NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Wisbech St Mary chief relieved but ready to go for the step six challenge

Wisbech St Mary player-manager Stuart Beckett is ready for the challenge ahead after the 2019-20 sea

Wisbech St Mary player-manager Stuart Beckett is ready for the challenge ahead after the 2019-20 season was declared null and void. Picture: STUART BECKETT - Credit: Archant

Wisbech St Mary player-manager Stuart Beckett is relieved that the 2019-20 season was declared null and void, but knows the challenge to improve will not be easy.

Saints were seven points adrift at the foot of Thurlow Nunn League First Division North with two league wins to their name when the FA ruled out the current campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 26.

Now Beckett, who replaced former boss Alex Kaufman in February, wants to lead the charge towards a brighter future at the ABC Stadium.

“We have to be selfish in a way and take the positives,” he said.

“We get another crack at the level (step six); we get an extra couple of months to prepare for next season and to make sure we prepare fully.

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“This (decision) has made it a lot easier than having to play the last nine games of the season and trying to get ourselves out of trouble, but we wanted to do that.

“We wanted the challenge and were looking forward to it. The overriding feeling is perhaps relief, but it wasn’t a challenge we weren’t looking forward to.”

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Since Beckett took over, several players have also left the club in what has been a difficult couple of seasons for Saints since winning promotion to step six.

However, there have been talks of strengthening his squad, as well as adding a fresh coaching team to the ranks, which has given the long-serving defender a breath of confidence.

“There will be a new coaching team potentially moving into next year and I’m fully confident in what we can bring in and the type of player we want to bring in, the type of ethos we want to stand by and move forward,” Beckett said.

“When we get a clear date from when we can start moving forward, then we will start putting bits and bobs in place and move on from there.

“There are some players who have other offers and we’ve spoken about that, but we respect their decision if that’s what they choose to do.

“We want the right players who want to play for Wisbech St Mary and want to be in the team.

“We’ve had two poor seasons and have been very lucky to still be at the level. This and next year, possibly, we need to consolidate and work on what we’ve got.

“If after that point we can move up a gear and challenge, then we will, but for now, consolidation is the only aim.”

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