WISBECH Town have taken the decision to scrap the reserves team following the resignation of joint managers Mark Jimson and Mel Mattless last week.
The club decided at a meeting after Saturday’s FA Cup game to withdraw from the Cambs League Senior A Division and are hoping to forge a link with Peterborough League club Leverington.
But, even given the circumstances, this looks a real backward step and promising youngsters Max Mattless and Danny Emmington may now leave the club with Mattless wanted by March Town and Emmington may join Downham.
And what of the young under 18 players under the wing of Ian Jones with no progression to the reserves, who were due to play their first league game of the season against Wimblington tonight.
Jimson and Mattless, who took over the reserves management from Darren Edey last September, announced their resignations hours before they were unable to field a team for last Thursday’s proposed friendly against Leverington.
Last season the reserves struggled to get a full squad out for games and the pair worked a miracle in the end to fend off relegation.
Jimson said: “I am gutted to pack in because I Iove the club but it was a real struggle last season and things do not look any better for this season. It is a great shame because there are some really promising young players and I feel guilty about the whole thing but I have to think of myself and my job too.
“It was about survival last season but I thought we could push on this season and build something. I was going to stop playing and be a full-time manager Unfortunately I have been on holiday which was not ideal in the preseason, but it was booked over six months ago when I did not know I would still be doing the job.
“Players who had promised to join us have gone and signed for other clubs. For some reason local players do not want to play for Wisbech Town and prefer the village clubs.”
The reserves had just 15 players signed on for the Cambs League last Wednesday and some of those were first teamers.
Wisbech will now face a fine of up to £100 from the Cambs League and Phil Mitcham commented: “It is disappointing because Wisbech are the second club in the last seven days to withdraw from Senior A. The other club was Debden.”
Wisbech St Mary, Parson Drove and Leverington will all field former Wisbech Town players in their midweek games this week after turning their backs on the Fenmen.
Club chairman Barry Carter said: “It was a real struggle for the reserves last season and we do not want to go all through that again with the fines and bringing the club name down. Hopefully we can regroup and run the reserves again in the future.”
Manager Steve Appleby supported the club’s decision: “I would prefer to have a reserve team for obvious reasons but it was a real problem for Mark and Mel last season. They did really well in the circumstances and we could not carry on without them.
“We are hoping now to link up with Leverington so any of our young players can sign and play for them on a Saturday while any first team players needing a game after injury or absence will be given a game by Leverington.
“Hopefully it will work for both clubs and any Leverington players doing well can be given his chance in our first team squad as well.”
Jimson has now signed to play for Leverington but added: “I am not going to turn my back on Wisbech after all these years and will be down to watch home games when I can and will still support the club. I just wish things could have worked out better.”