2021/22 review of worst campaign in Wisbech Town's history, which seen them relegated from Northern Premier League Midlands Division and Step 4
The end of the season could not come quickly enough for Wisbech Town after they endured the worst campaign in the club’s 102 year history.
Bad luck, poor decisions on and off the pitch and an overall lack of quality saw the Fenmen get through six managers as they finished bottom of the Northern Premier League Midlands Division.
After an encouraging pre-season, Wisbech got off to the worst possible start when a team depleted by Covid-19, injuries and unavailability were beaten 4-0 at home by Coleshill Town on the opening day.
Further defeats at Corby Town and Chasetown and at home to a poor Histon outfit left Brett Whaley’s men at the foot of the table, with an FA Cup win over Whitton United doing little to raise levels of optimism.
A Toby Allen double saw Yaxley beaten and the first points on the board on August Bank Holiday Monday, but two further league defeats and a cup exit followed.
Allen and Liam Adams were on target as the Fenmen gained their first away win, 2-0 at a woeful Daventry Town, but three points from draws in the next nine games cemented their status as relegation strugglers.
A win at Bury Town in the FA Trophy set up a 2-0 home defeat against Biggleswade in the next round, but then striker Sam Bennett signed from Soham and a brace in his first home game, a 2-1 victory over Corby, seemed to give Wisbech genuine hope of survival.
However, manager Whaley then left for Spalding United - and would take striker Dylan Edge and defenders Liam Marshall and Aaron Hart with him over the next few weeks.
Despite another Bennett brace in a 3-0 Christmas home win over fellow strugglers Soham under Whaley’s former assistant Chris Lenton, Wisbech never recovered.
A club record 14 consecutive league defeats followed, with Lenton, Aaron Duke and Mark Warren, Dick Creasey and Mark Thompson all having short spells in the hot seat before Allan Ross became the sixth man in charge before the 4-3 home defeat to a much-improved Daventry on February 26.
Amazingly, a 5-1 win at Histon on April 9 meant Wisbech still had a chance of taking the third-from-bottom relegation play-off spot, but defeats in their last three games saw them slip out of Step 4 football after four seasons - two of them interrupted by Covid while occupying a relegation place.
- Fenland Citizen Player of the Season: Sam Bennett
Eleven goals from 18 starts is a fantastic return for a striker in a bottom-of-the-table team. If manager Ross can persuade him to stay for next season’s Step 5 campaign, expect a fully fit Bennett to score 30-plus goals.
- Result of the season: It’s telling that all the Fenmen’s league wins were against fellow strugglers and their cup wins were against Step 5 opposition, but the thrashing of Histon gave signs of what could happen next season under Ross and gave loyal fans a rare chance to smile after months of disappointment.
Manager Allan Ross told the Fenland Citizen about his ambitions for next season.
“If we can be in the top three or four for the majority of the season and have a good cup run, I will be over the moon.”
“If we are in the United Counties League, as seems likely, I know the players to bring in and I have good knowledge of opposition teams. But, whatever league we play in, I will sign players who want to play for us.”
- “The way I have been welcomed by our supporters has delighted and overwhelmed me. They’ve seen the work me, my backroom staff and the players have put in. I am very emotional to be chosen to lead this club.When I drive in it’s a good feeling when I see the Wisbech sign and remember I’m the manager of this football club.
"The support I’ve had gives me the confidence that what I have been doing is right, but now we need to take it to the next level.
"Now I need to nail down seven or eight of the players we already have and I have identified another six or seven I want to bring in.”