NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Brett Whaley leaves a March Town promotion challenge to take over a Wisbech Town survival mission
PUBLISHED: 17:40 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 21:01 04 February 2020
Brett Whaley has crossed the Fenland footballing divide to become Wisbech Town manager for the second time.
Whaley's appointment by the Northern Premier League South East Division basement boys was confirmed early this afternoon (Tuesday) - less than 24 hours after he called time on his third stint in charge of March Town.
Whaley has swapped a Step 6 promotion challenge with the Hares for a Step 4 survival battle in the Fenmen hotseat.
Whaley, who previously managed Wisbech during the 2015/16 season, told the club's official website: "I know we've got a tough task between now and the end of the season, but the opportunity to manage at this level was one I felt like I needed to take.
"I'm not approaching this as a 13-game job. Hopefully this is the start of progression and stability for the club.
"I've always felt that I didn't do myself justice last time, so the approach from the club has given me the opportunity to prove myself.
"I'm more experienced now and feel better prepared to accept the challenges ahead.
"I hope the club and supporters can pull together and give the lads all the support they need to turn things around. I will do everything I can to make this a success and can't wait to get started."
Whaley was the subject of an approach from Wisbech Town after they failed to make progress under caretaker boss Kev Ward.
He was put in temporary charge following the December resignation of Seb Hayes, but was axed after collecting only four points from eight games in charge.
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It's a return which has left them two points adrift at the bottom and Fenmen chairman Paul Brenchley is desperate to avoid the drop.
He said: "Following a disappointing January - during which we failed to pick up a single point - something needed to change and Brett has been appointed to hopefully lift us off from bottom of the table and keep us away from it.
"Although our goal in the next three months is to avoid relegation, this is not a short-term 'quick fix' solution.
"Brett's appointment is done with the knowledge that whatever happens between now and the beginning of May, next season will see us playing much more locally.
"If things don't go well, that could potentially be back at Step 5 but if we do stay up, the new Northern Premier League Step 4 division will give us many more games within an hour's drive of Wisbech which should help with player recruitment and encourage more away supporters to make the journey."
Brenchley also took a swipe at March officials for making Whaley's departure public knowledge earlier than the two clubs agreed.
He added: "March asked us not announce anything until 10am this morning.
"With that in mind, we decided not to inform Kev last night.
"March have now well and truly thrown me under the bus by announcing last night."
Meanwhile Whaley's former assistant, Arran Duke, has been handed the March reins.
Duke is no stranger to management after being in charge at Wisbech St Mary for a decade.