NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Wisbech St Mary look to the future with new club

Wisbech St Mary boss Arran Duke says creating a new club - Wisbech St Mary Saints - is a bold move.

Wisbech St Mary boss Arran Duke says creating a new club - Wisbech St Mary Saints - is a bold move. - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire has welcomed a new football club - Wisbech St Mary Saints.

Wisbech St Mary’s ‘daughter’ club, launched today (May 25), will be managed by the club’s former reserve boss, Gary Haime and assistant Marty Young.

Club bosses have created the new club to “aid player participation” and to improve “further opportunities for player growth at a higher level,” according to a spokesman.

Wisbech St Mary’s first team currently plays in the First Division of the Thurlow Nunn League, with its reserve team plying their trade in the Cambs Kershaw B Division. It also has clubs in the Mead Plant & Grab 2B and 3B Divisions, but it is understood none of those sides will be affected by the new club.

“Players shall be multi-registered for the Thurlow Nunn League, Cambridgeshire Football League and Peterborough & District Football League, where Wisbech St Mary Saints will be competing,” the spokesman added.

Shaun Belfield will take over the managerial reins at the club’s ‘A’ team and John Rowe will manage the ‘B’ team for the 2017/18 season.

“The club has been in advanced talks with a strong candidate for Wisbech St Mary Reserves and we hope to announce some news on this front within the next two weeks,” the spokesman added.

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First team boss, Arran Duke, said: “It’s been a busy period off the field for the club since the end of the season, with lots of discussions about widening our player pull.

“The move effectively gives me two reserve sides to call upon. It’s a bold move from the club but one that could have a major impact positively.

“I’m sure if it goes how we expect it to more clubs will look to follow suit.

“Our strong debut season opened a few eyes and lots of players are in demand so it is inevitable we are going to lose a few of them.

“We can’t compete financially with most of our rivals but it’s a massive compliment to us as a club to see higher level sides come in for our players and so with the move it insures our long-term future to be able to compete at this level and hopefully beyond.”

The Saints are not the only club to make ground-breaking changes in recent weeks, with Cambs League side Upwell Town merging with Wisbech Town Acorns last week.