Boss Bessey’s big ‘fear’ after Fleetlands are overlooked for promotion to the Wessex League

Rich Bessey vowed to continue his quest to deliver Fleetlands promotion despite missing out Hampshire Premier League.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 6:09 pm
Fleetlands boss Rich Bessey. Picture: Tom Phillips.

Both the Coptermen's HPL rivals Infinity and Bush Hill have been granted 'upward movement' as part of the FA's major non-league restructure.

Fleetlands, along with Stockbridge, had also applied for promotion but the two clubs missed out with confirmation of the make-up of the Wessex League Division 1 next term revealed today.

Boss Bessey admitted the news came as a bitter blow to him and everyone involved with the club.

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Fleetlands actually had a better points per game ratio (2.25) than Infinity (2.23) this season - although the Coptermen were third best on 2.08 behind both Bush Hill (2.5) and Infinity (2.51) over the past two pandemic-hit campaigns.

But despite the huge disappointment, Bessey is determined to go again next season at the club - provided he does not lose his entire playing squad.

He: 'Right now, it’s not us. The FA have made their decision and we’ve got to respect that. We’ve got to use it as a positive to say ‘they’re (Bush Hill and Infinity) aren’t with us, they’re not in our league and we’ve got to dust ourselves off and go again’.

‘It’s easier said than done, but I’m fully committed to this club and to the chairman (Iain Sellstrom) and everything we’re trying to achieve.

'It doesn’t change anything for me up until the point it changes everything for the players.

'My fear is if all the players turned around and said it wasn’t for them then we’re in a difficult arena.

'We’d have to recruit in every single position at that point and try to get out of the division.

‘But I don’t feel that’s the way, I’ve got some very good guys and experienced players and some that really enjoy the club.

‘Some will move on and think they deserve a chance. Maybe Infinity and Bush could come in for one or two if they think they did well.'

Bessey remains unclear over how the FA came to the decision to award clubs 'upward movement' as part of the restructure.

But he conceded he can have no complaints given the consistency of both Bush and Infinity since the start of the 2019/20 season.

He added: 'I don’t know their decision, I don’t know their reasoning for it, everyone is saying if it’s for football reasons then they’ve smashed it to Bush Hill and Infinity - I can’t go against that.

‘We have to remember if it was points per game based on this season we finish above Infinity.

‘We lost one game (this season) to Infinity and we drew with Bush. If it’s over the past few years I’m absolutely honest enough to say they fully deserve it.

‘They’re two top sides, they’ve got some good attributes in both - we’ve had clashes along the way - but if you look at it for that reason they deserve to play Wessex League football, there’s no denying that.'