Chairman Iain Sellstrom: Next Fleetlands managerial appointment will be made with Wessex Premier League in mind

Iain Sellstrom will appoint the next Fleetlands manager with one eye on progressing into the top flight of the Wessex League.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 3:07 pm
Fleetlands chairman Iain Sellstrom

The chairman has a list of 16 names so far as he looks to replace Rich Bessey following the latter’s resignation last Friday.

Some are those who have already applied, others are ones Sellstrom would like to talk to.

The initial deadline for applications is the end of this week, but that timeframe can easily be extended if needs be.

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‘This has got to be the right appointment, and it’s got to be a long-term appointment,’ said Sellstrom.

‘We have a great chance of playing in the Wessex next season. The next appointment won’t be made with a view to progressing out of the Hampshire Premier, it’ll be made with a view to progressing out of Wessex 1. We want to be playing in the Wessex Premier in the next three or four years.

‘We’re not just looking for a first-team manager. The next appointment will need to get involved with the community culture - the women’s team, the reserves, the youth - the ‘one club’ ethos. It’s about more than managing the first team.

‘We’re looking for someone with a track record ideally.’

Chris Blakeman, who was Bessey’s No 2, was in charge during last weekend’s 4-1 Portsmouth Senior Cup win at lower tier Meon Milton - Horndean loanee Mark Smith netting twice.

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Blakeman was assisted by reserve boss Steve King and Mark Ayre, but Matt Shortt - last season’s regular goalkeeper - will be joining Blakeman in the dug-out for this Wednesday’s HPL Senior trip to table-topping Moneyfields.

Sellstrom, meanwhile, said he wasn’t shocked when Bessey told him he was quitting.

‘No, not really,’ he remarked. ‘It’s been a tough time for him. Being tired isn’t a shame - it was time for him to take a break.

‘He did so much more for this club than just managing the team. He was always asking about the build, he came in to wash the kit, he did some decorating around the ground, he was always looking for new players.

‘Results had been good, but if you were being brutally honest they weren’t against the better teams. Rich had been struggling to get players to commit. The scores were there, but the feel wasn’t there. I think Rich would admit that - there was work to do.’

Blakeman, meanwhile, will be without 17-goal top scorer Kelvin Robinson at Moneyfields as the striker is working away in Leeds.

Jamie Wrapson and sub Leigh Shadbolt were also on target in the PSC success at Meon Milton.