Fleetlands boss Bessey: ‘How easy will it be to rebuild if squad breaks up following another null and void?’

Rich Bessey will question his position as Fleetlands manager should the 'non-elite' football campaign be declared null and void for the second season running.

Sunday, 24th January 2021, 12:42 pm
Fleetlands boss Rich Bessey (centre). Picture: Ian Hargreaves

But the Coptermen boss would like to think both he and his squad will return to finish the job of finally delivering promotion back to the Wessex League for the club.

Bessey arrived at Fleetlands in the summer of 2019 with a two-year plan to get the Hampshire Premier League side out of the Senior Division.

But it looks as though he'll be unable to deliver on that ambition with the current campaign appearing as if it will be scrapped - just like the last one.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The FA controversially cancelled steps 3-6 in 2019/20 with a subsequent knock-on effect for the HPL at step 7. With the Wessex League Division 1 (step 6) null and voided, there was no promotion/relegation between them and the HPL.

Fleetlands chairman Iain Sellstrom has worked relentlessly on getting the club up to scratch off the pitch in order for them to meet Wessex League ground grading.

Bessey feels he's managed to assemble a squad good enough to have gone up both this season and last, yet it appears that will be taken away from them.

And now it's a case of whether the group have the fight to come back again in 2021/22.

‘Those thoughts have gone through my mind (questioning carrying on if null and void),' said Bessey.

'You’ve got to look at it in the sense that the world isn’t as we knew it.

‘We all do football as a hobby, but two years running, two promotion campaigns where I genuinely feel we’d have finished in that place.

‘I think over the course of the two seasons we certainly would have been one of those teams to go up.

'My concern is reassembling this squad again. If all of my players were to turn around and say ‘I want to re-sign, we owe it to the club’ - it’s a fantastic little club with great support and everything that’s possible at this club ... Iain has done all he can to get us out of the league.

‘We haven’t finished two full seasons so, in short, we’ve said we’d finish two seasons and we haven’t even done that.

'Why not stick it out and stick together? If the lads were all up for that and we could push on together as a unit and all be safe to do so, I’m all for staying at Fleetlands.

‘If it’s a rebuild, it’s not a question of me wanting to do it, it’s about whether it’s even possible.'

Bessey believes he's put the club in a 'strong position' during his spell as Lederle Lane.

But he conceded if his current squad were to break up, it would be tough to rebuild.

Sellstrom recently told The News that he thought Fleetlands were in a very strong position on and off the pitch.

‘I just feel that for us, we’ve put them in such a strong position, I think Iain made a comment (in The News) about how well the club is doing and he’s got a great manager - it’s great to hear - I want to repay that,' Bessey added.

‘But how can you go into a season with 15 of your squad saying ‘that’s it for me,’ what would you then do?

‘Do we try to rebuild again?

‘Is it that easy? I’m not sure.'