‘Promotion to the Wessex League would be for George Mason and John Adams, the spine of this club’ – Fleetlands boss Rich Bessey

Fleetlands' full focus is now on whether they'll be granted promotion to the Wessex League after their L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup campaign came to a premature end.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 8:06 am
Action from Fleetlands' 4-0 win over Hayling United in their final L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup group tie. Picture: Tom Phillips

The Coptermen ran out convincing 4-0 winners over Hayling United in their final group 6 fixture but failed to qualify for the knockout stages.

Fleetlands managed just two victories from six matches in the tournament - both against Hayling - and missed out on a top-two finish with Moneyfields Reserves and Locks Heath making it through.

Boss Rich Bessey conceded earlier in the competition his side were distracted by the ongoing uncertainty surrounding what league they'll be playing in next season.

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Kelvin Robinson, right, in action for Fleetlands in their 4-0 win over Hayling United in their final L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup group tie. Picture: Tom Phillips

Fleetlands are one of four Hampshire Premier League Senior Division clubs seeking 'upward movement' in the pyramid, along with Bush Hill, Infinity and Stockbridge.

Bessey remains hopeful his team will be operating at step 6 from next season - and says it would be great for club stalwarts like president George Mason and John Adams to see them play there in Fleetlands’ 75th anniversary year.

They will find out on May 17 if they have been successful in their application.

'We’ve done all we can, we’ve got our facilities, we’ve got our 10-year lease and we’ve got the floodlights so we’re good to go if they chose us,’ said Bessey.

Action from Fleetlands' 4-0 win over Hayling United in their final L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup group tie. Picture: Tom Phillips

‘You’ve got George Mason who’s been at the club for many, many years. He’s president of the club and chairman of the Hampshire League.

‘He’s of an age now at 80 years old, he’s been in the game a long time, and next year is 75 years of Fleetlands. What a great year to go up to the Wessex League.

‘It would be a reward for all the people behind the scenes at the club. People like me come and go - I’ve come in and I believe I’ve changed the fortunes of the club - a lot of good players have come in and we’re a competitive club, as opposed to being a Hampshire League club who just sits there.

‘We come and go, we manage football teams, we get a top scorer of the league, this, that and the other, but if we gain promotion going into our 75th year then it’s for people like George Mason and John Adams.

‘They’re the absolute spine of this club. There’s a photo on the wall in the clubhouse of John running a football team at Fleetlands - he now cuts our grass well into his 80s.

‘They’re superb and if this club goes anywhere then I’m pretty sure you’ll see a George Mason Stand or a John Adams Suite in the clubhouse.

‘These are the sort of people who will be remembered at this football club.'

Fleetlands' faced Hayling in a dead-rubber with neither side able to qualify for the knockout stages.

Kelvin Robinson's first-half strike set the Coptermen on their way before Matt Andrews' double and goalkeeper Matt Short's penalty at least ensured a win to wrap up the club’s 2020-21 fixtures.

Robinson ended his first season at the club as the top scorer - the former Fareham Town man hitting 14 goals in only 17 league and cup starts.