‘Appy times: Wisbech Town boss and assistant keen to stay on despite club turning down promotion

Steve Appleby is smiling again despite Wisbech Town's decision to turn down promotion to Step Four o

Steve Appleby is smiling again despite Wisbech Town's decision to turn down promotion to Step Four of the non-league ladder. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech Town fans breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when manager Steve Appleby and assistant Chris Dear expressed their desire to remain at the club.

The pair were expected by some to walk away after the Fenmen's board turned down the chance of promotion from the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division for financial reasons.

However, after meeting with the club's hierarchy, Appleby and Dear have agreed to stay on – especially if Wisbech are granted their wish to play in the United Counties Premier Division next term.

Their futures will not look as certain though if the FA decide to snub the Elgood's Fenland Stadium outfit's request for a 'sideways' move across Step Five of the non-league ladder. The duo insist they will review their positions if Wisbech are kept in the Eastern Counties set-up.

Appleby, who has been at the helm for 1,171 days, said: 'The easy decision would have been to walk away but I felt as though it is time for a bit of stability and loyalty to be shown, not only to the club itself, but also to the players and supporters of the town.

'I have made a quick decision for the good of the club and the players. The good news that I have is that Chris Dear, who is invaluable to me, and a large majority of players want to stay at the club.

'It's not been an easy decision because it has taken myself, Chris and the players three-and-a-half seasons to achieve what we have done. It's been a bitter pill to swallow not to take the promotion for myself and the players and probably what hurt more was that we only found out a week before the end of our season.

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'However, we have to respect the decision that the chairman (Barry Carter) and board of directors have made, because it has been made to safeguard the club's future. I for one want there to be a Wisbech Town in 100 years' time; it has always been about the club, not an individual player or manager.'

Ex-Fenmen midfielder Appleby, the third longest-serving manager in the club's history, stepped into the hot seat on February 10, 2010 after Dick Creasey had temporarily replaced King's Lynn Town-bound boss Gary Setchell.

He has helped the Fenmen secure their highest league finish in 16 years, runners-up this season, and win two League Cup finals in three campaigns.

Yesterday's news also looks to have provided another boost for the club as it appears to have banished immediate fears of a player exodus. Twelve of Wisbech's current squad are thought to be keen on staying, three are unsure while two, Chris Bacon and Matt Lunn, are moving away from the area.