Summer of turmoil looms for Wisbech Town after they turn down chance of promotion

Wisbech Town, in red, will not be playing higher-level football alongside Dereham Town next season.

Wisbech Town, in red, will not be playing higher-level football alongside Dereham Town next season. Picture: Ian Burt. - Credit: IAN BURT

Wisbech Town look set to face a summer of turmoil after turning down the possibility of promotion for financial reasons.

The Thurlow Nunn Premier Division runners-up seemed certain to move up to Step Four of the non-league ladder with champions Dereham. But the chance of going up via the back door, like their rivals King's Lynn Town did in 2012, has already been closed by the Fenmen – leaving a number of key figures, including boss Steve Appleby, considering their futures.

Chairman Barry Carter said: 'We were elected as officials of the club with certain responsibilities, mainly to ensure the club remains in a viable position. We would be remiss if we pursued promotion next season with its burden of extra wages, travel and expenses, which we could not have maintained, and would have jeopardised our very existence.

'Unfortunately we had to apply for promotion last November, when our expenses were sustainable. Three months of dreadful weather slashed our income but not our expenses, which at the time were met by certain individuals.'

The Fenmen's average gate of 234 is almost 100 more than any other club in their league.

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Appleby, who led the Fenmen to their highest league finish in 16 years, said: 'I've spent the last three-and-a-half years trying to get the club into this position. The players are extremely disappointed. I don't know if I will be able to keep the team together or if I'll be there next season.'

Instead of seeking promotion, Wisbech have applied for a switch next season to the United Counties Premier Division – the same level as the Thurlow Nunn Premier and two levels below Step Three-bound King's Lynn.

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