By Charlie Eccleshare
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Wingate & Finchley’s director of football David Norman has challenged the Blues to make the most of their reprieve from relegation and capitalise on their second chance in the Ryman League Premier Division.
W&F went down on the final day of the season on goal difference but will stay in the league after Worksop Town resigned from the Northern Premier League.
That left one spare place at Step Three, which went to Wingate as the team with the highest points-per-game average.
Norman, who used to manage the side, told Ham&High Sport: “We are hugely pleased and relieved but now we need to capitalise on our good fortune. If we can get an extra one per cent out of the players and coaching staff that will be enough for us to build a platform and push on.
“We’re delighted to be playing in the Ryman Premier next season but we’re obviously disappointed for Worksop and hope they can recover.”
At the start of May, captain Marc Weatherstone said: “We’ll come straight back up, no doubt about it.”
And, when the good news filtered through, he tweeted: “I told you I would bring [Wingate] back up to the Ryman Prem but to do it this quick after 3 weeks just shows you what I’m about!”
Plans to capitalise on the club’s reinstatement have begun in earnest with the signings of versatile midfielder and forward David Knight from Thurrock FC and Northwood FC’s young striker Nico Muir - and Norman is hoping for a more successful campaign next term.
He said: “It was an up and down season but we’re looking to add goals to the team, and have already made some exciting signings.
“We finished the season with nearly 50 points, and now it’s about getting more continuity and consistency. It’s a very demanding and challenging league but if we play to our potential, there’s no reason why we cannot finish in mid-table or above.
“After the season we’ve just had, I would accept a season with a little less drama!”
The director of football is hoping to sign a defender in the close season but says budget constraints mean the emphasis will be on developing young players.
“We can’t afford to pay as much as other teams, so we have to develop the talent we have,” he said.
“In the last few games of the season we regularly had five players in the squad under the age of 19 and we want to nurture those players alongside the talented individuals we already have.
Norman also paid tribute to the facilities and ethos of the club: “We have excellent training pitches, with outstanding coaches who run their sessions in a very professional way,” he said.
“We keep players here for a long time because of that and because we sign players who we think will fit into the Wingate mentality and our way of playing.”