Feniton targeting a bright future and certainly looking well set for the start of the new season

PUBLISHED: 15:30 28 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:30 28 June 2020

Feniton players and management after their March 12 4-1 win over Lyme Regis, a success dedicated to the memory of Hamish Culling who tragically passed away the week before.  Picture FENITON FC

Feniton players and management after their March 12 4-1 win over Lyme Regis, a success dedicated to the memory of Hamish Culling who tragically passed away the week before. Picture FENITON FC

Archant

Feniton are an ambitious football club targeting a rosey future under the stewardship of team boss James Hiscox.

We caught up with the Acland Park team chief to have a chat of all things Feniton.

First up we asked James what his considered view is with regard to the past season and how much progress he felt he, the players and the club had and indeed, were, making.

James replied saying: “It’s been a big ‘team’ effort from the management staff of both the first and second team.

“I am so pleased that we are operating, very much, under the guise of being ‘one club’.

“When I took the job, the club looked like it was destined to drop out of the Premier Division, but now I sense we are now pushing to go up a level in the football pyramid.

“At the start of last season we identified that we wanted to bring in young talent for the future, and to build a young team capable of playing Devon and Exeter League top flight football.”

He continued: “Fortunately for us we have a very good youth set up to be proud of and players such as Oscar Walsh, Cody Skinner, Oscar Bowerman, Chris Badcott, Tom Pryke, Louis Spalding, to name but six, have stepped up and are now very comfortable at that level.

“Good recruitment is also key, and we have added further strong additions in Jake Sellick, Nathan Guppy, Max Cooper, Tom Badcott, Ryan Shrewsbury and Darren Witt, amongst others.

“Perhaps the biggest positive, from the ‘one club’ perspective was that were able to keep a number of what I consider to be Feniton FC club stalwarts who know what the club is about and so a combination of all the afore mentioned meant we were able to field two strong teams last season.”

He added: “With regard to the 2019/20 season, I honestly could not be prouder of how well the lads did in order for us to finish in a top two berth when the season was ended. That said, I am a great believer in the old adage of ‘you never stop learning’ and there was plenty that happened over the past season that represent learning curves and that means that means, in order that we do go on and achieve our goals, everybody learns from mistakes.”

Next up we asked: “Acland Park is a smashing place to play football – how proud are you of all things Feniton FC and the current work going on to ‘spruce things up’”

James responded saying: “This is a club with some seriously key people involved. It isn’t just me buying into the ‘taking the club forward’ vision we have, there are many people involved that are buying in to what we want to achieve.

“This has been proven by the hard work going on behind the scenes at the moment with the changing rooms and general facilities being given a much smarter and professional look.

“Massive shouts must go to Mark Ebdon and Mark Harris for the countless hours they’ve spent in order to provide a better playing environment for everyone at the football club.

“I must also say a huge thank you, to club secretary Mel Mead. This is a guy who has been at the club since 1982 and his work behind the scenes allows us to function in a sustainable manner.”

Next, we asked: “Does he have an optimum squad number in terms of what he seeks to work with.”

James said: “We really are very clearly working as ‘one club’ and that means that players in the second team - and, for that matter, the U18s - go into their matches knowing that sustained consistent and committed performances will see them ultimately offered the chance to deliver similar in the first team.

“Indeed, last season there was plenty of flexibility between players playing for both sides.

“Ultimately, players that sign for us sign for the club not just the first team and our U18 side are a key element of the ‘one club’ thinking.”

“In terms of squad numbers, it’s hard to give an exact figure, but any players signed for the club must be ready for a first team call-up be that on a weekly basis or every now and again. For us, it’s one whole club and certainly not all about a 16-man first team group.”

We then asked the Feniton boss: “Clearly Acland Park could cope with stepping up the football pyramid. Would you like to see that happen?”

He wasted little time responding with: “The short and sweet response to that is ‘yes’. We have people on and off the pitch at the club that deserve to be involved at a higher level of the game.

“Last season we tended to do well against the top sides. We took on Rosleands in the Devon Premier Cup, beating them with something to spare and we drew with a Buckland Reserves side that were head and shoulders the top side at their level. So, yes, we are certainly looking onwards and upwards in terms of the football pyramid.”

Next up we asked: “Are there any other incomings planned or are you at the stage where you are content with your squad and don’t feel the need is there to add further.”

James says: “I’m happy with what I’ve got. We did all the necessary recruitment last year and we’ve managed to virtually keep the whole group bar Nathan Guppy who has gone to joint manage Newton St Cyres and Mike Maloney who left the area with his work.

“I’d like to wish them both good luck, as they were key players for both teams last season.

“We have brought in Ben Allen and Morgan Pearce and I am now more than happy with my squad for next season and there’s going to be a lot of healthy competition for places which players should embrace, as we will not get promoted relying on the same 11 each week. It’s always been my view that it’s a squad effort.

“The only other addition I’m looking at is the possible return of Charlie Selley. Selley is a class act who has played numerous seasons at the club and he is the sort of character and player who I see being with the club as we continue to progress.”

We then asked: “If we were to fast forward to next May, what would have hoped for in the 2020/21 season?”

James says: “Promotion for both teams and positive seasons for all the youth sides.

“I also want to push to see if we can bring some cup silverware to the club - something I feel we are more than capable of doing.”

Finally, we concluded the chat asking James when he felt we might see a return to ‘normal football’ in light of the on-going Coronavirus pandemic.

James said: “I am hoping that we might be back in action in last August or early September. I have had my lads back now for three weeks and that’s the sort of time scale we are working too. The key for me, and us, as a football club, is to make sure that we are all set to hit the ground running when we do finally get back into regular action.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Midweek Herald