Promotion a reward for club's hard work says Otters boss
PUBLISHED: 09:25 14 June 2019
The manager of Ottery St Mary has said confirmation the team will be in a much higher division next season is a reward for all the hard work gone in over the past years.
Dave Fairweather has been the manager of the Otters for more than five years and is now preparing his side for life in the newly created Devon Step 7 league.
The news comes after a strong season for Ottery in Division 3 where they finished in fourth place but Fairweather believes it a reward not just for last season but for the work been done over the years.
Fairweather said: "I think last season, we put in an awful lot of hard work and it didn't quite end how we wanted it to but it's not just for last season.
"I think it's a reward for everyone in the club. Over the past five years that I've been here, there's been an awful lot of hard work to get us back to where we believe we should be and beyond."
Fairweather said life in the higher division was an 'absolutely massive' challenge but one that he was relishing.
He said: "It's not just the football side of it, it's the whole infrastructure of the club.
"We've got a whole rejig that was planned regardless of what level the first team was playing at."
In terms of squad changes, Fairweather said: "You're always looking to improve aren't you? I think that they key for us is that we build on what we've got so, of course, new players are going to come in but we've got to make sure that they're the right people.
"That's really important. They've got to buy in to the club and what we're looking to achieve."
I think the talent is irrelevant if they don't have the right character because you end up with players leaving or they're unhappy and then the team suffers."
The new league was created as part of a Devon FA restructure and saw the creation of two 20 team South West Peninsula League divisions (Step 6 of the National League System) and three Devon and Cornwall FA leagues below that (Step 7).
The two step 7 leagues will be split into North and East Devon and a division of South and West Devon, both of which will have 16 teams. The Cornish teams will have their own league also including 16 teams.
Ottery will play in the South and West Division along with Bere Alston, Buckland Athletic Reserves, Kingsteignton Athletic, Lakeside, Newton Abbot Spurs Reserves, Plymouth Argyle Development, Paignton Saints, Paignton Villa, Plympton Athletic, Plymstock United, Roselands, Tavistock Reserves, Totnes and Dartington, Waldon Athletic and Watcombe Wanderers.
Ottery, who previously played in Division 3 of the Devon and Exeter Football League, had to make an application to join the new division in February and chairman Mike Ringer said they thought it was a perfect opportunity considering their facilities, infrastructure, recent growth and stability.
Ringer also said the club was looking forward to new horizons and thanked everyone that supported their application.
It was also announced on Tuesday night (June 11) that Ottery would face Newton Abbot Spurs Reserves in the Devon Football League League Cup.