Otters chairman – Club is ‘devastated’ with DEFL restructure

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary chairman Mikey Ringer has said the club is ‘devastated’ and ‘disappointed’ with the new Joma Devon and Exeter Football League restructure.

For the 2020/21 season, the leagues have been split into regionalised groups with all divisions having two subsections (east and west) expect Division Four which has three. (east, west and central) in an attempt to combat the shortened season.

Ottery’s development squad has been placed in Division Two East and the thirds are in Division Four East.

Ringer said: “It is like the league has no regard for the setup of actual clubs and the way we structure ourselves to produce depth.

“We have been placed in a division that in a sense is a division five setup. No disrespect to the other teams there but there were two teams (Ottery and Axminster Town) that were both assured we would be considered in line with the players and club to be higher. We have appealed the decision and we await the reply.”

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Ringer has said the social side of the club is starting to become ‘buoyant’ again. He said: “There is still a long way to go to be in some kind of normality and the social events we have had planned are being moved back as the guidelines change from one week to the next. The secretary now has a full head of grey hair with the amount of forms he has had to fill in only to be changed the following week.

“Pre-season games have had its ups and downs as we have tried to put out blanket squads based on our overall players to see where people will be come the season start.

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“In the development squad is great, those youngsters are pulling together and the results are already showing as they have grown.

“As for the games we have no easy ones at all as we have chosen opposition that would push us and they have never been embarrassed. I couldn’t be happier with the progress at this stage”

The ladies team has been hit by the loss of their goalkeeper to a broken wrist but they should learn their season start date on August 28.

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