Brightlingsea boss James Webster can’t wait for big games in Ryman Premier

Brightlingsea players celebrate their promotion with fans

Brightlingsea players celebrate their promotion with fans - Credit: Archant

Brightlingsea Regent boss James Webster cannot wait for his side to potentially pit their wits against the likes of Dulwich Hamlet and Billericay Town next season.

Brightlingsea boss James Webster

Brightlingsea boss James Webster - Credit: Archant

Following The R’s magnificent Ryman North title win on Saturday, the Essex club will be playing Step 3 Ryman Premier Division football in 2017/18.

Only six years ago, Regent won promotion from the Step 7 Suffolk & Essex Border League, and Webster, who has worked miracles at North Road, overseeing four promotions in seven seasons, remembers those days well.

“When I first joined here, we were lucky to get 20 people through the gate,” said the boss.

“Now we’re going to be possibly playing the likes of Dulwich Hamlet and Billericay Town (who could both win promotion from the Ryman Premier this season), in front of thousands of fans.

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“It’s a big step, and we know it’s going to be tough, but the players have earned the right to play at that level, we’ll have big clubs coming up to little old North Road - and we’ve just got to try and enjoy it!”

Webster continued: “I never thought we’d make the Ryman North, let alone the Ryman Premier!

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“We’ve probably overachieved, but we’ve been running on momentum ever since winning the Border League.

“The team spirit is phenomenal and we’ve kept the core of that squad. They appreciate where the club has been, they love the club, and that seems to breed off on the other guys we get in.”

Webster, and in fact the majority of everyone associated with the club, underplayed the R’s chances of winning the title on Saturday as the boss explains.

“It’s a bit surreal,” said Webster.

“We thought Maldon would beat Dereham, and like a lot of the lads, I had planned to have a night in with the missus, but that changed! I think she’s fuming!

“I’m really proud of the boys, it’s been a long season, and it’s been hard work at times, but since the turn of the year, we’ve been in incredible form, losing just once.

“Beating Maldon & Tiptree (1-0 in February) was a big turning point.”

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