Brightlingsea Regent boss James Webster happy for his Essex side to keep on upsetting the odds
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Brightlingsea Regent boss James Webster is happy for his side to keep on upsetting the odds.
The Essex outfit, who won back-to-back promotions from the Thurlow Nunn Leagues in seasons 2012/13 and 2013/14, sit in ninth position in the Ryman North as things stand.
Regent have won nine of their last 11 league games, drawing their most recent game 2-2 away at Romford on Saturday, to move up to within touching distance of the play-off places.
In a fairytale story for the R’s, who only formed in 2005, boss Webster has been left delighted with the way his side have fared so far at a higher-level.
“We are going really well at the minute,” said the boss.
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“We had a difficult start, but once we made adjustments, and the players got used to the physical side, we’ve really improved.”
Regent are certainly the form team in the division having accumulated 28 points from a last possible 33, with the club winning the Ryman League Team of the Week accolade twice in a row recently thanks to excellent wins over AFC Sudbury (1-0) and Wroxham (2-0) – two well-established sides Webster looks up to for inspiration.
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“Sudbury are one of the region’s top non-league sides,” declared Webster, who also won the Ryman Manager of the Month award for November.
“They have a fantastic set-up and are a club I look for us to build aspirations from, so I had to pinch myself a little when we went there and beat them.
“Similarly with Wroxham – they were third and flying high when we beat them so it just proves that what we are doing is not a fluke, we are doing it consistently.”
Consistently, indeed. In this excellent 11-game run, Brightlingsea have scored 29 goals, and conceded just eight goals.
From where Regent have come from (after rising through the Essex & Suffolk Border Leagues and Eastern Counties Leagues), the Essex club’s success is nothing short of a miracle with Webster modest about his team’s achievements so far.
“I suppose when I actually have the time to sit down and think about it (how well Regent have been doing), then I can see how far we have come - but I don’t get the time to reflect,” he declared.
“We have come a long way in a short time, and that’s mainly down to our ambitious chairman.
“His ambition has only grown to where we were in 2005 and he has been the driving force to us reaching Step 4 non-league football, where we are holding our own.
“I think Thurrock away (a 3-1 win at the start of November) was the game where we really turned the corner. We played really well and the result gave us the belief that we can give anyone a game in this league.”
Someone who has made a major impact since ironically arriving in November has been former Hadleigh United midfielder/forward Ollie Canfer, with Webster keen to praise his find.
“Ollie’s been a bit of a revelation,” continued Webster.
“I’m a big fan of his, he was someone we wanted to get on board in the summer, but his work situation changed and he had to move away.
“Thankfully, he returned to the area, and has been outstanding.”
Former Ipswich Town youngster Amir Berkane, on loan from Vanarama Conference South side Chelmsford City, has also impressed in central midfield as Webster explains: “Amir is runnings games at this level, and at his age (18), to be doing what he’s doing is incredible.”
Webster continued: “Jordan Heath is another who has taken his chance. His hold-up and link play has been fantastic, as well as the goals he has scored.”
2015 promises to be another big year for the upcoming Essex side.
Regent’s last 11 games -
November: Great Wakering Rovers (4-1 win), Thurrock (3-1 win), Tilbury (5-0 win), Soham Town Rangers (2-1 win).
December: Romford (3-1 win), Chatham (2-0 loss), Aveley (3-0 win), Redbridge (4-0 win), AFC Sudbury (1-0 win).
January: Wroxham (2-0 win), Romford (2-2 draw).