Nervy times at Brightlingsea Regent as ground grading deadline nears

Brightlingsea Regent's North Road

Brightlingsea Regent's North Road - Credit: Archant

These are exciting yet nerve-racking times for Brightlingsea Regent.

Before today’s Essex derby against Maldon & Tiptree, James Webster’s men sit with one eye on the Ryman North Division play-offs, but also with one eye on their Ryman League status.

Following their unexpected promotion into the Ryman North from the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division last season, a series of ground improvements have had to be made, the developments have to be completed before Tuesday’s deadline – due to FA and league regulations.

After erecting a players tunnel, as well as providing a medical room for supporters, and fitting perimeter fencing around all of the pitch in a non-stop few weeks, Brightlingsea chairman Terry Doherty, who has overseen the work, almost forgot one other important feature – a covered area for 50 spectators.

“I nearly made a bit of boo-boo,” admitted Doherty.

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“I’m quietly confident we’ll get the green light, but last Friday, when the FA came to visit, the first thing they said to me was ‘Where is your covered standing area for 50 extra spectators?’

“It wasn’t until then that I re-looked at my D Grade form and saw what we hadn’t done.

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“I then made frantic phonecalls to some our supporters and missed last week’s trip to Harlow, although it sounds like a good one to have missed (Brightlingsea lost 4-0).

“We then had fans turn up in mass numbers to erect a roof on the area on the Sunday, and hopefully my blushes will be spared.”

Regent are set for their final inspection on Tuesday, March 31.

And if they are to be given the all-clear, Doherty will again be extremely grateful to all the volunteers that are putting in the work for a club who have had to make improvements on the three occasions they have got promoted in the last four years.

“We don’t have a sugar daddy,” Doherty joked.

“Everyone works together here – the players, staff, fans of all three teams (Brightlingsea have Reserve and A-team sides), and it’s just absolutely fantastic, everyone does their bit to chip in.

“The first-team are being too successful. It would be nice to have a rest for one year!

“Seriously though, they have exceeded all expectations again this season, and it’s been really enjoyable – we could still make the play-offs.”

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