Regent face biggest-ever game against Bodmin Town in Vase, who they’ve already been down to Cornwall to watch. Bodmin include keeper Kevin Miller. He once cost £1.5m

James Webster Brightlingsea manager

James Webster Brightlingsea manager - Credit: Archant

Brightlingsea Regent face their biggest-ever game on Saturday as Cornish side Bodmin Town come to North Road in the fourth round of the FA Vase.

The clash, a last 32 one, will prove a tough examination for the north Essex outfit.

But their form and confidence is high and they have even gone so far as to watch Bodmin in action in Cornwall, as manager James Webster explained.

“Me and my assistant went down to Cornwall to watch them,” he said.

“They beat the bottom side 6-1, so it was hard to gauge a heck of a lot. But they play good football and they have a good physical side, with a few ex-pros in it.


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“Their keeper Kevin Miller once had a move from Crystal Palace to Watford for £1.5million, so they have plenty of experience in their squad.”

Webster is only 32 and became manager of Regent in 2009 after injury forced him to retire from playing.

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His team is built on stability and team spirit. A spirit that has taken the club to fifth place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier, with plenty of games in hand. This after gaining promotion from the First Division last season.

“The team has adjusted well to Premier Division football,” Webster added.

“We stick together and there haven’t been many changes within the squad over the past few seasons. In fact my back four have virtually been the same four since I took over.

“It’s the biggest game I’ve ever managed in and the furthest the club has got. We got to the third round last year before losing to Brantham.”

The tie has already caught the imagination of the people of Brightlingsea as a club that seemed down and out 12 years ago has risen like a phoenix from the flames.

Yet, it has been a tough journey.

Brightlingsea United, as the club were known, resigned from the Eastern Counties League shortly before the start of the 2002–03 season.

The reserve team in the Essex and Suffolk Border League became the first team and after a few seasons merged with youth club Regent Park Rangers to produce a bigger and better club.

The rest as they say . . .

But the world won’t stop for Regent whatever the outcome of Saturday’s clash.

Moving up the pyramid is what they want to do and they have already applied for promotion to Step 4.

A new stand seating 107 people has been added to North Road and a large crowd can be expected on Saturday – with the club hoping Colchester United fans who aren’t going to Carlisle coming along to support.

It promises to be a great occasion for Regent.

Mike Bacon will be at North Road on Saturday. Follow him on twitter for Bacon Twitter updates! @Mike_Bacon

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