Best season in 25 years is ‘bitter-sweet’

Nelson FC Manager Mark Fell before the game against AFC Darwen.'Photo Ben Parsons
Nelson FC Manager Mark Fell before the game against AFC Darwen.'Photo Ben Parsons

There’ll be no holiday for Nelson FC boss Mark Fell this summer. No beach, no sun, no swimming pool.

Instead, the head of curriculum at Accrington and Rossendale College will find seclusion in the self-catering paradise of Little Wembley as the summer rebuild commences.

Tucked away in the familiar pocket of the town, located in the tranquil hub of Lomeshaye Way, Fell will take to the phone to bring in new recruits that can help the Blues improve on an 11th place finish.

Ben Woodhead, Jake Lloyd and Matt O’Neill have already signed new terms ahead of the 2015/16 campaign, while Peter Wright, George Mellin, Oliver Devenney and Nat Taylor have been invited back for pre-season.

“It’s the highest the club has finished at this level,” said Fell. “It’s the best season the club has had since the Lancashire Combination deceased in the early ‘80s.

“It feels a bit strange really because we’ve achieved all that but we wanted a bit more and we know that we should’ve done a bit better. It’s slightly bitter-sweet. We’ve got aspirations bigger than that.

“Elements of the season have been disappointing and there’s a decent rebuild needed for next year. There’ll be a big turnover of players but that’s the nature of non-league football.”

He added: “The club is looking to bring in 10-plus players. Discussions have already begun. I’ve got a lot of work to do over the summer.

“I want to get my business done as early as I can so I’ve got time to work with the squad. We don’t want to be a Blackpool; we want to hit the ground running.

“I never get a holiday. It’s all go, but I’m a bit of a workaholic so I prefer to get stuck into it.”

Nelson Mandela’s quote, “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”, adorns Fell’s Twitter page and the keen golfer, who will look to improve his handicap during the break, certainly lives by that inspirational collation of words.

“I’ve got a strong internal drive so I want us to be the best we can be,” he said. “We are going to try to give ourselves the best possible chance of fighting for promotion.”