Thurlow Nunn League preview: Promotion-chasing Great Yarmouth Town aim to avoid more heartache
Great Yarmouth Town will be hoping to take the first step towards joining East Anglia's footballing elite this afternoon.
The Bloaters were agonisingly close to going up a year ago, but fell short on the very last day of the season. But they are desperate not to see history repeat itself this afternoon. A point at home to Team Bury will secure their status as a Premier Division side for 2016-17 – for the first time since 2011-12.
Since then the club has managed to keep the financial wolves from the door and, on the pitch, have proved they are worthy of a change of scenery. The plans almost came to fruition a year ago, but they drew 1-1 at Saffron Walden when victory would have been enough to leapfrog the third-placed Essex side on the final day of the season.
“Last season was a harsh reminder of what football can do to you,” said joint boss Adam Mason.
“To not do it again would be a real kick in the teeth, just as it was then.
“We have put so much effort in to this season – it has become more than a hobby for me and Sinny (joint manager Martyn Sinclair). It is more a lifestyle change so it would be really harsh if we were to go through it again.
“Mind you, if someone had said to us at the start of the season that we would need one point from the final game to go up, we would have bitten their hands off.”
“We’re in good shape. We have quite a young side and a lot of the pressure just passes over their heads. They just brush it aside and go out and do what they have been doing most of the season.
“If there is any pressurec it is probably mainly on me and Sinny because we’ve been through this sort of thing before.”
There is a school of thought that big things could be coming out of The Wellesley, which enjoyed its halcyon days back in the 70s and 80s when the club were regularly in contention for honours.
Mason is acutely aware of the successes of Wroxham, Dereham and Lowestoft – and the anomaly of a town the size of Great Yarmouth lagging behind.
“You look at those clubs and towns and we really should be up there competing with them,” he said.
“It’s been too long since we were in the Premier Division. We want to get back to the derby days against Gorleston, which brought in huge crowds. It really is about time we were back amongst that. This is the perfect opportunity to get back in the big picture.”
In the Premier Division, Whitton United are down so the other two relegation positions will be filled by Norfolk teams.
Swaffham Town hold a two-point lead over Thetford Town and Fakenham Town.
All three are away to Suffolk sides – Swaffham at Hadleigh, Thetford at Felixstowe & Walton United and Fakenham at Walsham-le -Willows.
Although there are three relegation places there could well be a reprieve for the team finishing third bottom, depending on movements between the Step Four and Step Five leagues.