‘We can bounce back’ - Great Yarmouth Town boss Mike Derbyshire

Yarmouth Town manager Mike Derbyshire is aiming to bounce back straight away after suffering the inevitable relegation blow at the weekend.

The writing has been on the wall from the early stages of one of the most traumatic seasons in the 117-year-old club’s history.

But Derbyshire is insisting that the club is now in better shape on and off the pitch than at any time during his turbulent six months at the helm.

After switching from rivals Gorleston in September, Derbyshire saw the playing budget axed within weeks. A steady exodus of players ensued, with Yarmouth’s lack of experience at top flight level ruthlessly exploited by their opponents who subjected them to some woeful hammerings.

He had a resignation offer rejected by the club committee after a galling defeat in a “six-pointer” at Newmarket and has also seen the Bloaters fail to field a side for a game at Wisbech.

Off the pitch the Bloaters were struggling to stay alive in the face of a cash and manpower crisis before volunteers came forward at a crunch meeting and local businessman Mike Smith, of DSL, injected cash which has restored a playing budget and helped with club expenses.

Derbyshire has also been juggling the job with turmoil in his personal life with much of his focus on dealing with his father’s serious illness and subsequent death.

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Some might have seen relegation as a merciful release for a team that has won just one of its 33 Ridgeons League Premier Division games and shipped 118 goals. But Derbyshire insisted: “Nobody is going to be happy about going down to Division One. .Everyone wants to be in the top division and playing at as high a level as they can.”

But he refuted any suggestion of doom and gloom at the Wellesley.

“We have got a lot of good young players at the club and if we can add a couple of experienced players at least then I believe there is no reason why we can’t bounce straight back next season.

“And if we do, we do it with a solid structure behind us. We don’t do it by false economics and paying big money to any players.”

Derbyshire pledged that Yarmouth would continue to try to play football, and pointed to a general improvement in results in recent weeks as evidence of progress, even if a second win of the season has not materialised.

“I refused to go long ball and do whatever you needed to do to survive. I wanted us to keep trying to play football. I think in the long run that will hold you in better stead.”

Yarmouth’s predicament has meant that opportunity has knocked for youth – providing a valuable if steep learning curve.

At the age of 27, Portuguese forward Fernando Vide – who has steadfastly stuck with the team throughout all the trials and tribulations – has carried the mantle of experience, with only one previous season of Ridgeons League action under his belt.

“In the last four games I think there have only been four players who have been over the age of 20.

“But the spirit in the squad is so good. The boys try and work so hard. They enjoy their football and want to do well for the club.”

Despite relegation Derbyshire said that no-one would be downing tools over the remaining seven matches, starting with Saturday’s visit of leaders Ely to the Wellesley (3). “The attitude is to keep trying to improve week on week. We will be looking to get one or two results before the season is out and I don’t want us to finish bottom of the league. I don’t see why we can’t finish above Newmarket and that would give us something else to go into pre-season with.”

Derbyshire said he was excited by the club’s new youth development programme, spearheaded by vice-chairman John Barnden, which has led to the setting up of a raft of new teams and was vital to the overall well-being of the club. “It is a straightforward vision – that we not only establish a club that represents the people of Great Yarmouth and the surrounding districts but which serves them too. A club of which the whole town and region can be proud.”