Wealdstone manager determined to keep promotion heroes together

Tom Pett celebrates Wealdstone's promotion to the Conference South

Tom Pett celebrates Wealdstone's promotion to the Conference South - Credit: Archant

Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett is determined to keep his title-winning side together as they prepare for life in the Conference South next season.

Wealdstone were crowned winners of the Ryman League Premier Division thanks to their 1-0 victory over Margate last week. It was the club’s first promotion in a decade, coming 19 years after Bartlett took over as manager.

Bartlett is already focused on next season in the second tier of non-league football. And he is adamant that, unlike 12 months ago when six players departed after Wealdstone missed out on promotion, there will be no exodus in the coming weeks.

Bartlett told the Times. “There will be an element of rebuilding – at the moment I don’t know how much – but I’ve made it clear to the current group that I would like them to stay.

“There might be one or two changes to the side, but I certainly would not envisage wholesale changes.

“I don’t think too many of them are busting a gut to get away – it’s a happy ship at the moment.

“Players like Tom Pett and Charlie Penny have a great future in the game. But one thing stands out for me, and that is the contribution of our older players – the ‘Dad’s Army’, as our fans call them – Scott McGleish, Glen Little, Elliott Godfrey and Mark Bentley.

Most Read

“Their experience has been invaluable. Their knowledge and effort was a huge part of our achievement.”

Wealdstone finally sealed promotion after subjecting their fans to a nervous wait, as Bartlett’s side went three games without a win prior to their trip to the south coast.

However, Penny’s late strike won it for Wealdstone, who have scored an impressive 97 goals en route to the title.

“It has been a long time coming for this club,” Bartlett added. “We’ve had bits of success through the years but this is certainly the best moment I’ve had here.

“From where we have come – administration and having no ground – it is incredibly satisfying to see where the club is now. Every single person at Wealdstone deserves it.

“I had about 200 texts, emails and voicemails after the match, from other managers and people involved in the game. I really didn’t know how many people cared about this club.”