Godmanchester Rovers delighted after winning their appeal to stay in the Eastern Counites League

17:21 04 July 2013

Nev Nania says he is delighted that Godmanchester Rovers will be an Eastern Counties League team again this season. Picture: Helen Drake.

Nev Nania says he is delighted that Godmanchester Rovers will be an Eastern Counties League team again this season. Picture: Helen Drake.

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NEV Nania says Godmanchester Rovers would not have feared playing in the Premier Division of the United Counties Division, but he is delighted the club won their appeal today at Wembley against their switch from the Eastern Counties League.

“We had no issue at all with playing in the UCL,” said the joint Goddy manager, who shares those duties with David Hurst. “We have made some great signings and we will be stronger than last year – playing in the UCL would have held no fears for us, we would have done well.”

The club’s general manager, Karly Hurst, told The Hunts Post: “We are over the moon because it is where we wanted to stay. We believe the ECL is the best footballing league locally and it was imperative that we stayed in it because of the way we were building for the future.

“We have no axe to grind with the UCL but we are so pleased because it is the right type of league for the team we are.”

Nania continued: “It would have been challenging in the UCL but I would have been confident of aiming for a top two or three finish.

“Yes we have lost Jason King and Mike Hyem, but we have signed Jack Watson from Cambridge University Press and he is an excellent player, John Turner is back and he is a thoroughbred, and Russell Bull has returned from travelling and he should bang the goals in for us.”

Midfielders King and Hyem both exited Bearscroft Lane in recent weeks with St Ives Town tempting King with Southern League football and Hyem opting for a new challenge in the UCL with Huntingdon Town.

Speaking after signing UCL forms on Monday evening, Hyem said he had left Godmanchester on good terms and that he was looking forward to the derbies this season. “They will respect my decision hopefully and all the players know I love them,” he said. “Those will be must-win games for me now to prove I made the right decision”

Now those derbies won’t happen, unless of course the two teams are drawn together in either the FA Cup or the FA Vase tomorrow morning (Friday).

Many in Huntingdonshire football felt it unlikely that Godmanchester would win their appeal, but Nania paid tribute to the club’s chairman Keith Gabb who was one of the party to argue the club’s case at Wembley. “He did a good job – he made a convincing case,” he said. “And against all odds we won our appeal.”

The decision actually means the Premier Division of the UCL is now rounded down to a neat 20 clubs. Beforehand, it was a 21-team division and the league’s chairman John Weeks doesn’t expect any more movement.

He admitted he was somewhat surprised by the FA league committee’s decision, but said: “There is no way of telling which way the FA will go. We have 20 teams in the Premier Division now and I expect that will be the way it stays.”

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