January 16, 2019

Marine Chairman Jez Webb reflects on an intriguing last few weeks

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With Swindon Supermarine’s home match against Salisbury being called off only 90 minutes before kick-off, Your Sport Swindon’s reporter Nick Taylor made the most of the situation to touch base with  Chairman Jez Webb to chat about the recent goings on at The Webbs Wood Stadium.

Webb was just as surprised as many others on how quickly the rain closed in forcing the game to be called off so late on, “ If the forecast was right we could have probably got away it and played but unfortunately we had a heavy 60 minutes of rain and the ball wasn’t running how it should. The referee made the decision and I think he was probably right as well.”

With the postponement came a few positives for Marine, with interim manager Lee Spalding not prepared to risk playing top scorer Josh Parsons in the clash due to a niggling knee injury, with the Chairman putting a positive spin on the call-off,  “I know Josh Parsons was struggling to be fit. We’ve also got two players coming back this week, Zak Westlake (fractured eye socket) and Ash Taylor (foot injury) who will both commence light training this week. It makes you realise how strong a squad we have when we see the players coming back.”

Prior to the Salisbury fixture, Marine announced on Friday the signing of Michael Hopkins from North Leigh, which pleased the Chairman, “Left back is a position both Lee (Spalding) and I feel is an area we need to improve on. Ryan Morgan is struggling (back injury) and it’s not Jack Alexander’s natural position so we needed to strengthen and I’m pleased Michael has joined us.

Marine have also recently seen the return of striker Callum Parsons to the club from Highworth Town, with Webb a big fan, “It’s really good to have Callum back, we all know what he is about and he is hugely talented. He took his goal well at North Leigh and I saw the tackle on him as well (at Didcot) and thank goodness he was okay afterwards, it was an awful challenge!”

With the planned Salisbury fixture the first time Marine were to play at home since the painful 0-5 defeat by Bideford and the subsequent departure of long-serving manager Dave Webb, Jez explained how things came to a head resulting in ‘Webby’ leaving the club, “The 5-0 loss at home to Bideford was a disappointing day, but my decision on Dave Webb certainly wasn’t anything to do with the 5-0. I just felt that in the run up to there, we only got 2 points out of 12 against lower opposition and I felt morale was low. It felt like previous seasons and we were slipping down a bit and I felt now was the time to make a decision. It was a brave decision and a big one for the club, we all know what Dave is, he’s a super fella and we’ll see if it was the right one.”

With Lee Spalding now in place as interim manager until the end of the season, Jez Webb then shed some light on the search for Dave Webb’s permanent successor, “We’re in a position where we have got two managers that are very interested in the job. They’re both currently at other clubs in higher leagues so it’s only fair that we don’t start mentioning names and we keep doing it properly. I’m not surprised by the high calibre of applications we had, you only have to look at what we have here.”

Turning his attention to the current interim manager Lee Spalding, Webb had nothing but praise for him, “We’ve had four away games under Spud (Lee), we’ve conceded four goals and are unbeaten. Kevin Milsom coming in as his number two is a great addition, I left Spud to make the decision and I think it was a sensible one. We hold Lee in such high regard, he is a great coach and both managers we are speaking to would very much like to work with Lee. He is very much in our plans.”

Finally, Webb then reflected on the current league table situation which finds Marine one of many sides fighting for promotion, “It’s not been like this since I’ve been involved! The top 10 or 11 have all got a chance of making the play-offs. I personally think that we are strong enough to be in those play-off positions at least.”

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