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Newbury FC manager looking forward to Faraday Road homecoming, with open trials being held ahead of new campaign





Newbury FC manager Ben Wickens was in an optimistic mood when discussing the club’s immediate future and potential return to Faraday Road.

Newbury set out a three year plan in 2022, aiming for three consecutive promotions to return to Step 6 of the non-league pyramid, where Tadley Calleva currently play.

They won promotion that season to Division One of the Thames Valley Premier League, hoping for a second promotion in a row to reach the Premier Division.

Last season however, they lost out to Tadley Calleva Reserves, having to settle for second place.

Newbury FC's Luke Polding in action - Photo: Newbury FC
Newbury FC's Luke Polding in action - Photo: Newbury FC

“There’s no arguments from our side”, said Wickens, “I’m really happy with how the team played!”

“Tadley beat us in both games and were the only team we failed to score against.”

This season, the goal remains the same: “To get the club promoted back up to Step 7”, he says.

Newbury FC manager Ben Wickens (right) with the Manager's Player of the Season, Liam Smith - Photo: Newbury FC
Newbury FC manager Ben Wickens (right) with the Manager's Player of the Season, Liam Smith - Photo: Newbury FC

There’s also the prospect of returning to Newbury football’s spiritual home:

“It’s looking like we’ll have to start the season at Henwick Playing Fields, but we want to be back down at Faraday Road, which more than likely will be this season.

“There’s been a lot of contact with the council and the Newbury Community Football Group.

“They’ve said they want to get the pitch ready for Step 7 by September or October.”

Faraday Road football pitch
Faraday Road football pitch
Faraday Road football pitch
Faraday Road football pitch

On the sporting side, there have been developments too, with two additions to the coaching team in Mark Foad and Terry Amor.

“Last season myself and James O’Doherty were sort of joint managers. We did quite a lot for just the two of us!”, says Wickens.

“Having a few more of us involved will definitely help a lot.

“Mark and Terry were down at Thatcham’s U18s. They won the Allied Counties Youth League, which is not an easy feat, so having them involved with us is a great link to local youth.”

Mark Foad and Terry Amor, new additions to Newbury FC's staff - Photo: Newbury FC
Mark Foad and Terry Amor, new additions to Newbury FC's staff - Photo: Newbury FC

Wickens is keen to encourage local players to come and try out for the side in pre-season training too.

“We’re opening up the first few sessions for people to come along, have a look and see what they think. More of an open trial day!

“It’s Thursday 27th, 6:30 at Henwick Playing Fields. People can contact our socials for more information or just show up!

The only trait a Wickens player must have, he says, is fitness.

“A lot of pre-season last year was to get the lads really fit.

“At this level, teams do start to falter and fall off in the last twenty minutes or so.

“If you can stay consistent, goals will come.”

Newbury FC's Liam Smith battles for possession - Photo: Newbury FC
Newbury FC's Liam Smith battles for possession - Photo: Newbury FC

Newbury’s continued revival is just as much down to community support, which Wickens is well aware of.

“At quite a few home games last year we had over a hundred people. It was brilliant!

“That’s what Newbury should be having. We’re a big enough town to compete in the future with the likes of Thatcham.

“I hope when we do get back to Faraday Road that it continues to grow.

“You can tell just from social media how many people are interested.

“A few years ago it petered out. People didn’t know what was going on, or if the club was even still going!

“It’s heading in the right direction now.”



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