Jones wants title-winning squad to stay together

By Barry Knott in Football

WELLINGTON’S soccer manager Clive Jones wants to retain all of his championship-winning squad.

Wellington won the first division in the Toolstation League this past season using about 18 players – and Jones has asked them all to stay.

“They have told me as a group they all want to stay,” said Jones yesterday. “But that’s a lot different to when you talk to players individually. I have given them all a fortnight to look back on the season and this week I am getting in touch with all the players individually to see their intentions for next season.

“I know that some of them have already been approached by other clubs – Bridgwater, for example, want four of them. I don’t expect everyone to stay but I’m hoping most will and take on the challenge of next season in the Premier Division. When players are offered money, it can be hard to turn down.

“It’s going to be tougher in the premier division, we know that, but I think we can be competitive. We lost only four league matches and I thought we were the best side in the division. The league table doesn’t lie. I’ve had a short break and now I’m ready to prepare for next season.”

Meanwhile, Ken and Christine Coles are to sponsor one of two portable dugouts which are being bought by the club this summer.

The dugouts cost more than £2,300 and Jones said: “Ken and Christine have been family friends since I was a boy.

“They want the dugout to be a present from them - and I am very grateful. Now we have to find a sponsor for the other dugout.”

The club have to have portable dugouts because they have been vandalised in the past.

Wellington have applied to play in both the FA Cup and FA Vase next season, and the FA Youth Cup.

Ten club officials from Wellington AFC attended the Toolstation League convention at Torquay over the weekend when chairman Mike Hall and vice-chairman Graham Aspin were jointly presented with the first division trophy.

Wellington have been in possession of the trophy since the end of the season but it had not been handed over to them officially by the league until Saturday.

Wellington boss Clive Jones won the Manager of the Season award for the first division and was presented with the award by league chairman John Pool.

Jones said afterwards: “It was a total surprise. I was expected to win things at Willand but not at Wellington. It beats anything I have ever done in the past.”

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