England captain Steven Gerrard coined one of the defining phrases of the Premier League season when he emotionally told his Liverpool teammates: “We go again!” after their dramatic win over champions Manchester City.
And that’s exactly the sentiment in the camp of Dispatch district hotshots Bulwell after they emulated Liverpool when failing by a whisker to land the league title.
Bulwell’s maiden season in the Central Midlands League (CML) might have ended in third place, just six points behind champions Clifton All Whites.
But they remain hungry for more glory and are determined to go again in 2014/15 when few would rule out The Bulls continuing their meteoric rise of recent seasons.
“To continue winning silverware is a must for the club,” said manager Terry Witts this week.
“I was disappointed that we didn’t in the league because we obtained top spot for some time.
“But some silly drawn fixtures and some very lackadaisical performances were to blame.
“We will be looking to add more quality and experience to the side next season, that’s for sure. The work starts now.
“Most of the lads have committed themselves for next season, which is good. But a few new faces will spice up competition for places.”
The end-of-season fixture-backlog also hampered Bulwell’s title challenge, with several players turning out four times a week on occasions because of their dual commitment to Sunday teams.
Now Witts has issued a ban on Sunday football for all his players from next term. “We will have more fixtures next season so, unfortunately, Sundays have to take a backseat,” he said
Bulwell bulldozed their way into the CML on the back of two league and cup doubles in the Notts Senior League, including one league campaign in which they didn’t drop a single point.
“We agreed that a top-six finish would be a good achievement,” said Witts. “But secretly, we wanted to win it.
“However, our first game was a big eye-opener, proving that we were not going to walk over teams as we had done in the previous two seasons.
“Fitness was a big thing, and our players lacked it because of non-attendance during pre-season, with some giving stupid excuses.
“This ain’t going to happen next season, I can assure you of that. We will be training from Saturday 14th June and on every Tuesday and Thursday evening after then.
“We have also acquired two UEFA B coaches to ensure this pre-season is conducted on a professional basis and not just a few runs around a park pitch.”
So shoddy was Bulwell’s start to their CML adventure that they gained only nine points from their opening eight matches. Therefore to finish with 67 from 32 -- and also to lift the league’s Floodlit Cup -- is testament to the way Witts and his assistants, Steve Osborne and Ian Lowe, radically revamped their squad and changed attitudes.
“We did eventually get things going and a settled squad was formed,” Witts continued.
“I was still more than happy with our first season in the CML. It’s a much tougher league and a better standard of football than our previous campaigns.
“The new faces we brought in during January played a major role in our success.
“When we beat AFC Mansfield in the final of the floodlit cup, the joy I felt is hard to put into words.
“All the talk had been about Mansfield, who were apparently paying players ridiculous amounts of money, and how they were a certainty to beat us.
“We have no players getting a penny and never will at this level. A few pints in the clubhouse is all they get.”
The pints will certainly be on Terry Witts when, and not if, his side are crowned CML champions!