THE men who engineered the proudest moment in the history of Bulwell football are back in business.
Larger-than-life managers Steve ‘Ozzy’ Osborne and Terry Witts guided Scots Grey to FA Sunday Cup glory at Anfield, home of mighty Liverpool, in 2009.
It all ended in tears when the club folded only three months later amid a fallout over controversial suspensions imposed on the duo by the FA.
But now Osborne and Witts have returned to save Bulwell, the town’s leading Saturday club, in the Notts Senior League.
And what’s more, they are predicting immediate success for The Bulls.
“I can assure you we will win the league this season,” declared former boxer Osborne.
“From what I have seen, the standard of the league is not very good at the moment.
“Several of the Greys lads have signed for us and we have put feelers out for other new signings too.”
Bulwell were on the brink of folding after a poor season in the NSL’s top flight last season when they finished in the bottom four. Indeed they went so far as to issue a resignation letter to the league.
Managers Richard Ranshaw, Geoff Pallett and Alan Jeffries stepped down at various stages and the club also lost their stalwart secretary, Andy Radford, halfway through the campaign for personal reasons.
However Osborne and Witts have ridden to the rescue and Radford has also agreed to return.
Optimistic chairman Andrew West told the Dispatch: “Steve and Terry come on board with a vast experience of amateur football and a wealth of trophies while managing Scots Grey.
“We feel they are the right men for the job to push the club forward and challenge for honours.
“This will be a new adventure for them because they haven’t managed at Saturday level previously.
“But the winning mentality of the pair can only be a good thing and, hopefully, the trophies will soon arrive on our doorstep.
“The return of Andy is also a big coup because he has kept the club intact for the last couple of seasons.”
Bulwell are still without a home ground they can call their own. They have to move from their temprary headquarters at Basford United’s Greenwich Avenue ground because Basford have left the NSL to join the Central Midlands League. So for 2011/12, The Bulls will be housed at the Basil Russell Playing Fields in Nuthall.
But plans to upgrade the Hempshill Lane Recreation Ground to a suitable standard are still very much on the agenda and Osborne hopes to get things moving with regard to fundraising.
“One of the main aims is to get a decent ground and decent sponsorship,” said Osborne, who is now landlord of the Coach And Horses pub in Nottingham city centre.
“We are going to give it a go and see what we can do. The club were going down the road a bit and I think they were ready to fling it all in. We were probably the last resort!
“We still need some improvements but we have a strong squad and I am confident we will win the title.”
Players such as Jeffries, Dwayne Soar, Carl Horder, Juree Staples, Jay Knight, Phil Bignall, Chris Murdock, Luke Humphries and Damon Rennicks have all been lined up by Bulwell. And the new-look side proved they are raring to go by hammering a Radford XI 5-0 in a pre-season friendly last Saturday.
If the success of Scots Grey can be emulated, Bulwell are sure to make a huge impact.
In their 19-year history, the club won 24 major honours, including 14 championships. For three seasons running, between 2004 and 2007, they landed the league/league cup/county cup treble at the highest domestic level.
And then came that memorable April day two years ago when hundreds of fans flocked to Anfield and watched from The Kop end as Greys beat Oyster Martyrs 4-3 after extra-time to be crowned the best Sunday team in the country.