FOOTBALL: Jon Fairweather on Holbeach United return
Just what will Holbeach United be getting in Jon Fairweather?
Well, not only a dependable, experienced defender, but the kind of loyalty many suggest has deserted the game at this level.
‘Jonno’ has agreed to join the Tigers after bringing to an end an eight-season spell at Wisbech Town in which he made more than 400 appearances.
And as he returns to Carter’s Park, where his United Counties League career launched as a teenager, the 28-year-old says he’s in it for the long haul, which will be music to the ears of fans as manager and former teammate Danny Hussey prepares for his first full season in charge.
“I don’t know if the body will last another eight years but I’m not looking to flit around clubs,” said Fairweather. “Danny told me ‘this is what we’re looking to do and this is how we’re going to do it’ and it just fitted with what I was looking for at this point. If you believe in the poetic side of things then it’s nice to have come full circle and finish back at Holbeach.
“My time at Wisbech is something I’m quite proud of. I enjoyed it and I’m quite chuffed that people see it as being loyal.”
He was taken to Fenland Park by Steve Appleby after impressing the former Tigers midfielder and assistant manager while up against him in a Boston Sunday League match.
“I was marking him for a corner and he said to me ‘we need a chat for the end of the season’.”
Fairweather has served under several bosses and management teams since then and it’s testament to his quality and character that all have seen him as an integral part of the side. He takes with him a host of memories.
He scored an equaliser at Hadleigh United on his return from an ill-fated short spell at Spalding United. Wisbech went on to win and earn a FA Vase quarter-final at Sholing, which was a 1-0 defeat. And Fairweather still rues the goalscoring chances he and other Fenmen missed on the final day of the 2017/18 season as Yaxley pipped them to the UCL Premier Division title on goal difference.
However, he’s due to become a dad with his partner Jess in August and the attraction of less travel next season was a key factor. With some uncertainty at Wisbech after a tough campaign in Evo-Stik League East Division and then manager Gary Setchell leaving, the former Boston United youth trainee decided the time was right to bid farewell.
“I’ve been involved with two, three, four rebuildings with Wisbech. It wasn’t the right time for me to do another,” he said. “The fans have been brilliant for me and some of the comments I’ve had since I said I was leaving have been really humbling.
“I’ve got mates at Holbeach and Pinchbeck United and in my head I always felt it was going to be one of those two that I’d join.”
Fairweather will be linking up again with the likes of Josh Ford and Luke Wilson, and a renewed defensive partnership with Jamie Stevens could prove to be one of the division’s most formidable.
Defender Wilson and former Sleaford Town midfielder Joe Smith and striker Ryan Oliver were also revealed as agreed signings last week.
“I only ever had the chance to kick Ryan twice a season when we played Sleaford but now I can do it twice a week in training!” joked Fairweather. “It’s going to be a great set of lads on the pitch and good off it, too.”
And if his penchant for sticking around spreads, it might be a squad to challenge for seasons to come.