Helston Athletic are stepping up to new heights this season as they begin their Western League season on July 31 away to Bridport.

Following a delayed promotion due to the pandemic Helston the new league will see the side compete with teams as far as Bath in their new campaign. There will be three other Cornish sides in the division, Millbrook, Mousehole and Saltash United who Athletic will host on their first home game of the season on Wednesday July 4.

Manager Steve Massey believes the signings he has made plus the talent he already has in the squad will stand the side in good stead for the new season. He said: “I think we have some talented footballers, the three signings I have made haven’t played lower than Step four before, they are used to the travelling so that isn’t a problem for them.

“They have seen how ambitious we are. Even if the season is just one of consolidation I’d be happy, I’d like to finish as high as possible of course but if its just we consolidate and surprise a few people that’s what we want. It has taken us three seasons and a pandemic to get to where we are now. It has a fabulous combination of young talent and experience of senior players. Just to keep winning football games that is all that matters.”

Helston began their pre season training last week and have undertaken personal trainer sessions as well as ‘beasting’ on Perranporth Beach with a session led by CSgt Stuart Morgan. The side have lost Scott Beattie to injury picked up but despite this Massey had been pleased with how the preparations had started: “Bar an injury to Scott Beattie it has been one of the most enjoyable and hardest pre seasons I have ever done. The is a real freshness about the place, there is a real thought about the squad thinking we can go and do something this season. Though it has been hard it has bonded the team brilliantly. The marine session in particular was great, even chairman Paul Hendy got involved! It has gone as well as I could have expected this week.” Said Massey.

Falmouth Packet: A tough pre season session on the beachA tough pre season session on the beach

The promotion will present Helston with a different test to the opposition they faced previously faced in the South West Peninsula League. Massey reflected on some of the challenges his side may face on their maiden visit to the Western League, he said: “The new teams and players that we don’t know a lot about further up the national corridor. It is going out of the county and going into new territory and playing against new clubs. The new players and the big difference in the style of play between the SWPL and the Western League.

“The geographical aspect of it, the locations might be tough but the lads are going to have to be disciplined and accept that some of the journeys are going to be long in order to go and play football matches. I like to think the players are making the step up, the stage is different, the sponsorship that comes with the league and what we get now is bigger.

“We even have an electronic substitute board now. So it is just all different to what we are used to, everybody that is connected with the football club should be really proud, from being a step seven club in 2016 to now being in step five, I think it is great for the town.”

During the off season Helston have made four new signings to bolster their squad ahead of the new season. Strikers Stu Bowker and Ryan Turner will be looking to fire Helston to a successful season. 22 year-old former Exeter City midfielder Archie Ray has been scooped to provide an extra number in the middle of the park. Finally John Ross, who Helston had attempted to acquire last year joins as another goalkeeper.

Falmouth Packet: Helston Athletic new signings: Stu Bowker (top left) Ryan turner (top right) John Ross (bottom left) Archie Reay (bottom right)Helston Athletic new signings: Stu Bowker (top left) Ryan turner (top right) John Ross (bottom left) Archie Reay (bottom right)

Massey expects his players to push themselves going into the new season.

“I am asking my players to better themselves all of the time. I think the players can play higher than where they are playing this season and I want them to go and show that. I am just looking forward to putting together a team that is even more in my mould. I have got people wanting to come down to Helston, at the moment it is going really well and there is a great buzz about the place. The players I am attracting are of a higher standard which is always a good thing, it is a big bubble of confidence, anticipation and excitement.