Musician calls the tune at Sea Cop
Tuesday 12th October 2010

First eleven teams in the Second Division will be forgiven if they think they hear songs by Bob Dylan when they play Fleetwood Hesketh next season for their new captain, Paul 'Mushy' Mullen (27), is an avid fan of the ageing rock star.

Whilst Fleetwood Hesketh are on desolation row at the moment, Mullen is of a satisfied mind that promotion straight back to the First Division is not beyond the horizon. A musician himself, Mullen decided to play in their 3rd XI this season on a Sunday so that he could concentrate on his band, Little Wing, at gigs on a Saturday evening but he has accepted a call to arms in attempt to halt Fleetwood Hesketh's slide down the tables after two relegations in as many seasons.

He succeeded Paul Regan at Hesketh's recent AGM and he now accepts that the only Saturday appointments he will be fulfilling in 2011 will be at such venues as Burscough, Sutton and St Helens. "Music is how I've earned my living in the past and it's something I'll always do," he said, "but I'll be taking no bookings for Saturday evenings next season. The cricket and the music will be kept separate."

Mullen has come to terms with playing in the Second Division. "I had no doubts at all about accepting the job," he said. "It's my time to try and get us back where we belong. The atmosphere at the AGM was positive," he added. "We know we've hit rock bottom but that's only where we started out. While we've tasted life in the ECB Premier League and won trophies in the past, times have changed now and we must accept that.

"Paul Regan did an admirable job in difficult circumstances. He inherited the weakest side in our recent history and did the very best he could with it. He's the ultimate club man and I know he'll be right behind me next summer."

Despite last season's blow to the club's status, Mullen was reluctant to set what is likely to be a young team an immediate goal of winning promotion to the First Division in 2011. "I donít want to put pressure either on myself or on the players," he explained. "However, I do think we've a chance of going back up next season and I have set myself a target of achieving promotion in the next two seasons. If we don't do that, I'll be assessing my own position."

For the moment, though, Mullen has been reassured by the decision of Neil Rimmer to remain with the club and he will now be giving his attention to recruiting a couple more players of comparable experience over the autumn.

"Neil's going into the second half of a two year deal and it's imperative that we do what we have to do to keep him," he said, "but we also have some good young cricketers here and maybe playing a season in the Second Division won't be the worst thing in the world for them. However, I am looking to add a couple of older heads to the line up, although at the moment I'm not precisely sure who I'll be speaking to. Certainly I want us to engage a spinner who can bat as our professional because I think the middle order needs strengthening."

Fleetwood Hesketh joined the Liverpool Competition from the Southport and District League in 1999 along with Maghull and Orrell Red Triangle. After six years in the newly formed First Division, they were promoted to the ECB Premier League where they stayed for five seasons, finishing fifth in 2006 and 2008. Back to back relegations sees them now in the Second Division where they will meet neighbours and former S&DL opponents Southport Trinity as well as Ainsdale which is just a short trip up the Coast Road. They will, however, have to travel to the Wirral on three occasions to play Birkenhead St Mary's and Parkfield Liscard with Caldy being the longest journey.