Monday, 15 June 2009

Desperate Times

Speaking of financial woes, the following arrived in Ebbsfleet fans' inboxes this week from manager Liam Daish, and it illustrates the desperate situation Conference clubs are in right now:

"I'd love to keep Darius Charles and Michael Gash"

"Liam Daish's message to Ebbsfleet United's owners is that if we want to keep players like Darius and Michael, we need to show our committment too...

There's been a lot of interest in two of our players who are under contract at the moment - Darius Charles and Michael Gash. I want members to know that I'd love to keep these two players and build a squad around them along with Lance Cronin, Paul McCarthy and the young lads, Michael West and Steven Springett - and hopefully kick on.

"What I will say though, and we need to bear this in mind, we need to be able to match these young players' ambition and help them realise their potential. But the way the budget is, at just over £4,000 a week and a handful of players I have already got on contract, it's leaving me very, very short with what is left to build the remainder of the squad.

"It's coming to a critical point where I'm trying to build a side for the new season, but with the budget as it is, if you try to build the rest of the squad with just over £2,000 per week, it's going to be very, very difficult. So as much as I'd love to keep Darius and Michael, looking at the bigger picture, with what could come in with transfer fees and freed up wages, it might be difficult to keep them. That is unless the weekly playing budget increases, whether that comes from the club's owners or revenue streams at the club.

"So the clear message is, if you are voting for these players not to go anywhere, we need to back this up by building a squad around them to match their ambition, rather that just filling the gaps and hoping we can get by."

"Thank you Liam, In the space of a few days, over 3,000 members voted not to sell Darius Charles and Michael Gash. To be able to keep them, we need to try to increase our weekly playing budget which currently stands at around £4,200 per week. To boost this number, so far, 400 have committed to giving an extra £47,000 over the next 12 months. Can you join them by contributing a small amount each month?"

When the manager sends a begging letter to the fans you know there's something wrong. It looks horribly like the unravelling of the internet-owned club dream-Blue Square's Alan Alger is tipping United to finish in the spot above relegation next season, yet this time last year they look dark horses for the Football League.

Perhaps it was always inevitable that fans who bought a club in this manner would be fickle and bail out when the excitement of making progress grinds to a halt, especially in these straitened times. I fear for where it could leave a club that was prgressing quietly within its means a couple of years ago though.

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