Don’t worry, no “hilarious” April Fools jokes here. It’s gone past noon BST and nobody would tell the difference anyway.
OK, I (sort of) predicted that we would be having fun and games with the remaining month to go, with regards players in/out. Lo and behold, TB speaks to the SLP. Read the whole thing, although this may catch your eye:
â€œIâ€™ve made some decisions about who will stay but weâ€™ve got some massive calls to make, particularly on some of the lads who have got long-term injuries.â€
Hmm, and then some.
The cynical amongst you may have tried to supress a snicker when our manager mentioned about losing the dressing room, but at least it’s now out in the open : there’s going to be a cull.
I wonder who TB means by “long-term injured” though? Off the top of my head, JM, LT and Monty come into that category. You would expect question marks over the latter two, but JM? I know Mike Rayner has said today that Main’s injury isn’t that bad, that he’s “only” out for 10 weeks, and will be back for pre-season training.
Could Main be a shock candidate for the chop? Remember that he couldn’t even score with a witch on the KM centre circle earlier on in the season, and he may not be able to get away with that next time round. He’s been unlucky too with Elder coming in, but it hasn’t quite happened in the way we’d hoped for him.
While I personally would give him another season, we (the punters) still don’t know what budgetary constraints we’ll be under for 2010/11. While there’s still going to be murmurings about reaching the playoffs, our actions suggest otherwise.
In fact, TB himself has been busy speaking to various journos within the last 24 hours. Along similar lines to the above, here’s the Surrey Comet:
â€œThere are five or six clubs at this level now with playing budgets of a million pounds and we cannot compete with that.
â€œWe are always going to operate within our budgets and will never go and splash out on a player.
â€œFor us to key to success is putting together a squad that can grow and take this club forward over the next few years.â€
Bold bit mine.
So, looks like we may be promoting from within then? Perhaps that does mean a reprieve for somebody like Lewis Taylor? I’m trying to work out what it means for us going full time, or staying part time, or reducing our budget, and my head hurts. I’ve honestly got no idea what is going to happen – the top brass at AFCW seem to know though, and we won’t find out anything until four weeks time.
I must say that I do have to take our budget declarations with a little bit of salt. When you consider we have an average crowd over 3000, decent merchandise sales, managable debts, a developing youth system and more goodwill from its own support than perhaps any other club anywhere, the cries of (relative) poverty do get quite weary to listen to.
Chances are, we probably could budget for Â£1m a year. If we got our commercial side right, if we learnt how to do marketing, if we became self-sufficient (ie develop young players and sell to League clubs), we certainly could reach that level. That’s without the benefactors, of whom I would suggest we try to rely less on within the coming years.
I get the impression we choose not to go down the big buck route. That’s very commendable, and long term it will put us at a big advantage, but it’s not the same as pleading poverty. We’re not exactly Altrincham or Tamworth. I bet our “small” budget is still larger than most teams in this division, it probably puts us in the top 7 or 8 spenders.
We don’t get it 100% right, some would argue with justification that our loanee approach this time round has proved to be an expensive failure. While I think our hands are tied until – cue yawn – the reserves gets sorted, and we’ve needed bodies on the pitch, it’s not something I hope we repeat too often.
The close season will become even more interesting now, probably more exciting than the playoffs and the Conference’s AGM Cup. Interesting because quite frankly, we don’t know what the hell is going to happen. All I hope for is some decent PSFs this time.
Oh, and in a sign of things possibly to come, Peter Rapson is back. In true AFCW style, he’ll either net a hat-trick in his first game back or he’ll do his ACL in. Sure we can all guess what’s more likely to happen…