They just don’t learn

editorial image
Share this article

Eastbourne Borough chairman Len Smith (right) admits he has no sympathy for Boro’s Blue Square Bet Premier rivals who are struggling financially.

Histon and Kidderminster Harriers have both found themselves in hot water with the FA in recent days over financial irregularities.

Histon, who are due to visit Priory Lane in the New Year, have been unable to pay their players on time, while Harriers must find £150,000 by the end of the month just to remain afloat.

Meanwhile play-off chasing Mansfield are without a home ground having been locked out of Field Mill by landlords amid a dispute over rent.

But Smith has seen it all before and is not about to console the stricken clubs.

He said, “I’m not surprised. When we come up to some of these grounds, it’s clear some of them are struggling; they’re paying out more than they can afford. They don’t seem to learn by it. Wages is the biggest expense.

“To be honest, I don’t any sympathy with them. We try to keep within what we can afford and suffer for it in many cases.

“We have lost out on a couple of players when we couldn’t pay the money, and so they went elsewhere, in some cases to a club that is now in trouble.

“The other clubs never learn. We go to clubs that tell us they’re losing £10,000 a week just on players.”

The subject of wage caps has been discussed in boardrooms across the country and even dallied with, but Smith does not think a cap will solve the problems.

“I personally don’t believe in these caps and windows,” he said. “I think they should let clubs run the way they want to run, I don’t really agree with interference from outside, you’ve got to trust clubs to run their own affairs.

“As for wage caps – clubs will find ways round it.”

The chairman is equally miffed by the recent television deal, which saw the Conference link up with Premier Sports TV. But five months into the season, Boro haven’t benefited and Smith is not expecting cameras at Priory Lane any time soon.

He said, “We’ve not had any televised games at all. We haven’t been treated well with the new contract, but we’ll carry on and make do with what we’ve got.

We haven’t been treated very well with the TV games – other clubs have had three games shown.”

The club has this week been handed a boost behind the scenes.

Three local businessmen have joined as non-executive directors to help Boro remain financially stable. Paul Maynard, partner at law firm Gaby Hardwicke, Tim Firth, partner at Price & Company, chartered accountants, and Tim Cobb, managing director of Cobb PR, will all be offering support and advice to the club.

Smith added, “We look forward to them bringing their expertise and knowhow to complement the existing resources at the club.”