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18 replies to this topic

#1
offline Graham S

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An interesting discussion was developing on the "Let's have some action.." thread, so I thought I'd flag it up separately: namely do we really belong (or even want to be) in the Conference?

To start, my answer to both is yes. Given the size of this town & the expansion that will be coming in the immediate future, it would be a nonsense if we couldn't support a club playing at the highest level of non league football. But as we know, size & catchment area guarantee nothing: Bath, Worcester, Gloucester & (of course) Maidstone now all play at a level well below their "status," having once boasted teams more poweful than those we could put out against them. You have to have good financial resources, given by reliable providers and the business sense not to waste what you've got.

There's no doubt that when we won promotion it was against all expectations. Things started to go pear shaped for Canvey after Stimson revealed he'd already signed for Grays for the next season and Aldershot, at the time, were managed by a maniac (just a coincidence that Hornchurch hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after their FA Cup exit?) This aside, Andy & Phil, did a wonderful job, guididng us to the championship against clubs whose resources far outweighed ours.

When we went up, there's no doubt we weren't really equipped to stay long. Financially we couldn't compete & that was too apparent, as Andy has pointed out, during last summer, when we lost Jimmy Jackson & Mark Bentley and sold Liam Hatch, with no replacement on the horizon. Our inability to hold onto Adam Miller just rubbed in how precarious our position was.

Now, of course, we have resources: some much welcome income from the cup run & a decent sponsorship deal, which those running the club have compared to the kind of backing enjoyed by the better Conference clubs. The trouble is, are there going to be decent players available for a permament move at this stage in the season? It's all very well yelling about going out & getting the players we need, but surely they are almost inevitably going to be locked into contracts, at least until the end of the season.

My feeling is, we'll probably have to mix & match it this season & hang on to survive above the bottom 3. That may well mean taking on other loan players when we can. My feeling is we're just about good enough to do it. The real test will be next close season when we see how we shape up to building a strong squad with more financial clout at our disposal. If that can be done, then I truly believe we need to aim for a settled nucleus of good quality players, who can keep possession and play a passing game.

The chopping & changing doesn't suit anyone & certainly doesn't make for a cohesive & organized pattern of play. At the moment though, I fear we might well have to put up with it for a bit longer.

Graham S

#2
offline John@TheFleet

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I fear we are being pigeon-holed as one of the Conference strugglers along with the likes of Leigh RMI, Forest Green, Northwich etc. and as long as we stay as such we are not going to attract the players who are going to help us progress. The cup revenue and increased sponsorship does give us a bit more clout financialy but how long will that money last. Don't forget the loss we made last season. To get the top class players, we've got to flash the cash big time in transfer fees and wages and to be perfectly honest, we'd be lucky to get a season and a half out of the money before it ran out completely. Then what? Realisticaly, no 25 goals-a-season Conference or league standard striker is going join us unless 1) We show we are really capable of attaining a play-off place or 2) we offer ridiculous wages. After all, why would a player, say from Chester or Yeovil, want to play for Gravesend?

However, maybe the answer doesn't lie in finances alone. Much has been said of the team spirit at GNFC and it's an accepted fact that we have a superb bunch of blokes playing for the club. Nothing would please me more than to see our existing team, management and board do well in the league and see the club really progress. However, the fact is we're fifth from bottom and steadily losing touch with the mid-table teams, almost certainly condeming ourselves to another relegation battle. This obviously indicates something in the framework is not operating as it should. Regretably, I feel its now time for everyone directly involved in the club to look at themselves, and each other, to find out who or what the weakest link is and then eradicate it. No-one is bigger than the club so the interests of the club must come first, always.

#3
offline FourFourTwo

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Accrington are part time, had a hard game against Aldershot on Saturday, played extra time last night against Bournemouth, and showed no signs of tiredness, in fact they looked strong for the whole 120 mins. We have very good players at the club, but apart from the first half dozen matches when we didn't have the likes of Moore, Walshe, Drury etc, and of course the obvious deficiencies upfront, we are in trouble because don't seem to be able to play for ninety minutes plus stoppage time. Why??

#4
offline Fezpian

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The question I pose is: should the unthinkable occur and we are relegated would this team be able to finish in the top three of the lower league; whatever it might end up being formed from next season. From what I see up front at the moment there is little to suggest we could finish top in the Ryman. What ever way it finishes this season, it seems that we have to improve either in order to stay up or to be ready for an immediate return should we go down. It makes sense to try to survive in the conference and battle again next year as this option would be the easier.

#5
offline FleetFanatic

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Quote:
Graham S said:
The trouble is, are there going to be decent players available for a permament move at this stage in the season? It's all very well yelling about going out & getting the players we need, but surely they are almost inevitably going to be locked into contracts, at least until the end of the season.
Graham S


Well in the last fortnight, Tamworth have signed Ayres (Kidderminister), Barnes (Doncaster), Rodwell (Farnborough) & Baptiste (Mansfield). So surely we can find suitably experienced players?

#6
offline Stu M

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Rumour on ConfGuide is that Jon Brady is heading Stevenage-wards... he'd have been a good investment.

#7
offline FleetFanatic

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Oh you saw that too?

Strange if he is - considering that he has this new job at Arsenal coaching the youth team & Stevenage are a full-time side?

#8
offline David Holden

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Time for a reality check chaps:

We contacted Paul Barnes and to come to us he wanted £50K a year and a contract to the end of 2005/2006.

We contacted Chester regarding Brady, and got less than a glowing report.

Andy is well aware of who is available so let's let him get on with his job shall we.


#9
offline Stu M

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Quote:
David Holden said:
We contacted Paul Barnes and to come to us he wanted £50K a year and a contract to the end of 2005/2006.



£50k a year??!! Not to mention his pies bill.

How did Tamworth afford him, though...?

#10
offline Alan ( GNFC )

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Isn't that the point , they can't afford him . They're gambling on their clubs future to survive one further season out of their depth .

#11
offline ifa

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York went for him but couldnt afford him.
Tamworth outbidding a league team!
He was part of the York team that beat ManUtd at Old Trafford and was a hero. Obviously sentiment plays no part!!
Past it anyway

#12
offline David Holden

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Quote:
ifa said:
Past it anyway


Leading goalscorer in the conference last season, I don't think he is.

#13
offline Graham S

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Absolutely Alan. I know nothing about Tamworth’s finances, but I’d say they’re almost certainly gambling & gambling desperately. (I don’t believe they received a fortune for the forward they’ve just sold to Kidderminster?) Before anyone says at least they’re doing something about their position, let’s remember that there’s a world of difference between a calculated risk & a desperate throw of the dice. As other posters in this thread have pointed out - it wouldn't take long for us to use up all our extra money & find ourselves in debt again.

I do take John’s point about being branded as strugglers & finding, if we only just survive again, that this counts against us in the summer. However, word does get around if a club really means business, so the new sponsorship may count in our favour in this respect, although Mr Barnes' demands appear to have put our windfall into perspective. No doubt as a full timer, he needed to be paid as one, irrespective of where he went, with no job to fall back on. Perhaps until we can afford to go full time, we'll have to try & target players who are good enough to go full time, but don't want to give up their employment outside of football.

That said, at the end of the day, I think it's extremely unlikely we will survive in the Conference, given the way other clubs are moving, unless we have specific plans (& the resources to back them up) to go full time. As things stand, I can't see this happening for 2004/05, but then I'm totally uninformed on the topic. Given that, I'd also say that, if things keep going the way they are, then to have any chance of survival, at this level, we'd have to be looking to announce a definite intention early next season, for 2005/06. But who knows? By then, the aspirations of all the full time non leaguers might have proven to have been built on sand.

Graham S

#14
offline Andy Y. (G&NFC)

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To a certain extent I am with Dave on this one. We have to keep things in the bounds of reality. Its no good signing someone, just for the sake of it. Remember Lenny Dennis? A player with a proven goalscoring record who was just going through the motions with us.

What is peeing me off about the whole situation is the fact that this has been a season long problem. IT SHOULD have been sorted by now and you have to question why players don't seem to want to come here.

Its a fact that the players we have here are a decent bunch who enjoy being together and they all seem to love the supporters. So if its not team spirit and if its not the cash (within reason.) What is the underlying problem?

All I do know is that unles we get a goalscorer AND FAST we will be struggling to stay up.

#15
offline old git

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can i ask a question
how can these teams be working in the restraints set up by the conference i e:- 65% of turnover or are we the only team abiding by the leauge rules they all seem to be bringing in loads of new players without releasing any does this mean they were trading under budjet at the start of the season

I DON'T THINK SO

#16
offline jc

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Well, there were rumours recently that Chester were being investigated for spending too high a proportion of turnover on players' wages. I agree about Barnes though - it seems inconceivable that any part-time side in the league (except perhaps a side on the verge of becoming full-time such as Burton) could possibly afford his wages within the Conference's new rules.

#17
offline JFW

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I think it all depends on the definition of "turnover". If this includes sponsorship money (as I assume it does) then I would think that some rich Chairman pump money into the clubs through sponsorships from their other business interests.


#18
offline Stu M

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Maybe Barnes quoted us more than Tamworth cos we harangued him so badly last season.... <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#19
offline FleetFanatic

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True - it's very difficult to distinguish between 'diving' & 'tripping over blades of grass'!




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