Like many of you I am a regular reader of The Non-League Paper on a Sunday morning and this week two stories really leapt out at me as really quite staggering.
Firstly, a chairman of one of the Leagues stated that there are clubs at our level that have a playing and management budget of £300,000, whilst in the league below, Aylesbury United’s level, there are still budgets around up to £200,000 per year. Now, over a 38-week season, that equates to £8,000 per week at Step 3 – unbelievable. I had to almost literally hold up the Vice-Chairman of Aylesbury on Tuesday evening who had almost collapsed with laughter at these figures being stated. Seriously, how anyone at this level could sustain that level of funding on the playing budget is impossible to imagine. Football at this level needs better regulating to ensure teams are being run for the long term good of the club and the town they play in. It also raises the question, should the people at the top of the game be doing more?
The second thing that struck me, related to money once again, is the fact that there are clubs at our level with players on £600 net per week, that equates with Tax and Ni to some £950 per week for a basic rate taxpayer. One club stated that the player was signed for 2 years as he can see what the club want to achieve. As the player is under contract for 44 weeks and a 2-year deal this amounts to some £42,000 a year – for playing part-time football! That would be a massive amount of our budget in one go! Football is going mad!
However, before you all start feeling doom and gloom for the season ahead, we know that it is not all about paying huge sums of money, in fact that can sometimes backfire as it can affect the dressing room if players are too interested in how much each other is earning, a successful team will get the balance right. I am confident that for the season ahead we have a good budget for our league, but I am also confident that our management team will be using it wisely to create a spirited, highly skilled, competitive team that will be in contention at the end of the season.
You will have seen announcements over the past couple of weeks of players re-signing, I know that James and Michael also have a couple of exciting new players that they are close to getting over the line, but I won’t go saying too much about that right now!
Pre-season will be starting for our Academy in August as we continue our partnership with the Education and Semi-Professional Football Academy (ESPFA) who provide education and football study programmes at non-league clubs across the UK for 16–18-year-olds as an alternative to traditional college education. Based at the football club, students joining the full-time programme will study for a BTEC in Sport Level 3 Extended Diploma, train three times a week with UEFA qualified coaches and represent Chesham United FC in the ESPFA league and cup competitions with all games being filmed and taking place at the main stadia of all clubs involved. More information, including Trials dates, can be found on the website here.
This week also saw our latest board and management meetings take place, lots of good things going on and I am delighted how well everyone is working together across the different sections of the club, I truly believe we can progress with the “One Club” idea over the months and when we start preparing for the move to a new ground we should be in an excellent position to make it a success.
Last week I mentioned that ex-Chairman and Club President, Brian McCarthy, will no longer be attending games. It has also now been agreed amongst all shareholders that it will be in the best interest of the club if his 2% shareholding was passed on to someone else, and I am humbled to report that shareholders approved of Roger’s wish for those shares to be passed to myself. Something I am grateful for and relish the prospect as Chairman of the club of doing the best possible job for the company and its shareholders, which now include me!
Thank you for your support, exciting times ahead. The First XI are in pre-season action again this evening with a 7.30pm kick-off at Northwood, I hope to see many of you there.