Bridon Ropes boss Mark Murison: To pay the amount that people are paying at this level, you’re just throwing money away, it’s mindboggling how they can afford it!
BRIDON ROPES’ manager Mark Murison says he wants the club to be in a position to compete on a near level playing field next season.
The Charlton-based outfit charge their players £250 per year to play for them and before last Wednesday’s Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Third Round tie at home to Crowborough Athletic, players were paying £10 subs to the club’s committee before the game.
Crowborough Athletic have the highest budget in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division but Bridon Ropes put in a brave display during their 2-1 defeat.
Adam Saunders gave Bridon Ropes a shock first half lead but their resilience was broken in heartbreaking fashion as Jason Barton and Ross Treleaven headed in late on in the game.
Bridon Ropes then travelled to Dartford but lost 2-1 to Kent Football United in the First Division yesterday, which leaves them in the top six with 36 points from 22 games, a couple of points clear of Forest Hill Park, who do have a game in hand.
“We’ve dropped some points this year,” admitted Murison.
“We’re in a comfortable sixth-place this year and I’m hopeful and confident that we’ll be in those top six positions.
“We have dropped points against teams we should have beat. If we put in the passion and the commitment to the defending side, which we always ask for anyway, like we did against Crowborough, we wouldn’t be dropping those points and we might be in those promotion places.”
Murison is working miracles to keep Bridon Ropes in the top six, especially when rival clubs are throwing money at players in a bid to seal a place in the top two promotion places.
“This team isn’t far off,” he said. “For a team that play money to play and the money that they have to bring in to be competing near the top of the league is commendable anyway, but we’re not far off pushing for those places.
“We’ve lost a lot of players this year, 38 goals from the squad from three players (Nick Dunsdon, Dean Gould and Tayler Bowley) who have been injured since pre-season. One of our main centre backs, Luke Doherty took a job on the Isle of Man so he had to go, so we’ve lost some real quality players, so for us to be sixth in the league after losing those players, I’m proud of my players.
“We’ve got some really good under 18 and reserve team players’ coming through. We’ve got a good string coming through. If we can build this team around with the youngsters’ coming through, we’ve got a good chance for the future here.
“Any club, especially at a club where we don’t have the resources to go out and get anyone else, you need a bit of luck that players’ don’t get injured or someone’s going to come in and offer them a couple of hundred quid a week and that’s the battle we’re in.”
Murison says the next step for the club is to change their status of not paying subs, but running without a playing budget.
The 32-year-old said: “I think that’s what the next step is. It’s going to be difficult. We’re speaking to the committee all the time. We know we’re not going to be in a position to pay players. In some ways to pay the amount that people are paying at this level, you’re just throwing money away, it’s mindboggling how they can afford it!
“But I think the next step for this club is to try to make it free because then you’re at least fighting on level terms. I’ve had some good players that I might have been able to get down here if they didn’t have to pay. They’re not bothered that they’re not going to get paid. What puts them off in a hard world, people have mortgages and debts and it’s a tough world out there if you’re thinking about that money that relates to a tenner or something a week that could put players off, but if they’re not getting paid it’s not costing them anything.
“That’s the next step for us. How we get there we’re going to work hard as a management team and committee to try to achieve that but we don’t want to do that by putting the club backwards or in trouble so we have to do it right and if we can get to that stage and keep the core that we’ve got here and build with the youth we’ve got a great chance.”
Bridon Ropes entertain 12th-placed Snodland Town on Saturday and Murison wants to keep their season alive.
“We want to finish as high up in this league for the rest of the season,” he said.
“We’re still in the London Senior Trophy Quarter-Final, hopefully we can get a Cup final in there as well so we’ve got a lot to play for still and we want to make sure that we qualify again for the FA Cup as we did that for the first time this year and what you don’t want to do is the club step backwards by not qualifying.”
Bridon Ropes v Snodland Town
Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Saturday 21st January 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Meridian Sports & Social Club, 110 Charlton Park Lane, Charlton, London SE7 8QS