We’re paying out a lot in lawyer's fees, it’s costing the club a fortune. We've had to cut back and let a few people go and give a few youngsters a chance, says Cray Wanderers boss Tony Russell
CRAY WANDERERS boss Tony Russell has revealed he is working with a lower budget this season as the club battle to win their Flamingo Park stadium fight.
The Wands remain unbeaten in pre-season after holding a young and impressive Leyton Orient to a 2-2 draw at Hayes Lane last night.
The O’s took an early lead through winger Steven Alzate and Cray Wanderers didn’t have much of the ball, but they levelled through Karl Dent’s low drive after good play down the right from Danny Haynes and sub Seedy Njie (who is called Sid) in the second half.
Leyton Orient striker Tristian Abrahams capped off an impressive display by scoring but former Erith Town player Ben Mundele slotted in the equaliser.
Cray Wanderers gave former Margate midfielder Solomon Taiwo, 31, 90 minutes although the much-travelled midfielder failed to impress on his club debut.
“Sol made his first game for us, hasn’t done a training session, he’s clearly not match fit yet but he’s neat and tidy, he’s got a bit about him, you could see that,” said Russell.
“I tried to keep him out there for as long as possible and he was running on empty.
“I’ve known Sol since he was a kid when he was here (Bromley), so we were both quite new when we came here so when you pair up and we got chatting and we always kept in contact.
“I don’t know what Sol’s plans are. I need to speak to him. He’ll train on Thursday, he needs more minutes in him, more fitness, but we’ll see.
“I don’t think he’ll fit into Cray Wanderers’ pay structure but we’ll see. I don’t know if Sol is still chasing that or is he just looking to play? I don’t know. I need to speak to Sol because if it’s the latter, he’s come to the wrong place!”
Joel Ledgister, who has played at a higher level of football, featured during the first half of last night’s game – but Russell admitted he hasn’t made up his mind on the striker.
“Joel is a friend of (my player-assistant manager) Paul Lorraine, we’re looking out for a forward, he said ‘what about him? Have a look at him?’
“It’s funny, he looked good on Saturday (at Lordswood), didn’t affect the game that much (against Leyton Orient), but we’ll see.”
One player that has signed is former Ebbsfleet United winger Danny Haynes.
“Danny is a friend of Grant Basey from the Charlton days. He done alright. When he’s on it he’s electric. He’ll be an absolute handful this year, I’ve got no doubt about that.
“He was in and out of the game. When he was in it you sat on the edge of your seat, other times it looked like he just needs to calm himself down.
“He’s a lovely guy. He listens and even the levels he’s played, he’s really good on the coaching field, when you give him a job to do he’s all ears so I think he’ll do well for us this year.”
But Russell revealed that his budget has been cut due to the club incurring lawyers fees over their Flamingo Park new stadium battle.
“It’s almost like a bonus season this year because they’ve trimmed the wage down,” revealed Russell.
“We’re paying out a lot, even the lawyer's fees to sort them out, it’s costing the club a fortune. We've had to cut back and let a few people go and give a few youngsters a chance.
“I started like that at Erith Town and even VCD to a point where I had to work with good, young players.
“I’ve enjoyed it this summer, I really have. We’re a little short in terms of going forward. I think we need to try to bring one in. I’m desperate to try to bring a forward in.
“As a club they’re very relaxed. It is hard because the main focus is to get this ground first and back in our hands, which I know the boys off the field are working hard and my job is to make sure we get a good Cray Wanderers side that’s playing the right football that we want to play and winning games and that will be our aim.”
Russell is confident that London Mayor Sadiq Khan will not kill the club and that Gary Hillman, Dave Francis and Michael Paye are working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring Cray Wanderers back home.
Khan needs to visit the site at Flamingo Park – it’s being used as a car boot sale and is an eye sore to the local community!
“You’re just banging your head against a brick wall, what do you do? I don’t know what this club’s done to wrong anyone,” added Russell.
“He’s saying it’s green belt land. It’s a legal boot fair and there’s a fair and a nightclub on it. I don’t understand what he’s talking about but what I do know is, I try to stay distant from it because we all trust each other. The boys off the field, Gary, Dave and Michael know their stuff about it. I trust them, they’ll get it done and I know they trust me to get my job done so although I don’t know – I probably know as much as you – I’m 100% sure that ground is going up. I have full trust in all three of them so in my mind nothing changes. We’re going to get that ground regardless so watch this space!”
On the pitch, Russell takes his side to Chislehurst to play SCEFL1 side Glebe on Friday as they continue with their pre-season preparations.
Glebe have lost just one game – 2-0 at home to their National League neighbours Bromley – as Adam Woodward prepares for his first season in charge of the club.
Visit Cray Wanderers’ website: www.cray-wanderers.com