Monday 17th October 2005

Ashford don't pay big money, reveals Cumberbatch


John Cumberbatch, the joint-manager of Ashford Town, was left stunned with rumours that have been circulating about how much his players are paid by the struggling Ryman League Division One club, writes Stephen McCartney.

Underachieving Ashford, who were knocked out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle on Saturday, losing 2-0 to Kent rivals Bromley at Homelands, will be looking to bounce back when they travel to Croydon Athletic on Saturday for a league fixture.

But Orpington based Cumberbatch gave fans the true facts of life at the Homelands.

He told the club's website www.ashfordtownfc.co.uk: "I was informed by a very reliable source that some fans in the stands were overheard discussing players' payments and mused that some of the players were earning about £300 per week.

"Though I don't think we should discuss players' money, there are certain myths and rumours that need to be corrected.

"When Tim (Thorogood) and I spent time in the summer in discussion with players who were carefully selected for what we felt could be an assault on the league, we were offering them far higher wages that the players here currently receive - yet none of them was offered any close to £300 (per week).

"Some of them could perhaps have earned close to half that sum if they achieved agreed bonuses that week.

"These were experienced proven players who, despite having offers from other clubs, were about to sign for us but were scared off because of the unfortunate timed summer lock-out.

"The current first team squad earn amounts starting from purely expenses in more than one case, to the highest earner receiving far less than 50% of the figure quoted, including expenses.

"I have deliberately been unclear with this to prevent giving exact figures but have given an accurate comparison to the £300 branded round.

"Please do not be misguided by people who live in fantasyland with regard to payments to players.

"If we were able to pay the squad the sort of figures branded round, I would be delighted and willing to do so.

"Why? There are at least ten of the current squad who would train full time for earnings of £300 per week and I can guarantee if we had ten of the squad training full time, we would definitely be in the top three of the division.

"For £300 per week, I would be demanding that some players train full time and those unable to because of their full-time careers would be expected to give a minimum of three evenings training per week and I believe they would be willing to do so with no hesitation and complaint.

"So for the fantasists amongst you, dream of a day when this may happen, but the reality is far off."

Ashford fans would need to go higher up in the football pyramid for wages of that nature.