The club made the decision this year we’d go without contracts because of a second lockdown happening, which was always on the cards, says Margate boss Jay Saunders

Monday 02nd November 2020

MARGATE manager Jay Saunders has revealed none of his players are under contract this season to protect the club financially during the second national lockdown which starts on Thursday.

Saunders led his side to The FA Trophy First Round for the first time since 2004 after beating Aylesbury United 4-2 in Chesham on Sunday.

Debutant striker Norman Wabo, 22, a recent arrival from National League South side Dartford, and his strike partner, Noel Leighton, scored two goals apiece to seal their passage against a very good Aylesbury United side, in second-place in the Southern League Central Division table.

However, Margate play one last game before a four-week lockdown is imposed on England by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday and it’s a vital clash between two sides in the bottom three when East Thurrock United visit Hartsdown Park tomorrow night (19:45).

“If I’m honest with you and we’re going to go into lockdown and this can’t happen and that can’t happen, I don’t see how we can continue at our level,” said Saunders.

“If you can’t continue to let fans in, I don’t want that to happen, of course, but I just feel that if you’re looking at supporters at these levels it’s really hard for clubs to get them to social distance and we haven’t got, as players, the beauty of Premier League clubs, where players can get tested and everything.

“The changing room conditions you find at these levels, the changing rooms are tiny.

“I don’t want that (to stop playing) to happen, no-one does and I’d like to think we can continue but if they do it behind-closed-doors I don’t see how club’s at our level could afford that.

“As a club like Margate I don’t know how the chairman continues to pay players, unless it’s out of his own pocket, without any crowds coming in.”  

Saunders revealed none of his players’ are under contract at the Isthmian League Premier Division club to protect the club under a second lockdown.

“The club made the decision this year we’d go without contracts because of this case, this happening, which was always on the cards,” said Saunders.

“Last year we had contracted players and the players got paid (during the original lockdown from March) but it was a big effect on the club.

“I don’t know what the outcome will be because it’s all up in the air. I find it crazy that clubs in the league above (National League South) can be part-time like we are and be classed as Elite.  It doesn’t make sense. 

“Hopefully common sense prevails and they work a way around it.

“Whether we have to play behind closed doors but somehow we get some funding but the National League above struggled to get that, who knows what will happen?”

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